How to export to China: procedures and documentation

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Did you know that exporting your products to countries like China can offer a variety of benefits? By expanding your business into new markets, you can increase sales and build lasting relationships with customers outside of Australia. Learn more about China export procedures and documentation required in this blog.

Are you looking for new opportunities to grow your business? If so, exporting to other countries may be the answer. These days, companies have more opportunities than ever before to sell their products and services internationally. Exporting can offer a number of benefits, including increased sales and market share, wider customer base, and improved profitability. In addition, exporting to countries like Singapore and China can help businesses tap into new markets, grow their e-commerce orders and ultimately gain a competitive edge in today's global economy.

So if you're ready to take your business global, here are some tips on how to get started if you are considering exporting to China. 

How do I start exporting to China?

Estimated to have the largest consumer economy, exporting to China may be a logical next step for you to grow your business. As one of the most populous countries in the world, China represents a massive market for exported goods and services. With the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), it is also easier for Australian businesses to break into the market once the opportunity arises. That being said, there are some regulations to follow in order to successfully export to China. 

What is needed to export to China?

Australian businesses that are looking to enter the Chinese market should be aware of the tax obligations involved in doing so. With the exception of products used in manufacturing for re-export, a Value Added Tax (VAT) is added to all imports in China. This will vary depending on the type of goods and services. 

There may also be tariffs to pay on the products that you ship. Tariffs are taxes that are levied on goods when they're imported into a country. Fortunately, there are preferential rates to this with the implementation of the ChAFTA. You can learn more about the tariff on your product via the FTA Portal.

As you prepare your goods to export to China, do your due diligence to check on the documentation needed to confirm that your products meet certain safety and quality standards. The most common type of documentation required is a certificate of origin. A certificate of origin is a shipping document that states where a product was made, and confirms that the product meets all applicable regulations. Other types of documentation may include: 

  • Commercial invoice

  • Bill of lading

  • Packing list

  • Sales contract 

  • Customs declaration

  • AES filing

  • Proforma invoice

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Failure to provide the correct documentation can result in delayed shipments or refusal of entry into China. Your logistics partner can further advise you on the necessary procedures and documentation required for your type of product, ensuring all paperwork is completed correctly.  

What can we export to China?

What to sell in China is a question that comes up frequently for business owners looking to export. If you are wondering “what does Australia usually sell to China?”, China is a major buyer of the country’s iron ore, nickel and zinc. Consumers in China are also increasingly looking for premium products in skincare, hair care and cosmetics. More are willing to spend on high-quality items – areas of opportunity for companies to tap into.  

Do I need an export license to ship to China?

You may need an export permit for your goods if they are not exempt. Bear in mind that prohibited goods will require written permission or license in accordance with Australian law. Up to 2,500 penalty units and/or ten years’ imprisonment could be imposed when this is done otherwise. You can seek more clarification from your logistics partner or the Australian Border Force website.   

Boost your business by exporting

As a business owner, you know that exporting is a great way to grow your company and establish a presence in foreign markets. But what you may not know is that finding the right delivery partner is essential to making your export venture successful. A reliable and experienced delivery partner can help you overcome challenges like customs clearance and shipping logistics, so you can focus on growing your business. Choose a delivery partner like DHL Express that has a proven track record of success in getting products to their destination safely and on schedule. 

As the world’s leading international express service provider, DHL Express’ 24-hour operation facility located in Shanghai and  eleven international gateways across the country guarantee a smooth export process. 


While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained herein has been obtained, produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of such information.

All information contained herein is provided on an "as is" basis.

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