The export industry to Hong Kong has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In December 2021, shipping from Singapore to Hong Kong grew to S$419.71m compared to S$306.13m in the previous month. Primary export materials include electrical goods, machinery and precious stones. Electrical goods, the largest export, was estimated to be worth S$45.25b in 2020 alone.
The region is clearly an eager client base, but if you want to send parcels to Hong Kong, you will have to make sure your goods meet customs clearance standards. To help you understand Hong Kong customs restrictions and import taxes, we’ve compiled essential information that every Singapore exporter should be familiar with.
Unlike many other international ports, Hong Kong is a free port. This means that for most imports and exports, there are no, or minimal, customs charges. It also does not charge tariff quotas, surcharges, or general services taxes (GST).
In addition to limited tariffs, the Transshipment Facilitation Scheme (TFS) between Hong Kong and mainland China means imports bound for mainland China that pass through Hong Kong enjoy reduced tariff rates. This encompasses goods traded between mainland China and ASEAN partners, including Singapore. Hong Kong has also signed an FTA with Singapore which limits costs associated with imports and exports.
Although import taxes are minimal, businesses still need to pay duties upon delivery from the importing carrier or bonded warehouse to the local market. These, however, only apply to what the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department term ‘dutiable goods.’ They include liquors, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol. The duties vary depending on the item; for example, liquor with more than 30% alcohol is taxed at a 100% duty rate. Comparatively, wine has a 0% rate. Check out the Hong Kong Customs website to see what duties your goods are subject to.
Like most ports, Hong Kong has a list of prohibited and restricted items for import. Restricted imports include pharmaceuticals, firearms, animals and plants, sand, rice, pesticides, radio transmitting equipment and more. You can read the full list of controlled imports on the HK Customs Department website.
If you want your parcel to pass Hong Kong customs clearance, you will need the appropriate documentation for any restricted or controlled items. Without the right documentation, your parcel may be seized by the government or returned. This will cost you precious time and resources. Rather than taking such risks, ensure your exports from Singapore to Hong Kong are aligned with restriction requirements.
Once you’ve made sure your parcels adhere to customs restrictions, you may wonder what you need to clear customs. There are a number of Hong Kong Customs Declaration forms you must have on hand to ensure your postage to Hong Kong will have a fast customs clearance time. Without these documents, your process may get delayed or your parcels may be returned. The documents you need include:
Manifests – These list the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle.
Import/export licences or removal permits (if required)
Copies of detention notices (if applicable) – these are documents for goods detained by customs.
Other supporting documents – These can include bills of lading, airway bills, invoices, packing lists, etc.
By maintaining proper records, your customs clearance process will take place more efficiently without hiccups. This means your parcels will arrive at their designated Hong Kong addresses as fast as possible.
If you’re considering shipping to Hong Kong from Singapore, partnering with DHL Express can help you ensure a smooth delivery process. Aside from ensuring that all Hong Kong import regulations are met, you want to be able to send your parcels or larger shipments to your recipients the quickest way possible.
Time-sensitive delivery: The shipment arrives at the destination at a specified time.
Day-sensitive delivery: The shipment arrives at the destination within a certain number of days.
Same-day delivery: The shipment enjoys priority shipping within 24 hours.
DHL Express has also put in place sustainable solutions to ensure timely and environmentally-responsible delivery of your shipments.
DHL Express explored several initiatives to address the issue of Hong Kong’s heavily congested roads to prevent delays in deliveries. These include self-collection services and drones to reach remote locations. However, the most significant and logical solution for parcel delivery across the city’s complex network was by foot, by way of our DHL Express’ walkers.
With the Inbound Route Search software, our walkers are able to navigate complicated routes amid the city’s non-standard postal-code system. It holds a full repository of Hong Kong’s addresses mapped against an algorithm, so identifiable route codes can be produced. Conceived in a simple handheld scanner, sorters at the service centre can easily map out routes for the walkers, who will be transported to a designated meeting points across the city. From there, they begin their deliveries on foot.
For those who need to deliver parcels to outlying islands like Ping Chau and Cheng Chau, the walkers are dropped off at the ferry pier before they embark on a boat to their neighbourhoods destination.
Being able to deliver 40 to 50 shipments or 100 kilogrammes worth of parcels, our walkers now remain in high demand for their efficiency and productivity. Businesses in Singapore leverage DHL Express’ walkers to send packages to customers all over Hong Kong, no matter how remotely accessible they are.
With our ability to reduce our carbon footprint, partnering with us means you can play your part in protecting the environment.
To get started, create a business account with us to get preferential rates for your business, schedule delivery and pickups, find locations and track shipments today!