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How to import goods from China to Vietnam via air express

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In today's interconnected global marketplace, the import of goods from China to Vietnam has seen significant growth. In 2021, China's exports to Vietnam amounted to a substantial US$129 billion, with key products being Integrated Circuits, Telephones, and Light Rubberised Knitted Fabric. Over the past 26 years, China's exports to Vietnam have experienced remarkable growth, increasing at an annualised rate of 22.1%, starting from US$718 million in 1995 and reaching US$129 billion in 2021. With the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) in place, there are even more promising opportunities for China's businesses, as Vietnam is a part of this trade agreement. As a preferred delivery method for shipments from China to Vietnam, air express shipping offers a reliable and efficient delivery solution for businesses. This comprehensive guide aims to provide valuable insights into the fundamental steps and critical considerations to facilitate the seamless movement of imported goods from China to Vietnam via air express.  

1. Start by formulating your shipping plan  

In the ever-evolving global economy, businesses are navigating through dynamic macroeconomic landscapes that have spurred a re-evaluation of global supply chains. In this quest for resilience and flexibility, many importers of goods from China to Vietnam are strategically formulating their shipping plans to optimise their sourcing strategy as the shipping plan is an integral part of the sourcing strategy.  

Defining critical elements, such as suppliers' locations (whether near major city centres or in remote areas), shipping schedules (including factors like pickup timing, venue, and shipment frequency), and desired delivery times, becomes essential to ensure that materials seamlessly support operations in Vietnam. 

To accomplish this, apart from evaluating suppliers carefully and having contingency plans in place, businesses are also seeking the expertise of trusted logistics partners to select the most suitable shipping service. Leading global shipping companies like DHL Express Vietnam offer a comprehensive shipping account for their business customers, featuring a range of benefits. These benefits include preferential rates, a dedicated account manager, and tailored shipping solutions designed to cater to specific needs and requirements. By collaborating with a reliable logistics partner, businesses can streamline their shipping process and unlock the full potential of importing goods from China to Vietnam via air express. 

2. Preparing goods for shipping 

Proper packaging is key to protecting your goods during transportation. When preparing for the import, work closely with your business partner in China and make sure to follow these packaging guidelines: 

  • When reusing envelopes or boxes, remove old labels and markings to avoid confusion. 
  • Attach a waybill securely to each piece of your shipment. The waybill acts as the shipment's airline ticket and should not be separated from your goods. 
  • Ensure the barcode on the waybill is flat and visible, without any coverings like tape or shrinkwrap. 
  • Place the waybill on the top or side of each piece, avoiding overlap with box corners or edges. 
  • Use appropriate protective wrapping for fragile or delicate items and position them away from the corners of boxes. 
  • Pay special attention to packaging sharp items to prevent injuries. There should be no possibility of the contents piercing the packaging. 
  • For individual pieces over 70 kg, place them on a pallet. If sending a multi-piece shipment, a pallet is not necessary unless the pieces exceed 70 kg in weight. 

DHL Express provides a range of high-quality packaging items for your import goods to be shipped safely from China to Vietnam, including flyer bags, cardboard document envelopes, and boxes of various sizes, designed to ensure the safe transportation of goods. 

Labelling guidelines 

When you import goods into Vietnam, it is essential to comply with labelling requirements. The original labels on imported goods should indicate the following information in either a foreign language or Vietnamese:

  • The name of the goods 
  • The origin of the goods 
  • The name or abbreviated name of the foreign manufacturer or importing company responsible for the goods 
  • The address of the foreign manufacturer or importing company 

For medical devices imported into Vietnam, labels must also display the following:

  • The name and address of the legal manufacturer 
  • The name and address of the company or individual who is the registrant (including the registration number, if applicable) 
  • Labels should be written in Vietnamese. If the labels are not available in Vietnamese, a supplementary label in Vietnamese must be added while keeping the original label unchanged. 

Documents required 

When shipping goods from China to Vietnam, certain documents are necessary for a smooth customs clearance process.  

Attach a fully completed DHL waybill or label to each piece of your shipment that you want to import to Vietnam. This enables the seamless movement of your goods through the DHL network. Each waybill or label has a unique number that allows you to track your shipment from collection to delivery. This document requires vital details such as: 

  • The shipper's and receiver's address and contact information, ensuring accurate delivery 
  • A comprehensive description of the shipment contents, specifying the nature of the goods and the quantity of each item included 
  • The number of packages or pieces in the shipment, along with the total weight of the consignment and its dimensions.  

With all these critical details documented on the air waybill, DHL can execute a precise and timely delivery process for your package. 

In addition to the waybill, your imports to Vietnam from China may require documents such as a commercial or pro forma invoice for a seamless customs clearance experience. Commercial invoices are utilised for goods involved in commercial transactions or intended for resale. Proforma invoices are used for goods with no commercial value, such as samples. The shipper provides the details on this document, which aids customs authorities in assessing and determining applicable duties, taxes, and conducting risk assessments. For efficient and timely customs clearance, the customs invoice must encompass key information, including complete commodity details. It should contain crucial data elements such as: 

  • The shipper's and receiver's address and contact details 
  • Identification numbers and/or tax IDs for both parties 
  • A breakdown of transaction costs (e.g., goods value, insurance, freight, and packaging) 
  • The currency code used in the transaction 
  • The applied Incoterm and place 
  • Reason for the export, such as sale, gift, return, or sample 

With a comprehensive and accurately filled customs invoice, the customs clearance process can be facilitated effectively, ensuring a smooth flow of shipments. 

In some cases, additional documentation such as import licenses and permits may also be requested by the regulatory bodies in Vietnam, based on the specific commodity type. It's crucial to comply with customs regulations and requirements, including accurate and complete documentation, to avoid delays or additional charges. 

3. Customs clearance 

Customs clearance is a vital step in the import process. Vietnam's custom tariff consists of import duty and value-added tax (VAT). The import duty is a flat rate applied to all imported goods, while the VAT is a percentage-based tax imposed on certain regulated goods. Import duties and taxes in Vietnam must be paid before customs clearance. Foreign companies such as those from China importing into Vietnam can conveniently register, declare, and pay fees or taxes via the web portal established by the General Department of Taxation (GDT). 

Import duties 

Vietnam's customs import duty rates include: 

  • Preferential tariff rates: Applicable to goods from countries enjoying Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment in trade relations with Vietnam. This includes China. China’s free trade agreements with Vietnam will also allow for preferential tariff rates. 
  • Special preferential tariff rates: For goods imported from countries with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Vietnam. ASEAN nations currently enjoy a common preferential tariff (CEPT). 
  • Ordinary tariff rates: For products that do not qualify for Vietnam's MFN import duty treatment. 

VAT and other import tariffs 

In addition to import duties, Vietnam imposes other taxes on imported goods:

  • Value-Added Tax (VAT): The importer pays additional taxes based on the value added in the supply chain. VAT rates for imported goods range from 0% to 10%, with certain exemptions for goods that cannot be produced domestically. 
  • Special Consumption Tax (SCT): Luxury consumer goods are subject to SCT, which is also levied in addition to VAT. 
  • Environmental Protection Tax (EPT): Goods with potential environmental impact are subject to EPT. Rates vary depending on the commodity. 

To calculate import tax, multiply the value of the imported goods by the applicable tax rate, including VAT, SCT, and EPT. Here’s how to do so:  

Import tax = tax rate x (value of imported goods + VAT (if any) + SCT (if any) + EPT (if any))

Other than goods that cannot be produced domestically, these categories are also exempt from import tax: 

  • products imported for re-export 
  • materials used in export goods production 
  • equipment and machinery that are part of fixed assets eligible for incentives. 

Customs threshold for imports into Vietnam 

Vietnam has a de minimis value of VND1 million. If your shipment value is below this threshold, you won't be charged duties and taxes. However, if the value exceeds the de minimis amount, you will be required to pay import duties and taxes based on the value and type of goods imported.

4. Tracking and communication 

Tracking shipments and effective communication with customers are crucial for a smooth import process to Vietnam. DHL Express’ tracking system provides real-time updates on your shipment's progress, from the moment it is handed over to DHL until it is signed for by the recipient. Our user-friendly platform MyDHL+ allows businesses to track packages using a single 10-digit air waybill number, on top of effortlessly creating shipments and choosing delivery options.  

Moreover, our On Demand Delivery tool keeps receivers informed of shipment progress, allowing them to reschedule, reroute, release, or conveniently collect from a DHL Service Point. This mobile-friendly service ensures transparency and flexibility for residential deliveries. 

DHL Express’ innovative tools simplify the complexities of international shipping, ensuring a smooth and efficient process whether you are importing from China to Vietnam or shipping to China from Vietnam.  

Import from China to Vietnam with ease with DHL Express

With DHL Express Vietnam as your trusted partner, you can navigate the import journey with ease and confidence, enabling your business to thrive in the global marketplace. By opening a business account with DHL, you unlock a range of exclusive benefits, such as personalised solutions, dedicated support, and streamlined shipping processes.