How To Import To America

Importing items from overseas suppliers means great news for sellers like ridiculously cheap prices on wholesale items which leaves a lot of room for high profits (especially when you source from manufacturing giants in India or China). Once you find a good supplier and a freight forwarder that you work well with, you will find you will feel more at ease with Importing.

However, anyone who has imported items for re-selling into America will tell you that there is a bit of red-tape and a few bureaucratic layers you need to penetrate before you can reap the benefits.

Here are a few questions that we get asked often:

1. Am I liable for import duty?

All goods imported into the USA are subject to duty or duty-free entry depending on their classification in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States so you need to look up how the items you are planning on importing are classified in order to determine what and if you will pay.

You can view it online here:


2. How do I know how much duty I will have to pay for my imports?

Generally speaking, import duties are pretty reasonable (as long as you are not importing restricted items). Therefore, unless you are operating on very low margins, the cost of importing is unlikely to affect whether you will or will not go ahead with the import.

3. Will my shipment be checked and opened by Customs?

It depends on how much you are importing. Customs generally takes less interest in smaller packages with a declared value of less than US$1,000 and lets them in easier than larger shipments (as long as the sniffer dogs don’t bark at them, that is!).

If your package is checked out, they will be looking at:

– The value of the goods and whether it matches what your documentation says about the value of the item. Customs look at this because some suppliers will write “gift” on the package or state the value as being a lot lower than it really is so that you don’t have to pay duty. However, this is illegal and if you get caught, you could find yourself in deep trouble with Customs!

– Whether the items are authentic, not replicas of branded items

– Whether the shipment contains any other prohibited goods.

4. Where can I find someone to help me ship my items from China to America?

If you are using a well established freight forwarder they may have contacts to use for you to ship your items overseas. They may even have some contacts for fulfillment houses to store your items and ship them for you, if you are into going to have a team of people working for you overseas. If not google international freight forwarders and you will be able to find many, here’s just one I found by using that search:

Once you have the right contacts you will be able to ship a small amount to get started and test the shipping company out and the fulfillment house also for your orders. Once you are satisfied with the procedures and customer service then you can look at fulfilling bigger orders to America.

Don’t discount sending items to America because you are scared of the process, especially if it is going to make you a lot more money.

Til next time, have a profitable eBay weekend.


Matt & Amanda Clarkson


Leave a Comment

Made with an easy to use WordPress theme • skin by