Do you want to have an idea about how much it is going to cost you to ship from China to UK? 

Things turned topsy turvy when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. However, everything is back to normal now! Shipping between UK and China is not as complex as people thing. Nevertheless, there are certain things to learn if you want the process to be hassle-free, precise, quick and cost-effective.

It is essential to learn how to calculate the right shipping cost, what kind of duties and taxes are required, what shipping documents need to be prepared. Any issues in any of these steps can result in a big loss.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:  Things you Need to Prepare before Importing from China to UK


Before you even start your sourcing process, it is important to know what documents and specifications you need to check before importing from China to UK.  Even if you hire a sourcing agent to help you out, it is good to be prepared. After all, if you don’t know what is happening, you will not be able to make sure everything is going in the right direction.

In this chapter, we will talk about the things you need to import from China.

1. Check the Products Whether they Are Allowed in UK and if You need a License or Not

Do you need an importing license

By this time, you may have decided on the product you want to import. It’s time to make an important decision and check whether the goods are allowed to import from China into UK.

While there are some goods, you can freely import without a license, but there are some cases where you may be required to get a license in importing goods to UK.

There are three types of restrictions that you need to understand—inspections, bans, and quotas. Products that come under the category of the inspection will need to have all the certifications required for Inspection and have to go under a detailed inspection process.

Products that are banned cannot be shipped in any condition. You need to pass the inspection and obtain a shipping license. Whereas for quota, you can only ship specific goods which are not greater than the stated quota.

It is therefore essential to keep a record of any goods you import so that when you want to import further products from China to UK, you know exactly what you are bringing into the country, and the quantity.

2. Find out Commodity HS codes for VAT or Duty calculations

Finding out how to look for HS commodity code for VAT in the UK is no longer that difficult. What HS code means is the Sales Tax that must be paid on certain types of commodities. Commodity prices fluctuate according to the value and the supply and demand in the market.


For instance, one type of commodity may be quite valuable one day and completely worthless the next, so you should know before investing in commodities.

It is important to find out how to look for HS commodity code for VAT in the UK before investing in the commodity because you will not get the best possible rates if you choose the wrong supplier.

The easiest way is to ask the supplier of the product for the HS code or follow this link to check out the commodity codes before importing for the UK.

3. Check if  There is a Need to Register for VAT

In many cases, a business wishing to import goods from China to the UK should know and request the relevant information from the customs regarding VAT registration on such goods.


This would help ensure that your business does not get into an unpleasant situation, where you receive goods without registering for VAT on them.

If your VAT taxable income exceeds £85,000, you need to register for VAT. To know more information, you can email HMRC and wait for at least three working days for the reply.

4. Register for an EORI number

EORI number , cost of Alibaba shipping

An EORI or Economic Operator’s Registration and Identification number is a European Union registration and Identification number for companies that undertake the transportation or transport of goods within or outside the EU.

When shipping goods from China to the UK, you need to register for an EORI. You may find this helpful as it also serves as your invoice when you use the CHIEF system or submit other forms online.

5. Goods declaration with the CHIEF System

Goods declaration with the CHIEF system is mandatory for all international shipments coming into the UK. For instance, if a Chinese manufacturer contacts you to arrange cargo for your products in the UK, they would have to fill in a formal declaration with the customs.

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight or CHIEF system is used by importers, exporters, and freight forwarders, to input customs data online.

You can look for some errors in the system and estimate the payable duties and taxes. It would also determine which of your consignments will require some documentation or if there’s a need for inspection. The CHIEF system can expedite the entry process for low-risk products.

6. Get a Customs Registration (CR) number and Power of Attorney (POA)

The Customs Registration number in the UK refers to the legal registration number of a product that has been imported into the United Kingdom. This is also referred to as the CVR or the customs declaration number.

It is a three-digit number that must be shown on all goods imported into the country for the first time or on all goods imported for the first time to an area designated as an import zone.

You need to obtain both CR number and POA when importing from China to the UK for non-documented products, regardless of their value. When importing in China, importers and exporters need to register with customs. You can do this to have either importer or exporter CR number.

Also read on; How to Import from China to UK – 2021 Ultimate Guide

If you are still worried about what documentations you require, don’t fret! Book a free consultation with our sourcing agent. She will make sure that all your questions and queries will be answered. 

sourcing consultant sunny

Chapter 2: How to Calculate Shipping Costs from China to the UK