Import/Export Guide | PHOTOFAIRS

Import/Export Guide

Shipping Instructions, Dates & Deadlines

The below guide should be treated as a quick overview of the shipping and import practice into Mainland China. The guide doesn’t include the Censorship Process, that every gallery needs to go through in order to legally import artworks into China. If you would like to discuss importing books into China and for a more detailed guide on how to get the best rates, please contact Julia Thoma at


Customs Clearance

Cargo Receiving Deadlines (exact dates will be released early 2019)

Sea Shipment: Mid August 2019

Air Shipment: End of August 2019

PHOTOFAIRS and our nominated shipping agent Highgate will undertake customs clearance and inspection, for both inbound and outbound movement in Shanghai.  This applies to all international shipments. 

No Import Tax will apply for inbound shipment, as the works will be imported on a temporary basis. If a work gets sold and stays in mainland China, approx. 25% import tax will apply. 


Shipping unframed works/framing in China

To save shipping costs, you can ship your works unframed. PHOTOFAIRS is working together with Memories Lab who offer the below rates to frame works locally. Please do not hesitate to be in touch, should you wish to receive a pro forma quote for your work list. 

40x50cm          Aluminum frame   295 CNY 
40x50cm          Wood frame          590 CNY
120x160cm      Wood frame          2392 CNY
120x90cm        Wood frame          1634 CNY

*Above quotation includes 10% VAT.


Temporarily imported artwork that is sold and will stay in China permanently

1. Transport the artwork to Hong Kong after the fair. It is very common that collectors have warehouse space in Hong Kong and will organise their own shipment back to China.

2. After the work gets sold, apply for a permanent import license so it can stay in mainland China. 

Permanent Import Tax and VAT apply, which is approx. 23% on the declaring value of the work

3. Include the sold artwork in your return shipment. Once received, organise a new shipment to China.

Permanent Import Tax and VAT apply, which is approx. 23% on the declaring value of the work


Temporarily imported artwork is sold and will leave China

Ship the artwork to the outside destination (e.g. Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York) as a returned exhibition good. 

No Import Tax and VAT apply.