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What taxes are involved when goods are imported into China?

Different taxes are applied to goods imported into China:

  • Custom duties: China’s custom duties include (i) general duty rates; (ii) temporary duty rates; (iii) MFN duty rates; (iv) Conventional duty rates; (v) Special preferential duty rates (2023 list available at this link); and (vi) Tariff rate quota (TRQ) rates. Certain imports may be temporarily exempt from custom duties, as it is the case for scientific and technical equipment not produced domestically. Occasionally, higher custom duties may be applied as retaliation to political disputes or trade wars; while custom duties are exempted for many products originating from countries with which China has signed Free Trade Agreement (list available at this link).
  • Value-added tax: since April 2019, China’s import VAT on imported goods has been lowered to:
    • 13%, applicable mostly to manufactured goods;
    • 9%, applicable mostly to agricultural and utility goods;
    • 6%, applicable to services.
  • Consumption tax: applicable to products that are harmful to health (e.g. tobacco or alcohol), luxury products (e.g. jewellery and cosmetics), as well as high-end products (e.g. passenger cars, boats, etc.). The specific rate of the Consumption Tax varies (from 1% to 56%) depending on the type of product, and can be calculated by using either the ad valorem or quantity-based method.