What is custom clearance? How to determine goods custom declaration type?

With the continuous development of China's economy, the national standard of living increasingly improved, and the cosmetic industry is booming among which imported cosmetics are very popular. However how do imported cosmetics go on Chinese market? This involves cosmetic registration or notification which is closely related to sample testing. How does enterprises legally mail the testing samples required by registration or notification to China?

1.What is custom clearance?

Custom clearance, namely custom passage, refers to imported goods, exported goods or transported goods which come into or go out of the custom territory or national border of a country should be declared to the customs, various procedures stipulated by the customs should be handled, obligations prescribed by the regulations should be fulfilled. Only the obligations are performed, procedures of custom declaration, inspection, taxation, release are handled, the goods can be released, the owner or the declarant can pick up the goods.

General custom clearance procedure of imported cosmetics
custom clearance 

The qualifications the operation unit of cosmetic import custom declaration should have:

1.registration certificate of custom receiver and sender

2.Business license should include business scope related to cosmetics

The following matters should be paid special attention to when enterprises declare to the customs during cosmetic import:

Please provide product name/component/use so as to confirm customs commodity code prior to shipment of goods, so that to identify if it involves relevant certificates. If the commodity too complicated to be specifically listed in customs code book, we suggest enterprises to make a good classification of goods.

After confirming customs commodity code of products, if they involve supporting materials related to import please handle it in advance. And after the shipment materials are complete, stick the Chinese label on the minimum packaging of goods, then the goods can be shipped.


2.How to determine goods custom declaration type when enterprises mail samples for testing?

According to Article 10 of People's Republic of China Customs Supervision Measures of Inbound And Outbound Express Mail, express mails are divided into 4 categories of A, B, C, D.

Category A express mail: “Express mail” refers to files, documents and bills information  with no business value except those which should be taxed in accordance with laws, administrative regulations and relevant national provisions.

Category B express mail: “Express mail” refers to the Chinese recipient/sender to receive or deliver the personal self-use items except passenger’s separated transport luggage items(low value does not generate taxes).

Category C express mail: “Express mail” refers to the goods involving license control  the value of which is no more than 5000 RMB(shipping, insurance and miscellaneous charges are not included) , with exception of those requiring handling export tax refund, export receipt of foreign exchange or import payment of foreign exchange(the value is generally below 5000 RMB, the tax exceeds 50 RMB).

Category D express mail: Commodities excluding the above categories

Category D customs declaration refers to the customs declaration required to be transferred to general trade customs declaration by customs which is formerly required by customs to return the bills because they do not meet the requirements of customs declaration for express goods.

General trade is different from express goods custody, and general trade is generally a trade method that generates a buyer-seller relationship between enterprises, and therefore requires the recipient to declare the goods to customs in the name of the enterprise, and therefore requires the recipient to entrust the enterprise to declaration.

For enterprises of imported cosmetics, testing samples mail requires mailing as Category C or D express mail to entrust a courier company or a customs broker to do the custom declaration of samples. After the custom passage is done, receive samples and then mail to the testing agency for follow-up testing work.


In practical process of samples custom clearance, ZMUni gives suggestions as the follows:
  1. Enterprises can give priority to: DHL, Federal, SF and other courier, the operation is relatively convenient and simple. It is recommended not to choose EMS.
  2. When it comes to declaration ofthe value of goods, company pieces should not exceed 5000 RMB, personal pieces should not exceed 1000 RMB.
  3. When declaring, you can let the courier company try to declare in category C first, and if the inspection does not meet the conditions of category C clearance, then switch to category D clearance according to the customs requirements.



ZMUni Chinese Cosmetic Regulation Compliance Centre 中贸合规中心

Contact us: info@zmuni.com

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