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  • Kimberly Reuter

Importing from China during COVID19

Updated: Apr 22

As many importers are aware, China is getting up to full production speed, and goods are starting to flow. This is excellent news! Unless you are a retailer or other business impacted by COVID19. Companies place purchase orders (POs) for product months in advance, in anticipation of the next season, sales cycle, etc. This leaves many companies in a jam – goods are on the way, revenue is down, duties are due, …and there is no money to pay the bill.

Here are some quick tips –

1. If you can, cancel or postpone orders. This may not be available, but worth a conversation. If your business can survive without the imported product or you may not need the product until later, a delay or cancellation may be in order.


2. Use US FTZs (free trade zones). If your product is already on the way or deferring duty and tax payment will suffice, consider importing into FTZs. FTZs are located all over the country, not just at the ports. By importing into an FTZ, the product does not enter the commerce of the United States; thus, duty and taxes are not payable until the product is “exported” from the FTZ in the US commerce. This will allow companies to pull inventory as needed. You will have to pay storage, but duty can be deferred until removal from the FTZ.


3. Don’t create MORE COST. Ensure that your warehouses, truck drivers, etc. are ready. Move containers and shipments off piers and airports as quickly as possible. Allowing inventory to languish at the port will rack of $1000s of dollars in a heartbeat. If you are unable to receive goods, find cheaper storage alternatives than the ports. And remember you pay detention for steamship containers and chassis, so don’t have containers dropped at your facilities. Again…those bills start adding up in record time.


Just a few quick tips to keep your company in the positive, keep good flowing, and support your business. Stay safe and healthy out there. This to shall pass.


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