China is one of the largest trade partners of Nepal. After suffering a slump in exports in 2015, Nepal’s exports to China has been growing steadily. The major exports to China from Nepal include leather, carpets and agricultural products. China provides zero-tariff treatment to about 8000 goods originating in Nepal that are exported to China. These goods make up to 95% of the total export of Nepal to China. To avail to Chinese zero-tariff facility, goods need to fulfill certain rules of origin conditions. Click here for the list.
Procedures for Exporting to China
The standard documents required at the border are
- Certificates of Origin
- customs declarations
- sales contracts
- bills of lading
- commercial invoices
- packing lists
But you might need to provide a range of other documents depending on the product you’re sending into China. These may include import permits and Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine inspection (AQSIQ) clearance.
Most products entering China don’t need an import license if they are registered with China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). But, food and plant products may require permits from China's Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine inspection (AQSIQ). So make sure your importer in China has obtained necessary permits to import from the authorities.
Exporting Agriculture and Food Products to China
China has strict documentation requirements for the majority of imported food and agricultural products regarding quality, quarantine, origin, and import control. Products may also need to meet other criteria such as packaging requirements, pre-clearance (if applicable), treatment options, labeling requirements, and container conditions. In most cases, Chinese importers can provide enough information for exporters to assess trade feasibility. It is also important and helpful for exporters to know some general information about the most involved government bodies, which are China’s Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China.
Although the documentation requirements vary between products and product categories, you may prepare the following documents to import food products into China:
- Commercial invoice
- A detailed packaging list
- Bill of lading
- Certificate of origin
- Hygiene / Health certificate
- Certificate of bottling date (for drinks)
- Certificate of free sale
- Sample of the original label
- Sample of Chinese label
- Inspection certificate
- Pre-import licensing
In general, food products entering China do not require pre-import licensing. However, if you are importing poultry or dairy products, you need to obtain the Automatic Import License issued by the Ministry of Commerce. Food items subject to import tariff quotas such as wheat, corn, rice, and sugar are required to obtain the Agricultural Products Import Tariff Quotas Certificate. Information on food standards in China can be found here.
Major points to consider while exporting goods to China are,
- After receiving a trade request from Chinese importers, make sure that you can export that type of product and that your local customer can import it legitimately.
- For many types of imported products, China implements registration policies requiring the importer, exporter, and sometimes even the processing facilities to register with the relevant Chinese authorities such as AQSIQ or Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). Exporters can use this system to gather basic official information about importers here (use your browser's translation service to access information in English language). Ask importers to provide the precise HS code in accordance with China Customs. These codes allow the exporter to locate the import tariff and prepare the necessary paperwork for customs, especially for quarantine inspection.
- When sending samples to China, be aware that some items such as animals, plants, wood, seeds, and soil cannot ship via international express services. Moreover, samples are subject to tariffs. If the total value of any package is claimed at over USD 2,500, it will be likely investigated by China customs and the importer will have to pay the tariff eventually. Check with major forwarders in advance for feasibility and freight cost, which may vary considerably from forwarder to forwarder. U.S. exporters may be qualified for partial reimbursement for the cost of shipping samples to China.
- Recognize that quarantine regulation may be interpreted differently between levels of government and from one port to another. Check with your local customer or in-country agent representative when preparing export documents. Be sure to complete all documentation thoroughly and accurately.
- Send copies of documentation in advance especially for first-time shipments. This can assist your importer in getting the timely release of your cargo from customs and clarifying matters with quarantine officials.
- After the cargo arrives, be active with your customer and provide timely responses for any issues during the Customs and Quarantine inspection process. With the Bill of Lading number, the exporter can track customs clearing status here.
For more information on Customs Procedures and Documentation requirement for exporting to China, click here.
You can contact Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industries to obtain information on doing trade with China.