Importing from China (Alibaba) -- a few questions . . .
I've used Alibaba to connect with a Chinese factory (Guandong province) that's going to create a custom item for me that I will sell to a niche market here in North America. My initial order will be for about 100 units at about $25USD/unit FOB. I'm quite confident that I can easily sell the 100 items at about $75/unit here in North America, but if worse comes to worse, I could very quickly offload them at cost. Even in the worst-case scenario where I'm screwed out of my entire investment, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
So far, my contact and I have been emailing back and forth each day (and chatted one evening when I was up late), trying to iron out the details. So far, they seem VERY pleasant to deal with, and I'm amazed at the lengths they are going to in order to try and win my business (especially given that it's such a small order!). There's a chance that I might be ordering more units in the future if the project is successful, so perhaps they're banking on that. Once my design is finalized they will send me a custom sample for $100USD which will be deducted off the full 100-item order if placed.
Anyway, I have some questions for the importers of RFD:
1.) The seller's price is FOB. What is the most reliable and cost-effective means of getting my shipment from the port in China to my location here in Canada (near Toronto)? I will need someone to deal with customs in China, shipping by sea to Canada, customs in Canada, and then shipping by land from (presumably) British Columbia to Toronto. The shipment will be about 350kgs and 2.5 cubic meters.
2.) I understand that when I import goods, I will have to pay for HST (13%) as well as a duty. I have the eight-digit HS code for the product (39129090), so is there somewhere I can go to find the duty associated with that number?
3.) My father has a registered company in Ontario and I can use his company number when importing and selling the goods. Do I need to register his company to be eligible to import? If so, is this expensive?
4.) If I use my father's company (that has an HST number), do I simply collect HST when selling the items and then remit to the Gov't at tax time? Does this mean that I only have to remit the net HST (i.e. HST Collected - HST Paid when Importing)? Am I only able to collect HST from Canadians? What happens if I sell items to Americans where HST doesn't apply?
5.) Does anyone have any tips or things that I should be cautious about?