Importing fireworks from China to the US

To celebrate the beginning of a new year or to honor a great event and provide participants with an unforgettable experience, spectacular fireworks displays take place. As is the case with many other goods, China is the largest manufacturer of fireworks and such. The value of exported fireworks from China in 2018 was worth $866 million (accounting for 84% of all fireworks export). Below we present all the important information when importing fireworks from China to the US.

Importing fireworks from China – production areas

The prototypes of fireworks appeared in ancient China, already in 200 BC; initially, people used firecrackers to scare away evil spirits. Nowadays, most suppliers and manufacturers are located in cities such as Changsha, Guangzhou, Jinhua, Kaifeng, and Yichun. The largest concentrations of such companies are in Hunan, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Guangdong, one of the more prosperous provinces in China. “The Chinese capital of fireworks” is Liuyang (Changsha), as this city is a hub for firecrackers and such goods production in China. Besides, every two years, Liuyang hosts a spectacular fireworks festival.

Importing fireworks from China manufacturers

Importing fireworks from China – trade fairs

Trade shows are the perfect place to find a business partner and products at competitive prices. Below we present you a list of selected industry trade shows where you can find fireworks and also similar goods.

China (Shenzhen) International Gift and Home Products Fair

China Yiwu International Commodities Fair – Yiwu Fair

  • Location: Yiwu International Expo Center, Jinhua, Zhejiang, China
  • Website:

Canton Fair – China Export and Import Fair – Spring – Phase 2

  • Location: Guangzhou – China Import and Export Complex, Guangzhou, China
  • Website:

China (Shenzhen) International Gifts, Handicrafts, Watches & Houseware Fair

Asian Festive, Christmas & Seasonal Show

Canton Fair – China Export and Import Fair – Autumn – Phase 2

  • Location: Guangzhou – China Import and Export Complex, Guangzhou, China
  • Website:

US duty rates on fireworks from China

If you want to import goods from China, you should be aware of the amount of duty you have to pay. The current rates of duty are in the HTS system, and we recommend checking them before placing an order. The table below presents selected goods along with their codes and the corresponding amount of duty.

Article – Heading/Subheading – Rates of duty

  • Fireworks: display or special fireworks (Class 1.3G) – 3604.10.10 – 2.4%
  • Fireworks: other (including Class 1.4G) – 3604.10.90 – 5.3%
  • Fireworks: other – 3604.90.00 – 6.5%
  • Other than pyrotechnic articles of heading – 3604 3605.00.00 – 0%

In matters of the ongoing US-China trade war, some goods imported from China to the US are subject to an additional tariff. For example, the articles on the list of subheadings 3604.90.00 and 3605.00.00 apply 7.5% of an additional duty. If the product has an existing 6.5% duty, the new rate would be 21.5%. One should remember to take into consideration the special tariff.

Importing fireworks from China to the US

Always do your research on the supplier of your choice. It’s essential to pay special attention to the quality of the goods. Poorly looking or discolored devices were probably manufactured illegally. Moreover, you should not engage in business with a partner who does not want to disclose information to you. We recommend you always check the Chinese company you’re doing business with. We can verify your supplier for you.

Keep in mind that some types of fireworks are banned in the US. Also, in some regions, you cannot sell or use fireworks. For example, in California, the usage of fireworks is restricted, whereas, in Massachusetts, they are banned completely.

Importer’s obligations in the US

One should bear in mind that each firework category requires a license or permit for compliance with this specific activity. Federal explosives regulations are governed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The two general categories of fireworks sold in the United States are Display Fireworks and Consumer Fireworks. If you would like to engage in the business of importing fireworks, you must first obtain an ATF explosives license or permit. The importer must obtain a Federal explosives importer license.

The products must be compliant with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) mandatory safety regulations for fireworks devices. Samples are collected by the CPSC’s field investigators on the docks at ports of entry when they are imported or from manufacturers, distributors, and retailers throughout the United States. The goods undergo an examination to determine if they meet the CPSC’s label requirements. If the fireworks device fails any of the tests, you cannot sell it in the United States.

Make sure that the fireworks you are importing are compliant with all safety regulations. AFSL (American Fireworks Standards Laboratory) developed voluntary standards for consumer fireworks devices. The AFSL standards incorporate all federal CPSC and Department of Transportation requirements for consumer fireworks. A US importer may request to have fireworks tested by a testing laboratory under contract to AFSL before shipment to the United States.

Every fireworks device must have a label with a signal word, either WARNING or CAUTION. Moreover, they must meet performance requirements to ensure that fireworks work properly and safely.

Moreover, one of the importer’s obligations is to record the date and shift of manufacture of all imported explosive materials in permanent acquisition and disposition records.

Importing fireworks from China – transport to the US

The transport of explosives falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) while in transit, whether by rail, water, motor carrier, air, or other conventional means, and US Coast Guard (USCG) – while in transit on any navigable waterways within the US or within US territorial limits on the high seas. Transportation should meet all the requirements stated by those authorities.

Any fireworks defined as “display fireworks” may be lawfully received or transported only by those who hold a valid license or permit. No ATF license or permit is required to receive or transport “consumer fireworks” or “articles pyrotechnic.” Trained professionals should handle cargo. If you’re looking for a freight forwarder, check ShipHub – a marketplace for international freight. By filling in one form, you can compare freight rates from many forwarders in one place.

If you are also interested in importing other goods from China, check out our other posts.