Import duties for products from AliExpress or China

Full Member
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 20 Jun 14
  • Karma:
27 Oct 14 11:00:45 pm
I just started my online business and purchased some products at AliExpress. I have heard horror stories about US customs seizing the products or demanding for import duty. Each of my purchase was in the $100-$200 range although I bought low quantities to reduce risk. I have few questions regarding import duty.

1. Am I technically required to pay import duty for small purchases? If not, what is the dollar amount limit for free duty?
2. How to reduce the chances of getting customs involved?
3. What are the best practices for buying products from China?

Site Admin
  • Posts: 435
  • Joined: 10 Jun 14
  • Karma:
29 Oct 14 02:45:01 am
Hello Bill,

I will try to answer in detail as possible.

Customs duties apply to all imports under which imports are usually free from duties. Sometimes you may be lucky enough to have small imports slip through without being slapped with a fee, however you certainly can't take this for granted.

If you are importing a small amount, then many couriers will automatically add the duty into the shipping price. However, some shippers such as EMS don't have this practice, making considerably cheaper to ship through them.

If you are importing a large amount (e.g. by the container load), then you will need to employ a Customs Broker and/or Freight Forwarder to take care of your import for you.

Finally (and very generally), most duty rates fall between 2% and 30%. Items like books usually have a very low tariff, while shoes and clothing often attract some of the highest tariffs.

You may want to look into this link to learn more about customs: Link hidden: Login to view

Also here are links that provide you advice on how to deal with Chinese suppliers: Link hidden: Login to view

Hope this helps!

Full Member
  • Posts: 207
  • Joined: 19 Oct 08
  • Karma:
1 Nov 14 11:54:39 am
Hi Rachel,and Bill,

I thought I'd share this information with you guys and anyone else but over the last month I have made over roughly 700USD just mainly dropshipping products from China using 2 different suppliers wherein one of them I found via AliExpress - very reliable as they manufacture their own goods and it is unbranded. Selling one of my items for 52 dollars on eBay so far I've got over 40 watchers and over 1,200 views and growing.

AliExpress is pretty safe. The seller will not receive funds until the item has been shipped. I've shipped over 10 different items; 6 or 7 from AliE express and the rest was another Chinese site. I sold a Holloween item for 220USD but only to find out it was out of stock so my Chinese supplier gave me a full refund.

Chinese websites are good if you find unbranded items or if you do find a branded one, you should ask yourself if its real or not.

I hope this can help.

Site Admin
  • Posts: 6496
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
1 Nov 14 07:40:43 pm
Thanks William, great to hear those sales are rolling in as well!

Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager

Link hidden: Login to view

Full Member
  • Posts: 30
  • Joined: 12 Mar 15
  • Karma:
16 Mar 15 12:37:13 am
Thank you for the feed back William. I have been looking for reviews on and yours is very informative for someone looking in on international suppliers.



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