Importing Into Canada From China

After going through the basics of How To Import Commercial Goods Into Canada, you may be curious about how this process differs across the world. Each country has specific requirements, documentation, and compliance standards that you must meet in order for the import process to be smooth and legal. In this article, we’ll explore the specific requirements of importing into Canada from China to ensure a painless operation.

Importing Process

Here’s a review of a few essential steps in the importing process:

  • Register for a Business Number (BN) – First, you’ll need to obtain a BN from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Once you have a BN, you can create an import/export account.
  • Check if your products are subject to regulations or restrictions – Determine whether the goods you want to import are subject to regulations, restrictions, or are prohibited by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Take a look at the CBSA’s list of prohibited importations for more information.
  • Find your product’s tariff classification number – Harmonized System (HS) codes classify products across many trading countries and determine your tariff classification number. With this, you can determine the rate of duty for your products using the Canadian Customs Tariff
  • Acquire appropriate documentation – Documents such as a commercial invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin, and more, are critical in order to clear customs. You can always consult with a customs broker or freight forwarder to get help with preparing these documents.

Check out the CBSA’s Guide to importing commercial goods into Canada for a more comprehensive look at the importing process. 

Benefits of Importing into Canada From China

  1. More accessible products – By importing from China, your small businesses can access a wider range of products and resources that may not be available elsewhere. Also, you may have more freedom to customize imported goods according to your needs.
  2. Gain a competitive advantage – Chinese manufacturers have capabilities and technologies unavailable to us here in Canada. As a result, importing allows you to tap into these new, innovative products and gives your business a competitive edge.
  3. Cost-effective sourcing – You can usually find more affordable products from Chinese manufacturers. As a result, costs for production and procurement will be lower and you’ll be able to offer more competitive prices.

How Importing From China Is Different From Other Countries

Here are a few factors that influence the process of importing into Canada from China:

  • No trade agreements – A Free Trade Agreement (FTA), is a treaty that encourages trade between countries by eliminating or reducing tariffs and other barriers. Canada doesn’t currently have an FTA with China, leaving Canadian importers to handle associated tariffs and duties. This is something to keep in mind since it could affect sourcing costs.
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties – The Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), helps protect Canadian industries from the effects of dumping and subsidizing imported goods. As a result, Canada has imposed duties on several Chinese products. A list of these products can be found on the CBSA’s Measures in force page.
  • Logistic considerations – Importing from China can be logistically complicated, in part due to its geographical distance. You must consider the costs of shipping, the customs clearance process, as well as unforeseen potential delays.
  • Product marking – Certain imported goods require marking of their country of origin. A list of these products can be found on the CBSA’s page, Marking of imported goods.
  • Distance and language barriers – These factors may pose a barrier to effective communication and relationship-building with your Chinese manufacturers. In this situation, consider hiring a local agent who can teach you more about the Chinese market and business culture, and who can simplify transactions.

More Resources

Looking for some more guidance? Check out our Import and Export FAQ and article, The Importance of Choosing the Right Tariff Classification for Your Imports, to find out more about the importing process.

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