Released On 27th Apr 2021

Importing goods into Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong is a duty-free destination, and only tobacco, alcohol and hydrocarbon oil is liable for customs taxation, it does not mean that the process to import goods is simple. 

For a smooth and timely import, it's important to obtain a Hong Kong import licence before the goods are shipped, following the correct processes. By nature, Hong Kong customs officials do not tolerate any short-cuts or oversights in what is required.

Here, we discuss the requirements for importing Information Technology and Medical Equipment into Hong Kong, and the importance of pre-ship checks.

Pre-Approval

Import, export, transhipment, and transit of strategic commodities are subject to licensing control in Hong Kong under the Import and Export Ordinance. Most IT or Medical goods that are considered Dual Use will need approval from the Trade and Industry Department (TID) prior to the import.

TID CCAT - Commodity Classification Automated Tracking number

CCAT certificates are required for any goods that contain encryption. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer of the goods to obtain this certificate from Hong Kong Trade and Industry through a series of testing procedures and technical document submission to get the goods classified, and registered. 

When TID reviews the licence application there are two very important main steps to their process:

  1. A technical assessment process, which determines whether the product in question is controlled, for what reason it is controlled and what its technical capabilities are. In order to do this, we must send datasheets about the products that are controlled 
  2. A risk assessment process which assesses the end-use and the possible risk of diversion for illegitimate uses or proliferation activities.

Once the manufacturer has completed this process, they will be given a HK TID Pre-classification Number.

TID Licence

Importers will require a TID (Trade and Industry Department) licence prior to the import, for which you will need: 

  • CCATs Tracking Number, if requested
  • Copy of the Export Licence if the goods have been exported from the United Kingdom or the European Union
  • Complete a SC037 form – a 7-page form requesting detailed information about the goods, the manufacturer, the importer and the end-user. This is only required for goods that aren’t registered on the TID system / haven’t been imported into Hong Kong previously.
  • If requested, a copy of the completed and signed End-User Statement, stipulating the use and destination of the goods after import.

Processing of a licence application must be done by the importer who is registered on the TID system. 

Key considerations for an importer are:

  • What is being imported/exported?
    • If the goods are strategic commodities, import and/or export licences are required.
  • Where are the goods being exported/re-exported?
    • Ensure that the goods are not destined for countries/places of concern.
  • Who will be receiving the goods?
    • Know your customers.  Ensure that the goods are to be exported to legitimate end-users.
  • Why is the customer purchasing the goods?
    • Ensure that the technical capabilities of the goods are suitable for the end-use declared.

These processes must be completed before the goods are shipped, for an import licence for Hong Kong to be approved. Providing the required information and forms is very difficult to do retrospectively.

Import

Once the importer has received the approval for the TID license, the goods can then be shipped and imported. The Hong Kong Trade of Industry protocols will mean that when they assess the shipment on arrival, all facts on the documents are checked, the physical kit will be checked to ensure the goods match exactly what is on the shipping manifest and the pre-submitted paper that is in the TID systems.

If there are any discrepancies the importer will be informed and the shipment held until clarification is received to the satisfaction of the customs officials.

Goods that don’t require an Import license

If goods are EAR99 or NLR (No License Required), then the process with Hong Kong TID is not required, and the goods can be shipped, ensuring there is an Importer of Record in place.

For more information on importing into Hong Kong, please email iorsolutions@mouseandbear.com, call 01935 848526 or send the enquiry form below.

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