Tips to Source from China to Europe

Sourcing products from China to Europe is a popular choice nowadays that offers many benefits. China is a nation that is known for its vast manufacturing capabilities, cheap labour, and diverse product range.

However, before businesses think to source from China to Europe, they must cater to many things that may hinder them. 

This implies cultural differences, linguistic barriers, finding a reliable supplier, managing product quality on time, managing logistics, and handling import regulations of both nations properly.

Thus, to source from China to Europe, a business requires strategic consideration to make it a successful journey.

Exploring all criteria will give importers the skills to create a seamless supply chain and take advantage of China’s potential for company expansion in the European market.

Steps to Import from China to Europe 

Find a Supplier

It is the most crucial step when planning to source from China to Europe. There are various ways to look for a supplier.

You can find them from B2B platforms like Alibaba, Made in China, and Global Source, or hunt them down by personally visiting the trade fair or events in China like the Canton Fair. You can also find your supplier in the Chinese market, like Shenzhen or Guangzhou.

Contact your peers or other businesses to get a referral. However, you may need help communicating with suppliers due to linguistic barriers.

In such cases, you can always hire a sourcing agent. They can easily share in your place and find the best supplier in China. This is far better as those suppliers are already tried and relied upon.

Importing Regulations/ Documents 

Every country has their import and export regulations. Ensure that you abide by those regulations on both sides so that your shipment is sent out and received seamlessly. For this, you must fulfil the requirements and marketing standards below. 

  • Commercial Invoice: The commercial invoice informs customs about imports, including information about the product, the parties involved, the terms of payment, and the value for tax assessment.
  • Packing List: this list will include important information on the items, their number, weight, type of packaging, shipping marks, and invoice information necessary for international shipments.
  • Certificate of Origin: A certificate of origin may be required to prove the origin of products. It facilitates tariff classification, stops non-EU, and streamlines the licensing and taxation processes.
  • Bill of Lading: The bill of lading is essential for ocean freight. It attests to the receipt of the shipment, highlights the terms and claims title, and acknowledges loading.
  • Import Declaration: HMRC requires a pre-arrival security statement and full import declaration for merchandise from China into the UK. 
  • HS Code: Products are classified for import duties using the HS code, commonly known as the Commodity Code or Tariff Code. It is essential for accurate paperwork.
  • EORI Number: The EORI Number is crucial for UK and European trade. It acts as a Customs identification for businesses in all processes.
  • Import Taxes: Value-added tax (VAT) is charged on all commodities sold in the EU. VAT, and taxes are paid based on the good’s value.

Freight Service 

When you source from China to Europe, you will get two options – air and sea freight service. 

  • Air freight service takes around 7-14 days. It is faster but expensive. 
  • Ocean freight takes 4-6 weeks. It is more economical for larger loads. 

Any freight service’s costs vary based on shipment size, method, and customs fees. 

There are so many things to handle when planning to source from China to Europe that a business needs to hire a staff to handle those things.

However, sometimes even the department cannot cater to all needs since they are in a Western country.

Hence, hiring a sourcing agent to bridge the gap between the buyer and supplier is always wise. 

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