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Essential Things To Consider When Importing From China To Ghana

Date: 2022-06-03

Where are you on the journey to your importation business in Ghana: Have you found a reliable supplier? 

Are you now a mini-importer? 

Or are you still trying to make up your mind if this is the right business model you should be following?

Comment below lets know where you are on your journey.

But before we look at the points that will both simplify importation from China to Ghana and show you what to do, let’s agree on some few things first.

You’ve heard that without a trusted and reliable supplier/manufacturer, your importation will be a “nightmare”, right?

Also, you will agree with me that custom duty/levies can sometimes discourage one from importing, yes?


But the real catch is that, with the right information, suppliers/manufacturers, and a little “custom secrets” this is a business you sure don’t want to miss.

Let’s begin.

Why import from China to Ghana?

If you are dealing with importing electronics, clothes, bags, shoes or whatever from China to Ghana, there are several essential things that should be put in place. 

This is because it is an international trade which involves quite a number of processes and procedures to be followed. 

You will agree with me that China is fast becoming a production superpower, manufacturing a large proportion of the world’s consumer products, and importing from China has proven a successful tactic when you consider the price, quality and how fast you can get your goods.

However, it is not an easy task, especially for the starters. The importing process can be extremely complex, confusing, and costly. Expected gains can often be erased by long transit times, rising or fluctuating delivery costs, custom fees, and unexpected delays.

This is why from our 4+ years of experience on helping our client set up a smooth importation business not just from China, but also from Dubai, Turkey, UAE, etc., we decide to help you as well.


Understanding what to import:

After making up your mind that you will venture into the importation business, you will have to do a little research to know those things which are prohibited in Ghana.

Why do you need to know those goods which are prohibited from importing to Ghana?

So that you don’t waste time, effort and money on importing goods that will be held at the border by Ghana Custom. 

However, you can also find lists of prohibited goods/products from other blogs

Watch out for the followings: 

  • Acids

  • Aerosols

  • Bleach,

  • Cash

  • Animal skins

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Poison

  • Pornographic materials

  • Valuables (like gold, silver, arts, antique paintings, etc.)

  • Explosives and firearms

  • Cheese

  • Milk and Dairy products

  • Fruits, vegetables and nuts, insects

  • Livestock and animals

  • Meat - poultry - egg products

  • Seeds

  • Wood packing materials

  • Tobacco-related products

  • Fireworks

  • Flammable fabrics 

The danger of importing goods that are unsafe and that fail to meet health code requirements, or that violate restrictions, is that it can end up costing you quite a bit of money in fines and penalties. At the very least, such goods would be detained, and possibly destroyed.


How did you go about sourcing the product? – The Supplier Selection Process

When it comes to contacting suppliers in China for your importation business, the most used platforms are;

  • Alibaba.com

  • 1688.com, and 

  • Made-in-china.com. 

Alibaba being the most popular platform for importation has a wide range of verified suppliers and factories and thus, you can be rest assured that your money is in safe hands.

But if you still feel that you need someone with more direct contacts over there to both confirm and verify what you have ordered for, you can use trade facilitation companies in Ghana like Fainajs Express Ltd to take off the load of dealing with these suppliers.

Also, you can scroll through the supplier’s page to see the comments of other importers and their experience with the suppliers.


Once you have selected your supplier, make sure you request a Pro forma Invoice or Quote Sheet for your prospective purchases to include the harmonized system number, description & value per item. 

Your Pro forma Invoice must show the weight & the packed dimensions, as well as your term of purchase.

During the communication with your selected suppliers, you can ask them questions like "how do import your products from China to Ghana”, “What is the shipping cost for importing from China to Ghana”, “What shipping mode do they frequently use”, etc., they will give you more professional solutions to your specific products.

Finally, if you can, always ask for samples when necessary, usually you need to pay for the delivery cost, and better ask them to send you their catalogue together


Shipping and logistics!

When you have found what goods or product you want  to import into Ghana and a supplier to deal with, you can go ahead and check if the quality is ‘ok’ and what you are seeing is what you want.

Here are ways of ensuring that:

  1. Come to China to do the inspection in person. 

  2. Find a third party to do the inspection. You also can find a person in China to do it for you.

  3. Ask the supplier to send you the detailed pictures for everything concerning your order:

  4.  Ask them to send you the production samples to you by international express to check and confirm.

Next, you will have to decide on how you will get your imported products from China to Ghana. Let’s consider below the various ways you can ship your order.

  • Shipping through a third party: This type of shipping method is often called “Door-to-Door” and involves using an external company to ship your goods to Ghana and have it delivered to your home or company or delivery point.

  • International Express: This involves you using international shipping methods like DHL, FedEx, etc.

  • FCL and LCL Shipping: Here, you will have to consider using a Full Container Load or a Less-Full Container Load shipping options.

  • Finally, you can partner with a trade facilitation company to assist you in brokering, shipping, and paying your suppliers.


Import taxes, duties and other fees!

Just like every other country, Ghana has its own import duties, tax and other fees importers pay, and as such, Ghana uses the Harmonized Code System to classify all imports that pass through their Customs. 

The amount for the import duty relies on the category of the item you are importing from China to Ghana.

Any product which is traded globally either exported or imported will have a listing at the Harmonized Code which basically is a document for Ghana Customs. 

These codes are given to the items on the basis of the associated import duty rates. The import duty in Ghana is calculated on the basis of cost, item’s freight value, and insurance. 

The value of the item is provided by the company for inspection only after cautious investigation of the invoice as well as other related documents of the importer. 

You can assess the duty that you need to pay by using an “import duty calculator tool (insert Ghana Import Duty Calculator” which you can find on the trade websites of Ghana. 

The calculator will break the duty cost on the Cost of Insurance Freight. CIF is the calculation of the value cargo to FOB or the cost of shipping and insurance cost of transport or the sea freight. Then the duty is calculated, depending on the HS code, at 5%, 10%, or 20% of the CIF.


Your business is growing, what now?

If you have read up to this point, you are ahead of 80% of people who wants to start or grow  their importation business in Ghana.


Let’s assume you have been able to import your first products and have even started selling. I believe the next question is;

 “How do you scale your importation business”?

Now, you know that import from China is a very lucrative business, but it is also risky. 

However, you can scale your importation business and move from Less-full container Load to Full Container Load.

One of the ways to quickly scale your importation business is to look for those you can supply to them locally. This involves you building a list of partners/retailers across different regions in Ghana, so you can be a whole-seller to them.

Also, to scale your importation business in Ghana, you should consider investing in a warehouse facility. The warehouse can be used as a place to store imported goods and packaging materials before distribution.


To wrap things up:

It’s easy to import from China to Ghana when you have a reliable company that knows the in’s and out’s of international shipping. 


At Fainajs Express Ltd, we have been aiding businesses, both small and large, on importing from China, Turkey, Dubai, Nigeria, etc. So, we are well-equipped with all the knowledge required to ensure your products get where they need to go.


Publish By: Samuel Davidson


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