Duties take back seat to moving goods in cross-border deliveries

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am

The commercial need to help customers secure an item at the lowest possible cost may outweigh concern that cross-border transactions require payment of customs duties somewhere along the line.

Raymond Fong, managing director of StrawberryNet, a Hong Kong online discount cosmetics shop, said his company usually left the buyers to take care of customs duties, if any. The firm has customers in 140 countries and 4,000 orders a day, mostly from the US, Europe and Southeast Asia. It is developing a mainland market, which accounts for 2 per cent of turnover.

'Nevertheless, we will try to minimise customs duties for our clients by marking the parcel as a gift. If the order is large, we will divide it up into separate parcels and send them on different dates,' Mr Fong said.

Benjamin Grubbs, marketing director of eBay Hong Kong, said duties were mainly dealt with by shippers with expertise, such as UPS or Federal Express. 'They want to move the packages quickly through the system.'