Importing From China
Importing from other countries such as China is complicated because regulations are different, rules are different and most of all the language is different. Nonetheless, China remains one of the most popular destinations for importing products.
In fact, China is the largest exporter in the world. In 2016, China exports surpassed $2 trillion. That is 45.8% more than the United States, the second largest exporter in the world. Even with the latest traffic imposed by the US on Chinese products, they remain popular and cheap. Thus, importing from China is always recommended, but, there are certain mistakes that you should avoid.
Not knowing the principles of doing business in China
Communication is very important in doing business. Whether you are importing from China or any other country, you need to learn the language and how to communicate beforehand. There are many cultures, languages, and customs in China. You do not have to learn them all. You should only learn the official language which is Mandarin. It will help you develop a long-term relationship with businessmen you are doing business with.
Misinterpretation and misunderstanding can actually ruin a business deal. You should learn about the Chinese culture because what sounds nice to you may sound rude and impolite for your Chinese counterpart.
Not knowing Chinese rules and regulations
Every country has its own trade rules and knowing them is crucial for any importing or exporting business. When it comes to China, It is highly recommended that you be aware of these rules and regulations and take extra precautions.
First of all, it is known that many Chinese suppliers manufacture goods that are not in accordance with the right international standards. It is reported that in certain industrial fields only 5% of Chinese suppliers comply with international standards.
Therefore it is vital for the growth of your business that you investigate and check out not only rules but also regulations that apply to the product you intend to import. This way, you will know whether or not the product you are importing meets the international standards.
You can always get all the information you need about a certain product from the chambers of commerce and customs offices of your country. They will tell you about the regulations and rules that apply to your product. Thus, they will help you avoid delay and obstacles at the customs clearance.
Not choosing the right Incoterm
Incoterms can be defined as a set of conditions that both importers and exporters are prone to incoterms and they must abide them in international transitions. They aim at eliminating confusions and clearing matters related to costs, risks, management, and responsibilities. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you pay attention to the advantages and disadvantages of the incoterm you choose especially when you are importing from China.
The most used incoterms by experienced importers from China are FOB, CIF, and EXW Incoterm. They are different and each one of them has its cons and pros. Incoterms are key determiners of the cost of your product.
The CIF incoterm is the most used one because of its low costs and fewer responsibilities. However, for CIF to be in your interest and benefit, you should deal with a good supplier. Otherwise, due to the limited control, you have to obey everything your supplier decide which may lead to a higher cost than expected. Therefore, it is recommended that you opt for FOB incoterm which grants you greater control over the cost and the importing process.
Not Choosing a reliable supplier
You should keep in mind that importers are the only ones responsible for the product they import. Anything that goes wrong with your good, you will be held accountable and responsible for it. Therefore, for the sake of your business, you ought to choose a reliable supplier that you can trust and develop a long-term business relationship with.
For choosing the right supplier, you should do some internet researches about the quality of its products and the production process. You should know where from the supplier gets the materials of the product, what other importers say about the product and most of all it is highly recommended that you take a field trip to the factory.
Many importers tend to hire a specialist in production. This strategy is very effective. A specialist will examine the production process and will inform you about any potential problems that may come up to you.
Not sparing enough time
Besides the above mistakes, not having a plan is also a serious error that may cause the delay and the disruption of your shipment. Time is a crucial factor you should always spare extra time for your imports from China. Here are two tips that will help you:
- You should book your shipment weeks before the sailing date.
- Prepare all the documents in advance.