Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How do I locate the Chinese import tariff applied to a particular product?

The U.S. government provides a database that U.S. exporters may use to identify import tariffs applied by nearly 50 countries. China's tariff rates may also be found at the Asia Pacific and Economic Cooperation's tariff database.

Q: What method of payment is recommended for exports to China?

The most secure method of payment is letter of credit confirmed by a U.S. bank.
Although the Bank of China dominates China's trade-finance business, most Chinese commercial banks have the authority to issue letters of credit for imports. These include China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and CITIC Industrial Bank. Foreign banks with branch or representative offices in China can also issue letters of credit. Other common forms of payment are less secure.

Q: How can the U.S. government help me compete for major projects in China?

Your firm can reap the most benefit from contact with the U.S. Department of Commerce's Advocacy Center at the earliest stages of a project. Early expressions of interest by an overseas government ministry or agency, followed by your company's expressions of interest, often help shape the tender specifications and can improve your chances of winning a tender. When your efforts are combined with U.S. Government advocacy, the prospects of winning improve even more! Learn more about the Advocacy Center can help your company level the playing field.

Q: How do I protect my company's intellectual property rights in China?

In spite of progress towards improving its intellectual property legal and regulatory regime, China continues to be a challenging environment for IPR protection and enforcement. To learn more about how your company can protect its intellectual property, the Intellectual Property Toolkit is published by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to provide extensive practical guidance to U.S. exporters.

Q: How can the U.S. Government help me resolve a commercial dispute?

The role of the U.S. government in resolving commercial disputes is to assist companies navigate the Chinese legal system, provide a list of local attorneys, and share basic information on potentially applicable trade agreements and Chinese business practices. The U.S. government is not authorized to provide legal advice. American companies that have disputes with private Chinese firms often request U.S. Government intervention with Chinese authorities on their behalf. Such intervention is rarely appropriate unless the company has exhausted all remedies under China's legal system.

Q: How do I set up a representative office in China?

Establishment of a representative office has become the most common means of establishing a long-term presence in China. Chinese law restricts the scope of activity undertaken by such offices to "indirect business activity." A representative office may act as a liaison with Chinese contacts, implement contracts signed outside China by the home office, and undertake market research. Such offices may not engage in trade, receive fees for service, sign contracts or directly generate income.

Q: How can the U.S. Commerce Department help a Chinese citizen obtain a visa to visit the U.S. for business purposes?

The Commerce Department has no official role in the visa application process. Commercial officers do not have authority to re-schedule visa appointments, provide letters of referral, pass documents to the Consular Section, expedite visa application review, or inquire about the basis of visa referral. Check here for guidance provided by the State Department on the visa application process.

Q: How do I apply for a visa to visit China for business purposes?

View guidance provided by the Chinese government on its visa application process.

Q: How can I get U.S. government assistance in resolving trade barriers or unfair trade practices I've encountered in China?

The Trade Compliance Center is the U.S. Government's focal point for monitoring foreign compliance with trade agreements to see that U.S. firms and workers get the maximum benefits from these agreements. The TCC is your one-stop shop for getting U.S. government assistance in resolving the trade barriers or unfair trade practices you encounter in foreign markets. You may report a foreign trade barrier directly on-line by using the Trade Complaint Hotline.

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