DocShipper Advice : At DocShipper, we are here to help you import your products from China in a professional and efficient manner. We take care of all the steps, including customs clearance. We work with licensed customs declarants to provide you with a compliant service and avoid delays and extra costs. By working with us, you can concentrate on your business without worrying about administrative and technical formalities.  Contact us for more information.



Customs clearance services from China - How to estimate customs duties and taxes for Chinese imports ?

If you are thinking of shopping outside Europe or importing goods from China, you may think that your purchases will be tax-free.
But this is not entirely true. You may be subject to customs duties, particularly for  customs clearing imports into China, which many people tend to overlook. Customs duties are mandatory for most importers and can have a significant impact on your overall costs. It is essential to include this tax in your business model and not just focus on VAT.

Calculating customs duties can be complex and difficult, but it is essential to understand how they work. In this article we will explain what customs duties are, how they are calculated and why they are essential.

DocShipper Alert : These rates are not easy to predict because they are constantly fluctuating depending on a multitude of points: trade agreements between countries, monitoring of quotas, the status of the importer, country of origin... And because things would be too easy if they were stable, customs duties also change over time and with temporary and/or transitional amendments.


Docshipper Tips : The value retained by customs officials is what is known as the CIF value, i.e. it also includes international freight charges in the loadable (customs) value. CIF is an incoterm that includes the entire shipping process from departure to the destination terminal (port, airport, or station).

VAT - Value Added Taxes

VAT is a must, so you need to clarify this situation so that you don't have any unpleasant surprises in your cash flow.

Before going into the explanation, you can directly read this article about import duty from USA.

When you import products from outside the European Union, the VAT on the products is collected during the customs clearance period. Only after payment of customs duties and VAT will your goods be released and legally resold on the mainland.

Companies can include the VAT paid during customs clearance directly in the turnover declaration to avoid a disbursement.


Eligible companies

Of course, not all companies are eligible for this tax advantage. Here are the 2 conditions of eligibility:

  • Companies established on the territory of the European Union
  • Companies subject to VAT in the European Union (with representative office and/or local subsidiary)

Docshipper Tip : Each country legislates its taxation differently, including exceptions. For example, in the case of France, some companies are under the Simplified Taxation Regime (RSI) and therefore have a very specific regulation.  Contact us for more information.

How can I pay less tax?

There is no real leeway on the customs duties and taxes you will pay when you import your products. Some will tell you that it is possible to under-declare goods (indicate a value lower than the actual value). Yes it is possible but it is dangerous and we do not advise it!

It is indeed possible to ask your supplier to send documents (including the "packing list" and the "purchase invoice") showing a value lower than what you actually paid. Those who attempt such a manipulation risk 2 types of problems:

  • Customs penalties: revaluation of your cargo, customs inspection fees, storage and handling...
  • Reimbursement of disputes: in case of a dispute, your insurance will only reimburse up to the value indicated on the transport documents.


Tables for estimating customs duties and taxes (Europe)

Mandatory documents for customs clearance

Bill of Lading

The "bill of lading" (which can also be found under the name "B/L") is an indispensable document when it comes to international freight. While the Bill Of Lading is specifically for sea freight, we will refer to this document as the "Airway Bill" when chartering your goods by air.

In any case, the 2 documents have the same principle: they allow you to confirm the space reserved for freight and therefore the transport of goods.


1 = Sender
2 = Recipient
3 = Notify party
4 = Vessel and voyage number
5 = Port of departure / arrival
6 = Place of departure / arrival
7 = Container number
8 = Description of goods
9 = Gross weight
10 = Dimensions

4 copies of the B/L will be printed and the original will be retained for customs clearance when the cargo is at the destination terminal.

DocShipper Advice : DocShipper handles Bill of Lading, which is an essential document for your shipment. With our expertise in international shipping, we are able to produce professional and compliant B/Ls for your shipment from China.  Contact us ! 


Packing list

The "packing list" is one of the other essential documents when it comes to international freight. It is a document that will notably be necessary during the import customs clearance phase but also to make the export declaration.

The packing list provides a multitude of information such as :

  • The purchase incoterm
  • Terms of payment
  • Information on the product(s), in particular weight, volume, description, etc.
  • Declared value of products and total amount
  • Origin and destination of cargo
  • Seller and buyer information (name, address, email, phone)

packing list exemple

DocShipper Advice : Before starting any shipment, our import department will check your packing list to verify its conformity. All it takes is one omission, one mistake and your shipment can be blocked at customs and thus generate uncontrolled costs.

Contact us for more information.

Certificate of  Origine (C/O)

The Certificate of Origin (or Certificate of Origin in English) is still one of the indispensable documents to be able to ship products around the world. Indeed, it certifies that the product listed on it meets certain criteria to be considered as originating from a particular country.

Here is an example of a Certificate of Origin (Chinese):



Other mandatory documents

We have made a very condensed list of the documents you need to have during development. But beware, some shipments for specific products require very special documents. Here is a list of these documents:

  • The purchase invoice
  • Insurance policy
  • The quota compliance certificate
  • The inspection certificate
  • Quality certificates
  • Sanitary certificates

DocShipper Alert : Do you have sensitive or high-value products to ship and are concerned about their security during shipment ?
Don't panic, DocShipper is here to help! We offer a professional shipping service to ensure that your products are protected and delivered safely. We are experts in product-specific customs regulations and requirements and can help you obtain all the necessary documentation to ensure compliance.  
Contact us for more information



Product safety and compliance

When importing products from China, it is essential to understand the potential safety and compliance risks of the products you wish to import. Although many Chinese manufacturers produce quality products, it is important to be aware that some may not meet the safety and quality standards applicable to your target market. For example, electronic products such as counterfeit mobile phone chargers can be dangerous to consumers if they do not meet safety standards.

SeŐĀcuriteŐĀ et conformiteŐĀ des produits

As an importer, you are responsible for the safety of the products you import, which means that you must ensure that the products meet the applicable safety standards. If they do not, you could be held responsible for any problems or damage caused to consumers. Therefore, you must ensure that the products you import meet the safety standards applicable to your target market. Compliance regulations such as FCC, RoHS and CE certifications ensure that products are safe and meet applicable standards. If you do not take these regulations into account, customs authorities may block your products and cause delays and additional costs.


At DocShipper, we understand the potential risks associated with product non-compliance, and we offer compliance services to help you import your products legally. We can help you obtain the necessary certifications for your products, such as FCC, RoHS and CE, and meet the compliance regulations for Chinese imports.

By choosing our compliance service, you can ensure that your products meet applicable safety standards and that your import is legal and hassle-free. We understand the importance of product compliance to ensure consumer safety and avoid the additional costs of having your products blocked at customs.

EORI Number

EORI Number: What is it?

The EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number) was introduced to identify economic operators in the EU in a uniform way, as regards their relationship and interaction with customs authorities and can be considered as a kind of "customs number".

The main idea is to simplify customs clearance, which has become increasingly automated. The EORI number is indispensable for all correspondence between the operator and the customs authorities, whether it concerns applications, declarations, or other documents.

Who needs an EORI number?

Anyone importing goods from outside the EU or exporting in the other direction must have an EORI number. It is also used by customs authorities to find out what is happening and for security, data analysis, and statistical purposes.

When moving goods within the EU or importing products for private use, no EORI number is required. However, it is still required for imports and exports within the European Economic Area.

Sometimes, companies located outside the EU but trading within Europe must also obtain an EORI number.


How to get an EORI number?

The EORI number is very easy and quick to obtain if you already have a company registered in the European Union. You will get it within a few days (depending on the member country) directly on the internet (or by mail if you prefer). Note that the EORI number you will have is unique and definitive, so you will not need to repeat the process over and over again.

Although directly related to the functioning of the European Union, the EORI number can be obtained directly from the local authorities in which your company has been registered. Here is a list of the different websites (by country) to help you apply for an EORI number:

How long does the EORI recording last?

After the registration process and all documents are completed, it should take no more than 3 days before you receive it by e-mail. Check your spam folder and keep in mind that this may vary from country to country.

Check the EORI number: EORI validation

Before you think about getting an EORI number, make sure you are not already registered. Some companies automatically obtain an EORI number when they register for VAT.

You can check whether your company has an EORI number with the EORI number validator provided by the authorities in many countries. You can also go to the EORI number validator provided by the European Union.

Customs Brokerage Services

When importing goods from China or any other country, customs clearance is a crucial step in ensuring that your goods are delivered legally. Customs authorities can be very strict when it comes to importing goods and customs clearance procedures can be complex. This is why it is important to use a professional customs clearance service to help you with this process.

It should be noted that only certified entities such as freight forwarders like DocShipper can carry out customs clearance legally. These professionals are trained to understand the rules and regulations of customs and international trade, and can provide valuable advice on the customs formalities that need to be completed. They can also facilitate communication between you, the importer, and the local customs authorities to ensure your goods are processed quickly and efficiently.

A professional customs clearance service can help you avoid costly mistakes that can occur when importing goods. By using a certified freight forwarder, you can focus on your business with confidence, knowing that your goods are in good hands.


As you may have read through this page, customs clearance is not a step you can afford to rush! You will have to be rigorous and meticulous throughout the entire process to avoid mistakes and/or omissions that can cost you a lot of money! A document is missing and customs officials may decide to seize the goods until they are compliant: storage fees, handling fees, etc... etc.

At DocShipper, we check all documents before departure, this is part of our company policy. It's quite simple, if we don't have the necessary documents, we won't ship your shipment!

Of course we accompany you throughout the whole process in order to obtain the missing documents if necessary!

Do you need customs clearance? Do not hesitate to contact our team at +12135505272


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