2024 Guide on How to Import Furniture from China

If you’re considering expanding your furniture business or furnishing your home with unique pieces, understanding how to import furniture in China can be cost-effective. 

China’s position as a leader in global furniture manufacturing extends far beyond just the United States. In 2022, it remained a dominant source of furniture imports globally. 

Figures from 2022 clearly show that the United States alone imported 42% of its furniture from China. 



Why Import Furniture From China?

China is a global leader in furniture manufacturing, offering a wide range of furniture styles, materials, and price points. 

There are some key reasons to consider when importing China furniture: 


Due to competitive production costs and economies of scale, furniture manufacturers in China can be significantly cheaper than domestically produced options. 

Variety and Selection

Chinese furniture manufacturers offer a vast selection of furniture styles, from traditional to contemporary, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. 


Many Chinese furniture factory manufacturers are willing to customize furniture designs and specifications to meet your needs. 

How to Import Furniture From China?

Importing furniture from China involves several key steps: 

1. Source Furniture Suppliers

Use online platforms such as Alibaba or Global Sources to connect with furniture manufacturers in China. 

You can also attend trade shows specific to furniture or visit furniture manufacturing hubs in China. 

2. Negotiate Prices and Terms

Once you’ve identified potential suppliers, negotiate the price, minimum order quantity (MOQ), payment terms, and delivery timelines. It’s crucial to obtain a proforma invoice outlining these details. 

3. Quality Control

Consider conducting a quality inspection at the factory before shipment for large orders. This ensures the furniture meets your specifications and avoids potential issues upon arrival. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Import Furniture from China

For a more detailed approach, this is a step-by-step guide to import furniture from China:

  1. Research and Choose Supplier: Research potential furniture manufacturers in China, considering factors like product quality, production capabilities, and customer reviews. 
  2. Product Selection and Negotiation: Select the furniture you wish to import and negotiate the price, payment terms, and minimum order quantity with the supplier. 
  3. Proforma Invoice and Contract: Obtain a proforma invoice outlining the agreed-upon details and finalize a formal contract with the supplier. 
  4. Import Duty and Taxes: Research import duties and taxes applicable to your specific furniture types and quantities for your destination country (US, EU, UK). These can be found on the relevant customs authority websites, such as US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the United States. 
  5. Product Certification: Ensure the furniture meets your destination country’s safety and quality standards (US, EU, UK). Certifications like ISO or specific country markings (e.g., CE marking for the European Union) might be required. 
  6. Booking Shipment: Choose a shipping method (ocean freight for large quantities, air freight for smaller orders) and book the shipment with a freight forwarder who can handle customs clearance procedures. 
  7. Customs Clearance: The freight forwarder will manage customs clearance upon arrival, presenting necessary documentation (commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, import permits if applicable). 
  8. Delivery and Inspection: Once cleared by customs, the furniture will be delivered to your designated location. Conduct a final inspection to ensure everything matches the order details. 

Import Costs 

Importing furniture from China to the USA includes the furniture itself, shipping costs, import duties and taxes, quality control inspections (if applicable), and freight forwarder fees. 

Carefully calculating these factors beforehand is essential for accurate budgeting. 

Import Regulations & Product Compliance (US, EU, UK)

Furniture imports must comply with the regulations of your destination country (US, EU, UK). 

Import from China to USA

In order to import from China to the USA, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulates furniture imports. 

Furniture safety standards are enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

Check the CBP website for specific import requirements and potential duty rates for furniture. 

Import from China to the European Union 

The European Union (EU) enforces product safety regulations for furniture. Furniture must bear the CE marking to indicate compliance with these regulations. 

Refer to the European Commission website for detailed information on EU furniture import regulations. 

Import from China to UK

The Furniture and Furnishings (Safety) Regulations 2018 governs furniture safety standards in the UK. Imported furniture must comply with these regulations. 

You can find more information on furniture import regulations on the UK government website. 

Documents Necessary to Import Furniture from China

Successfully importing furniture from China requires meticulous documentation. 

1. Commercial Invoice

This is a crucial document that serves as a detailed bill of sale for your furniture shipment. 

  • Seller Information: The Chinese furniture supplier’s company name, address, and contact details. 
  • Buyer Information: Your company name, address, and contact details. 
  • Invoice Date: The date the invoice is issued. 
  • Invoice Number: A unique identified for the specific invoice. 
  • Product Description: A detailed description of each furniture item, including material, style, dimension (length, width, height), and unique features. 
  • HS Code (Harmonized System Code): A universally recognized product classification code assigned to your furniture. You can find the appropriate HS code using online resources from your country’s customs authority. 
  • Quantity: The number of units for each furniture item. 
  • Unit Price: The price per unit of each furniture item. 
  • Total Value: The total cost of each furniture item (quantity x unit price). 
  • Currency: The currency in which the transaction is denominated (e.g., USD, EUR, CNY). 
  • Incoterms: International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) define the responsibilities of the buyer and seller regarding costs and risks associated with the shipment. 
  • Seller’s Signature and Stamp: The signature and stamp of an authorized representative from the furniture supplier. 

2. Packing List

This document provides a detailed breakdown of the contents of your furniture shipment, and they should include the following: 

  • Seller Information
  • Buyer Information 
  • Invoice Number 
  • Itemized List 
  • Quantity 
  • Gross Weight 
  • Net Weight 
  • Dimensions 
  • Total Number of Packages

3. Bill of Lading (Ocean Freight)/Air Waybill (Air Freight) 

This document serves as a contract of carriage between you (the importer) and the shipping carrier (ocean freight company or airline) responsible for transporting your furniture. 

Ocean Freight (Bill of Lading)

The ocean freight company issues it upon receipt of your furniture for shipment. It details the origin and destination ports, the furniture description (matching the Commercial Invoice and Packing List), quantity, and freight charges. 

Air Freight (Air Waybill)

Issued by the airline upon receipt of your furniture for shipment. Similar information as the Bill of Lading, but tailored for air freight. 

Certificate of Origin

A document issued by a government agency or authorized body in China certifying the country of origin of your furniture. This might be required depending on your destination country’s regulations. 

Product Certifications

Certain furniture categories might require specific safety or quality certifications to comply with import regulations in your destination country (e.g., US – Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards, EU – CE Marking). 

Import Permits

In some cases, specific import permits might be necessary depending on the type of quantity of furniture you’re importing. 

How to Import Furniture from China: The Shipment Process

The shipment process of how to import furniture from China is in the following steps: 

1. Choosing a Shipping Method

Ocean Freight: The most cost-effective option for large furniture orders; however, transit times can be longer (several weeks). 

Air Freight: A faster option for smaller furniture orders or when quicker delivery is crucial. However, air freight is significantly more expensive than ocean freight. 

2. Booking with a Freight Forwarder

A freight forwarder handles transporting your furniture from China to your destination country. 

  • Negotiate shipping rates with carriers. 
  • Arrange customs clearance procedures. 
  • Provide tracking information. 
  • Manage any potential issues during transport. 

3. Customs Clearance

The freight forwarder will handle customs clearance upon arrival at the destination port. This involves submitting the necessary documentation (commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, import permits if applicable) to customs authorities for inspection and duty payment. 

4. Delivery

Once customs clears, the freight forwarder will arrange delivery of your furniture to your designated location. 

Sourcing Furniture from China: Pros and Cons

Pros of Sourcing Furniture from China 

The pros or advantages of sourcing furniture from China can be significantly cheaper due to lower production costs. 

Chinese manufacturers offer many furniture styles, materials, and customization options. 

Many Chinese furniture manufacturers have well-established production processes, ensuring efficient order fulfillment. 

Cons of Sourcing Furniture from China

Language barriers and time zone differences can create communication challenges with suppliers. 

It’s crucial to conduct quality control inspections, especially for larger orders, to ensure the furniture meets your specifications. 

Some manufacturers have minimum order quantities that might need to be more suitable for smaller businesses. 

Lead times for production and shipping can be longer than sourcing couches from China or furniture stores in China.