Importing from Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) located in China. This region is a rapidly developing commercial and financial center. When importing goods from Hong Kong, one must keep in mind that the city has its own legal and judicial system despite its localization. Moreover, Hong Kong has full economic autonomy. Find out everything you need to know about importing from Hong Kong, what to import, and what is the most crucial.    

Importing from Hong Kong

What can I import from Hong Kong?

Trade between Hong Kong and the European Union

Hong Kong and the European Union maintain a stable business relationship. Although entrepreneurs from Hong Kong import more products from the European countries than export, Hong Kong takes 8th place among the Union’s Asian trade partners. In 2019, goods exported from Hong Kong to the EU accounted for 5.7% of Hong Kong’s total domestic exports. Its largest partners from the EU are Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

What the European Union imports from Hong Kong?

  • Transport machinery and equipment;
  • Office and telecommunications equipment;
  • Food products;
  • Jewelry;
  • Various industrial articles.

Trade between Hong Kong and the United States

As is the case for the EU, the United States also export more goods to Hong Kong than import from there. However, importing from Hong Kong is getting more popular among American entrepreneurs. Only between the years 2019 and 2020, the US’s import value from Hong Kong surged 67%. It increased from 3.2 billion dollars to around 7.9 billion dollars. It’s worth noting that products imported by companies from the US slightly differ from those exported by Hong Kong into the EU.

What the United States import from Hong Kong?

  • Electrical machinery;
  • Precious metal and stone;
  • Aircraft;
  • Machinery;
  • Optical and medical instruments.

Importing from Hong Kong – Duty rates in the EU

Before organizing an import from Hong Kong to the EU, it’s essential to check duty rates for your goods. HS codes for various products, up-to-date tariffs, and anti-dumping duties are all in the TARIC system. The website is entirely free and accessible anytime. There, you will find all the data necessary for customs clearance in the European Union upon your goods’ arrival. Make sure to check our guide on how to use the TARIC system.

Duty rates for most imported goods from Hong Kong to the EU:

Telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks (8517120000) – 0%

Machines for the reception, conversion and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data, including switching and routing apparatus (8517620000) – 0%

Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included, e.g., laptops (8471900000) – 0%

Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing cars, of a cylinder capacity not exceeding 1 000 cm3 (8703211000) – 10%

Articles of jewelry and parts thereof, of silver, whether or not plated or clad with other precious metal (7113110000) – 2.5%

Articles of jewelry and parts thereof, of other precious metal, whether or not plated or clad with precious metal (7113190000) – 2.5%

Imitation jewelry (7117900000) – 4%

Importing from Hong Kong – Duty rates in the US

Importers from the US also are obliged to check duty rates for their products prior to import. American entrepreneurs can check current tariffs, anti-dumping duties, and HTS codes in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule System. It’s a free-to-use website that contains data crucial for the customs clearance process. Enter the article’s name in the search bar or, if you know them, the first 4 or 6 digits of its code to look up the information.

Duty rates for most imported goods from Hong Kong to the US:

Silver (including silver plated with gold or platinum), in powder form (7106.10.00.00) – 0%

Base metals clad with silver, not further worked than semi-manufactured (7107.00.00.00) – 3.3%

Gold (including gold plated with platinum), in powder form (7108.11.00.00) – 0%

Machines for the reception, conversion and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data, including switching and routing apparatus (8517.62.00.00) – 0%

Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included, e.g., laptops (8471.90.00.00) – 0%

Electrocardiographs (9018.11.30.00) – 0%

Magnetic resonance imaging apparatus (9018.13.00.00) – 0%

Ultrasonic scanning apparatus (9018.12.00) – 0%

Documents for importing from Hong Kong

Importing process always comes with the responsibility of assuring your products’ safety and quality. It’s an importer’s responsibility to get acquainted with applicable requirements for their product in the destination country. Obtaining all the necessary documents, certificates, and markings is essential for your goods to pass the customs clearance and enter the market. To make this easier for you, below, we’ve listed mandatory documentation for all types of goods imported into the EU and the US. Please take note of the additional requirements that may apply to your items depending on their type and functions. 

EU Requirements

Mandatory documentation:

Documents required for certain products:

  • Test reports, the CE Certificate, Declaration of Conformity – e.g., for electronics, electrical appliances, machinery, medical equipment, and toys;
  • Certificate of Origin – e.g., for textiles and agricultural products;
  • Fumigation Certificate – for raw wood products (e.g., packaging and pallets);
  • CITES Certificate – e.g., for products of animal origin or specimens of fauna and flora;
  • and others.

In order to avoid any problems occurring with the customs clearance and financial penalties, thoroughly check which documents you need for your products. 

US Requirements

Mandatory documentation:

Entrepreneurs from the United States must be aware that different organizations develop many norms and regulations. Such institutions set and enforce requirements regarding safety, quality, and other factors. Thus, it’s critical to check if your goods must comply with any additional regulations and obtain some other documentation or markings.

For example, the CPSC organization cooperates with CBP (Customs and Border Protection) on the security of imports, and many goods fall under its jurisdiction. When it comes to medical devices, food, drugs, and many others, they’re supervised by FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Importing from Hong Kong – Transport

Sea freight

When organizing transport from Hong Kong, you can choose between sea freight and airfreight. Sea transportation is the most often used method for delivering cargo in international trade. It owes its popularity mainly to a reasonable price, high load capacity, and the possibility to transit cargo in containers. It’s a great way to transport both large-size cargo and general cargo.

If you decide to use sea freight, you must choose between FCL and LCL transport. FCL (Full Container Load) means that one importer/exporter occupies total container capacity. On the other hand, LCL (Less Container Load) stands for general cargo – transporting small-sized products. In such a case, one buyer/seller occupies only a part of a container and shares the rest with others.

Airfreight

Air transportation is very pricey. Thus, it’s not as often used as sea freight. However, it’s also the fastest and the safest delivery method. For these reasons, it’s an excellent choice for transporting goods that must reach their destination as quickly as possible, e.g., food products, flowers, or pharmaceuticals. Moreover, airfreight is also often used for transit valuable items, such as jewelry or vehicles.

Cargo ports in Hong Kong

A seaport in Hong Kong is one of the largest cargo ports not only in China but also in the world. It’s located in the South China Sea. The seaport’s localization allowed it to become a gate to the southern part of China. In 2020, the port in Hong Kong handled approximately 18 million TEU. It has repeatedly placed 1st globally in terms of the busiest cargo port.

When it comes to airfreight, Hong Kong International Airport has been the busiest cargo airport in the world since 2010 to this day. Cargo handled by the airport account for 42% of Hong Kong’s whole international trade. The port has over 100 airlines serving flights to more than 180 cities. Hong Kong International Airport was the first airport to handle more than 6 million tons of cargo per year.

Cargo ports in Hong Kong

Costs of transport from Hong Kong

Before making a final decision concerning a form of transport, we recommend comparing at least a few offers from various freight operators. You can do it through a free-to-use platform – ShipHub. Fill in the form on the home page, as shown in the picture below. Following this, the available forwarders will prepare an in-depth quote for you. Remember that the final cost of transit will differ depending on the chosen shipping company, method of transport, type, size, the weight of your cargo, and distance.

Costs of transport from Hong Kong

Importing from Hong Kong – Summary

  • Hong Kong and the European Union maintain a stable trade relationship. Exports to the EU account for 5.7% of Hong Kong’s full export. 
  • Importing from Hong Kong is getting more popular among American entrepreneurs. Only between 2019 and 2020, it increased from 3.2 billion dollars to 7.9 billion dollars.
  • Duty rates for the most often imported products from Hong Kong into the EU and the US are relatively low.
  • Always ensure that you have a complete set of mandatory documentation. Stay aware of any additional certificates and markings if they’re needed for your items. 
  • Before organizing transport from Hong Kong, compare offers from a few forwarders on ShipHub

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