China and the US are the top countries in the retail cosmetics and toiletries segment globally as of 2021, contributing 20% and 18% of the share, respectively. China is a great place to source beauty products from. What must you remember when sourcing cosmetics from China to the US? We have got the most useful tips for importers of beauty products.
Where are cosmetics produced in China?
China is known for its industry areas focused on a specific category of products. Where are the production areas of cosmetics in China?
- The total output value of the cosmetics industry in Guangdong province ranks first in China. Guangzhou in the Guangdong province is known as the “capital of China’s cosmetics industry.” If you want to visit just one city, visit manufacturers in Guangzhou.
- Shanghai is a major center for the cosmetics industry in China.
- If you are more interested in traditional Chinese beauty products, visit manufacturers in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.
Sourcing cosmetics from China to the US – trade fairs
Taking part in a trade show allows you to learn more about the industry in which you conduct business. As China is big on cosmetics, it also holds some of the biggest beauty fairs in the world. You cannot miss cosmetics trade shows in China if you want to source cosmetics.
Trade fairs are places where walking from booth to booth or across a large hall without a clear goal is pointless. Prepare beforehand which booths you want to visit and write down your questions for suppliers.
China (Beijing) International Beauty Expo
- Venue: China National Convention Center, Beijing
- Official website: en.beijingbeautyexpo.com/bj
China Beauty Expo and Supply World
- Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), Shanghai
- Official website: chinabeautyexpo.com
China Import and Export Fair (Phase 3)
- Venue: China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair Complex), Guangzhou
- Official website: cantonfair.org.cn/en
Beauty & Wellness Expo
- Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong
- Official website: hktdc.com/event/hkbeautyexpo/en
Beijing Beauty Expo
- Venue: China International Exhibition Center, Beijing
- Official website: bjbeautyexpo.com
Sourcing cosmetics from China to the US – US duties
Importers must pay due duties on products they source. The current US duty rates can be found in the HTS system. We recommend checking it before every import since the duty rates change.
Here is a list of some cosmetics and the US duty rates:
- Shampoos (3305.10.00) – 0% + 25%
- Hair lacquers (3305.30.00) – 0% + 25%
- Powders, whether or not compressed (3304.91.00) – 0% + 25%
- Eye make-up preparations (3304.20.00) – 0% + 25%
- Lip make-up preparations (3304.10.00) – 0% + 25%
- Manicure or pedicure preparations (3304.30.00) – 0% + 25%
- Perfumes and toilet waters containing alcohol (3303.00.30) – 0% + 25%
- Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations containing alcohol (3307.10.20 00) – 4.9% + 25%
It must be noted that the United States imposed additional tariffs on imports from China. The covered products are subject to additional tariffs ranging from 7.5% to 25%. So, even if the primary duty is 0%, if the product is sourced from China, the actual duty is 7.5% or 25%.
How to source cosmetics from China to the US?
Chinese supplier verification
First, you need to find a supplier. We advise you to have a supplier verified before you make any deals with the company. We can provide information on the company and assess cooperation risk level.
Commercial contract with Chinese business partner
If you want to protect your business, sign a commercial contract valid under Chinese law. If the contractor fails to fulfill the contract, you have a higher chance of winning in court.
Quality control at the factory
We highly recommend carrying out quality control at various stages, such as:
- before manufacturing starts
- at the beginning of production
- after production is completed
- during container loading.
By conducting quality control, you will save money in the long run. Moreover, it saves you time since you know right away if there are any issues with the order.
US regulations regarding cosmetics
Even if you do all the steps (verify the supplier, sign a contract, conduct quality controls), it is meaningless if your products do not comply with the requirements in the US market. You need proof of the safety of the cosmetics product and each of its ingredients (some are restricted or prohibited in the US!).
The regulatory body overseeing all cosmetics imported into the US market is the FDA. The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) defines a “cosmetic” as a product intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance. The regulated products may be used externally, internally, and with orifices. Except for color additives, there is no need for pre-market approval. The label with all the required information must be in English. Moreover, the product must meet US safety standards.
Cosmetics tested on animals are not banned in the US, so they can be tested in China, which is a common practice.
Sourcing cosmetics from China to the US – to sum up
- Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Shanghai are the best places to source cosmetics from China.
- Tariffs on Chinese cosmetics in the US are roughly up to 30%.
- Be sure to check if your products are compliant with US standards.
- Avoid fraud and scams by verifying your Chinese supplier.
Make sure to check out our other posts on sourcing from China.