You don’t have to learn Chinese but there are more complexities when shipping packages internationally.
First, you will have to classify your products with commodity codes, sometimes referred to as harmonized codes or schedule B codes. Harmonized tariff codes are the universal customs standard. These codes describe all goods in trade for duty, quota, and statistical purposes. This structure is based upon the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), administered by the World Customs Organization in Brussels.
Second, after classifying your product, you will have to check that the product you are shipping complies with each country’s import and export regulations. You will need to research specific license needs or find out about government agency requirements and import quotas for your products. It will help you to verify compliance with country-specific trade regulations, procedures, tariffs, laws, and administrative rulings – based on your origin, destination, and products within a shipment. You should also get information regarding preferential trade agreements, such as NAFTA, APEC and others.
Third, when shipping products from the United States to international destinations, you need to stay on top of export license requirements. Your business processes must manage shipping exports with minimal risk of fines or sanctions. So you will need to identify or detect U.S. government licensing requirements and applicable license exceptions, based on your product’s Export Control Classification Number. When exporting commodities from the United States, or releasing technology or source code to a foreign national in the United States, under U.S. law it is the responsibility of the exporter to classify the items to determine if export licenses are required from any U.S. government agency.
Fourth, you will have to make sure that you can send your product to your international customer. To do this, you will check to make sure your customer is not on a denied party lists maintained by governments and international authorities. This is called a Restricted Party Screening.
Fifth, you will need to create the documents required for international trade and customs transactions. These include commercial invoices, Shipper’s Export Declarations (SED’s), Certificates of Origin, & others depending on the country you are shipping to. SED’s need to be filed electronically with the U.S Department of Census before your package is shipped. SED filing is required for most international shipments valued over $2500.00. To comply with the new regulations, SED’s must be filed electronically with the U.S. Department of Census’ Automated Export System (AES.)
Finally, your customer may want to know how much it is going to cost them for the shipment. In order to accomplish this, you will have to calculate an estimate of the landed cost. This is a term that means the total cost to get a package to its destination. When shipping internationally it is more than the freight cost; it also includes customs fees, duties or taxes, brokerage and other charges involved in customs clearance.