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Import/Export

United States to China

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to China. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Cows, goats, sheep, and pigs are considered domesticated animals. All other animals are considered non-domesticated animals. Items or products made from non-domesticated animals are restricted in the UPS system and only allowed with a UPS ISC contract. CITES permit and additional restrictions may apply, please check with your local ISC Coordinator.

An Animal Quarantine Certification from the Quarantine Agency or official authorized quarantine body of origin country or territory is required. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.

All imports and exports of books must go through an authorized company for entrustment and Customs clearance processing. There is a fee for this service. There are two such companies, China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation, and China International Book Trading Corporation.
The consignee must provide China Compulsory Certification. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.
The consignee must provide a China Compulsory Certification. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.

Shipments consigned to personal individuals are exempt (except for Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen) and only ONE cellular telephone per personal shipment. For Shanghai (postal range 200000-247282, 310000-325811), Shenzhen and Xiamen, this requirement is further extended to personal items. The individual is required to obtain the CCC from the supplier or the manufacturer of the goods.

The consignee must provide a China Compulsory Certification. Shipments are subject to a compulsory quarantine inspection. Shipments consigned to personal individuals are exempt (except for Shanghai) and should be of reasonable quantity to qualify as personal usage. For Shanghai (postal range 200000-247282, 310000-325811) and Shenzhen, this requirement is further extended to personal items. The individual is required to obtain the CCC from the supplier or the manufacturer of the goods.
A Quarantine Certificate from the origin country or territory's Quarantine Agency or official authorized quarantine body is required. Shipments are subject to a compulsory quarantine inspection. The Quarantine Certificate must certify the elements do not contain bovine and ovine. For more information, please check the following website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-cert.html#issue
Dental instruments and their parts with x-ray function require China Compulsory Certification. Electrical dental instruments require Automated Import License. All dental instruments will require Compulsory Quarantine Inspection.
An import license is required for pharmaceutical products.
For electrical and electronic items, China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) require the importer to provide a China Compulsory Certification (CCC) and shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection. Shipper or consignee must ensure that CCC license is available prior to the shipments' arrival in China. Otherwise the goods will have to either be returned to the origin or seized at destination.

Shipments consigned to individuals for personal use are exempted except for Shanghai. For Shanghai (postal range 200000-247282, 310000-325811), this requirement is further extended to personal items. The individual is required to obtain the CCC from the supplier or the manufacturer of the goods.

Goods which are destined for an exhibition may be subject to duty & tax. There are very detailed Customs regulations regarding goods for exhibitions that need to be followed by Destination Brokerage in regards to classification of the goods. Hence, shipments for exhibitions - which are normally time sensitive - should preferably have UPS Billing Option 'Free Domicile' in order to avoid possible delays in delivery due to payment issues in the destination country or territory. Shippers should ensure that the proforma invoice lists the name of a contact person and a valid phone/mobile phone number so that Brokerage in the destination country or territory can get in contact with the consignee of the goods in oder to agree on the clearance procedure.

SHANGHAI EXPO 2010 - It is important to separate personal effects and exhibition goods into separate shipments. Exhibits and exhibition articles intended for the Expo require formal entry if consignee has Confirmation Letter of Entering Materials for Expo prior to the shipments arrival. Shippers should clearly indicate on Waybill and invoice that shipments are destined for the Shanghai Expo.

Due to the implementation of Temporary Anti-dumping Measures on Imported Iron or Steel Fasteners from the European Community by China's Ministry of Commence, effective immediately, all imports of iron or steel fasteners (with Import Tariff Codes: 73181200, 73181400, 73181500, 73182100 & 7318220) should submit a certificate of origin (CO) to China Customs.

Original manufacturer invoice is also required should the country or territory of origin be stated as countries or territories of the European Community. Failure to comply may result in Customs imposing anti-dumping duty rates.

The consignee must provide Audio/Video Production Importation Approval from the Ministry of Culture.
Both shipper and consignee must register with China Inspection & Quarantine (CIQ). Required documents are listed below.

Shipper is to provide:

  • A Sanitation Certificate from the origin country or territory's Quarantine Agency or official authorized quarantine body
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Examining Report

Consignee is provide:

  • Food Label in Chinese
  • Veterinary & Plant Inspection and Quarantine Certificate

Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.

Products from epidemic areas as identified by Chinese Quarantine Agency could be prohibited from importation. Importers are advised to inquire about such information from the local quarantine agency prior to importation.

The consignee must provide Audio/Video Production Importation Approval from the Ministry of Culture.
A CITES and import permit is required for leather made of endangered species. There is no restriction for common leather goods.
The importer must provide an Automatic Import License.
Most medical items are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection. This includes both the instruments and their components.

If the item runs on electricity, an Automated Import License is also required. In addition to that, particularly for Electrocardiograph, the importer must provide China Compulsory Certification and Automated Import License.

An import license is required for pharmaceutical products.
Shipment which value is less than or equal to RMB1,000 and weight is less than or equal to 5 kg only is considered as personal shipment (see (Clearance Information) - Category 2: Personal Shipments). If either value or weight exceeds the allowance, most likely partial abandon will be required.

Uncoated paper and paperboard (raw before final processing) are subject to a Compulsory Quarantine Inspection.
Import and export of motor vehicle, ship and aviation spare parts must be done through an authorized agent. China Compulsory Certification and Compulsory Quarantine are required. Shipments consigned to personal individuals are exempt (except for Shanghai) and should be of reasonable quantity to qualify as personal usage. For Shanghai (postal range 200000-247282, 310000-325811), this requirement is further extended to personal items. The individual is required to obtain the CCC from the supplier or the manufacturer of the goods.
A Quarantine Certificate from the origin country or territory's Quarantine Agency or official authorized quarantine body is required. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.
See medicine.
The consignee must provide a China Compulsory Certificate. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection. Shipments consigned to personal individuals are exempt (except for Shanghai) and should be of reasonable quantity to qualify as personal usage. For Shanghai (postal range 200000-247282, 310000-325811), this requirement is further extended to personal items. The individual is required to obtain the CCC from the supplier or the manufacturer of the goods.
Corporate Printed Matters

Shipments of corporate printed matters with CIF value below RMB 5000 can be cleared via KJ3 declaration. (Weight limitation: Beijing, TianJin and Xian: not more than 30kg; Shanghai: not more than 50kg and below 99 books).

However shipments with CIF value more than RMB 5000 consignee must go through a state council authorized company (for example, China National Publications Import and Export (Group) Corporation, China International Book Trading Corporation and etc.) for entrustment and Customs clearance.

Personal Printed Matters & Audio / Visual Products

  • Personal shipments which meet below criterions may enter the country or territory duty and tax free.
    1. Less than TEN booklets, books, newspapers, periodicals per person
    2. Less than TWENTY of audio / visual products per person
    3. Less than THREE sets of books or audio / visual products per person

  • Personal shipment with quantity exceeds the numbers listed above and nevertheless it is within the reasonable amount. Customs will impose duty and tax to the number of units that exceed the limit based on China Import and Export Tariff Regulations.
  • Personal shipments which meet below criterions may enter the country or territory duty and tax free.
    1. More than FIFTY books, newspapers, periodicals per person
    2. More than ONE HUNDRED of audio / visual products per person
    3. More than 10 sets of books or audio / visual products per person
    4. Or other features that form the goods

Consignees could apply to return shipments should they encounter the above scenarios. Customs will process the applications based on the circumstances.

  • Religious printed matter and audio / visual products within reasonable amount are permitted to enter the country or territory. Consignee will need to apply license issued by the State Bureau of Religion Affairs, provincial religious affairs departments or the relevant administrative departments for shipments which quantities exceed the reasonable amount. Otherwise, customs will handle based on the China Customs Regulations Administrative Punishment. Sporadic religious printed matter and audio / visual products are prohibited.
For duty/tax exemption, the original China export declaration is required.
The consignee must provide Automatic Import License.
The consignee must provide Automatic Import License.
The importer must provide audio/video production importation approval from the Ministry of Culture
Shipments of mobile phones and other telephone equipment must be accompanied with a China Compulsory Certification and Automatic Import License. Shipments are subject to a compulsory quarantine inspection.
The consignee must provide China Compulsory Certification and Automatic import license. Shipments are subject to a Compulsory Quarantine Inspection.
If comprised of endangered species leather, a CITES and Endangered Species Import Permit are required.
Consignee to provide China Compulsory Certificate. Shipments are subject to compulsory quarantine inspection.
Shipments are subject to a Compulsory Quarantine Inspection.
For used electronic items, consignee is required to furnish (1). Exemption of Pre-loading Inspection Certificate" or (2). Pre-Loading Inspection Certificate; and (3). are also required to obtain an Import Certificate for the goods, prior to shipment arrival in China. Shipments are subject to Compulsory Quarantine Inspection. Otherwise the goods will have to be either returned to origin, or seized at destination.
Shipments containing audio/video equipment must clearly indicate the contents and purpose of import (for example, CD-ROM for training purposes). In the above example, invoices must also specify the type of training for which the CD-ROM is being used (for example, aircraft maintenance, system installation, or other). Shipments that do not meet the above requirements on the invoice will be subject to Customs holds or delays.

Note: A China Compulsory Certification and import license is required. All import license applications are issued through the representative/Branch office of the Ministry of Commerce in the respective cities/provinces.

The consignee must provide Audio/Video Production Importation Approval from the Ministry of Culture.
Shipments of wood (for example, log) which has not been chemically processed requires a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the Plant Phytosanitary authorities of the exporting country or territory.

Wooden furniture and other processed wooden products do not require a Phytosanitary Certificate from origin, but consignee to provide an official statement on the method of wood processing.

All items made of wood, cane, bamboo and rattan imported into China must undergo quarantine checks and compulsory clearance from China Inspection & Quarantine Bureau, which could add 1 to 2 days of delay.

In the event of non-compliance, the package will be treated, destroyed or re-exported. Charges will apply in these instances.

Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to China.

Import of Alcoholic beverages into China is permitted via ISC* contract service.

Please refer to the ISC database for details on approved shippers.

For B2B shipments, consignee needs additional pre-approval by UPS China. This is a one-time approval. UPS Sales team, please contact your local ISC coordinator for further information.

B2C General Information & Limitation - wine to China: Value: The import clearance of a single B2C purchase with value threshold either at 1,000 RMB for a shipment with multiple items (800 RMB from HK/MO) or at no maximum cap for a shipment with a single item. Quantity: Must be of a reasonable quantity for personal consumption. Based on actual value: 1. For multiple items, the maximum value is RMB1,000. Eg. If the actual value is RMB300 per bottle, 3 bottles will be the maximum number. 2. If actual value exceeds RMB1,000, it must be of a shipment with single item only. 3. China customs has the pricing list for Wine. Actual shipment value which falls below the pricing, final shipment value will be determined based on the pricing list. a) Alcohol % below 12%, and below 750ml/bottle, the value is RMB100 per bottle (10 bottles will be the maximum number.) b) Alcohol% greater than 12%, but less than or equal to 22%, and below 750ml/bottle, the value is RMB200 per bottle (5 bottles will be the maximum.) Clearance days: 5-7 business days for customs and CIQ declaration HS & Duty: HS code: 02020000; Duty rate: 60% Shipper Requirements: 1. Waybill with valid consignee's contact name, cell phone number & email address 2. Invoice with valid consignee's contact name, cell phone number & email address Shipper needs put below information on the invoice. A) Merchandise description in details b) Quantity c) Packing Specification (in bottle, can or etc.) d) Brand e) Origin / Producing area f) Winery information g) If for resales or not h) Alcohol % 3. Purchase order copy (to show the value) 4. Power Of Attorney (POA) with consignee's signature 5. Consignee's ID copy (the front and back sides) Passport for foreigner, Chinese national ID cards for Chinese residents. Consignee requirements ((#1-3, we will not ask consignee to provide again if we get them from shipper): 1. Purchase order copy (to show the value) 2. Power Of Attorney (POA) with consignee's signature 3. Consignee's ID copy (the front and back sides) Passport for foreigner, Chinese national ID cards for Chinese residents. 4. Other explanation letters if require by Customs / CIQ *International Special Commodities (ISC) is a UPS contractual service that enables selected customers to ship certain articles restricted in UPS tariff.

Antique shipments are restricted from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and can only be shipped with an *International Special Commodities (ISC) contract. Antiques are defined as a work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object, or silverware that is 100 years old or older.

*An International Special Commodities (ISC) is a UPS Special Commodities Program contractual service that enables selected customers under contract to ship certain previously prohibited articles, (for example, Plants, Seeds, Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverages, and Perishables including Frozen Meat and Frozen Fish).

Currently China is only approved to export Electronic Cigarettes. The remaining commodities are prohibited.

Artwork shipments are restricted from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and can only be shipped with an *International Special Commodities (ISC) contract.

Paintings or other works of art can be accepted if the artist is still alive, the artwork is replaceable and an art dealer or gallery has appraised the artwork within the last year. If the declared value of the artwork is greater than $100.00 and there is a claim, the shipper must provide a copy of the original invoice, a bill of sale, or other proof certifying in writing the actual cost or replacement cost of the item.

Artwork includes the following: Original engravings, prints, lithographs, original sculptures, statuary.

The term "Artwork" does not apply to: architectural, engineering, industrial, topographical, commercial drawings, hand-painted or hand-decorated manufactured articles.

*An International Special Commodities (ISC) is a UPS Special Commodities Program contractual service that enables selected customers under contract to ship certain previously prohibited articles, (for example, Plants, Seeds, Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverages, and Perishables including Frozen Meat and Frozen Fish).

Currently China is only approved to export Electronic Cigarettes. The remaining commodities are prohibited.

Import of Biological (e.g. Microorganism, DNAs abstract, blood sample and etc.) is strictly not acceptable as China is NOT an approved *ISC country or territory.

*An International Special Commodities (ISC) is a UPS Special Commodities Program contractual service that enables selected customers under contract to ship certain previously prohibited articles, (for example, Plants, Seeds, Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverages, and Perishables including Frozen Meat and Frozen Fish).

Currently China is only approved to export Electronic Cigarettes. The remaining commodities are prohibited.

Includes the following (this is not all inclusive and only a guideline): Military Aircraft parts, Military Motor vehicles, Tanks, night vision goggles', weapons, firearms, Artillery, Ammunition, Missiles, Explosives, military training equipment and protective personnel equipment, military electronics, space systems, Nuclear Weapons, Submersible vessels.
  • The export or import of defense articles which fall under the US State Department (DDTC) or ITAR control require special care to ensure shipments are presented to US Customs at the time of exportation or importation.
  • Failure to do so may result in penalties, seizure of the shipment.
  • Shippers who fail to provide the proper documentation and export details will have shipments returned to the shipper immediately.

UPS has compliance responsibilities under Export Administrator Regulations (EAR) and must know their customers and be aware of suspicious circumstances that may be present in an export transaction.

State Department Controlled shipments are those shipments which require either a State Department License (SDL) or SDL Exemption, also referred to as ITAR shipments.)

UPS (small package) State Department License (SDL) or State Department License Exemption (SDL Exemption) controlled shipments are prohibited to and from this country or territory.

Please note that UPS Freight Forwarding can address the customer's delivery needs by transporting these restricted shipments via alternate routes that bypass China.

Dietary supplements declared as personal goods: Restrictions: the goods value has to be under 1000 RMB, reasonable quantity for personal consumption. Requirements for custom clearance: 1) copy of the consignees Identification Card ( both sides). 2) the shopping records (Screenshots of the Amazon order). 3) No import permit is required.

For China import, more specific import requirements for Dietary Supplement or health products for personal use and Non-illicit drugs/Medicine for personal use:

1) Import of non-illicit drugs/medicine for personal use

  • Total value cannot exceed RMB800 from HK, MO & TW, or RMB1,000 from other countries or territories per shipment.
  • Original copy of prescription issued by doctor is required with indicated dosage which match the actual shipping information.
  • Consignees name must match the patient name on the prescription on the waybill.

2) Import of dietary supplement or health products for personal use

  • Total value cannot exceed RMB800 from HK, MO & TW, or RMB1,000 from other countries or territories per shipment.
  • Reasonable quantity for personal use. In general, the quantity can be used up within 3 months.
  • For shipments exceeding value threshold or quantity is not reasonable for personal use, it will be regarded as normal import which requires a qualified trade company as IOR and import licenses depending on the commodity.
Import of Electronic Cigarettes are strictly not acceptable as China is NOT an approved *ISC country or territory.

*An International Special Commodities (ISC) is a UPS Special Commodities Program contractual service that enables selected customers under contract to ship certain previously prohibited articles, (for example, Plants, Seeds, Tobacco, Alcoholic Beverages, and Perishables including Frozen Meat and Frozen Fish).

Currently China is only approved to export Electronic Cigarettes. The remaining commodities are prohibited.

Gambling devices are prohibited.
Any form of weapons, including parts of guns, arms and ammunition are strictly prohibited including any form of toy gun or gun replica. If it is a part or piece that makes the firearm/weapon work, enhances, promotes or aides the performance of the firearm/weapon or if it operates or ejects a projectile, then it's considered a firearm & is prohibited.

Examples of prohibited guns/firearms are BB guns, crossbows, pistols, muzzle loaders, pellet guns, rifles, shotguns, starter pistols, Also included as a prohibited item are any device discharging an electrical charge (taser guns).

Parts of guns/firearms are also prohibited. If it is a part or piece that makes the firearm/weapon work, or if it operates, discharges, or ejects a projectile, it is prohibited. If it enhances, promotes or aides the performance of the firearm/weapon, it is also prohibited. Examples of prohibited parts are barrels, triggers, magazines/clips that hold bullets, night vision aids, and gun scopes or rifle scopes.

No approvals will be granted using the International Special Commodity (ISC) exception request process.

An import license from the Bank of China is required for gold or jewelry made of gold. For diamonds and jewelry made with diamonds, customs clearance can only be done by a customs authorized agent in Shanghai Diamond Exchange.
Knives are considered weapons if the intended use of the knife is to inflict bodily harm. If the purpose of the knife is not to inflict bodily harm then it's not prohibited, however please review the examples list as some knives may have a dual purpose.

All knives considered to be weapons are prohibited. Examples of knives considered to be weapons and are not admissible into China include bayonets, box cutters, daggers, hunting knives, machetes, pocketknives, switchblades, and swords.

Examples of knives that are admissible into China are butter knives (rounded tip and no sharp edges).

Examples of knives that MAY be admissible into China upon special request are collectibles, display purposes only, permits obtained by the consignee, and some knives if they meet certain measurement requirements (length and tip angle).

Special requests for items described on the list as prohibited, or items not clearly identified in the definitions can be submitted through your Global Brokerage Support for follow-up with China.

There is an embargo by Luthansa (the airline used by UPS to fly into Shanghai) on UN 3480 (group 965) being accepted to travel on small package service as Courier.

Lithium battery with or without equipment export from China Port should have a certification for air safety transport by the 3rd party test laboratory approved by UPS Airline.

Military equipment is prohibited.
China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) prohibits the following commodities into China. Pathogens of plants and animals (including fungi and germina, etc.) ,pests and other hazardous life-form - Relevant animals, plants, animal or plant products and other quarantinable products from plant and animal disease epidemic areas - Animal corpus
Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store or UPS Customer Center to ship personal effects.

The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc. or UPS Customer Center will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

  • An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation)
  • A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only
  • A photocopy of passport or ID card

Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

Personal shipments include personal gifts shipped from individual to individual (for example, gifts exchanged between relatives & friends), etc. It should be of a reasonable quantity & must be for personal consumption. See Clearance Information - Category 2: Personal Shipments for more details.
A Plant Quarantine Certification from the origin country or territory Quarantine Agency or official authorized quarantine body is required. Shipments are subject to a compulsory quarantine inspection.
All publications, promotion materials, printed matter and others that threaten the state security, social and political stability, or are pornographic are prohibited.
Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
Shipments of soil are prohibited.
Any form of toy gun or gun replica is prohibited.

Chinas general Administration of Customs (GAC) has restricted the importation of USB SD Card Readers into Southern China, setting requirements for goods in relation to intellectual property rights in flash drives and flash memory applications.

If such products need to be exported, the shipper must provide an authorization letter issued by Shenzhen Netac Technology Co., or the shipment cannot be exported. These export shipments will also require customs inspection.

This requirement does not currently affect Shanghai and Northern China.

Any assault-type, military, & martial arts items such as, shuriken, morning stars, spiked wristband, manrikigusai & constant companion belts. Items such as brass knuckles, finger ring, yauqua blowgun, kiyago baton or steel cobra, stinger, taserpublic defender, nunchaku, mace, tear or other gas, pepper spray. Slingshots and handcuffs are also prohibited.

Special requests for items described on the list as prohibited, or items not clearly identified in the definitions can be submitted through the International Special Commodity (ISC) exception request process using the following link:
http://bia.inside.ups.com/bia/apps/marketing/information/Prohibited/default.cfm


NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
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