Toys are one of the most popular products imported from China. No wonder – toys are always in demand; they are light, do not occupy a lot of space in a container, and selling them can be profitable. Importing toys from China to the EU is very popular as this country is the world’s largest manufacturer, and the prices are very low. Whether you plan to import simple plush toys or drones for children, many manufacturers of each type of toy are in China.
Toy production areas in China
Most of the toys are manufactured in Guangdong province, more specifically the city of Shantou, as well as in Dongguan, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. The largest number of toy manufacturers is concentrated in Chenghai – a district of Shantou, where such manufacturers account for more than half of all enterprises in the region. When it comes to the toy industry, Guangdong province mainly produces:
- plastic toys,
- electronic toys,
- toys for small children.
There are also many manufacturers of toys in production regions such as Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang. The cities of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province and Qingdao in Shandong province are the manufacturing hubs for:
- plush toys.
Zhejiang province, especially the cities of Wenzhou and Yiwu, is the basis of many manufacturers of:
- outdoor toys,
What should you pay attention to when importing toys from China?
When importing toys from China to the EU, you need to consider certain aspects and decide whether a given product is the one you want to base your import business on. You need to pay attention to the following issues:
- duty rates on toy imports from China,
- required certifications (CE, RoHS),
- required licenses (for branded toys).
While importing any merchandise from China, it is necessary to check the customs tariff and be prepared for paying needed fees. In this matter, the Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARIC) run by the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union might be of great help. Using the system is free of charge.
Importing toys from China – how to check the duty tariff?
To check the duty rate for a particular product, you need to know its HS code. With the HS code, you can identify what duty rate applies to a given commodity, in this case – a given type of toy.
It is important to remember that some products may be subject to different duty rates. The TARIC system may not be the most user-friendly tool at the beginning, but every importer should get familiar with it and learn how to use it.
Toys are in Section XX (Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles), Chapter 95 (TOYS, GAMES AND SPORTS REQUISITES; PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF). Products classified in this chapter have an HS code beginning with “95”. It might be surprising that “Video game consoles and machines” also fall under this category.
If you encounter difficulties finding a particular product’s code, you can call the customs office and seek assistance. It is essential to know the duty on the product of your interest before you start importing.
Duty rates on toys from China
Fortunately, the duty rates on toys imported from China are at most a few percent, and in many cases – zero percent. Nevertheless, each product should be checked separately. Below we present some duty rates on toys from China along with the HS code:
- 9503 00 81 90 – toy weapons – 0%
- 9504 50 00 00 – video game consoles and machines – 0%
- 9503 00 95 90 – plastic toys – 4.7%
- 9503 00 10 00 – tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, and similar wheeled toys; dolls’ carriages – 0%
- 9503 00 49 90 – toys representing animals or non-human creatures – 0%
- 9503 00 61 90 – wooden puzzles – 0%
- 9503 00 21 90 – dolls representing only human beings – 4.7%
- 9503 00 75 90 – other plastic toys and models, incorporating a motor – 4.7%
Importing toys from China to the EU – requirements
Every importer should make sure that the imported goods meet all the requirements for distribution in the European Union. It is crucial to place needed markings on the product as well as obtain all the mandatory documents or certificates.
Toy Safety Directive
According to the Toy Safety Directive 2009/48/EC, a toy is defined as an object used in play by a child under the age of 14. All toys under this definition require CE marking. Therefore, they must meet all the relevant requirements contained in the New Approach Directives, which are a set of standards introduced by the EU. On this basis, goods are inspected and evaluated in terms of quality and safety. Every toy is subject to requirements and obligations included in the Toy Safety Directive.
All toys must be compliant with the relevant Harmonized Standards. Depending on the product design and the corresponding age group, you will have to consider a different Harmonized Standard. The assessment of conformity is carried out according to the relevant standard, which enables the issuance of a CE Certificate of Conformity and CE Declaration of Conformity. Holding these documents allows you to affix the CE marking on the product.
A toy importer must also ensure that the toy’s label, packaging, or manual contain appropriate warnings. You also have to specify the manufacturer’s name or trademark and address, as well as the batch or model number of the toy. It is the importer’s responsibility to have the technical documentation of the toy.
Other directives for toys
In addition to the Toy Safety Directive, some toys may also be subject to more directives and require various documents. Two examples of such goods are toys that are electronic or need batteries. In such cases, for the toy to be CE marked, it will also be necessary to demonstrate compliance with directives such as RoHS, LVD, and EMC.
Toy fairs and expos in China
If you want to expand your business, the best way to do it is to visit trade fairs in China. This will allow you to personally meet the representatives of some well-known companies and check the quality of their products. Such events enable you to find a potential business partner and broaden the horizons of your company. We have collected information on several fairs in the toy industry that are worth visiting:
- Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair
Venue: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
About: Fair dedicated to games, toys, and the newest technologies in the industry. It is one of the largest events of this type in Asia.
- Shenzhen International Toy & Education Fair
Venue: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center
About: It is the largest toy fair in South China, aiming to demonstrate and promote new products and innovations from global manufacturers, including educational games and tools.
- Children Baby Maternity Expo
Venue: National Exhibition and Convention Center, Shanghai
About: Exhibitors present and promote many kinds of products for mothers and babies, such as strollers, foods, toys, and clothing.
- Asian Toys and Baby Products Show
Venue: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
About: The exhibit profile includes electronic toys and games, mechanical toys, educational toys and games, and baby products, among others.
Importing toys from China to the EU – summary
Importing toys, no matter how beneficial it seems, comes with a lot of responsibilities. Since toys are intended for children, they must meet many requirements regarding the safety of use. Thus, importers should familiarize themselves with all the directives applying to their products, make sure that there is applicable labeling, and provide complete documentation.
Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that it is necessary to have a license to import some toys. Such a situation occurs when you import goods with a registered trademark, for example, toys of famous brands (like Disney). An importer without a license for such products will be fined and will not be able to clear customs.
Are you interested in importing toys from China to the US? Check our previous article on the US duty rates and import requirements for toys.