Importing office supplies and furniture from China to the US

China is the leading exporter of office supplies. It is not only a major manufacturer of office supplies and equipment but also of office furniture. In the case of importing office supplies and furniture from China to the US, you have to factor in customs duties and importers’ obligations.

Importing office supplies and furniture from China to the US

Where are office supplies and furniture produced in China?

Shenzhen, Guangzhou (Guangdong Province), and Ningbo (Zhejiang) are leaders in the production of stationery, pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, etc. Shenzhen is the leader in printer and printer supplies production.

Regarding office equipment, Foshan (Guangdong) is the largest furniture manufacturer. There are more office equipment manufacturers in Foshan than in Luoyang (Henan) and Guangzhou taken together.

Importing office supplies and furniture from China to the US manufacturers map

Tariffs on office supplies and furniture sourced from China in the US 

You must pay customs duties when you import from a third country. The duties vary depending on the type of goods, the country of origin, and the quantity. Current US tariffs can be checked on the HTS website (Harmonized Tariff Schedule). In some cases, an additional China tariff is in place.

Below we have compiled a list of examples of duty rates for office supplies and furniture:

  • 4819.60.00.00 – Box files, letter trays, storage boxes and similar articles, of a kind used in offices, shops or the like (0%+25%)
  • 4819.20.00.40 – Folding cartons, boxes and cases, of non-corrugated paper or paperboard (0%+25%)
  • 4820.10.20.10 – Diaries and address books (0%+25%)
  • 4802.69.10.00 – Writing and cover paper (0%+25%)
  • 4820.30.00.20 – Binders (other than book covers), folders and file covers, Looseleaf binders (0%+25%) 
  • 4817.10.00.00 – Envelopes (0%+25%)
  • 4820.10.20.20 – Memorandum pads, letter pads and similar articles (0%+25%)
  • 4819.60.00.00 – Box files, letter trays, storage boxes and similar articles, of a kind used in offices, shops or the like (0%+25%) 
  • 8472.90.40.00 – Pencil sharpeners (0%)
  • 8472.30.00.00 – Machines for sorting or folding/inserting mail in envelopes or bands, machines for opening, closing/sealing mail and machines for affixing/canceling postage stamps (1.8%+25%)
  • 3926.10.00.00 – Office or school supplies (5.3%)
  • 8305.20.00.00 – Fittings for looseleaf binders or files, ring binder mechanisms (2.9+7.5%)
  • 8305.20.00.00 – Staples in strips (0%+7.5%)
  • 8304.00.00.00 – Desk-top filing or card-index cabinets, paper trays, paper rests, pen trays, office-stamp stands and similar office or desk equipment and parts thereof, of base metal (0%)
  • 8303.00.00.00 – Armored or reinforced safes, strong-boxes and doors and safe deposit lockers for strong-rooms (3.9%)
  • 8443.31.00.00 – Printing, copying or facsimile transmission machine (0%+7.5%)
  • 9403.30.80.31 – Wooden (wenge) furniture used in offices (0%+25%)
  • 9403.10.00.20 – Metal filing cabinets used in offices (0%+25%)
  • 9401.39.00.30 – Swivel seats with variable height adjustment (0%+25%)
  • 9608.10.00.00 – Ball point pens (0.8¢ each + 5.4%+7.5%)
  • 9608.30.00.39 – Fountain pens, stylograph pens and other pens (0.4¢ each + 2.7%+7.5%)

Standards for furniture and office supplies in the US

Before sourcing, you have to find out if there are any US-specified requirements related to your products. The laws can be federal or state level. The following are federal requirements and standards.

Office supplies and equipment:

  • most consumer products are subject to a consumer product safety rule laid down by CPSC
  • for paper products (notebooks, diaries), it is a good idea to have Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) Certification
  • markers and other art supplies have to conform to ASTM D 4236. Manufacturers can voluntarily have their products tested by ACMI and use an AP label (nontoxic)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) develops worldwide standards for electronic and electrical products. IEC standard SC 28 applies to office equipment such as printing devices.

Office furniture:

  • wooden furniture is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) set Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products (40 CFR Part 770)
  • get familiar with CPSC Regulations and Standards, for example, lead-containing paint limits
  • upholstered furniture must bear a law label and be compliant with ASTM Furniture Fire Safety Standards
  • ISO 24496:2021 is an optional standard for office furniture
  • ANSI/BIFMA are voluntary standards for filing cabinets, desks, and alike
  • office chairs are subject to a voluntary ANSI/BIFMA X5.1 standard.

China office equipment fairs

Trade fairs organized in China are a good opportunity to research the market and network. No matter the fair, you can find a potential supplier that offers the products you are interested in.

Office supplies and furniture China fairs

Check out these office supplies and furniture trade fairs in China and Hong Kong:

Furniture China

Hong Kong International Stationery Fair 

Yiwu Fair – China Yiwu International Commodities Fair

Shenzhen International Furniture Fair

 China International Furniture Fair (CIFF Guangzhou)

China International Stationery and Gifts Exposition

  • Venue: Ningbo – Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • Website: 

Paperworld China

China Stationery Fair (CSF) 

RemaxWorld Expo

Importing office supplies and furniture from China to the US – to sum up

The Chinese market offers a wide range of office suppliers and equipment, which is why sourcing such articles from China is very popular. Bear in mind that an import risk assessment should be concluded. Frauds are not uncommon in international trade, so make sure to verify your supplier. Moreover, you must know the product requirements of the target market. Make sure that the ordered product from China complies with the order and fulfills all quality requirements by conducting quality checks. The inspector can check on-site the products’ quality, manufacturing progress and oversee loading.