Shipping from China to UAE

What is the best way to ship goods from China to UAE ?

First thing first, thank you for landing here. We’re ensuring you that you’re in the right place, if you’re searching for great information on import proceedings and trade between China and the UAE. As a great trading partner from China, a part of our clientele are UAE based-traders. From our experience, we noticed that recurrent questions are asked to us on the import process, the customs clearance and the feasibility of a trade from China to the Emirates. We’ve seen it all, and we decided to build a special article to synthetize our decade of experience to the UAE, for your own benefit. No matter if you need to import heavy goods in great quantities, or just a small parcel fitting a simple carton, here is all the data you need to know to implement a commercial import between the two countries. You will find here interesting links and advices to enhance or begin your trade from China to the UAE.

SINO Shipping is an excellent teammate when we’re talking about trade in goods from China to the UAE. On your demand, we will program air or sea freight for all types of products, normal, dangerous or perishable between the two countries. With SINO Shipping, China and the Emirates have never been closer.

We will begin this article discussing the different freight methods to transfer your goods between the countries. Then we will move on the customs process, and finish with the trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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Our customs broker inform you

Customs clearance in UAE

Can I be exempted of duties and taxes for an import from China to UAE?

The UAE, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is still negotiating Free Trade Agreement with China. This means that no accordance has been found between both parties yet, to ease and increase trades between the two regions. Consequently, you will probably not be exempted of duties when importing Chinese products in the Emirates. The import process is also composed of many steps and paperwork to go through. Our experience between the two countries skilled us to provide a quick and smooth customs clearance in the UAE. You can ask us to take it in charge for you, if the energy and stress involved is too much to handle. However, the average tariff rates are of 5% on every type of goods, which is amongst the lowest tariff barriers in the world.

Necessary documents

The Certificate of Origin (CO)

It is one of the most important documents in international trades and customs clearance. Like it says in the name, it is testifying that the products shipped were entirely, obtained or produced in a particular country and area. Most of the time, it must be provided by a notary public or a government.

The Delivery Order (DO)

A delivery order (DO) is a document issued by the owner or the freight forwarder of the goods, to the carrier. This written document allows the carrier to begin the freight of the cargo, in the aim of delivering it to the owner or client.

The Bill of Lading (BL) or Airway Bill

The BL is as much important for customs clearance as the Certificate of Origin, in the goal of importing goods. The CO is witnessing of where your goods were produced, and the BL testifies of the details of the cargo, the payment from the freight forwarder or the importer to the carrier, and the release of the Letter of Credit (LC). As you can guess, the Airway Bill is inherent to an air freight while the Bill of Lading is attached for an ocean freight.

BL example

This little scheme below gives you information about what a BL is containing:

Original Invoice

This document is necessary for customs to check if the goods you’re importing are concordant with your declaration.


A cargo manifest (or customs manifest) is a document describing all the cargos that are transported by a vessel. It enables customs to identify cargos onboard and to verify if cargos listed at the beginning of its freight are still present and didn’t “disappear” before it arrives at the port of destination.

The manifest acts like a passport of the shipments, it witnesses the origin of the products, their legality to transit and they aren’t owned by people of bad intentions. Its use is close from a Bill of Lading, as the two documents are describing similar information and are not separated every time.

Packing List for multiple goods

This packing list must indicate the HS code of the products you’re importing. If the items are hazardous or chemical products, the MSDS document and the international code of the goods are also required.




Duties and taxes in UAE

The United Arab Emirates, like all the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), are using the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature to identify goods. It is a standardization system of numbers and words used worldwide. All the traded goods are designated by a HS code.

Here is a picture detailing the information provided by a HS code

hs code composition

SINO Info: Ihe first thing to do, if it isn’t already, is to determine the HS code of your goods. For this, we advise you to use this great website

Now that you know which HS code is corresponding to your goods, you can find what duties and taxes you are liable to pay by downloading the Unified Customs Tariffe for GCC States, on the official website of the Federal Customs Authority of the UAE.

This document is listing goods sorted by HS code and describes the customs rates that are applying on. Let’s take a pineapple as an example, on the page number 34 you will find its HS code 08 04 30 and see that it is a good free of duties.

duties and taxes uae

SINO Info: As you can see, numerous documents are mandatory to proceed the clearance of your goods. As you may not be used to it, you can ask one of our SINO Customs Experts to take in charge the entire process for you.


Customs contact in China

chinese customs

Official name: General Administration of Customs of China

Official Website: Chinese Customs Website

Customs contact in UAE

customs dubai

Official name: Federal Customs Authority

Official Website: Federal Customs Authority

Customs process

  1. The customs broker, the freight forwarder or the importer must complete electronically the import/customs declaration. All other documents needed to be attached must be provided with the customs declaration to the customs office.
  2. Customs will calculate the duties and taxes that are applying on your goods, with the Common Customs Tariff as a base document. They will also declare a tariff exemption on your goods, if decided under the GCC Common Customs Law, a GCC Economic Agreement or any other FTA bonding the GCC to another party, where appropriate. Customs can begin an inspection or examination of the goods, if there is a risk involved, or under any other purpose. The import declaration will be digitally printed at the corresponding customs office.
  3. The release order will be issued, and the products will be manumitted.

Your goods clearance will follow the scheme below in the UAE.

customs procedure

Trade relations between China and UAE

A recent cooperation, starting from 0 to huge numbers

China and the UAE begin their diplomatic cooperation for the first time in 1984. Since this date, their economic and political cooperation have incredibly increase, while nothing important was existing before that time. China is possessing an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai, while the Emirates are having a consulate in Hong Kong and an embassy in Beijing.

Relation between both states are based on intense trades, exchanges and investments. More than 2,000 Chinese enterprises are implanted in the Emirates. Also, there is around 180,000 Chinese expatriates that are currently living in the UAE. Most of them are working in the construction sector, others are owning shops and restaurants, and numerous investors, businessman and merchants have affairs in the country. After Saudi Arabia, the Emirates are the second most important trading partner of China in the Persian Gulf. Former Premier of the PRC, Wen Jiabao, stated that the UAE’s role for China is major in the Middle East, serving as a transit base for Chinese products to the Middle East and Africa.

In 2016, China was the first import partner of the Emirates, with 8 % of the goods imported there coming from China. It represented a total of 30 billion USD in trade. Emirates are selling huge quantities of oil for the Chinese consumption and industry.

To sum up, both countries have common interests in achieving great business together. The UAE are importing huge amounts of Chines products, while China is using UAE’s great infrastructures as a strategic place to distribute their goods in Africa and the Middle East. China and the Emirates are greatly linked by air and sea freight, and the GCC customs policy is promoting import flows into Arabic countries. For all these reasons, it is a great opportunity for you to do international trades between these regions.

Our proficiency in Asia allows us to provide great freight services with unbeatable rates. For deeper details about your shipment, you can reach now one of our staff member, who is fully available for your request.

Our customs broker inform you

Prohibited & restricted items

Remark: If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SINO Experts. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug contraband

prohibited items drug contraband


prohibited items ivory


prohibited items poison


prohibited items explosives


prohibited items loose lithium batteries


prohibited items pornography


prohibited items biohazard


prohibited items flammable combustible


prohibited items tactical knives


prohibited items chemicals


prohibited items firearms


prohibited items tobacco


prohibited items corrosive


prohibited items prescription drugs


prohibited items gambling


prohibited items counterfeit

Counterfeit notes

prohibited items means of payment


prohibited items hazardous material

SINO Shipping - Dedicated freight forwarder in China

Due to our attractive pricing & dedication, many customers trust our services and we thanks them. Stop to overpay the services and save money with our tailored package matching will all type of shipment, from small volume to full container, let us find the best and cost-effective option.


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sea freight icon china

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if:

  • Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
  • Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them


To find the perfect solution to transfer your goods via ocean, please contact one of our SINO Sea Experts. Fill our online form in 1 min and get an answer within 48H !



Remark SINO: Ocean freight between China and UAE is the most common transport method. If you’re interested to know more about sea freight from China, visit our dedicated article on the topic: Sea Freight China

Since the 1950s, period of the discovery of the oilfields, the Emirates have known a tremendous growth of their economy. To support their oil exportation flows, the UAE build major ports infrastructures that are now amongst the biggest in the world. As their economy was focused on natural resources, they are still diversifying it with tourism and Hi-Tech nowadays, to prepare the future after the petroleum era.

All their major ports are located on the west coast of the country, facing the Persian Gulf. The UAE are bordered on the west by the Persian Gulf, and by the Gulf of Oman on the east. It neighbour countries are Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The emirates are also faced by Iran, on the other side of the Persian Gulf.

SINO Note: The ships transporting your items will go along the same itinerary to reach the UAE ports. They will attain Singapore’s coast by navigating to the south. Then they will change direction and go north to cross the Malacca Strait. Afterwards they will travel straight to the east and arrive to the Arabian Sea. Finally, they will go to the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to reach the coasts of the UAE.

Major Ports of the UAE

Jebel Ali, Port Rashid and Khalifa Port in the Emirate of Dubai

The emirate of Dubai represents 77 % of the port activity in the UAE. Jebel Ali Port, also called “Mina Jebel Ali” Is one of the most important port in the states with Port Rashid and the biggest in the middle east. In 2017, their import volume was of 40,000 million of kgs, while their Non-oil export where of 14,000 million of kgs.

Mina Rashid in the Emirate of Sharjah

7 % of the total trades of the country are transiting through this port. The total import flow of this Emirate was of 2,100 million kgs, while the export flow was of 1,000 million kgs in 2017.

Mina Zayed in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is hosting 14% of the total trades of the country through his port. It is traduced with 24,500 million of kgs of import, and 5,374 million kgs of non-oil export for the year 2017.

*Other ports are representing only 2 % of the total trades of the country. We can mention:

  • Mina Khalid in the Emirates of Sharjah
  • Khor Fakkan and Fujairah in the Emirate of Fujairah

SINO Plus: Thanks to our great number of collaborators, SINO Shipping is positioned in every major port of China. This enables us to provide all the sea services existing in destination of the UAE. We will plan entire containers (FCL), or a few CBMs (LCL), for 20’, 40’, and 40’ HQ container on your demand. Also, if a mastered environment is mandatory for your products, we’re able to program reefer container transfer, bulk cargo and roro too.

Sea freight transit times

This table provides the average transit times required to reach the UAE from China:

SINO Plus: We are present in every major ports and harbour of China, thanks to our great collaborators. Thanks to their great work, we’re honoured to propose a full range of ocean freight services in destination to India. SINO Shipping can program full container (FCL), less than a container (LCL), for 20 fts, 40 fts and 40 fts HQ containers. If your goods are requiring a controlled environment, we’re able to plan freights by reefer container, roro or bulk cargos also.

Sea freight transit times

Jebel Ali/Mina Rashid/Mina Zayed
Tianjin 25 days
Dalian 25 days
Shanghai/Ningbo 23 days
Guangzhou/Shenzhen/Hong Kong 22 days
Qingdao 24 days

*Please note that those transit times are just indicative timing between China and UAE

Sea freight rates

*Ocean freight is always a great deal in the freight market. You can have competitive rates with reasonable transit times, for freights departing from China and going to the UAE.

To be clear, most of the international trade enterprises are using it for two reasons: you can transport great quantities of products, for very low rates. Do not look for further methods if you need to transfer big shipments regularly through times.

As told above, SINO Shipping can provide all types of service for every volume! Our flexibility will enable us to fully adapt to your special needs and requirements.

As said before, it’s possible to implement every type of maritime services for all kinds of items with SINO Shipping!

SINO Advice: Reach one of our SINO Ocean Expert now, for your Sea freight between China and the Emirates. Because the required services and destinations are unique in each freight, we’re quoting individually every demand, to guarantee the most adapted performance! This is the reason why we will be able to provide you precise cost and transit time after your contact.


air freight destination

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if:

  • Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods



Remark SINO: Air freight is not the most common freight method in the world but can be advantageous on specific purposes.

Despite its small territory, the UAE are owning seven international airports, which are deeply connecting the country to the rest of the world. It isn’t necessary to remind that China possess more than 50 international airports, amongst the busiest in the world. A lot of international cargo airlines are bonding China and the UAE with direct flights. Emirates SkyCargo, the Al Maktoub International Airport based company, is providing daily flights to the Chinese cities of Dalian, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Etihad Cargo is also linking greatly the two countries. On the other side, China Southern Airlines have cargo codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways. Other foreign international cargo airlines have weekly flights between the two countries also.

Air freight transit times

It will take 10 hours at the most, on door-to-door for your goods to be carried from China to the UAE by plane. You have to count around 7 days for the total transfer of your items, from your supplier’s office to your address, with a normal air freight. If it isn’t fast enough, ask for an express air freight (courier), to receive your products within 4 days.

Remark: It is hard to estimate as it mainly depends of the budget: a direct flight available within a day is possible, but will probably be more expensive. In average, you can expect 5/7 days (export/import process included) 

Air freight rates

*You must sort out the chargeable weight of your goods by calculating it with two different methods.

The two methods are:

  • Gross weight
  • Volumetric weight

After the results, the highest value will be used as a base to rate your products. The lowest value can be forgotten.

SINO PlusThanks to well-led negotiations, after a great amount of time and energy spent, we’re having preferential rates for air freight services between China and the UAE with international cargo airlines. Courier Air freight (express), simple Air Freight, delivery at the airport, Air freight + trucking… Almost everything is possible with SINO Shipping.

gross weight air freight china
dimensional weight air freight

* Your products will be differently charged for express services. The volumetric weight ratio will be 200 kgs = 1 CBM.

SINO Plus: For a strict following of your budget, as well as sea freight, we will quote all your requests individually. It is a proof of our transparency, because every line of cost will be detailed on the quote.

Why choose us ?

Our advantages

SINO Shipping, we understand perfectly the needs of our customers and establish a win-win collaboration with them.

“respect is earned. honesty is appreciated. trust is gained. loyalty is returned.”


Make a request and you will be contacted within 24 hours maximum

Dedicated customs service

Do not hesitate to contact us for customs or administratives information

Tailored service

Small or big shipment, we can manage every request


We guarantee very competitive price, ask us and compare !

Multilingual team

We speak English, French and Thaï to avoid any communication issues


We ensure and secure all our shipments, safety is our priority !

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