Overcoming Challenges Importing Consumer Products from China: Leveraging Specialist 3rd Parties

James Cooney
Head of Logistics & Inventory, Exertis Supply Chain Services


Importing consumer products from China can be both rewarding and challenging for European and US brands, distributors, and retailers. While the allure of diverse merchandise options and cost advantages drives businesses to source from China, they must also navigate a host of obstacles. In this article, we will explore six major hurdles faced by importers and highlight how specialist 3rd parties can play a pivotal role in mitigating these challenges and risks.

Sourcing of Brands

The task of finding quality goods requires research and due diligence. To address this challenge, businesses can collaborate with specialist 3rd party sourcing companies who possess in-depth knowledge of the Chinese market and have offices and staff there. By leveraging their expertise, European and US importers can confidently source the right goods that align with their values and meet consumer expectations.

Meeting Compliance Obligations

Compliance with regulations and standards is a crucial aspect of importing consumer products. Navigating the complex compliance landscape can be overwhelming, but 3rd party companies, like Exertis Supply Chain and others, exist and can provide assistance. Their expertise in international trade regulations, compliance and testing requirements and product certifications can help ensure that products meet all necessary requirements, reducing the risk of non-compliance issues such as fines or product recalls.

Cash Flow Squeeze of Placing Deposits and Paying on Free-on-Board (FOB) Incoterms

The financial burden of placing deposits on long manufacture times and adhering to FOB incoterms can strain cash flow and tie up capital for businesses. Again, one option is to use a 3rd party to bridge this, as these companies can make the purchases on your behalf and invoice you once the goods are delivered. By utilizing these services, European and US importers can optimize working capital, ensuring smoother operations, and freeing up resources for other essential business activities.

Managing Transportation

Efficient transportation of goods from China to European or US markets is critical to maintaining a steady supply chain and protecting that vital margin stack. Companies can manage this themselves or outsource the transportation to a supply chain company, potentially reducing the risk of transit delays or customs issues and ensuring timely delivery of goods, at the best cost.

Being Importer-of-Record and Its Risks

Becoming the Importer-of-Record in Europe or the US comes with significant responsibilities and potential risks. Understanding customs compliance, tariffs, and taxes can be complex. By partnering with a customs broker or a supply chain management partner, European and US companies can offload the burden of being the Importer-of-Record and focus on their core business operations. How to Protect Against Product Failures

To safeguard against product failures, specialist 3rd party quality control and inspection companies can be engaged. These experts conduct rigorous product testing and inspection at various stages of production, ensuring that the final goods meet the desired quality standards. Additionally, by establishing long-term relationships with reputable manufacturers, importers can reduce the risk of product defects and recalls. In the unfortunate event of a product failure, recall management services offered by specialist 3rd parties can help mitigate the impact and protect the brand’s reputation.


Importing consumer products from China presents multifaceted challenges that can be overcome with the assistance of specialist 3rd parties. However, companies must choose between owning these functions themselves, or engaging separately the expertise of sourcing agents, compliance consultants, trade finance companies, freight forwarders, customs brokers, and quality control specialists or indeed selecting a supply chain management partner like Exertis Supply Chain and indeed others, who can provide all of these services in one package Whichever option you choose, collaborating with specialists not only mitigates risks but also streamlines operations, allowing businesses to tap into the vast potential offered by the Chinese market with confidence.

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