Foreign experts intending to work on a long-term basis in China are only permitted to bring into the country luggage and any other articles for personal use - and within reasonable quantities.
Books, researching materials, scientific instruments, tools, samples, reagents and other items of scientific use carried by foreign experts - including individuals from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan - are restricted to items for personal use and within reasonable quantities - and they are not taxed.
The following is a more detailed list about items for teaching and researching works:
(1) Books, newspapers, magazines, scripts and audiovisual products in all formats;
(2) Specimens, models, power points;
(3) Only one device is allowed in each category: Small-scale scientific instruments for analysis, measurement, calculation, observation and other scientific activities;
(4) Improved varieties of plants and their seeds (concerning experts in agriculture or forestry - and only for scientific use);
(5) Reagent, semi-finished biological products, final biological products, medicine, isotopes, and other chemical or bio-chemical materials with special usage.
Foreign experts who hold a work permit valid longer than one year are allowed to bring a digital camera, video camera, portable radio-recorder, personal computer, and portable CD player - for private use - when they first arrive in China.
Only one device is allowed in each category, and they may be examined by China Customs.
Foreign experts who hold a Long-term Residence Permit can apply for one-time importation of household necessities. They must submit their passports, Foreign Expert Certificate, Residence Permit or temporary Residence Permit, and official application for importation for private use.
Their request shall be restricted to items for personal use and within reasonable quantities.
Experts are not required to pay taxes on such items - except for the following 20 products, as defined by the State Council:
Television sets, video cameras, video recorders, audio video equipment, air conditioners, refrigerators (including upright freezers), washing machines, cameras, photocopiers, SPC telephone exchanges, micro computers, telephone sets, radio paging equipment, electrographs, digital calculators, printers, word-processors, furniture, light fitting, cooking materials and alike.
Foreign experts shall comply with these Provisions and other pertinent provisions, and go through the Customs procedures conscientiously. In the event that they wish to sell their personal articles which have been given Customs clearance duty-free, they shall sell them to a State-run commercial department that is authorized by the State to handle duty-free foreign goods.