Question about importing tea into the U.S.


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Question about importing tea into the U.S.

Postby Mooniac » May 25th, '13, 16:44

Hello,

This year I got an opportunity to import about 40 kilograms of tea from China to the U.S. (I haven't buy anything yet). The tea gonna go by sea in containers. This is my first "tea operation" so I don't know much about laws, standards and how it works.
My main concern so far is how it passes the FDA on customs? Should I have some sort of certification, documents from China/from here?
The shipments is too huge to send it in parcels, so sea seems to be the only option and this means that containers will automatically end up in caring hands of the U.S. customs.

Little background about what sort of tea I'm importing: it is hunnan hei cha, the one with "golden flower", that's one of the reasons why FDA is my main concern right now.


UPD:
I am going to ask people in my city about how they do import their tea from China, but I also need to hear an opinion of other people for a cross-check.

Please treat me as a newbie in business - I only in the beginning of my potential tea-trade journey and that's why I'm asking for an advice of people who know more then me.
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Re: Question about importing tea into the U.S.

Postby NPE » May 28th, '13, 17:50

If the FDA/US customs operate anything like the German customs, then be prepared for your tea to be held for about a month or maybe more until they have taken samples and analyzed the tea in order to check whether there is any untoward level of unwanted substances - pesticides and other nasties. I know that the US has got very strict laws about this. Also if indeed their m.o. is similar to German customs, you will get the honour of paying for these tests.
Additional to that they will request a full detailed listing of the purchased teas as well as a proof of payment (like for example a paypal receipt) to make sure that there is no fiddling with the value of the tea so that the import tax can be calculated correctly.
I did not see this coming, so I must have sprouted some grey hairs during the process. Just be warned and prepared that importing tea can be a bit of a headache... and I was just importing tea for my own consumption.

I can just wish you good luck!
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Re: Question about importing tea into the U.S.

Postby Mooniac » May 28th, '13, 23:45

2 NPE:
Yeah, customs and people who works with FDA mentions that they MIGHT decide to do the tests for pesticides upon tea's arrival. At the same time some people who import tea as part of a container with other goods say that "the customs will just open a box and check the items inside according to the documents you provide, as long as you import just few boxes". So it sounds like it's safer to prepare for worse, that the tea might be stuck at the customs for the check by FDA.
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