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Top tips for avoiding Chinese customs delays

According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the value of UK exports to China have quadrupled between 2002 and 2012 and now stand at more than £12.5 billion, annually.

Any delivery into China has to go through Chinese Customs, and with that in mind, cross-border courier firm ParcelHero has put shared it’s top three tips for avoiding customs hold-ups when sending shipments to China.

1: List each item on the Customs Invoice

The Customs Invoice or Customs Document is a crucial part of the customs clearance process for parcels to China. Customs Invoices should detail the items you are sending, their individual value and the reason you are sending them. The biggest mistake senders can make is to not list each item on the Customs Invoice.

ParcelHero’s Head of Public Relations, David Jinks, says: “Many people will simply declare the contents of their parcel using one word, such as “Gift”. They are unaware that Chinese Customs need more information about what is actually being shipped. When information is missing from the invoice it causes clearance delays. It’s important to remember that Customs are a government authority and their rules are final and not negotiable.’

2: Provide valid contact details for the receiver

Chinese Customs authorities will contact your receiver as part of the Customs clearance process. This is a standard clearance protocol as China has extensive import regulations. The receiver or recipient of your parcel may be required to provide additional information to Chinese Customs. This could be an import licence, or confirmation of the reason for import. Therefore it’s extremely important that you provide a valid telephone number and email address for your receiver in China when you book your parcel online. If customs are unable to contact your receiver then they will not be able to clear the goods for delivery. 

3: Be aware of the Customs import regulations

Each country has different rules and regulations for what you can and cannot import. People are often unaware that they are responsible for ensuring the items they send to China are actually permitted for import into the country. Some items are prohibited, whilst other items may have specific restrictions in place in terms of quantities or values, so it’s really important customers check the import rules and regulations for China prior to shipping. It’s too late to check the rules after you have sent your parcel, and this could result in fines applied by Customs, or return shipping charges if your parcel is to be sent back.

goatChinese New Year will be celebrated around the world this week, as the Year of the Horse makes way for the Year of the Goat on 19 February.

The Year of the Goat is also referred to as the Year of the Sheep, and although this has led to some disagreements, it is generally accepted that both are names for the lunar new year. The symbol for the new year is ‘yang’ which can be used to refer to any sheep or goat.

According to some superstitions, most people born in the year of the sheep, or goat, will lead unhappy lives. Other superstitions around Chinese new year say that if you want to be lucky, you mustn’t wash your hair on the first day of the new year, and you should wear red undies. Make of that what you will.