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April 3, 2021

Looking for quality affordable machinery? China is one of the best places to source packaging machinery.

With billions of dollars in exporting machinery alone, China is a great option. The plethora of machine manufacturers and suppliers in China is immeasurable.

But, people continue to face challenges and skewed perspectives about the importation process.

This article will help you with the relevant information to begin the process. It will detail how to find reliable suppliers up until the clearing of customs.

It will allow you to understand the best modes of communication and common trade terms. Furthermore, this article has compiled the necessary compliance documentation for machinery importation.

By the end of the article, you will have all the knowledge to begin importing machinery from China.

There is no need for any experience importing packaging machinery from China.

To navigate all the logistics of this process like a seasoned importer, keep on reading.

How to identify a good packing machine supplier

The first step in the process is identifying a suitable machine supplier. This step is crucial to have shorter lead times, a better experience, and a trusted supplier.

With the immense variety, it can be overwhelming to choose the perfect supplier. But, identifying this can be via a few easy steps that this article will provide.

There are a variety of avenues to access to get the best supplier. This can be through physical means or the internet.

In-person sourcing

offline avenues to identify suppliers are often at events like trade fairs and exhibitions. Trade shows pop up in several countries, showcasing Chinese manufacturers and their products.

These events allow you to communicate with agents of the manufacturers. They give you a better understanding of what machinery you would be importing from China.

The most popular trade fairs are the famous Canton Fair and the Yiwu commodities fair. The Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair focuses on the packaging niche.

Online sources

Finding suppliers sourcing packaging machinery in China online is easy. A simple google search can present a plethora of options to choose from. In the same light, you can find suppliers through yahoo site searches, bing, and many more. Trade fairs have also utilized online platforms. This duality gives customers the best of both worlds from online platforms and fairs.

Areas to find suppliers

To narrow the search for a good supplier or manufacturer, find an area to search in. Industrial clusters in China have proven to produce reliable machine suppliers. These provinces each have specialties in the industry they operate.

An example of these areas would be, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Shandong, and Jiangsu. Guangdong in particular sees thousands of machinery exports weekly.

Company Perception

For a better outlook on a supplier, first, review the company’s pictures. Then, read the reviews customers leave in the feedback sections of the supplier.

Follow this with an inquiry about the company’s policies. This is for the after-sale servicing of the machinery. Pictures and reviews are welcome pieces of information.

The problem is that they do not portray the greater framework of the company’s background. This is where the need for the company’s history surfaces.

Company background and history

The supplier’s company history is paramount. The longer the supplier has been in business the greater the chances of it being reliable. This includes having machinery that complies with all necessary regulations.

A company’s business license is the first avenue to check. Company licenses portray a company’s date of incorporation that speaks to its experience. Obtaining this straight from the supplier is a welcome option too.

This process discerns reliable suppliers from those with possible defective and unregulated machinery.

Suppliers with export experience to your particular country.

Finding a company that has exported to your country assists the importation process. It makes the process a world easier. With this experience, the supplier is often well versed with various compliance certifications.

Which include those for your country. On occasions that suppliers have exported to your country, it can reap helpful advice. This advice often comes as recommended freight forwarders for easier customs clearance.

After-sales servicing of packaging machinery from China

It comes recommended to inquire about suppliers’ after-sales policies. To determine the necessary maintenance to perform on your machine. Including the frequency of these works, you would be undertaking.

This maintenance might often be in the form of training from an expert. This would be for you and the personnel that will be working on your packaging machine.

The expert is often provided by the suppliers’ company to ensure the machine’s proper use.

After-sales services additionally include but are not limited to:

-Machinery shipping help

-Packaging design assist

-The commissioning of the packaging machinery from China.

Finding a Suitable Machine to import

Identify the materials or products that you want packed. For example, getting a machine to pack solid food will differ from one of more liquid solubles.

This narrows the search for machinery and fulfills your desired machinery preference. The materials to pack said products will also differ.

Materials to pack

From wrapping film to cappers, machinery needs materials as an accompaniment. Materials required to package potato chips will differ from skincare packaging materials.

The key is knowing what products you want to pack. Do not neglect the materials that go with the packaging machinery.

Types of packaging machinery

The next step is to understand the different types of machinery. Packaging machinery comes in several forms. This is why the options can be overwhelming. Thus, an extensive list of requirements is necessary for the best machine options.

There is plenty of packaging machinery including:

-Vertical packaging machines

-Horizontal Wrapping machines

-Premade bag packaging machines

-Sealer machines

-Coffee/ Tea Bag Packaging Machine and a plethora of many more…

Packaging requirements

Determining the approximate packaging requirements shortens the process of communication and lead time. Presenting these predefined requirements to a supplier indicates that you are serious. And as a result, are most likely to receive quotes faster from the suppliers.

Approximate requirements and specifications can include:

-Voltage and weight

-Protection class and the production time the machine will take. —-Safety adherences, function compliance certificates, and efficiency.

-After-sales servicing requests to provide guides on operation and maintenance and machinery warranties.

Safety standards & Machine functionality in the importing country

Adhering to safety precautions is of the utmost importance when importing from China. Safety standards must be upheld to recover your machinery in the importing country. The article will detail the brief documentation required further below.

As mentioned, addressing entities such as voltage as per safety guidelines is crucial.

Communicate with your supplier about machinery voltage capacities. Lack of adherence can result in your machine not clearing at customs.

The standard voltage in China is 220V 50-60hz. A lot of manufactured machinery is designed with this voltage standard. The importation country might have different voltage standards and requirements. Checking with the manufacturer about the power requirement of the machine is very important since the machinery would need to be customized if it does not meet the power standard in your country.

Machinery Testing

To further cohere to local safety standards, perform machinery tests. Tests ensure that machines will not encounter technical faults during long-term operation.

There is also the option to import machines that have had their testing already. Certificates issued are a direct representation of a tested machine.

A certified machine complies with the safety rules in the jurisdiction of a country. An already tested machine also lessens the total cost of the importing process.

It is possible to carry out a certification through a 3rd party if you have found the perfect machine. But, this is an expensive process.

Testing is essential. This is because of the potential of importing a defective machine to your country. Returns on machines do not result in a refund often. Customs clearance in China may even refuse the export of the machine once returned.

Opening disputes with suppliers often does not end well in the customers’ favor. A loss experience is often a loss un-refunded and you want to safeguard against this.

How to communicate with Chinese Suppliers

The language barrier between suppliers and customers is often a concern for customers. This barrier is not a hindrance. This is because most Chinese manufacturers and suppliers have overseas sales that speak English.

This personnel is well versed with the English language thereby making communication simple.

There are several modes of communication to communicate with Chinese suppliers well. The bulk of these platforms is online.


The most used means of communication to use is through the Whatsapp app. Accessing the app can easier can be via android, IOS, and various Windows devices. It also offers a web platform.

Skype & Zoom

Additionally, applications such as Skype and Zoom are reliable alternatives. These platforms (like Whatsapp and mailbox) rely on an internet connection for communication.

Phone calls

Phone calls are a more expensive alternative. But are the fastest way to reach your manufacturer in China.


Finally, mailboxes in the form of emails can be a trusted means of communication. Please note that email response times are often the slowest means of communicating. This can be frustrating if the information shared is time sensitive to the process.

Ecommerce sites

Several suppliers are also based on eCommerce sites that have inbuilt messaging sections. From personal experience, the agents entrusted with the communication are quick with responses. The agents are also very knowledgeable and offer different quotes and machinery quality.

The Terms of international trade

International trade is the monetary ratio of export prices to import prices. These shipping terms are otherwise known as INCOTERMS (International Commercial Terms). These determine how much a supplier will quote you after discussing trade terms.

While choosing a trade term note that the most expensive steps are domestic shipping. As well as the importation shipping process from China.

At this point, it is advisable to negotiate from an informed perspective. This yields the best possible price for your machinery.

Below are the 5 most common INCOTERMS explained.

EXW (EX- Works)

When quoted with this on your product price it quotes the original product price. The qualm with this trade term is that the majority of the handling is by the customer.

This price is convenient to compare between various manufacturers on your radar.

This requires you to get a freight forwarder to go to your supplier’s warehouse and pick up the machinery.

Another option would be using Courier services to receive products. This option would allow for the quotation of the ECW term.

This is due to the fact that courier services pick up the package in China. Then from the suppliers’ workhouse, deliver to you faster than other transport means.

The burden of responsibility and shipping duties lie on the customer. This is once the machinery has been loaded for transportation.

CIF (Cost Insurance & Freight)

Cost insurance and freight, as based on its title, is one of the other used modes of quoting products. The price includes the cost of the goods, transportation, and insurance to a country.

It is important to note that in regards to the insurance element, this insurance is partial. It only covers instances whereby goods go missing. This insurance does not cover damages to the goods. It also does not cover the damaged packaging of the goods. Any damages during the shipment process are not included.

The CIF term quote can be useful as a blueprint for importing without a freight forwarder. It allows you to source a local company and customs broker. These then transport the goods and inform you about any further logistics in the process.

FOB (Free on Board)

The supplier will be quoting you based on transporting the goods to a sea-craft. Which is at a particular seaport of your choosing. This is also the case for transporting the goods to a plane of your chosen airport.

In the event that you are unaware of the ocean ports or airports, your supplier can help. Inquire with the supplier for the closest port location and have the supplier quote you on that.

In this case, having a freight forwarder is beneficial.

A freight forwarder bridges the divide between you and a supplier. Freight forwarders then deliver to the final point of destination.

Forwarding agents handle the customs clearance procedures. This includes documentation, goods tracking, stewarding, and more. This then makes the process as seamless as possible for customers.

The FOB quote is particularly helpful to both beginner importers and experienced importers. Agents deliver a hassle-free shipping logistics experience. The delivery is the easiest part, drop at a convenient pickup location of your choice.


DDU or DDP are the easiest ways utilized by international customers. This is especially true in the United States and Canada.

DDP stands for Delivery Duty Paid while DDP stands for Delivery Duty Unpaid.


The DDP is the most convenient way to receive machinery in a shorter amount of time. This term stipulates that the supplier handles all the importation processes.

This includes customs duties. The supplier carries the responsibility of ensuring the smooth transportation of goods. The entire process is inclusive of the quoted fee. As a result, receiving your machinery from China is simple, easy, and fast.

The import process most customers dread is strewn within the trade term. Thus, as an individual, no documentation will have you sweating. The entire import duty cost payment is within one quote.

Some suppliers ask that you pay the customs duty before the delivery. Which then terms it as a ‘DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid)’


The INCOTERMS regulations declared the eradication of the DDU trade term in 2010. But in China, manufacturers and suppliers continue to use the term as an option for customers.

For most Western countries, Chinese suppliers have freight forwarders. These agents can assist with the import process. All the logistics of customs and taxes get handled but only in certain countries.

Incorporating the DDU or DDP as an optional trade term might not be as simple. This is because it is dependent on a supplier’s network of freight forwarders. As opposed to sourced freight forwarders with experiences in your particular importing country.

Certifications & Documentation requirements for packaging machinery imports from China

Every country has varying requirements for Chinese machinery importation documents.

Certificates, safety standards, and compliance regulations are a broad scope of regulations. All are necessary entities for the legal importation of machinery from China.

The aim of the compliances is to ensure the testing of various machinery and products. Thereby meeting the standard machinery quality and safety requirements for individual countries.

Failure to follow the required domestic regulations can result in several issues. Including, paying expensive fines and having the machinery repossessed.

The repercussions go as far as customs authorities choosing to keep the goods. This is until there can be a clearance of all the regulations necessary.

The legal implications of importation regulations have furthered the technicality of the process.

With the right information on duties and safety parameters, you avoid any missteps. The descriptions of all the machinery importing documentation required from China are below.

General Documentation requirements

The bill of lading is one of the first universal requirements. It is the contract between your supplier and the shipping company. The bill facilitates the transportation of goods. It lists all the goods and journeys of the trip until the final destination of the machinery.

In light of this Bill, there are a few other documents that a buyer should look out for. Once the machinery from China has arrived in the importing country identity;

-A certificate of origin to prove that the sale of the machine is from China.

-A commercial invoice is used for custom clearance procedures.

-A packing list to detail the contents of the shipment

-An EORI number (for only in the UK.) This acts as an importer verification to assist in keeping track of imported goods.

-An Bill of lading


The United States is one of China’s leading trading partners. The United States has dominated China’s importation space in machinery. It has seen trillions of dollars spent on imports.

As a result, there has been a lot of information about regulatory requirements. This is how to import packaging machinery from china to the states.

In regards to label requirements, packaging machinery requires a “Made in China” label. This coheres with the ISO regulations for importing machinery from China. Mandated regulations cannot escape compliance rules unless communicated and requested otherwise.


The UK’s regulations include all the general requirements and a CE Certificate. Before ordering a machine ensure that it is compliant with the CE directives.

The specificities within the act vary for various machines. Trying to import non-compliant machinery is illegal and could result in unfortunate repercussions.

The certificate ensures that any imports into the EU or the UK are safety compliant.

The directive, within the scope of the Machine directive, stipulates a general rule. It states that all machines that operate in the EU will undergo safety regulation tests. All that must follow the directive.

There must be a CE Mark on the machinery and a mandatory user manual.

Furthermore, there are electronic compliances that machinery needs to adhere to. The general rule of thumb for electronics is whether they support socket inputs. If the answer is yes, then the machine is under the governance of EU regulations by the RoHS directive.

RoHS in full is the Restriction of Hazardous substances Directive. Machinery that falls within this scope and the CE documentation requirements need:

-Label files

-A declaration of conformity and a user manual.


The ERAC Equipment Certification System governs machinery imports in Australia from China. Unlike the EU, Australia does not have a standard set of requirements for imports. The Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council drafted a regulatory compliance system. This addressed the safety of electrical machinery in Australia and New Zealand.

The Certificate of Origin and The Packaging Declaration are necessary for customs clearance.

Note that hiring a customs broker or freight forwarder can ease customs procedures. All the documentation can be tedious. With these middlemen, custom clearance is faster and less of a hassle. The timeline from the arrival of the goods and delivery to a convenient place on your behalf is a lot faster.

Calculating duties of imports from China

Customs duties imposed on imported goods are a means to get revenue. This is also done to safeguard a country’s manufacturers/ suppliers from foreign competition.

The basis of This monetary regulation is on the value of the imported goods, INCOTERMS, and the HS code. The HS code appears on your commercial invoice.

Calculating these various countries can seem complicated.  It’s complicated if you bear the burden of the responsibilities. Meaning that you are in charge of the majority of the import process, duties, and taxes.

This article will explain a simple way to calculate duties on any machinery from China.

To find the duty percentage rate, go on the company website of the country you are importing to. Type in the HS code: 8422. After this, calculate the duty by adding the total value, freight, insurance, and more costs.

What to look out for when receiving the machinery

Ensure that the packaging of the machinery is well sealed. This requires a careful inspection to see that it is without damages upon arrival. This signals that the machine tampering has been very minimal or none at all.

Thus a delivery with the same functionality is a reasonable expectation to have. Inspect these details before signing the receipt.

In conclusion, the process of importing a packing machine from China is very doable. This guide has detailed every aspect of the importation process.

Thereby ensuring that any customer can import machinery from China like a professional.

From areas to concentrate on while sourcing a supplier to communication pathways. Tips on identifying the best machinery for specific preferences and compliance regulations.

Import duties and more, it is a full proof step-by-step guide on how to import packaging machinery from China.

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    Leon Liu

    Leon Liu


    Hello! I’m Leon, a seasoned Technical Sales Manager with over a decade of immersion in the packaging machinery sector. Currently, I’m putting my expertise to work at Spack Machine, a front-runner in crafting innovative packaging solutions.

    Having a solid educational foundation in mechanical integration and adeptness in marketing and AI tools gives me a unique perspective. I seamlessly bridge the gap between the technical and commercial facets of our offerings. My primary goal? To craft tailored solutions that resonate with our clients’ unique demands, ensuring they benefit from enhanced efficiency and cost savings.

    At heart, I’m driven by my passion to assist businesses in refining their packaging workflows. I firmly believe in a customer-first approach, emphasizing genuine value creation for our partners.

    I cherish connections with fellow professionals from the packaging realm and beyond. Let’s collaborate and chart a course for mutual growth!

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