If you're importing from China, occasionally you will see there is a charge of "special declaration fee" on your list.
What is "special declaration fee"? Obviously, this is not a normal declaration. Otherwise it won't be called "Special".
This special thing comes like this:
For all products exported from China, to meet certain quality requirements of some countries, also to establish a good image of China made products, China government requires certain products to be inspected before shipping out.
If pass this inspection, the suppliers will be granted a certificate called CIQ certificate, to prove that the products being exported passed the inspection, so they can be exported and formally declared.
As of some reasons, there are always products don't have this certificate. So they can't be exported.
China customs is holding the door. If they find out products that are not qualified but in the container to be shipped out, they will check the whole container, finally give a fine.
Here comes the trick: the door keeper can keep one eye open while close the other eye. They can "overlook" these unqualified products intentionally while they open the container, IF they have some "special fees" in hand - this is the "special declare fee"!
With "special fee in hand", the customs officer can open a container and then close it again within minutes even there are unqualified products.
If shipper doesn't pay this "special fee", the container will be checked from top to bottom, then a penalty or at least a checking fee will occur. Shipper has to pay all this cost. Otherwise, they can't ship out.
Well, this varies from situations to situations. If the container is declared in one port, this fee is one price. If the container is declared at another port, it's another price.
Generally it's between 150-300USD.
Well, this is up to what products are in your container. China customs has a website where you can find if your products require CIQ Certificates. You agent should know the potential risk. They can decide this for you.
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