Many people want to import chemical materials from China, but chemicals are something special for shipping with more complex processes than other general goods. It will bring you much trouble and economic losses if you are not familiar with the export process from China.

There are so many tutorials on the market that teach you how to import goods from China which will charge you several hundred dollars. However, most of these old textbook guidelines are no longer suitable for us to learn as the factors of policy changes or environmental restrictions. So it is necessary to learn some system knowledge to help you import chemicals from China.

You will learn how to import chemical materials from China step by step in this practical guide. To help a better understand, we had divided this article into 10 sections according to different process stages. And we are preparing corresponding video lessons for each step. Enjoy your learning here.

1. Confirm if the chemicals are available to import from China

Chemicals are the raw materials to produce chemical products in the chemistry industry. They are widely used in industrial and agricultural production and the daily life of the people. However, some of the chemical raw materials are precursor chemicals, which can be used to manufacture drug precursors, and are the main raw materials and main ingredients for narcotic drugs and psychotropic drugs. Although this type of product is not completely banned, it cannot circulate freely like ordinary chemicals.

Therefore, if you plan to import chemical raw materials from China, you need to know whether the raw materials you want to buy are precursor products in order to avoid unnecessary accidents and losses. If not, import them from China according to the normal process. Otherwise, you need to determine whether your Chinese supplier has the normal export qualifications for this type of product. Click the download button below to download the detailed catalog of China’s precursor chemicals.

2. Find the right supplier via the internet or come to China

When you want to import chemical raw materials from China, you need to know where to find suitable raw material suppliers. Here are 3 online methods and 3 offline methods to help you collect suppliers.

2.1.3 Online methods

1)Google search

By directly google search for the product you need, such as diethanol+china manufacturer, you will see a list of many Chinese suppliers in the search results, and you can choose one or several suitable ones for in-depth communication.

2)B2B platform

There are so many B2B platforms from chemicals, such as Alibaba, Made-in-China, Global-souces, Chemicalbook, Lookchem, etc.

3)SNS platform

Many suppliers now like to promote their products on social media, you may find some suppliers here based on your products. It is also helpful for you to learn about your suppliers via the SNS platform.

2.2.4 Offline channels

1)Visit the Chemical Industry Exhibition

There are so many chemical industry exhibitions every year, such as Carton Fair, CPHI, etc. Not only China, but you can also visit the exhibitions which are opened in other countries. In a word, visit the professional exhibition, the professional supplier you will find.

2)Find the supplier from friends’ recommend

If your friend has souces in China, you may ask them to recommend. This channel is the fastest and the most straightforward way to identify an available supplier.

3)Ask a favor from your Chinese agent

This channel is similar to the channel 2. The most important is that your Chinese agent is with sufficient sense of responsibility.

4)Visit the chemical industrial clusters

All chemical products are produced in the chemical park, you only need to know the specific location of the chemical park in each city, you will be able to find a suitable supplier for your product.

3. Understand the general rules of international trade and get the accurate quotations

Ex-work (EXW or ExWorks)

“Ex-factory delivery (…designated place)” means that when the seller delivers the goods to the buyer at its location or other designated locations (such as a workshop, factory or warehouse), the delivery is completed, and the seller does not go through the export customs clearance procedures or Load the goods on any means of transportation. This term is the trade term with the least obligation for the seller. If the buyer is unable to directly or indirectly go through the exit procedures of the goods, this method should not be used.

FOB(Free On Board)

The buyer is responsible for dispatching a ship to pick up the goods. The seller shall load the goods on the vessel designated by the buyer at the port of shipment and within the time limit specified in the contract and notify the buyer in time. When the goods cross the ship’s rail when loading, the risk is transferred from the seller to the buyer.


When the goods cross the ship’s rail at the port of shipment (actually in the cabin of the ship), the seller completes the delivery. Therefore, the seller concludes the insurance contract and pays the insurance premium.

C&F/CRF(Cost + Freight)

The seller loads the goods on the means of transport and pays the freight from the port of shipment to the port of destination.


Delivery after tax. It means that the seller completes the import customs clearance procedures at the designated destination and delivers the goods that have not been unloaded on the delivery means of transport to the buyer to complete the delivery.


Delivery without tax. It means that the seller delivers the goods to the buyer for disposal at the designated destination without going through the import formalities or unloading the goods from the delivery vehicle.

4. Analyze all the cost to confirm if it is better to import from China

The import cost of the product includes raw material cost, foreign transportation cost, tariff cost and domestic transportation cost. If these costs add up within your budget, you can consider importing from China. If it exceeds, it is recommended to purchase from your local or other lower costs Country.

5. 8 aspects to evaluate the suppliers. Place orders to whom is worthy of a long-term relationship.

5.1 Economic benefits

This refers to the supplier’s ability to make profits. High economic efficiency is to achieve more results with less consumption, which reflects the supplier’s financial status and operating performance, and indirectly reflects the supplier’s market competitiveness.

5.2 Exporting country

If the selected supplier has exported to your country, it means that he has the relevant export experience and can help you avoid risks.

5.3 Product qualification

If the product you want to purchase has special qualification requirements, you need to confirm with the supplier whether it can meet the qualification requirements of your product.

5.4 On-time delivery

Suppliers can deliver on time, indicating that their production capacity is strong, and management level is high. It is also means that they can well control and adjust both production plans and production capacity.

5.5 Product quality (sample)

The quality of the product is the most important evaluable index to choose a suitable partner. The supplier must have a good quality control system, and the products provided must be able to continuously and stably meet the product specifications. You can consider testing the supplier’s samples before deciding whether to cooperate with this supplier.

5.6 Product price

In modern supply chain management, product price is no longer the primary factor in selecting a supplier, but whether the supplier can provide a competitive price is still an important factor in controlling procurement costs.

5.7 After-sales service

This is an important indicator that is indispensable for choosing a supplier. The supplier should be able to solve the various service needs of users in a timely manner, or provide some technical support.

5.8 Technical

Product technology, new product research and development capabilities, and production capabilities are the important indicators of whether suppliers can cooperate in the long-term.

6. Confirm all details with the supplier before starting production

If you have decided to cooperate with a supplier, you need to confirm the quotation again, confirm the product specification, confirm the payment method and payment time, confirm the delivery time, and confirm the pre-production sample.

7. Quality inspection

In the era of high quality, only strong quality assurance can win the favor of consumers. For a company, if it does not focus on product quality, the result will eventually be eliminated by the market. Therefore, the quality of the product must be inspected before shipment. You can conduct quality testing through your forwarder or a third-party organization. We can also give you a favor if you need it.

8. The export custom clearance in China

For general chemicals

The following documents are necessary for the export custom clearance process in China:

Commercial Invoice
Packing list
Bill of loading
Sales Contract
Certificate of origin

For dangerous articals

In China, the export of hazardous chemicals is much more complicated than that of ordinary chemicals, and there are many special requirements for packaging, transportation and documents. For example,

Packaging: requires a special identification by the commodity inspection agency and issues a “dangerous package certificate”, and the number of packages will be recorded, decreasing according to the export quantity.

Transportation: general trailers require dangerous consignments, and the shipping party needs dangerous containers, which require special transportation methods. For example, the position of the dangerous tank on the ship cannot be placed on the deck or close to the engine. It must be placed in a dedicated dangerous tank area, usually at the stern of the cabin, at the height of the waterline, because it is the temperature of the whole ship. The lowest is the place where the temperature is the most stable.

Documents: Firstly, “Dangerous Package Certificate”, MSDS, “Appraisal of Cargo Transportation Conditions, etc.” are required, and secondly, different test reports are required for different chemical products.

So you need to find a suitably qualified supplier or agent to provide you with export customs declaration and transportation services according to the characteristics of your products. If you need our help, please click here to contact us.

In the case of the shipping method, there is a total of 4 types: sea shipping, air shipping, international express, and railway shipping. Air shipping & international express suit for small and urgent orders. Sea shipping is the most economic way for most situations.

Generally speaking, it will take around 7 days from China to America by international express. And the cost is about 8-10$/Kg if the gross weight is more than 21Kg. Surely different quantities decide the different costs.

The shipping time from China to America by sea is around 30days and the whole cost is about 200$-300$ per square. It also depends on the properties of the chemicals.

9. Importing custom clearance

At this step, you need to prepare the import custom clearance documents ahead. The documents here almost the same as the export process in China. You can ask your supplier or agent to offer them include a commercial invoice, Packing list, Bill of loading, Certificate of Analysis, Certificate of Origin, MSDS. If need an extra certificate or documents, you can consult your supplier or freight forward and ask their help.

You also need to pay for the import duties when you deal with the custom clearance. But the charge of the standard depends on the country or the product. The detailed duties can be checked via USITC.

10. Receipt and confirm the quality again

The last step is making the quality analysis again once you get the goods.


No matter what chemicals you are planning to import from China, hope this guide can help you to benefit a lot. If you still have any doubt and any interesting, please feel free to contact us. We are always here to help you.

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