Import/Export Guide | PHOTOFAIRS

Import/Export Guide

Shipping Instructions, Dates & Deadlines

The below guide should be treated as a quick overview on 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 art works into China. For a more detailed guide or tips on how to get the best rates, please contact Julia Thoma at


Customs Clearance:

Cargo Receiving Deadlines

  • Sea Shipment: August 19 – 21, 2018
  • Air Shipment: August 26 – 28, 2018

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, 23% 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.

Overview Taxes




Sold exhibits returning to China





Art Works



approx. 23%


Detailed Instructions for sold art works:

Temporarily imported art work that is sold and will stay in China permanently

1. Transport the art work 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 art work 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

For alternative options, please get in touch with Julia Thoma at


Temporarily imported artwork is sold and will leave China

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

  • No Import Tax and VAT apply.