Importing Glass From China: A Guide For Fragile Goods

A glass cake stand
When importing glass from China, you need to be sure to follow the correct steps and relevant government regulations to have a successful import experience.
May 6, 2022
Last Modified: January 16, 2024
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Importing glass from China is a fairly simple task compared to importing goods from the country. That said, you must follow import regulations to the letter in order to guarantee that your goods arrive in the country successfully. 

When importing glass from China, you must first determine if your product’s HTS code qualifies for the 301 tariff exclusion extension. Then, follow any federal regulations that apply to your glass products. Lastly, you need to find a supplier, pay for your goods and find a carrier to transport your import.

If this process sounds confusing, then have no fear. In this article, we’ll guide you through each step and recommend some good sources to go to for any help you might need. 

Can You Import Glass From China?

Importing glass from China - An aerial shot of a cargo ship lit up at night

First and foremost, you can import glass from China. The U.S. imports all kinds of goods from China, glass being one of them. However, there are a few precautions that you should be aware of before you initiate your import.

Do I Need A Permit To Import Glass From China?

In some cases, you will need a permit to import glass goods from China while in other circumstances you won’t. A permit is needed if you’re importing goods with glass in them that are regulated specifically by certain federal agencies.

That said, many glass products are not regulated by federal agencies and won’t need this special documentation. Importing from China is a difficult task that you shouldn’t do alone. Consider booking a consulting session with a Licensed Customs Broker for extra assistance.

301 Tariff Exclusions Extension

Another factor that you will need to consider are the 301 tariff exclusion extensions. In case you don’t know what Section 301 is, it’s part of the Trade Act of 1974. Among other things, it allows the president to enact tariffs against countries. Thanks to Section 301, there are numerous tariffs placed against China. 

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed additional tariffs on Chinese goods using Section 301. To mitigate the economic repercussions of this, the United States Trade Administration (USTR) created a list of exclusions. 

In 2022, the USTR has reinstated 352 of these tariff exclusions, some of which are glass items. Before importing glass from China, you will need to find out if the glass you want to import is protected by these exclusions. You can still import your glass if it isn’t, but you will have to pay the tariff for them.  

What Glass Items Are Covered By the 301 Tariff Exclusions

Going through all 352 of the items excluded by the 301 tariffs just to find the glass ones is time-consuming. To make it easier for you, we’ve listed the HTS codes of the excluded glass items below: 

  • 7007.19: Screen protectors of tempered safety glass that are transparent, cut and treated. They must have adhesive on one side in rectangular sheets. Each can have dimensions of:
    • No less than 6g of weight
    • No greater than 77g of weight
    • No less than 2.8 cm in height
    • No greater than 28 cm in height
    • No less than 1.9 cm in width
    • No greater than 21cm in width
    • No more than 0.1 cm in thickness
  • 7007.19: Sheets of tempered glass, coated with silicon oxide with a surface area of 2.5 m2. This type of glass is designed to be placed over solar cell panels for protection from damage.
  • 7009.10: Rear-view mirrors made from convex glass for motor vehicles. Their measurement can be
    • No less than 1.75mm in thickness
    • No greater than 2.4 mm in thickness
    • No less than 125 mm in length
    • No greater than 210 in length
    • No less than 97 mm in width
    • No greater than 180 in width
    • No less than 74g in weight
    • No greater than 188g in weight
  • 7009.10: Rear-view mirrors made from flat glass for motor vehicles. Their measurements can be:
    • No less than 1.75mm in thickness
    • No greater than 2.4 mm in thickness
    • No less than 163 mm in length
    • No greater than 210 in length
    • No less than 107 mm in width
    • No greater than 167 in width
    • No less than 80g in weight
    • No greater than 188g in weight
  • 7016.10: Tiles of non-recycled glass placed on a vinyl mesh backing, with a grid pattern that measurements:
    • No less than 304mm by 304mm
    • No greater than 305mm by 305mm

If you’re unsure as to whether or not the glass you import from China falls under one of the HTS codes, try using our HTS code lookup tool to find for yourself. You can still import glass that is not covered by the exclusions. However, you’ll have to pay the tariff fee associated with it.

For more information about Chinese imports that are free from tariffs, look into the benefits of the 301 tariff exclusion extension.

How High Are Chinese Tariffs?

As of early 2021, tariffs on Chinese goods are an average of 19.2 percent. Depending on what type of glass you’re importing, you might be paying slightly more or less. Regardless, importing glass from China will be much more expensive because of this. This is something you should consider when you start working out your budget for the import. 

What Are the Federal Requirements for Importing Glass From China?

Dozens of glass bottles gathered together

U.S. federal agencies that are responsible for overseeing the importation of goods into the U.S. require importers to follow certain guidelines. This includes obtaining the proper documentation for your import, using the correct HTS codes and adhering to any of the guidelines of relevant government agencies.

Chapter 70 Of HTSUS

To ensure that your import receives the correct tariff rate, you must apply the correct HTS code to your import. Applying the wrong HTS code could result in the wrong tariff rate being applied to your import of glass. 

This can result in you possibly paying more for your import than you should. Forgetting to attach an HTS code altogether lead to fines and even your import being seized by customs. You can find all relevant HTS codes for glass products in Chapter 70 of the HTSUS.  

Within chapter 70 are numerous HTS code subheadings for various types of glass objects. Many of these HTS code subheadings have similar descriptions, which in turn makes it easier for an importer to pick the wrong one. For example, importers often confuse the HTS subheadings for decorative glassware and table and kitchen glassware. 

Sifting through the various HTS codes is time-consuming and tedious. To avoid using the wrong HTS codes for your imports, hire one of our Licensed Customs Brokers to help you through the process. 

Government Agencies That Regulate Glass Imports

There is no specific U.S. federal agency that regulates the entirety of glass imports coming into the country. That said, some federal agencies do regulate certain products that contain glass in them. 

For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates glass items that will come into contact with people and food. This includes glass bowls, cups and other items like sunglasses. While the FDA restrictions for non-food items are not as strict, there are a few pieces of information that you will have to provide them:

These are:

  • Product Information
  • Product Code
  • Intended Use
  • Manufacturer

Another government agency that regulates certain glass products is the Department of Transportation (DOT). Glass items such as windshields, rearview mirrors and other glass items used for vehicles will be subject to their regulations. 

DOT will regulate imports based on the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The FMVSS regulation standards 111, 212 and others all apply to glass items on motor vehicles.

Required Documents Needed To Import Glass From China

Many of the documents that you will need when you import glass from China are the same type of documents that you would use if you were importing goods from any other country. 

The documents that you will need include:

  • Bill of Entry
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Letter of Credit
  • Import License
  • Customs Bond
  • Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Certificate of Origin

Our article on documents needed for export and import goes over each of these in more detail. 

How To Import Glass From China

A forklift drives through a warehouse

Once you are aware of the requirements for importing glass into the U.S., you should start figuring out how to get your glass imported. This includes finding a supplier, paying for your goods, and finding a cargo ship company that will transport your goods to the U.S. from China.

For more information on importing fragile items, check out our article on importing ceramic.

How To Find Chinese Glass Suppliers

There are a few potential routes that you could take when you’re looking for a potential glass supplier. One way is to go to a glass exhibition in China. Here, you will be able to meet multiple suppliers and inspect their work. 

However, due to COVID-19 and the strict restrictions China has in place for it, traveling to the country likely isn’t feasible. An option that bypasses travel to China is to hire a sourcing agent. These agents can scout potential suppliers that will provide you with the glassware that you need. There are also many different online directories and even webinars where you can interact with suppliers. 

To narrow down your search for a supplier, try looking into the various wholesale markets within China. One of these markets is called Guangzhou. This market is one of China’s largest, containing wholesale suppliers from a variety of different industries. 

Glass suppliers in Guangzhou are known for their high-quality laminated glass products. In addition to quality-made glass, the rates in Guangzhou are fairly reasonable. Other wholesale markets in China known to have good glass suppliers are Shanghai and Jiangsu. 

If you’re looking specifically for window glass, China has numerous suppliers within the field to choose from. Some Chinese window glass companies to look into are:

  • Xinyi Glass Holdings Limited
  • China Glass Holdings Limited
  • KunXing Glass Company
  • Rexi Industries
  • Beijing Northglass Technologies

Are any of the goods you import from China manufactured in or sourced from the Xinjiang region? Any goods or materials produced in the region are prohibited from entry into the U.S. Read our article on the Xinjiang import ban to find out more and avoid having your shipment fined and detained.

Paying For Goods From China

Glass items can vary in price based on what they’re used for. Before you pay for glass items to import, you should first consider how expensive they are. While there will be additional costs that you will incur when you import the items, you should make sure that what you pay for the item itself is reasonable.

The table below shows some price ranges that different glass products are sold for to give you a perspective of how much you should spend. 

Price Ranges For Glass Items

ItemPrice Range
Rear View Mirror$13-$110
House Window$100-$1,080
Glass Cup Sets$24-$100
Cabinet Doors$12-$200

Once you’ve found the glass items that you want to import, you will then have to pay the Chinese supplier for them. Paying a Chinese supplier for goods you want to import is different than the way you would go about it in the U.S. or even in another country. 

These forms of payments are acceptable by most suppliers in China:

  • International Wire Transfer
  • Open Account
  • Letter Of Credit
  • Online Escrow
  • Cash Advance
  • Documentary Collection

When you’re ready, you can learn about the details of these forms of payment in our article that discusses the generalities of what you need to know when importing from China.

Find a Carrier That Will Ship Your Glass Import From China

Once you have found glass to import and bought it from your supplier, you will then need to find a carrier who will transport it across the sea. Cargo ship companies might not be as popular or well known as standard ground and air freight companies.

If you need advice determining how to ship your goods to the U.S., contact one of our customs brokers. We can help move your goods throughout the entire supply chain, including shipping, warehousing and distribution.

Should I Get Shipping Insurance For My Import?

A forklift drives through a warehouse

When you’re importing goods from across the world, it’s a good idea to get insurance for them. Glass, in most forms, is fragile and vulnerable to external damage. Even though the glass supplier will secure your order to the best of their ability, there are so many things that can go wrong.

Your glass import could bounce around against other goods or fall inside its cargo container. Simple occurrences like these can be enough to damage the glass. Even the personnel loading and unloading the containers could cause damage to your glass import if they’re not careful with your import. 

These are just a few examples, but there are numerous instances where having insurance will be beneficial. Fortunately, there are different types of insurance for these various situations. While it might cost you a little more when you import, it’s well worth the protection against all the things that can go wrong. 

 The insurance types that you can use are:

  • Export Credit Insurance
  • Marine Insurance
  • Political Risk Insurance
  • International Product Liability

Our article on import-export insurance will provide you with further information regarding insurance that you can obtain for your glass goods. 

Let USA Customs Clearance Help You With Your Chinese Glass Import

The team here at USA Customs Clearance can assist you with getting your glass imports into the country. Whether you choose a consulting session or outright hire one of our Licensed Customs Brokers, they can identify HTS codes, duty rates and any tariffs that may be applied to your shipment. 

For any questions or concerns, give us a call at (855) 912-0406 or contact our team and get help figuring out your next steps.

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