Minimize your shipping and import fees

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  • Joined: 20 Oct 08
  • Karma:
11 Mar 16 07:24:14 am
Hello everyone,

Importing and shipping fees! Ugh! definitely not for the faint-at-heart :)

If you are importing from a wholesaler or manufacturer, the responsibility for Customs documentation and import duties is one of the things you agree upon when negotiating the shipping terms. Most of the time it will be your responsibility to organize Customs clearance and the payment of import duties. This will involve hiring a freight forwarder or customs broker, both of whom will work out how much duty you need to pay and will make sure all the appropriate documentation is filed. You can find lists of freight forwarders/customs brokers in your area by doing a Google search.
e.g. '[california] + freight forwarder'.

For smaller imports you may prefer to use a shipping company such as DHL or UPS. These services will include duties in the overall shipping price. Some suppliers will tag your parcels as "gifts" to keep it under the radar - the risk is yours to take. If you get caught you will have heavier fines to settle.

How and when are import duties applicable?

Many country have an importation threshold and if your package value is lower than the established threshold there is no need to pay any duties, however if it does you have to pay the required fees. Here are some useful links to help determine or at least estimate your import duties:

- NZ: Link hidden: Login to view
- In Canada, it's 18% duty rate and 6% GST. Anything under $20 does'nt have to be declared, anything under $1600 is shipped under the low value shipment program. Try and use Link hidden: Login to view for a guideline.
- Brazil: Link hidden: Login to view According to one of our members, the best way is to ship by FEDEX to Brazil, and you must put the CNPJ or CPF on invoice. if no CNPJ/CPF on invoice, you are unable to get the customs clearance done .
- UK: According to the HMRC, you will have to pay import VAT on goods with a value that exceeds GBP15. Note that on all goods from outside the EU, Customs Duty is waived if the amount of duty calculated is GBP29 or under.

For more helpful tips, please feel free to check out our guides on importing here: Link hidden: Login to view

What are possible options for cheaper shipping rates from Canada to US?

- You can actually get the best deals by calling the shipping companies themselves and asking for a better deal. Explained how much you estimate your shipping cost should and the shipping company will come back with a better quote that my allow you to ship our products cheaper. You could ask for a flat rate for each package that you ship to make it easier.

- There are a couple of companies that allow you to ship through them, one such is They will give you the best courier deals. Also, there is a company in Toronto that will drive your packages over the border for a cost and then ship them using USPS or UPS US which result in cheaper shipping if you live near Toronto.

- Look for a drop shipper who includes the shipping cost in their pricing. I'm pretty new to being a manufacturer and that's how I've set up my drop ship price, it's inclusive of US shipping.

- Here's a guide to help you through the kinks of shipping to and from Canada - Link hidden: Login to view

What about importing from China?

- If your are first timer (and even if you are not) A good shipping agent or freight forwarder will come in handy here, as let me tell you from experience that it's a major headache trying to do this yourself.

- If you Chinese supplier tells you they will only ship EXW, straight from the factory, you will find this short guide quite helpful
The Incoterm trade term "Ex-Works" (EXW), also being called ex-factory, means the goods are available at seller's or exporter's premises. The seller or exporter can minimize their risk by making the goods available only at their own premises. The buyer or importer must load the goods then arranges and pays for transport, customs clearance and insurance. As the buyer has to handle and pay for all transportation costs including the inland portion in the country of origin, and assumed all risks in the process, it is not an ideal trade option for the buyers or importers who are not familiar with business practices have no connections with any shipping agents or freight forwarders in the country of origin like China in this case.

On the other hand, the ex-work trade could benefit the buyer or importer if the buyer has their own shipping agent situated in China who can offer the buyer some types of specially negotiated shipping rates. It is conceivable that most sellers or exporters in China to certain degree tend to add some extra amount to the actual CFR or CIF costs in order to cover any unexpected expenses.

The buyer must arrange and pay for the transport having taken delivery of the goods. The buyer is responsible for the goods, and anything that happens to them having taken delivery of them. EXW means that the buyer carries all the risk and bears the entire cost for the movement of the goods once they are made available at the seller's premises.

- We have some very helpful tips in these guides:
Link hidden: Login to view
Link hidden: Login to view

Hope this helps! If you have a helpful tip to share with our SaleHoo community please feel free to add it as a comment below. Cheers :)


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