Importing production line from China

Once you have state-of-the-art production technology and top-quality raw materials, you can manufacture the best quality products. Importing a production line from China and its installation can help your business flourish. What is important when importing production lines or machinery from China to the EU and the US?

How to find machinery and production line suppliers in China?

Factories in China are highly competitive internationally. Finding suppliers in China is not complicated since there are plenty of online platforms for importers and exporters. On one of the most popular B2B (Business to Business) platforms, Made-in-China, the “production line” entry has almost 400 thousand results. There are many types of machinery, from the food industry to steel processing:

As for the production areas of machinery and production lines in China, the largest groups of manufacturers can be found in:

  • Guangzhou
  • Suzhou
  • Qingdao
  • Shanghai
  • Jinan
  • Zhengzhou
  • Shenzhen
  • Wenzhou.

The eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang make up more than half of the machinery exported from China.

Importing production line from China - map

Trade fairs in China

Suppliers of machinery and production lines can also be found at trade shows in China. Even though traveling to China is quite troublesome, you can still participate in online fairs. For example, the massive Canton Fair (China Import and Export Fair), where production lines and machinery are exhibited, was held online and offline.

Here is a list of chosen trade shows in the machinery industry in China:

China Import and Export Fair

Venue: China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair Complex), Guangzhou

Official website:

International Machine Tool Exhibition

Venue: Century City New International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Chengdu

Official website:

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

Venue: China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair Complex), Guangzhou

Official website:

Heavy Machinery Asia

Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), Shanghai

Official website:

Shanghai International Furniture Machinery & Woodworking Machinery Fair

Venue: National Convention & Exhibition Center, Shanghai

Official website:

Shenzhen International Industrial Manufacturing Technology and Equipment Exhibition

Venue: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, Shenzhen

Official website:

China Yiwu International Intelligent Manufacturing Equipment Expo

Venue: Yiwu International Expo Center, Jinhua

Official website:

China International Machine Tool Show

Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai

Official website:

China International Hardware Show

Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai

Official website:

Qingdao International Machine Tool Exhibition

Venue: Qingdao International Convention Centre, Qingdao

Official website:

Metalworking & CNC Machine Tool Show

Venue: National Convention & Exhibition Centre, Shanghai

Official website:

Importing production line from China to the EU

Directive on Machinery in the EU

Machines in the European Union market are regulated by the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), one of the New Approach Directives. The directive’s scope is not only machinery and its components but also, for example, ropes, chains, and webbing designed and constructed for lifting purposes as part of lifting machinery or lifting accessories.

The Machinery Directive obliges the manufacturer to:

  • provide instructions and other necessary information
  • carry out conformity assessment procedures
  • draw up the EC declaration of conformity and attach it to the machinery
  • prepare a technical construction file
  • affix the CE marking.

The importer is responsible for the product and its compliance from the moment it is placed on the market. The importer has to verify the documents needed for clearance and certificates.

Aside from the MD, if the machinery has electrical components, it must comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulation.

CE and descriptive machine nameplate

The Machinery Directive states that the CE marking and the nameplate must be properly affixed. To affix a CE marking on the production line, it must pass a series of tests and obtain an EC declaration of conformity.

According to Machinery Directive, a machine nameplate must be affixed to each machine, means of transportation, production lines, and parts of machines that use energy other than human or animal strength. It has information such as:

  • the business name and full address of the manufacturer (plus the authorized representative)
  • designation of the machinery
  • the CE Marking
  • designation of series or type
  • serial number (if there is one)
  • the year of construction, which is the year in which the manufacturing process is completed
  • the weight of the machinery (if it is supposed to be lifted).

Importing production line from China to the US

Unlike in the EU, no standard regulates all types of machinery in the US. ASTM International publishes standards that apply to different types of products – there are over 13,000 of them. EPA is a regulatory agency that writes mandatory requirements and provides access to compliance assistance.

Other organizations that administer consensus standards for machinery are:

  • Robotics Industry of America (RIA)
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA)
  • Instrument Society of America (ISA)
  • Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).

The importer is responsible for ensuring that their imported production line is compliant with applicable standards. First, know which standards and directives are relevant in your market. Then, verify that your supplier is compliant. For example, if your machinery is related to the medical industry, it may be subject to the US Food and Drug Administration’s regulations. When it comes to electronic machinery, it has to be compliant with rules set by Federal Communications Commission.

Customs bonds for importing production lines to the US

When importing machinery into the US, you need a customs bond. There are two types of customs bonds:

  • Single-entry bonds are for every new import you organize; it is a low-cost and low-risk operation, though you can choose only one port of entry.
  • Continuous bonds are the better option if you intend to import into the US more than four times a year (unlimited imports in a year through any port of entry). Choose a continuous bond if your imports are high value or high risk.

How to import machinery from China?

Placing an order of a high value is a major undertaking; therefore, you have to prepare well to carry it out successfully.

1. Verify the supplier and check the factory

Before you submit an inquiry, check the selected supplier’s credibility. Verifying your potential business partner from China will help you decide whether to cooperate with the company or choose a different one. From the report, you will find out if the company is registered (and what the legal form is) and other relevant information. Scams and frauds in international trade are a daily occurrence, so it is very beneficial to conduct due diligence.

2. Sign the commercial contract

Signing a commercial contract with a Chinese supplier is one of the formalities that secures the entire transaction. The contract should include clauses regarding the quality of goods, complaint procedures, spare parts, warranty, and deadlines.

What if you do not sign a valid commercial contract? If there are any problems with the production or the order, you will not be able to defend your rights in a Chinese court. It means a waste of resources such as time and money. Remember that importing a production line is a big investment, so you should secure the transaction.

3. Inspections in China

There are several steps to quality control. Pre-production inspection, also known as factory audit, and pre-shipment inspection, are the two basic steps of quality control. A factory audit allows the detection of potential malfunctions before starting production. The conditions in the factory are checked, and whether the manufacturer is prepared to fulfill the order. Post-production inspection checks if the production line/machinery meets specifications.

Feel free to reach out to us to arrange an inspection.

4. Container Loading Supervision (CLS)

Container Loading Supervision Quality is the last stage of quality control. It is checked that the goods have been properly packed and secured for transportation at this stage. If they are shipped in a container, its tightness is checked. It is plausible that the machinery has defects, and it should be detected at the production site. Pre-shipment inspection is very important, as production line shipping is a huge cost (it can take up the space of three containers). We recommend that you choose Incoterms FOB or EXW, not CIF!

Container Loading Supervision includes document verification. Feel free to contact us to arrange Container Loading Supervision.

In terms of payment, it is best to pay the second installment after the final quality check.

Import documents

The basic set of documents for import consists of:

Importing production line from China – in a nutshell

  • You can find a machinery supplier from China in many manufacturing areas (Shanghai, Guangzhou) on B2B platforms and tradeshows.
  • The eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang make up more than half of the machinery exported from China.
  • If you are in China, make sure to visit some trade fairs in the machinery industry.
  • Machines imported into the European Union market must meet the requirements specified in the Machinery Directive.
  • One of the most important requirements on the EU market is to affix the machine nameplate and the CE mark on the product.
  • When it comes to importing production line to the US, the regulations are different for each type of machinery.
  • The basic set of documents includes a commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading.
  • We recommend verifying the supplier and signing a valid commercial contract before placing your order when importing from China.
  • Have quality control carried out at various production stages and during loading.
  • Choose Incoterms FOB or EXW.

If you are new to importing, read our guide “Import from China to the EU step by step“!