Hong Kong to UK Imports | 2019

UK ⇆ Hong Kong Imports
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The EU imports mainly machinery, transport equipment and telecommunication equipment from Hong Kong. If you’re thinking of capitalising on the wealth of goods that Hong Kong has to offer, then our guide to importing from the area will ensure that you do it safely, efficiently and successfully.


  • Official Language(s): Cantonese and English
  • Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
  • GDP: 271.62trn
  • Calling Code: +852
  • Capital City: None
  • Population: 7,234,800


Hong Kong is an area of China, so you need to think carefully about how you will ship your goods from that area of the world to the UK.

There are a few different methods, including air, sea, rail and road that can cover this huge distance. Air freight will usually be the quickest method of getting your imports to the UK, but it will also be the most expensive.

The other options may take longer, but they are cheaper. Sea freight is usually opted for in the instance of large orders, or orders of large items, though there are the additional costs of docking and unloading to consider.


As Hong Kong is not part of the EU, importing from here to the UK requires VAT and duty to be paid. Here you’ll find the details of what to do.


You need a commodity code to ensure that you’re paying the right amount of tax and duty. You can find it on the online Trade Tariff, and it will flag up any regulations, tax or duty that you need to pay on the goods that you’re importing from Hong Kong.

The commodity code will also tell you whether the item is restricted, and whether you need an Import Licence.


Your business should be VAT registered, and when you’re importing from Hong Kong, you’ll need to pay VAT directly to HMRC. This ensures that you only pay the UK VAT and not the Hong Kong equivalent of VAT on top of that.

If the goods that you have imported are to make taxable supplies or to use in your business, then you can reclaim the VAT on your VAT return. Make sure that you have the import tax certificate to prove that you paid the import VAT.

Some items, such as works of art, antiques or collectors’ items, are charged at a reduced rate VAT.


To save on paying duty or VAT, you can use customs warehousing to store your goods that have come from Hong Kong.

They are warehouses where duty is suspended. Keeping goods in customs warehousing means that duty will only need to be paid when they are put into free circulation in the EU. Duty can be fully avoided if the goods’ final destination is not in the EU. 


Because you’re importing from outside the EU, you’ll need to declare your imports to HMRC. Using CHIEF, or the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system, you submit a SAD, or Single Administration Document.

This records the declaration, flags any inaccuracies and tracks the goods through ports and airports. It also makes a risk assessment and decides whether the goods are checked or not.


Replacing the old TURN system, the EORI system is a means of communicating with customs officials, ensuring that they can identify your business effectively. Apply for one here. ( This is the link: https://www.gov.uk/eori#who-needs-an-eori-number)


Along with making sure that you follow the rules and regulations when it comes to paying tax and duty, and declaring it to customs, you also need to make sure that you’re not shipping any banned or restricted items in to the UK.

You can find a full list of banned and restricted items here. ( this is the link: https://www.gov.uk/duty-free-goods/banned-and-restricted-goods)


You can save time and money by instructing a third party like us here at DFS to manage your imports from Hong Kong. With air, sea, road and rail freight and 175 different countries in our network, we take a tailored approach to ensure that you get your imports on time and in budget.

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Still have questions?

  • Submit the cost estimate form on top of this page.
  • Or email us directly: [email protected]
  • Or call 020 8867 0904 & ask for our Hong Kong imports specialist.

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