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Top 3 tips for Amazon FBA sellers shipping from China

By John O' Grady


I have been talking about shipping from China a lot recently, today let's focus that a bit more for Amazon FBA sellers. I will run through 3 tips on delivering imports to Amazon correctly. Also there is a link to the Essential shipping from China Documents Part 2. This shows 12 different templates used to book, process and track your shipment by a professional international freight forwarder. Basically covering the whole process from the shipping agents perspective and follows up nicely our successful piece on how to price to my door from China?

So today we need to cover...

- The 3 Tips on issues for Amazon FBA sellers importing from China.

- The 4 possible Solutions.

FREE Download - Part 2 of the Essential shipping from China document Pack. So tips, issues and a free download,not bad :-) 


ONE - Importer of Record

I dont want to gloss over such a massive topic but lets just say you have nailed the product sourcing from China and hopefully gotten some help with quality control in China for FBA sellers. A lot of the hard work is done and dusted so now its just a matter of moving the items from A-B and then watch them fly out of your store all going well. A being China and B being the USA. While the actual shipping is not hard it is important to have all your ducks in a row so that you tick all the documentation boxes for importing into the US. First up you need to have a company to act as the Importer of Record, they are responsible for the following.

1. ensuring the goods imported comply to all laws and regulations. For example you are not trying to bring in a banned product such as the counterfeit hoverboards in the image above.

2. filling a duty entry form and associated documents.

3. paying import duties and any other associated taxes.

You don't have to be a US regisiterd company for the above, you can also be a non-resident importer of record. In this case you need to contact your customs broker/freight forwarder to find out how to do this.


TWO - Customs Brokers

For Amazon FBA sellers having a solid customs broker is a must. They are licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection to apply for customs entry. Customs Brokers can also make payments for import duty and arragne for the customs release of goods. Basically all that is on behalf of you.


THREE - Shipping Terms, Documentation & Returns

Be careful to make sure your shipping terms to the Amazon fulfillment center should be DDP, i.e. delivery duty paid. You can still buy the product FOB, ship from China and then deliver to Amazon DDP. If goods get to Amazon with any shipping charges or taxes unpaid then they will be refused entry and you will be left in limbo. If you want to learn more about shipping terms then check out our mini Encyclopedia. You should include the address details of the fulfillment center on you shipping documentation for the "Delivery To:" It could look like "Found Limited c/o FBA" followed by the centers address.

shipping from China  

FOUR - Possible Solutions

1. Use a customs broker to act as the ultimate consignee. You will not need an EIN for this solution. An EIN number is basically a social security number for your business.

2. Use an express company like Fedex/DHL. It is best to provide Amazon's EIN number in this case.

3. Use a prep & forwarding company as the ultimate consignee. Again you won't need an EIN here.

4. For normal Air/Ocean shipments (non DHL/Fedex deliveries) then using the forwarder/customs broker as the Importer of record is a good idea. You should be the ultimate consignee and provide Amazons EIN number.


If you have any doubts about how to proceed, just ask Found China OR Amazon. Here is your FREE download again "Essential shipping from China documents Part 2". Other relevant resources you might like too are:

How to calculate landed prices from China?

Shipping from China: Essential Documents Part 1.


John O' Grady has been living and working in Shanghai, China since 2004. In all of that time John has worked in sourcing and supply chain management. Currently he is General Manager of Found China, a provider of China Sourcing Services. John enjoys travelling to factories throughout China to find new suppliers, make deals, oversee QC and stay in touch with good friends. Keep up to date with John and Found on their No. 1 China Procurement blog.

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