Importing machinery from China to the EU

Machinery is one of the leading Chinese export product groups. It takes second place right after electrical and electronic equipment. Moreover, duty rates on machines from China are relatively low, making their import beneficial to European companies. In this article, we cover the topic of importing machinery from China to the EU. Find out what their production areas and customs rates out. Check importers’ obligations for machinery.

Production areas for machinery in China

Before looking for a supplier, it’s good to check the main manufacturing areas for a product. When it comes to machinery, the leading production region for machinery and parts thereof is Zhejiang Province. Many manufacturers are located, e.g., in Ningbo but also in other cities.

A crucial role in machine production also has Jiangsu and Henan Provinces. Make sure to check Qingdao in the Shandong Province and Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province as well. Moreover, a lot of suppliers manufacture machinery in the city of Shanghai.

You can find all the mentioned locations on the map below.

Production areas for machinery in China

Importing machinery from China to the EU – Duty rates

The import process always comes with the obligation of custom clearance. A few details are associated with it that every importer must check, such as duty rates and HS codes. The information can be found in the TARIC system. It’s completely free to use and provides up-to-date data concerning tariffs.

Machinery is in Section XVI, “Machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment; parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles.”

Below we’ve compiled a list of current customs rates for some machinery:

  • Chainsaws (8467810000) – 1.7%
  • Circular saws (8461501100) – 1.7%
  • Drilling or morticing machines (8465950000) – 2.7%
  • Planing, milling or moulding (by cutting) machines (8465920000) – 2.7%
  • Hand-held blow pipes (8468100000) – 2.2%
  • Injection-moulding machines (8477100000) – 1.7%
  • Extruders (8477200000) – 1.7%
  • Blow-moulding machines (8477300000) – 1.7%
  • Machinery for public works, building or the like (8479100000) – 0%
  • Rope- or cable-making machines (8479400000) – 1.7%
  • Industrial robots, not elsewhere specified or included (8479500000) – 1.7%
  • Machines for treating metal, including electric wire coil-winders (8479810000) – 1.7%
  • Pulley tackle and hoists other than skip hoists or hoists of a kind used for raising vehicles, powered by electric motor (8425110000) – 0%
  • Bulldozers and angledozers (8429110000) – 0%

As one may see, duty rates for machinery are relatively low and often don’t exceed 3%. That’s why their import may be a good idea for a profitable business. However, you must keep in mind that there are strict requirements in the EU for importing machines. Furthermore, it’s an importer’s responsibility to ensure that their products meet them. Let’s have a look at the EU’s safety and quality requirements for machinery.

Requirements for importing machinery to the EU

First and foremost, importers of machinery have to familiarize themselves with Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery. The Machinery Directive is one of the New Approach Directives, which state mandatory requirements concerning safety, human health, and environmental issues.

Keep in mind that the directive is undergoing some changes that the European Commission may implement in the near future. Therefore, importers of such products should maintain awareness of the upcoming new requirements. For more details, check the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament of the Council on machinery products.

What are the obligations stemming from Machinery Directive?

CE Mark and the Declaration of Conformity

Every machine is obliged to have a CE mark. In order to obtain such a marking, a product must undergo testing following the directive. This process is mandatory to check your goods’ compliance with the applicable safety and quality requirements. Based on its results, you’ll receive test reports – a document that allows a certification body to issue a CE certificate. After obtaining these two documents, the manufacturer is permitted to issue the Declaration of Conformity and affix a CE mark to the machinery.


Machinery nameplate

According to Directive 2006/42/EC, every machine has to have its nameplate. It must be securely affixed to machinery, readable, and in a visible place. A nameplate must contain information such as:

  • Information about a company and its full address
  • A machine’s specification
  • CE marking
  • Series and type
  • Serial number, if it exists
  • Production year (the year of production completion)
  • If it’s applicable, a marking that states that a machine is to be used in an area in a potential risk of explosion
  • Full information about the machine’s type and others necessary for its safe usage
  • In the case of a machine, which part thereof must be moved by a lifting machine during use, provide clear information about its weight.

Please note that depending on the machine’s characteristics, a nameplate must contain different information. Other data is, for example, about the power supply. Check what details you must provide in the applicable directives and harmonized standards.

Machinery trade fairs in China

If you’re planning on importing from China, check the wide variety of Chinese trade fairs. Such events are a perfect opportunity to get familiar with offers from Chinese suppliers. There, you get a chance to talk with the sellers face-to-face, check the quality of their products on the spot, and negotiate. You’ll also receive answers to your questions immediately.

Check some of the machinery trade fairs in China:

China Beijing International Construction Machinery, Building Material Machines and Mining Machines Exhibition & Seminar

  • Localization: New China International Exhibition Center, Beijing
  • Official website:

China (Guangzhou) International Food Processing Packaging Machinery and Equipment Exhibition

  • Localization: China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair Complex), Guangzhou
  • Official website:

Heavy Machinery Asia

  • Localization: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), Shanghai
  • Official website:

Shanghai International Furniture Machinery & Woodworking Machinery Fair

  • Localization: National Convention & Exhibition Center, Shanghai
  • Official website:

Asia Forestry & Garden Machinery & Tools Fair

  • Localization: China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair Complex), Guangzhou
  • Official website:

Shenzhen (China) International Small Motor, Electric Machinery & Magnetic Materials Exhibition

  • Localization: Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, Shenzhen
  • Official website:

bauma China

  • Localization: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), Shanghai
  • Official website:

Shenzhen International Industrial Manufacturing Technology and Equipment Exhibition

  • Localization: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, Shenzhen
  • Official website:

China Yiwu International Intelligent Manufacturing Equipment Expo

  • Localization: Yiwu International Expo Center, Jinhua
  • Official website:

Importing machinery from China to the EU – Summary

  • Due to low tariffs on machinery from China, their import may gain you profit.
  • However, European Union strictly regulates the distribution of such products on its market. They must comply with some safety and quality requirements.
  • First, you have to get familiar with Directive 2006/42/EC and the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament of the Council on machinery products.
  • Every machine must have a CE mark with all the necessary documents (test reports, the CE certificate, and the Declaration of Conformity) and a nameplate.
  • Requirements may vary depending on a machine’s type. That is why you always need to check all the applicable directives and harmonized standards.
  • For a smooth import process, verify your supplier and have quality control performed.