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How to import steel from China?

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China is the largest steel producer in the world. The country accounts for about half of the world’s total production and sets a new record in the industry. Chinese manufacturers are responsible for about 50% of the worldwide steel production. So, importing steel from China may be a good idea for businesses. However, there are some important factors to consider. Let’s see what the main steps are to import steel from China.

If you want to import steel from China but you don’t know how to do or are afraid there would be some risks out of your control, this article is for you.

1. Find potential steel suppliers in China

China is the largest steel producer in the world. If you are about to import steel from China, you should focus on suppliers from Hebei, Shandong, and Guangdong provinces. These are considered the main steel producing areas.

When you want to import from China, the first step is to look for suppliers. We will see here the 2 main places where to find Chinese suppliers to import steel from China.

On internet

With the worldwide development of e-commerce, finding a supplier on the internet has become much easier. You can find many potential suppliers through B2B marketplaces like Alibaba or Made in China, social media, and China fairs.

To find out as much as possible, browse the supplier’s website to see if they match your product specifications and then select a few suppliers to compare and move on to selecting the best supplier for your needs. Check out our article on how to find a good Chinese supplier to learn more about the steps to follow to import steel from China.

On trade fairs

Trade shows are the best way to find many suppliers for a wide variety of products.

You can select the most relevant exhibitions according to the category of products exhibited. The main objective is to create a large list of contacts and/or to meet suppliers with whom you have already made contact. We recommend 2 main fairs that will help you in your import of steel from China:

  • Guangzhou International Exhibition for Steel Construction & Metal Building Materials which will be held from August 9 to 11, 2022 at the Canton Fair Complex in Guangzhou. Steel Build is the leading steel construction & metal building materials trade fair in China which gathers more than 2,500 booths.
    🌐 International Exhibition for Steel Construction and Metal Building Materials (

  • Another important fair is the Guangzhou International Exhibition for Stainless Steel Industry, which will be held from September 20 to 22, 2022. It is the most influential stainless steel industry exhibition in Asia that displays the whole process chain of the industry with more than 200 international exhibitors present their products and service.
    🌐 Stainless Steel Expo (

You can find all the trade shows about metals on Metal Working Industries trade shows in China (

Trade shows are an important way to find contacts for your steel import from China that we highly recommend.

2. Learn more about duty rates on steel imports from China

Before organizing imports, each buyer should check the duty rate of the selected product. We will focus here on the duty rates on steel imports from China to the EU and to the US.

To the EU

Tariffs on steel in China are very low, but in the European Union some steel products have to pay additional anti-dumping tariffs. If you are a European importer, you can check the HS code, tariff rate and anti-dumping duty on the TARIC system.

Using the TARIC system is quite simple, you have to choose the right section of the product you want to import and the country of origin. To help you, you can find products that contain steel in section XV “Base metals and articles of base metal” in chapter 72 (iron and steel) or chapter 73 (articles of iron or steel).

To the US

For American importers, you can find steel HTS codes and tariffs on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website.

To find the duty rate of the product, you need to search the name, or its code and you will find the rate in the “General” column.

Anti-dumping duty

Lastly, an important point to think about is the government’s policy on steel imports from China. Because China’s steel production capacity is the largest in the world, some countries impose an anti-dumping tax on Chinese steel products to protect their local steel industry. If you want to import steel from China, you need to check whether your local government applies this type of policy or not. If there is no tax, Chinese steel should be the most competitive and you just have to proceed. If there is a tax, you need to compare the price including tax with the price of steel in your country and make your decision.

For example, in the EU, a restriction in the import of Chinese steel is implemented. You can find more information in the TARIC system of how high the anti-dumping duty is for a specific item.

Learning about the import duties and taxes on steel from China is a crucial step that will allow you to determine whether or not it is better to buy your metal in China

3. Requirements to import steel from China

For the import of goods, the import documents and customs clearance required in the importing country must be completed directly by the importer’s customs broker or importer in accordance with the foreign trade policy of the importing country.

For the import of iron and steel from China, the import entry documents as well as the carrier’s documents (bill of lading/air waybill), commercial invoice, packing list, certificate of origin and other required documents are filed, and the necessary import procedures are completed to take delivery of the imported goods under iron and steel.

Let’s see now more precisely what the requirements are when importing steel from China to the EU and the US.

To the EU

All steel construction products are covered by Regulation (EU) No. 305/2011, which establishes harmonious sales conditions. This regulation applies, for example, to steel pipes and steel structures. Importers of these items are required to obtain CE marking and related documentation (test reports, CE certification and declaration of performance).

You should always be familiar with the product first, and then check for specific regulations, labels or documentation that apply to it.

The following documents are required for customs clearance:

  • Commercial invoice (from the exporter);
  • Packing list;
  • Bill of Lading (B/L, BOL) – For sea freight;
  • Air Waybill (AWB) – for air freight.

To the US

Unlike the European Union, the United States does not have a unified law that sets market requirements for imported goods. In addition, all goods that enter the United States have some basic restrictions. All products entering the country require a COO (Country of Origin) label. Also, make sure you have the complete set of the following documents:

  • Commercial invoice (from the exporter);
  • Packing list;
  • Bill of Lading (B/L, BOL) – For sea freight;
  • Air Waybill (AWB) – for air freight;
  • Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533)

The import is then allowed once you check the list of all these requirements regarding your country.

4. Avoid scams while importing steel from China

Many dishonest companies on platforms like Alibaba pretend to be steel suppliers but are scammers that will just take your money and never send your order. Importers need to ensure the reliability of the supplier before working with him and before sending any deposit.

We recommend 2 services that are fundamental when purchasing steel from China.

Verify your supplier

Don’t forget to always check your future business partners. So, you can be confident that they are reliable, and that the cooperation is worth it. To do so, you can use the services of a sourcing company, like Asiaction, which provides factory audits to ensure the reliability of the supplier before you work with him.

With this service you will mitigate your risks and have a clear vision of your next partners.

Control your goods in China

Before the goods leave the Chinese territory, it is important to control the quality of the goods to make sure everything follows your requirements. Once the goods arrive at your premise, it is too late to make a change, so you must intervene before. To do so, you can use the services of a sourcing company like Asiaction that will do the quality control in China accordingly to all your requirements. The goods will be shipped only once you give the green light. With this service you assure the quality of the goods delivered. You will find and correct defects at the source and check the product quality at any production step.

Many companies purchase in China by themselves and get cheated, that’s why it’s important to make a quality control of your steels from China. You can read more about how to import steel from China in complete safety in our case study, where we cover how did a French company avoid a metals scam in China.


To sum up, importing steel from China is a good opportunity for business if the duties are not high. There are many ways to find steel suppliers in China but once you identify one, the major part is coming: verify the supplier before working with him and control the quality of the steels in China. To do so, sourcing agents like Asiaction provides factory audit and quality control services. You will avoid scams and receive your steel from China in accordance with your requirements.

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