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If you have just found a reliable Chinese furniture supplier and started working with them, except for making sure that your order and products are accurate, you also need to pay attention to some issues such as tax rates or safety regulations for importing furniture from China to the United States. Because the goods are not easy to be returned once they reach the US port of destination. In this article, we have compiled some common regulations of importing furniture from China to the United States.
Before importing any product into the United States, especially from countries that do not have preferential trade agreements with the United States, you should always check customs tariff duties. In some cases, this can be a key factor in determining whether your business will be profitable.
You can check the U.S. International Trade Commission website https://hts.usitc.gov/, and view the Harmonized Tariff Schedule for more details. For furniture products, most of them can be found in Section XX, Chapter 94. After you find the specification of your products, you can get the tarciff rate. Please noted that in recent years, the United States has imposed a 25% tariff on most products imported from China, and furniture is among them.
All furniture shall meet SPSC standards for the use of hazardous substances such as lead and formaldehyde. A fundamental act on this issue is the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). This also involves product packaging. Products’ packaging cannot contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury in many states. The only way to make sure your product is safe for customers is to have it tested in a lab. In addiction, some other hazardous substances cannot be used in consumer products according to California Proposition 65.
Regulations on wooden furniture help combat illegal forest logging and protect the country from invasive insects. In the United States, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) agency APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) oversees the import of wood products. APHIS requires all wood entering the country to go through a designated disinfection procedure: heat treatment or chemical treatment. The manufacturer needs to provide the corresponding fumigation certificate before shipping.
Additionally, importing furniture from China made from endangered wood requires a separate permit and compliance with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
In order to combat forest damage caused by legitimate logging and promote responsible management and development of forests, the United States has tightened the management of wood products and requires risk assessment of wood products. Among them, passing FSC certification is the easiest and most effective way. Although this is not mandatory, this certification can help you avoid some hassles in customs clearance or sales.
Although there is no federal law regarding the flammability performance of furniture, in practice, California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 is valid nationwide. According to the announcement, all upholstered furniture should meet the specified flammability performance and testing standards.
Children’s furniture products are subject to more stringent requirements. Children’s furniture is designed to be 12 years old or younger as defined by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). All children furniture is subject to CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), and all materials must be laboratory tested by a third party laboratory accredited by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Additionally, importers must issue a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) with a permanent CPSIA tracking label.
Requirement of document
For all products entering the United States through customs, importers are obliged to collect and submit mandatory import documentation. Make sure you have a properly issued set of documents that can allow the goods to pass through customs, including the relevant proof of compliance.
- commercial invoice issued by the exporter
- packing list
- freight bill (Bill of Lading for sea shipping, Air Way Bill for air shipping)
- Fumigation Certificate for wooden furniture or Non Wood Packing Statement
Also keep in mind that importing furniture from China (actually for all goods) into the US must have a COO label (country of origin). Ask your exporter to prepare it while packing the furniture products.