What to Know Before Shipping Goods from China to the UK

Shipping goods from China to the UK isn’t such a complicated thing. There are several options to accomplish this; all you need do is to choose the option that best suits you. But before shipping, there’re crucial things you need to know which is required to make the process a seamless one.

This article will discuss the underlining steps every business owners need to follow before shipping goods from China to the UK and the cost involved in shipping. Let’s delve deeper.

Steps to Take Before Shipping Goods from China to the UK

Following the detailed points below will help you prepare immensely before shipping your goods from China to the UK.

Understand the Restrictions on Goods

There’re different categories of restrictions on goods regarding whether they can be shipped or not. The three main categories of restrictions are – inspections, bans, and quotas. Understanding these restrictions is necessary before shipping your cargo to the UK from China.  

For inspections, goods are closely monitored and must pass the tests before shipping. In the case of banned goods, there’s no shipping option from China to the UK. all goods need to be licensed and inspected before shipping. However, some goods can be shipped to their specific quotas.

VAT Registration

Business owners need to request relevant information on VAT registration before shipping goods from China to the UK to avoid unfavorable situations. Shipment of goods above GBP 8,500 requires VAT registration. Other details can be gotten from the HM Revenue and Customs webpage.

EORI Registration

The European Union’s jurisdiction requires businesses to obtain the EORI (Economic Operator’s Registration and Identification) number before shipping cargo in and out of the nations. The registration also determines subsequent procedures. 

Obtain Custom Registration and Attorney Power

A CR (custom registration) is a three-digit number displayed at specific sites known as import zones for goods arriving in the UK. This number is paramount, as goods will not be shipped from China into the UK without it.

Also, goods shipped into the UK needs Attorney Power for easy documentation of non-documented products/cargo.

The CHIEF System and Goods Declaration

 The Customs Handling Import and Export of Freight (CHIEF) system makes it compulsory for all international shipments entering the UK to provide a declaration from the manufacturers. The declaration allows easy access to the tax payable and the need for documentation and cargo inspection.

Shipping Cost Between China and the UK

To get an estimated cost for shipping goods from China to the UK, you need to obtain relevant information concerning the cost per product and the average shipping rates to their final destination. 

Once this information is obtained from your Chinese supplier, you can estimate the cost using a simple freight calculator by inputting the following information;

  • Dimensions of the goods to be shipped
  • Origin and destination of the goods
  • Modes of transportation/shipping, either via air, sea, rail, etc.
  • Duties and taxes payable

After estimating the cost, you’ll then analyze whether the shipping partner’s charges are legitimate or not. Keeping a tab on the taxes and duties payable would be best. To calculate your estimated shipping cost from China to the UK, 

  • Ask your shipping partner for the total value of the products.
  • Calculate the VAT for the total cost of deliverables, duties, and delivery charges.
  • Calculate the duty payable for products in the UK following the HMRC systems and the HS code. The percentage amounts to 0-12% but could be higher in some situations.


The information provided above gives you forehand knowledge of all you need to know before shipping your goods from China to the UK. You can also carry out further inquiries. It’s imperative you strictly follow the steps to avoid unforeseen situations.