How to Import From China to UK in 2024

Many companies are interested in importing goods from China to the UK. This may appear to be a difficult task for many.

However, with a firm knowledge of the process, it can be accomplished with ease.

China attracts considerable attention from international companies as one of the world’s major exporters. 

China’s capacity to mass manufacture and assemble products at a reasonable price with good quality.

It has always been a center of attention since lower prices imply the possibility of increased profit margin.

Products in the UK are subject to a wide range of tough regulations. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to be familiar with import restrictions, rules, and labeling requirements . 

This article will lead through the process when import from China to UK, assist in sourcing from Chinese suppliers, educate on duty and tax regulations and address all concerns.

Import From China to UK

What to prepare before importing from China to UK

The business of import is turning into one of the most gainful industries in the United Kingdom.

Though it is annoying to not do any research before importing from China.

Hence, taking some time to collect adequate information, for example. The things included, the tips mentioned, and the strategies described in this guide.

Following them, you will discover a rewarding experience for yourself.

Now, the initial thing you must do is decide on the product you want to sell.Later on, you can move to the upcoming steps


Now that you’ve chosen your product, you must take action. Check whether the items need a license. Unlicensed importation of certain things is possible.

However, in certain cases, a license may be required to import the goods.

Nonetheless, you must note that some commodities are prohibited. It is good to think about a replacement.Limitations are defined by Bans, Inspection, and Quotas.

BANS: In Bans, you can’t transport the product. 

INSPECTIONS: You should have a shipping license for the inspection.  With a license, you may ship an unlimited number of items. 

QUOTAS: You may provide specific items for quota.  But the product quantity should not be exceeded.

I keep EVERYTHING ready to be checked. It helps me export products from CHINA to the UK without any hindrance.

2.Commodity codes 

Commodity codes

Every import should be certified and assigned with a commodity code. It is important to know the commodity code for your products to fill in the declarations and finish the paperwork.

Moreover, the commodity code is also used to verify the VAT and other fees.

On the off chance that you use the wrong code, that may lead you to fines on your products.

Also, your goods can be delayed, so when you come across a problem, use the UK government Trade Tariff.

It is a tool that will assist you in getting the proper commodity codes for your products.You can also use the HMRC import, duty calculator.

For more help, you can contact HMRC via an email with your query, and they will respond in 3 working days. 


Now, please check if you have to register for VAT and the amount you need to pay.

If your VAT taxable income rate is more than £85,000, you have to register for it as per law.

After 5 years in eCommerce, I was able to make £100K successfully. That is where I registered for the VAT.

For questions or issues with VAT, email to HMRC. They will respond to you in 3 working days. The next step is to get registration on EORI.

4.EORI number

While importing business freight from China, every business in the EU must have the EORI. The EORI also assists in freight forwarding.

If you use the chief system or submit some electronic export forms.

EORI helps you because it is a business invoice as well.You can apply for the EORI number online, it is very easy, and you will get the registration ID in about 3 days.

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The most profitable import products from China to UK

There are various production firms in China giving cheap rates due to manufacturing. This also gives rise to more affordable products as well as a variety to choose from.

People are importing goods from China that are the following. Mobiles, lights, clothes, furniture, electronics, and so on.

Furthermore, the good thing is to ship goods to many clients and choose quality goods with great design. 

That you can sell at a better rate to get benefits against your competitors.

Here are the best goods to import from China to the UK.

Importing Electronics From China to UK

Importing Electronics From China to UK

Electronics are simple to sell and in great demand due to their affordable rates and quality. Most brands are importing goods from China to the UK.

Before buying, I ensure the goods work fine with the UK’s voltage system. It is because China’s voltage system is different for their electronics.

Also, ensure the electronics fulfill the standard of use in the United Kingdom.

To get the idea, visit the websites to note down the products containing huge sales.

Importing Mobile Phones From China to UK

Importing Mobile Phones From China to UK

China owns the biggest mobile market with a great variety of phones. The branded phones may cost you a lot, but Chinese brands offer half the price.

When you import mobiles from China, you will save not only money but make huge sales as well.

But the things you need to ensure are:

Check for the availability of the supported networks.To check the availability, go through the network review sites to know if the phone has been leveraged for international use.

Xiaomi is the most famous Chinese brand and works fine in various countries including the UK.

Importing Cosmetics From China to UK 

There are various laws to follow for cosmetics imports from China to the UK. There are certain elements in cosmetics that are not allowed in the UK.

I know the Cosmetic Industry imposes a SERIOUS health impact. For successful trades, I FOLLOW the rules implemented for selling in the UK.

The rules are for body creams, face masks, hair products, perfumes, shaving kits, and so on. 

Check the Cosmetics Product Enforcement Regulation page.With this, there are some labeling prerequisites for cosmetics. 

For example, production date, usage terms, manufacturer, expiry dates, and so on.

Moreover, you may be asked to give a sample of the cosmetic for trial. 

These are the strict rules: EU Cosmetic Directives, the New EU Cosmetic Product regulation and registration, Assessment, License, and limitation of Chemical (REACH) directives.

Importing Clothes from China to UK

Importing Clothes from China to UK

Clothes are an UNDISPUTED niche for me. In the UK, I have made quick sales due to QUITE high Demand. Profits are FAIR too.

Clothing products are in huge demand because everyone wears them. Clothes are also one of the cheapest products to import from China to UK.

As for clothes, they are duty-free, so importing goods from China to UK is easy.

You only have to get the EORI number and pay the tax and choose reliable producers to get your items from China.

Importing Toys from China to UK

Importing Toys from China to UK

Buying from China to the UK is not as easy as you think when it comes to toys. Because there are certain rules you have to follow. The first rule is to prohibit importing licensed toys.

Such as the toys that are trademarked and not from the licensed producer.

Further, toys must be secure and meet the child-safety measure and show the address of the producer.Toys must have the proper labels for warnings (if any).

Importing Jewellery From China to UK

Importing Jewellery From China to UK

The UK buys over $450 million ornaments from China each year.

These products should also comply with chemical as well as physical tests to ensure they are secure to wear.

Suggested reading: Best Chinese products for selling

Basic 7 steps to teach you how to import from China

There are 7 simple actions you can take to ensure your items arrive in the UK without incident.

Often, importers opt to outsource these activities to a broker or freight forwarder

While there may be a price associated with this service, it may provide peace of mind and assist you in avoiding delays or unpleasant shocks.

If you want to import from China to the United Kingdom make arrangements in advance, including the following:

1.Locate the appropriate commodity code

You must ascertain the UK commodity codes applicable to your products.

Commodity codes are critical for your cargo because if your items are wrongly labeled, UK Customs may delay or stop your shipment.

This happened to me when I had no code FOR COMMODITY. They stopped me from selling in the UK market.

To get the relevant commodity code for the items you want to import from China, visit the United Kingdom’s Government Trade Tariff.

2.Obtain your EORI number

Along with your commodity code, you will need an EORI number as well.Customs in the United Kingdom employ an EORI number to track goods.

All UK enterprises are obliged to obtain an EORI when importing shipments from China.

I recommend all the BEGINNERS to get the EORI number. That is how they will get entry into the UK market.

3.Determine the license requirement

Check with the Chinese government before importing something from China whether it falls within the category of surveillance control. 

Visit the Department of International Trade to find out whether an import licence is needed or not and how to make a new one.

4.Ensure the import duty

To import items to the United Kingdom from China, you’ll have to pay customs duty and VAT.

Depending on what you’re importing, you may owe more or less.

For example, I have PAID customs tax and excise duty on specific items. It is BETTER to know the exact taxable amount. 

Many importers choose to have a broker or a freight forwarder to assist them in calculating the expenses of importing.

5.Paying VAT on Chinese imports

It is important to note that VAT is computed based on the cost of goods plus the cost of transportation plus any duty paid. 

It is levied at the prevailing rate in the United Kingdom, which is presently 20%.

6.Import tax calculations

I have calculated the TAXES on my own. Add up the customs fee, VAT, and EXCISE DUTY if applicable.

To determine the duty and tax due, you must first convert the price paid to GBP using the UK customs exchange rate, which is updated regularly and is available online.

7.Pay your VAT tax

As part of the overall cost of importing to the United Kingdom, you must also pay VAT. 

The total cost of imported goods from China, including duties, fees, and transportation to the United Kingdom, is known as Customs Value.

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SAFE + EASY Importing from China

We do the hard work in China, so you don’t have to: Product sourcing, quality control, shipping, and more.

How much does it cost to import from China to the UK?

cost of importing from China

Import tax and import duty have an impact on the costs of importing from China to the UK.

If the goods are not duty-free, importers have to pay VAT and UK duty.Actual cost of the Import goods is simple, an example is shown below in detail. 

If the price of the product is £ 5000 and £700 is the shipping price quote, UK duty is 3.5% of the £ 5000 which is £175.

The VAT to be paid is 20% of the cost of the product (£ 5000) +shipping (£700) +duty fee (£175)

The 20% VAT of £ 5875 = £1175

So, from china to the UK the total shipping cost will be the product cost (£5000)+ VAT (£1175)+ UK duty fee (£175)= £6400

VAT guide on imported goods from China to UK

VAT guide

What is Value Added Tax (VAT)?

The Value Added Tax is a consumption duty in the EU. In Business-to-consumer exchanges, the VAT is included in the cost.

But you cannot pay it straight to the vendor when you import from China to the UK.

Also, when you pay additional VAT on the imports, then, you added in your sale cost.Hence, you will obtain a refund.

What is the customs value?

In the EU, the customs value refers to the total value of the products (with development costs added) and shipping at the border.

Incorporated in the customs Value:

  • Product development
  • Shipping
  • Insurance

Often incorporated in the customs value:

  • Product sample
  • Tools
  • Molds

Not incorporated in the customs value:

  • Transportation costs
  • Costs paid during loading of the shipment

How do I make sure I pay the right VAT amount?

VAT is the percentage of customs value.

You only have to make sure that the right customs value is shown on these.

The bill of lading, commercial bill, packing list, and necessary documents.

I have a SECRET tip for you. Check THE official RESOURCES in the UK to determine the VAT value.

Is the freight cost subject to VAT? 

Yes, freight cost applies to VAT. I have paid many times. There are no exemptions. It is because in the EU, the customs values incorporate shipping costs as well. But logistics expenses that emerge in the EU.

For example, customs clearance and unloading will not be included in the customs value.

Also, the shipper adds VAT on the bill, which is paid apart.

Can I pay VAT to the Chinese supplier?

No. because they are not VAT-enrolled in the EU. Also, you don’t need to pay VAT in China.

Since the vendor in China gets a VAT refund for exporting goods.

Suggested reading: Alibaba Refund Experience

When importing from China, how and when do I pay the VAT?

These are the two ways that you can use to import from China to UK.

  • Pay VAT when you reach your Destination Port.
  • State the import value on the annual or quarter declaration forms

Risks and problems when import to Uk

Risks and problems when import to Uk

Bringing in your goods from China is not always an easy ride. There are dangers included and you ought to get ready to confront a few issues.

Also, you need to figure out how to handle them in an effective way.

These dangers and issues are:

1.Vendor Scams

Look. I have BEEN scammed one time only. It is BECAUSE in the second trade, I LOOKED for reviews of a company before work.

You may run over certain providers who may either cheat you by overcharging you. Or they can send you an inappropriate product or even escape with your money.

This is the reason we are assuming the job as merchants’ by being attentive in China.

2.Language barrier

A lot of trading firms have English talking sales staff. But that is not the case with many production companies or wholesale markets.

Vendors ignore the standard of the items.

Some vendors might not give importance to item certificates and standards to use in the United Kingdom.

3.Quality issue

You might be sent inadequate products. This is the reason you ought to verify the item quality before paying the amount.

Also, it has container stacking surveillance.

It is one of the COMMON METHODS. I have seen Many sellers receiving poor QUALITY. It is better to hire inspection service in this case or read customer reviews.

4.High expense and prices

China suppliers have LOWER prices. When I see a HIGH PRICE, I run. Therefore, settle on an AFFORDABLE price.

You might be cheated now and again, to forestall this.

Ensure you construct a valuable relationship with the producer or vendor.

5.Time-taking freight

You might need to invest a ton of energy and cash scanning for the correct producer and vendor. 

Appoint somebody who is local and expert of Import and export freight to support you.

So you can concentrate on promoting to develop your business.

6.Your product gets copied

NDA is a successful strategy when you’ve hired a fair vendor.

Ensure you’ve used the IP security strategy before administering a lot of data to your providers.

Suggested reading: How to pay suppliers on Alibaba via Pay Later?
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Import from China to England

Do I need an EORI number to import from China?

To deal in commercial items, you must have an EORI number.

All information is available on the HMRC website, however, if you want more help, please contact us. 

The application procedure often takes between 2-3 days, depending on how busy HMRC is.

We always suggest submitting this well in advance of the arrival of your cargo.

Without an EORI number, you cannot pass your products via customs.

How long will my shipment take to arrive in the UK?

It might take up to six weeks from the manufacturer to your doorstep if you import on LCL conditions.

Importing through FCL might take up to 4-5 weeks from the manufacturer to your front door. dates of arrival are still subject to change.

 If you’re shipping by air, we recommend allowing 3-7 days for delivery from the manufacturer to your door, provided there are no delays caused by customs. 

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

This is determined by the commodity code assigned to your items.

Your Chinese supplier will be able to notify you of the HS (harmonized commodity) they are using.

They will enable us/you to calculate the import VAT and tax levels with UK HMRC. 

Do I need a License to import from China to the UK?

You may be required to get an import license in order to import items to the United Kingdom from China.

Import restrictions apply to a variety of different items, including guns, food, and textiles.

Uk table tax system buying from china to uk 

Final thoughts 

import from China to UK

We hope that this article has helped you to have a better knowledge of importing to the United Kingdom from China.

If you have a solid foundation of knowledge, and fulfilling all the requirements before you begin is not a difficult task. 

When you need help pushing your Chinese import controls company to the next level, we are always here to help.

Get in touch with us right now to get started!

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Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing , pls feel free to contact us.

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Thomas van der Burg
Thomas van der Burg
December 28, 2017 6:26 am

Can you tell me what is the process working with your company?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x