Customs tariff for goods from China

You want to import goods from China and don’t know how to calculate the customs duties? Maybe the blogpost can give you some ideas.

You probably know that goods can be traded duty-free in the EU. However, like all countries outside the EU, China belongs to the so-called third countries. When importing goods from these countries, a third-country duty rate is due, which can range anywhere from 0 to 25 percent.

In most cases, the third country duty rate remains the same no matter which third country you import from. Shoes with leather soles are subject to 5% third country duty, whether the shoes come from China, Vietnam or Switzerland.

However, special third-country duty rates apply to certain goods from certain countries. For example, steel from China is subject to an anti-dumping duty to protect steel suppliers in the EU from undue competition.

The range of the possible third country duty rate is quite wide. Accordingly, it is important that you factor in customs duties if you want to import goods from China or another third country into Germany?

Safety and liability

Also, keep in mind that as an importer, you are placing a product on the market in the EU. Thus, you are liable for the safety of the product. Therefore, be sure to clarify the following questions in advance:

  • Am I allowed to import my product at all?
  • Are there any import restrictions?
  • Do I need special certificates to be allowed to import my product?
  • Do I have to have my product tested in the country of origin before I can market it in the EU?
  • What are the liability risks associated with importing my product?

Where can I find the correct tariff?

You can find out which customs tariff applies to your product and what else you should look out for when importing it online at EZT. Electronic customs tariffs are listed on this website of the General Directorate of Customs. Here you will find the so-called customs tariff number for your product and all related regulations including the applicable customs tariff.

Step by step to the right tariff

Let’s stay with the example of “shoes with leather soles from China”:

  1. Open the EZT online page
  2. Select “for import” and then the menu item “Classification” > “Goods nomenclature
  3. Open the ABS branch. XII chap. 64 to 67: Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sunshades, etc. > Chap. 64 Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts thereof > Item. FS[00] 6403 Shoes with outsoles of rubber, plastic, Leather or reconstituted leather and leather top > FS[01] 640351 Other footwear, with outer soles of Leather > FS[02] 6403 59 other > FS[03] 64035911 other
  4. Congratulations. You have found your tariff number. It is 64035911. Now click on “Actions”.
  5. For country of origin, preferential country of origin and country of dispatch, enter “CN” for China and click “Start search”.
  6. Now all measures that apply to shoes with leather soles from China are listed.

The third-country duty rate is 5 percent. Under “More information” you can see the legal regulation on this. Very simple, or 🙂

This rather outdated looking search system takes some getting used to and requires some practice. However, you can’t avoid digging through if you want to calculate with the right tariff.

Ask customs information

If you just can’t find the right tariff or you are not sure, the information of the customs is your salvation. Go to > Contact > Information > Customs tariff numbers to find the right contact person. Direct link customs tariff issues:

Office hours: Monday to Friday: 08:00-17:00
Phone: +49 351 44834-520

Urs Draeger, C2G Production,, 0176 641 271 88.