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Import Regulations in China

Calculating taxes and duties for import

Importing goods to China implicate three types of taxes – customs duties, value-added tax (VAT), and consumption tax (CT) – depending on the nature of the imported good and whether it falls under CT specified categories.

The amount of import tax liability and who is ultimately responsible for paying them generally depends on how the sales contract is concluded between buyer and seller.

Customs duties include import duties and export duties, which are computed either on an ad valorem basis or quantity basis. Import duty rates consist of:

Among others, MFN duty rates are the most commonly adopted import duty rates. They are much lower than the general rates which apply to non- MFN nations. The complete list of products affected by MFN duty rates can be found in China’s Customs Tariff Implementation Plan, which is subject to yearly update.

Terminology of import taxes

The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) international commercial terms is the most commonly used terminology for expressing pricing or risk-related issues associated with goods transit…

Tax calculation

The following formulae show how DPV and CAP are calculated…

Lower tariff rates on consumer goods

On December 23, 2019, China’s Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council announced it will temporarily adjust import tariffs on 859 commodities to come into effect January 1, 2020.

The adjusted tariffs will be lower than that of the most-favored-nation (MFN) tax rate in 2020. It will predominantly affect three categories of goods:

Below is a table of some of the goods affected by these reduced tariffs.

China’s Reduced Provisional Rates for Imported Goods from January 1, 2020
ProductMFN tax rate in 2020 (%)Provisional tax rate in 2020 (%)
Consumer goods
Frozen pork128
Frozen Atlantic salmon75
Grated or powdered cheese128
Fresh cranberries3015
Fresh or dried unshelled cashew207
Frozen avocado307
Non-frozen origin juice3015
Canned dog food or cat food in retail packaging154
Baby and adult diapers40
Raw material for pharmaceutical goods
Anti-cancer drug raw materials (e.g. oxaliplatin, carboplatin, nedaplatin, cisplatin)5.50
Rare disease drug raw material (e.g. bicalutamide, penicillamine, riluzole, bosentan)6.50
Human vaccines30
Raw material for manufacturing
Iron niobium (including ferroniobium)20
Silica Sand and Quartz Sand31
Nickel and Cobalt Sulfate52
Copper winding wires106
Valve Parts84
Mechanical seal85
Lead-acid battery electrodes (retain electrode only)105
Wood products4-62-3
Paper products5-64-5

Business models for import

There are several different approaches that foreign companies can take when importing from or exporting to China…

Restricted items

There are three categories for imports: prohibited, restricted and permitted. Certain goods that are deemed harmful, like weapons, toxics, and diseased animals or plants, are banned from import…

China Compulsory Certification (CCC)

The China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark is a compulsory safety mark for domestically-manufactured and imported products listed in the CCC product catalogue…


China’s law on import and export commodity inspection requires that all imported goods listed in the catalogue of import and export commodities…


Dezan Shira & Associates

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service in China recommends that readers seek professional advice regarding their particular circumstances. This publication should not be relied on as a substitute for such professional advice. The Government of Canada does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the information contained on this page. Readers should independently verify the accuracy and reliability of the information. 

Content on this page is provided in part by Dezan Shira & Associates a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax, and operational advisory to international corporate investors.

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