New China Customs Regulations Changes

China has recently announced a series of customs regulations changes, effective September 1, 2010. Apparently, many Chinese companies were importing goods into China as personal goods (as the duty thresholds were much higher than for commercial goods) and the Chinese government has decided to put an end to it. So prior to September 1st, the threshold for personal goods was $200 to $400 per shipment, whereas now it is under $8 per shipment. As a result, just about every shipment entering China is being assessed for duties and Chinese importers are in a panic, especially Chinese Couriers in the US who compete with the likes of FedEx, DHL and UPS.

If these rule changes have affected your business, you may want to look at Express Mail International for your shipments to China, especially if you’re looking to split out your China business from your main business.

Here are just some of the advantages of using USPS over the private carriers for international shipments:

  • Postal Customs Clearance: Duty thresholds are the same for everyone (Commercial and Postal). However, shipments that move through the postal network do not require a Customs Broker at the destination country. Therefore, customs clearance can go much faster and cheaper. The reason for this is that Post Offices move shipments government to government, so a Customs Broker is not required. Also, they are not required to list every single item on their shipping manifest (like private carriers do) so shipments generally fly through customs. This is true pretty much all over the world, but probably the main reason why the Chinese Couriers are so interested.
  • No extended area surcharges: private carriers usually charge $24 to $25 per shipment for deliveries outside of metro areas (typically 50 miles or more in many countries). This is noteworthy as in cases where postal rates are not competitive, so if you’re a shipper with a high number of locations outside of metropolitan areas, you could be paying quite a bit. At the end of the day, you should look at total costs on the invoice and not just the shipping or transportation rates.
  • No dimensional weight surcharges on international shipments. For example, UPS uses the formula length x height divided by 166 inches. So if a package weighs 5 lbs and the dimensional weight formula determines that the weight is 8 or 9 lbs., the customer has to pay the higher or dimensional weight.
  • No returns charges for Express Mail International: packages that are refused or undeliverable are returned free of charge to US exporters. Private carriers charge the full rate from the destination country back to the USA. In the eCommerce world, many shipments are destined to residential addresses so this could be an issue for an US exporter.

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