Import from China to Canada

How to Import from China to Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you eager to discover the secrets of importing from China to Canada? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve assisted countless business owners in mastering the art of international trade, ensuring that they import top-quality products. As a team with decades of experience in importation and exportation, we’re here to share every step of the process, helping you optimize your routes and schedules, and ensuring that you never lose profits while shipping products. Read on to kickstart your journey into international trade!

What Are the Top Imports From China to Canada?

When it comes to imports from China to Canada, the variety is astounding. The list includes solar panels, clothing, tires, toys, electronics, and building materials. In this section, we’ll delve into each of these top imports, providing you with a detailed overview.

Prohibited Imports

While many items are welcomed into Canada, certain items are strictly prohibited. These include ammunition, explosives, arms, luxury items, and counterfeit currencies. Canada prioritizes safety, and they won’t allow anything that poses a threat.

Top Selling Products

As a Canadian importer, some of the most lucrative products you can source from China are portable USB desk lamps, mobile phone holders, universal IR remotes, and more. Electronics are a significant part of Canada’s imports from China.

Suggested reading: Best China Products to Import

How to Start Importing Products?

Before you dive into the importation process, there are several crucial steps to consider. Whether you’re new to the business or a seasoned pro, these steps will help you navigate Canadian import rules.

  1. Obtaining a Business Number From CRA

If you’re starting an importation business, obtaining a Business Number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is essential. This number secures your transacting business account and is a prerequisite for importing to Canada. Consider registering for GST/HST, payroll tax, and corporate income tax as well.

  1. Classifying Your Imports

Before you import anything, you must classify your products. Use the Harmonized System (HS) code to determine the duty rate and obtain international trade statistics. The HS code is crucial for describing and classifying your items.

  1. Applying for Relevant Inspection, Certificates, and Permits

Notify Canadian authorities about the goods you intend to import early in the process. Apply for import inspection in Canada and obtain the necessary documents, certificates, and permits.

  1. Hiring a Licensed Customs Broker

Enlist the help of licensed customs brokers who are well-versed in import requirements. They’ll assist you in preparing and submitting the necessary documents, securing permits, and even handling transportation within Canada.

Suggested reading: Customs Broker

  1. Determining Duties and Taxes

Determine the correct tariff classification number and choose the appropriate tariff treatment for your goods. This choice can have a significant impact on the duty rate you pay. Don’t forget to assess the value of your imported goods and estimate the associated duty and taxes.

Suggested reading: China Import Tax

  1. Shipping and Reporting Your Goods

Select your shipping method and report your goods to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Ensure you have all the necessary accounting documentation, as government officials may inspect your goods.

  1. Getting Your Goods Released

Learn about the two methods for getting your goods released and choose the one that best suits your needs. The CBSA assigns a 14-digit transaction number to each shipment to aid in the clearance process.

Method 1: Pay Duties After Releasing Goods

Method 2: Release Goods Before Paying Duties

  1. Note That the CBSA May Verify Your Importations

The CBSA has the authority to verify and adjust the origin, value for duty, or tax classification for up to four years after importation. As an importer, you have the right to request an impartial review of decisions related to taxation, the value of imported goods, or origin.

Suggested reading: Best 10 China Shipping Agents to Help You Ship from China Suggested reading: China Import Agent

How Much Will It Cost to Import From China to Canada?

The cost of shipping is a critical factor when importing from China to Canada. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Shipping Express: This option is the fastest but also the most expensive, typically taking 1-4 days.
  • Air Freight Shipping: Air freight takes longer (6-13 days), but it’s more affordable than express. It’s an excellent choice for many shipments.
  • Sea Freight: If you can afford to wait, sea freight is the cheapest option, taking 29-33 days. It’s ideal for large shipments.

Express shipping, while fast, can be costly. For instance, sending one container from China to Canada via express might cost around $2,500. To save on costs, consider booking in advance, shipping during off-peak times, ensuring your accounting documentation is in order, knowing your HS codes, and comparing quotes from different providers.

How Long Will It Take to Import From China to Canada?

The time it takes to import goods from China to Canada varies based on your shipping method:

  • Regular post: 1-2 weeks
  • Air express freight: 3 days
  • Ocean freight: 8-10 days

However, keep in mind that these timeframes can be affected by various factors, so it’s advisable to check with your logistics provider. Surface mail shipping may take considerably longer, making it unsuitable for time-sensitive orders.

Express shipping options, such as those provided by TNT, UPS, or DHL, typically take at least three days to pick up your goods, making them a faster option than regular mail.

Know More About Canadian Import Rules and Regulations

Understanding the rules and regulations of importing is crucial to avoid costly mistakes. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fees. Certain goods may require special measures, permits, or inspections. Be well-prepared by having the necessary documents at your disposal.

A customs broker can provide valuable assistance in navigating these rules and regulations. They can determine if your goods are subject to special laws and regulations. If you plan to import commercial goods, you’ll need to obtain a Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Additionally, you must obtain the correct tariff classification number, which is essential for justifying classification systems using the Harmonized System.

The import/export account is free of charge and can be obtained in minutes.

How to Find the Best Chinese Supplier for Your Import Business

Finding the right Chinese supplier is crucial for your import business’s success. Here are some methods to help you identify a reliable supplier:

  1. B2B Marketplaces: Websites like Made in China, Global Sources, and Alibaba are popular choices for finding factory suppliers. However, exercise caution to avoid potential scams.

Suggested reading: How to Find Wholesalers Suggested reading: B2B Dropshipping Ecommerce: Ultimate Guide

  1. Sourcing Agents: When you need to source products, consider working with a China sourcing agent. These professionals inspect quality control, have strong relationships with suppliers, and review production processes.
  2. Use Search Engines: Chinese suppliers often have company websites and a presence on social media. You can use search engines and translation tools to find relevant supplier pages. Look for directories and B2B websites that can lead you to reliable suppliers.

Suggested reading: Chinese Manufacturing Companies


  1. How to Use the Canadian Import Duties Calculator?

You can use the Canadian import duties calculator found online. However, please note that the federal government doesn’t endorse data, exchange rates, or values from third-party applications. These calculators provide estimates, and actual duty rates may vary.

  1. What Is the Fastest Shipping Method From China to Canada?

If you need to import bulk quantities quickly, consider air freight as the fastest shipping method from China to Canada. While it may be more expensive, you can be sure your goods will arrive on time.

  1. Do I Have to Pay an Import Tax From China to Canada?

Yes, when importing from China, you must pay VAT in addition to the Customs Value and Import Duty rates. Ensure you pay any VAT due, and if you’re VAT registered, you can claim it back through your standard VAT return.

  1. How Much Can I Import to Canada Without Paying Duty?

You can claim certain goods up to CAN$200 without paying duty rates and taxes when entering the Canadian border. Note that alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are not included in this exemption.

  1. What Does Canada Import Most From China?

Canada imports a variety of goods from China, including electronics, furniture, footwear, clothing, apparel, toys, games, and sports equipment.

Final Thoughts

Importing goods from China to Canada can be a profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and adherence to rules and regulations. To embark on this journey successfully, gather as much information as possible about costs, shipping times, and relevant regulations. Finding the right trading companies and suppliers is key to your success, and enlisting the help of customs brokers and sourcing agents can simplify the process.

With the assistance of professionals like Ningqu, importing from China to Canada becomes a streamlined process, with access to valuable information and guidance every step of the way.

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