Buying From China

We are often asked about how to import from China to the UK?

As a freight company we think importing from China is straightforward, though of course we do this all day every day for a living!

Let’s assume you have found a profitable product to import from China, this may be from your own contacts or by visiting a trade fair, or you may even be importing from China to the UK sourcing from Alibaba.

Good news – you have now done the difficult bit!

This is what happens next, assuming you have paid your supplier or agreed credit terms with them:

  • Your shipment is collected from your supplier
  • It is taken to the port or airport of departure
  • K&L Freight clear it through customs in China
  • K&L Freight arrange for it to be loaded it on ship or aeroplane and it is sent to the UK.
  • It is unloaded from the ship or aeroplane when it arrives in the UK.
  • K&L Freight’s customs team clear it through British customs.
  • We put it on a truck and deliver to you.

We take care of all of these processes so you do not need to be involved though of course we will keep you informed every step of the way.

There are some common questions that we get asked about the process of importing to the UK:

Do you pay import duty on goods from China?

The answer is yes, probably. Most goods arriving in the UK are subject to duty, though it is often just a few percent of the price you have purchased them at. The amount of duty payable is determined by the classification in the UK’s trade tariff and every product imaginable has a classification. The guide is on line these days and this is a link to it: Trade tariff service. Note that the codes are (almost) identical right across the EU and the same rates of duty apply in each and every EU country.

Do I have to pay import tax from China to UK?

Import tax, which is called VAT in the UK, is payable at import at 20 percent of the value of what you import for nearly all items.

Can claim back VAT on imports from China?

If you register yourself or your company for VAT in the UK you will be able to reclaim the VAT you have paid at import, on the basis you are selling on what you have imported and are charging VAT on the sale. If you do not register for VAT you will still pay VAT on arrival at a UK port or airport, though you will not be able to claim it back. So if you are not currently VAT registered, please plan ahead!

Do I need a license to import from China?

Almost certainly not! The UK only licenses certain products that are considered ’sensitive’ These include certain medicines, drugs, plants and dangerous items such guns and products that may be considered to be militarily sensitive. Nearly all imports to the UK will not need a licence. K&L Freight can give you more specific guidance if necessary or you can have a look for yourself using this link to the UK Government’s website on import licensing: Import Controls

What are the custom fees for importing from China?

Unlike the USA the UK government does not make a charge and so the UK does not have Customs fees.

You may have more questions or if you want to discuss importing into the UK in more detail. If so why not give us a call or e-mail us and we will be pleased to help.