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What is the best way to ship goods from China to Vietnam ?

If you’re searching for an answer to this question, it probably means that you’re close to import/export Chinese goods from/to Vietnam.

Because great English information isn’t easy to find on the web about this topic, we decided to build this page to clarify all your thoughts about it. Our numerous years of experience on the Asian market and our hours of research about this subject enables us to gather all the important information for you to master this operation. No matter if you are an accomplished exporter/importer, or a novice in the domain, if you’re planning a one-shot import/export in/to Vietnam, or more regular transfer through time, this page will give you precious information that can help you enhance or implement your import/export process. 

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Our customs broker inform you

Customs clearance in Vietnam

What duties and taxes will I pay for my goods ?

Remark: That’s a priority to think of when you’re working in International Trade.

Ahead of the USA, China became both the first exportation and importation partner of Vietnam in terms of value. Because of the involvement of Vietnam in the ASEAN community, the custom tariffs and procedures between the two countries have been eased and reduced. This was officially ruled in the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA). This agreement reduced tariff barriers to zero of 90% of the goods imported from China. Thus, there is a big chance that the goods you are importing to Vietnam are “tariff-free”.

Here are some useful tools to calculate the tariff barriers of your products between the two countries.

To find further information about duties and taxes in ASEAN, please check the official website: ASEAN – CHINA Free trade aera business portal

In the Tariff finder on the right-top of the page, select China as the “Country of Origin” and Vietnam as the “Country of Destination”. Then put the name of the product or good you want to transfer to Vietnam. It will show you the tariff barrier that applies. For example, if you want to find tariff barriers that applies in dairy machineries fulfil the tariff finder like this.

duties finder ASEAN

Here is the composition of an HS Code, you can now see what an HS code is and what does it mean.

hs code composition

If you already know the HS Code of your products, you can find the tariff barrier that applies with this website. Write the HS Code number on the Searching Bar, then select the “ASEAN – China (ACFTA)”, in the “Special importing taxes (FTA)” rubric. For example, if you want to know the tariff barriers that applies on a milking machine, fulfil the “lookup import tax” like this.

To find further information about duties and taxes in Vietnam according to your HS code, please check the official website: Customs in Vietnam

customs tariff vietnam

Can I be exempted of taxes for goods imported from China?

Remark: As you’re surely interested in reducing the total cost of the transfer, you may want to know more about it.

Yes, it can be possible. In order to achieve it, you or your supplier should send us the well completed FORM E page. Please be careful, because errors on your FORM E will result in taxes for yourself. We will check it for you, before all process, to be sure.

The Certificate of Origin (CO)

This document certifies that the goods you’re shipping were produced in a particular place and country. It must be produced by a notary public or government. In general, it is divided into GSP certificate of origin (Form A), and numerous regional preferential certificates of origin, and non-preferential certificates of origin.

SINO Link: Here is a template of this document: FORM-E

ASEAN-China Free Trade Certificate of Origin

The China – ASEAN Free Trade Certificate of Origin (FORM E) is applying currently to exports of Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Brunei. It complies with the relevant provisions of the product, if issued by the China – ASEAN free Trade Area of ​​preferential origin confirmation letter (FORM E), exports of goods to the 10 countries of the importing country can enjoy preferential tariff treatment, the average tax rate of up to 5%.

The « Trade in Goods Agreement », is delimiting the sample format of CO that needs to be observed. In the “trade in goods agreement” Protocol II, you have to describe briefly what the back page is containing.

Now that you know what documents and forms are required, you must inform yourself about the shipping possibilities that are offering to you.

Customs contact in China

chinese customs

Official name: General Administration of Customs of China

Official Website: Chinese Customs Website

Customs contact in Vietnam

customs vietnam

Official name: General department of Vietnam Customs

Official Website: Vietnamese Customs Website

Customs process

customs clearance process

Our customs broker inform you

Prohibited & restricted items

Remark: If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SINO Experts. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug contraband

Ivory

Poison

Christophe Pallure

Explosives

Batteries

Pornography

Biohazard

Flammable

Knife

Chemicals

Firearms

Tobacco

Corrosive

Drugs

Gambling

Counterfeit

Counterfeit notes

Hazardous

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SEA FREIGHT FROM/TO VIETNAM

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if:

  • Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
  • Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them

Remark: As the major freight method used throughout the world, you may consider it as your first choice.

Thanks to the two countries closeness, Sea freight from China to Vietnam is one of the most competitive option that you have. Rates are very affordable and transit times are not very high.

Vietnam has numerous sea ports that are boarding the South China Sea. The two biggest and busiest ports are Cat Lai/Ho Chi Minh City and Haiphong Port due to their proximity to the two major cities of Vietnam, HCMC and the capital Hanoi. All other ports are 10 times smaller than those two on average, but still very effective. All the harbours of Vietnam are well equipped, with good LCL and FCL cargo services.

We can classify the harbours in three categories. The first category is the ports that are located on the north of the country:

  • Cam Pha
  • Haiphong
  • Nghe Tinh
  • Vung Ang

The second category, which includes only one port, Da Nang port, is the category of the port of Central Vietnam.

To finish, the third category is including ports that are located in the South of the country:

  • Qui Nhon
  • Nha Trang
  • Ho Chi Minh City / Cat Lai
  • Can Tau

Here are tables that defines transit times and rates on average, between the biggest Chinese ports and the Vietnamese ports. Smaller ports will have a slightly higher transit time than the two majors, because of their tiny traffic:

HaiphongDa NangHCMC
Hong Kong / Shenzhen
1-4 days5 days3-7 days
Dalian9 days12 days10 days
Tianjin11 days18 days10 days
Qingdao7 days12 days9 days
Ningbo6 days9 days6 days
Shanghai5 days10 days7 days
Guangzhou1-4 days5 days3-7 days

AIR FREIGHT FROM/TO VIETNAM

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if:

  • Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods

Remark: Depending on your goods, you can choose this performing method as your main way, or only on particular occasions.

The whole territory of Vietnam is well served in International Airports. There are at least 10 international airports that are covering the country, both in passenger and freight transit. Numerous International Airlines have branches in those airports. There is numerous daily flights departing from all these airports and in destination of the biggest Chinese cities.

Here is a ranking of the different Vietnamese airports, in terms of busyness:

  1. Tan Son Nhat International Airport / HCMC
  2. Noi Bai International Airport / Hanoi
  3. Da Nang International Airport / Da Nang
  4. Cam Ranh International Airport / Khanh Hoa
  5. Phu Quoc International Airport / Kien Giang
  6. Vinh Airport / Nghe Anh
  7. Phu Bai International Airport / Thua Thin-Hue
  8. Cat Bi international Airport / Hai Phong
  9. Lien Khuong Airport / Lam Dong
  10. Buon Ma Thuot Airport / Dak Lak

Remark: Transit time are hard to estimate as it mainly depends of the budget: a direct flight available within a day is possible, but will probably be more expensive. In average, you can expect 2/3 days (export process included) 

RAIL FREIGHT FROM/TO VIETNAM

Rail freight will be the best solution for you, in the case that:

  • Your supplier is located in Central China or near the border
  • You need to send the goods on the half bottom of the country

Remark: Railways are well working in Vietnam to link the cities of its very elongated territory. Using them for your business might be a smart move.

You must know that the border is crossed by trains in only two points.

First there is the Kunming-Haiphong Railway that links the two eponymous cities.

It’s an 855 km long railway that links Vietnam to the Chinese province of Yunnan in less than 2 days. This rail line is crossing the border in the Vietnamese town of Lao Cai, who faces the Chinese town of Hekou.

Then there is the famous Beijing-Hanoi railway that links the capitals of each countries.

Many other Chinese train lanes are linked to this railway. It implements a great network of Chinese cities that are joining the capital of Vietnam. The first freight train was launched in 2017 and is currently linking Hanoi to Nanning. Then, Nanning is linked to Beijing and various other cities by numerous trainlines. This network cross the Vietnamese-Chinese border only on one point, the “Friendship pass” between Pingxiang (China) and Đồng Đăng (Vietnam). A second rail service is linking, Hanoi to the city of Nanchang, through a 1700 km route. The journey takes around 5 days to link the two cities and it costs half a road transport for the same distance. Another rail line ties Chongqing to Vietnam within 4 days.

Remark: Regarding transit time you can expect maximum 10 days if it starts from the north of China (like « Xi’an« ) and finish to the south of Vietnam (like « Ho Chi Minh City« ). Otherwise, the transit could start from 3 days if we ship from the south of China to the north of Vietnam.

CROSS BORDER FROM/TO VIETNAM

Road freight will be the most convenient option if:

  • Your supplier is located close to the Vietnamese border
  • The final destination of your goods is in the top half of the country
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive your goods

Remark: Road freight can be used, but only based on very particular parameters. Let us explain you why.

trucking service china asean

If you’re not filling at least two of criterias mentioned, we unadvise you to choose this method of transport completely.

With more than 90 million of inhabitants for a surface of 310000 square kilometres, the density of population is tremendously huge in Vietnam. Also, the road system is still in development, not very well-thought and the Expressway system is on its premises. The medium age of the fleets of trucks in Vietnam is superior than 15 years old. All of these reasons are making Vietnam one of the busiest country in the world in terms of road traffic. Traffic jams can easily last around 4 hours in every area of the country.

In terms of costs and transit times, it’s also the heaviest way to ship from China. Although there is numerous border posts between Vietnam and China, the custom clearing process can easily take a decade of hour for a single truck in this spots. The road freight is only good to complete other freight methods, like Sea freight + Trucking, Rail freight + Trucking…

Remark: Regarding transit time you can expect maximum 10 days if it starts from the north of China and finish to the south of Vietnam. Otherwise, the transit could start from 2/3 days if we just need to cross the border and deliver your parcel.

Why choose us ?

Our advantages

SINO Shipping, we understand perfectly the needs of our customers and establish a win-win collaboration with them.

« respect is earned. honesty is appreciated. trust is gained. loyalty is returned. »

Reactivity

Make a request and you will be contacted within 24 hours maximum

Dedicated customs service

Do not hesitate to contact us for customs or administratives information

Tailored service

Small or big shipment, we can manage every request

Competitiveness

We guarantee very competitive price, ask us and compare !

Multilingual team

We speak English, French and Thaï to avoid any communication issues

Reliability

We ensure and secure all our shipments, safety is our priority !

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