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Thinking Of Manufacturing Furniture In China? The five things you need to know

Furniture manufacturing in China provides affordable couches, chairs and more for Australian retailers. Here are five things to know about importing furniture.

Clea Sherman
November 6, 2022

While it’s always nice to have furniture and furniture parts manufactured in Australia, doing so doesn’t always work in terms of value for money.

Importing furniture from China can be a much more viable business model and many retailers do this with great success. However, before you start your business, it’s important to know the ins and outs of furniture manufacturing in China, shipping costs and the risks involved with importing organic materials into Australia. When you’re aware of the limitations and regulations, you’ll have a smoother, easier experience.

These are our top five ‘must know’ reminders when it comes to bringing furniture into Australia from China to sell.

Importing rules and regulations

The rules and regulations around importing furniture differ from other goods because of the materials used in furniture manufacturing in China. It’s important to know these rules and regulations so you don’t run into any importing roadblocks.

The importation of furniture into Australia is regulated by ​​the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). All imported furniture and materials must comply with the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) system.

The DAFF has established regulations to ensure no biological agents are brought into the country that could cause an environmental hazard. To ensure that you meet the DAFF standards when importing furniture, you may need to complete an import permit.

Whether or not you need an import permit usually depends on the material you are importing. For many organic materials, there is an expectation that you will carry out one or more of the following:

  • fumigation
  • heat treatment
  • kiln drying
  • cold storage
  • immersing the goods in boiling water.

You must comply with DAFF requirements to avoid your goods being seized and potentially sent back to China or destroyed. If you’re concerned about meeting the requirements, speak with your sourcing agent.

Understanding the different materials for furniture manufacturing in China

There are a few materials to be aware of when importing furniture from China because of the risks associated with bringing them into the country. These include:


As a natural material, timber poses the risk of carrying fungi, mould, insects and other pests. Infestation can occur anytime in the manufacturing chain, from warehouse storage to shipping containers.


Because plywood is manufactured by gluing thin sheets of wood together, it is not as high risk as solid timbers. However, there is still some risk, so you are still required to have a newly manufactured plywood declaration for import.


Feathers can contain dangerous pathogens that can negatively affect both humans and animals. If you are importing furniture from China that contains feathers, you must have it properly treated.

Plant materials

Plant material is commonly used in furniture manufacturing, so you should know exactly what has gone into any items you are importing. Plant material carries similar risks to solid timber and needs to be treated appropriately to avoid introducing foreign pests to this country.

Other materials

Even iron, aluminium and fibreglass have their requirements before they can be successfully imported. It is vital to know exactly what any furniture you are importing is made from and to ensure it will be approved on arrival.

Do your paperwork

When you import furniture from China, there are forms and certifications you will be expected to complete.

Some of the more common forms you will come across when you deal with furniture manufacturing in China include:

Fumigation Certificate

Also sometimes called a pest control certificate, the fumigation certificate is to confirm that all timber goods, including furniture and wooden packing materials, have been fumigated.

Phytosanitary Certificate

The phytosanitary certificate covers furniture made from plant products. It will be issued by the Chinese agricultural department.

New Manufactured Plywood Declaration

This is the document required to be provided by your supplier to verify that your products were made from freshly manufactured plywood.

Sustainable Forestry Certification

Australian regulations require that all furniture comes from legally logged timber. A sustainable forestry certification shows that the wood in your furniture was sustainably farmed and no damage was done to the environment. A third-party auditor such as the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) usually carries out this certification.

Storage Declaration

In some cases, you will need a storage declaration to prove that goods were stored in a manner that avoided pest infestations en route.

Factor in shipping costs, insurance and storage

Shipping is of course one of the biggest expenses when it comes to importing furniture from China. Costs have changed due to COVID so it is important to understand what you will be up for before you place an order.

Make sure you have insurance. Failing to insure your shipment can put you out of pocket if your goods are damaged or lost. Most items imported from China travel by sea, so risks come in the form of storms, theft, poor packaging and handling, etc.

The price of shipping furniture from China can vary greatly depending on many factors. For a deeper dive into shipping costs, work with a reliable sourcing agent. You’ll need to understand things like crate costs and minimum order quantities to ensure your sales outcomes will be viable.

And don’t forget about covering the cost of storage once your goods arrive. Many retailers are stocking up on goods at the moment because they are concerned about shortages so storage is at a premium, especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Thinking of Manufacturing Furniture from China?

Work with a sourcing agent

Using an experienced sourcing agent with contacts ‘on the ground’ is the best way to ensure you don’t hit stumbling blocks when you set up a business that relies on furniture manufacturing in China.

Your agent will help you:

  • Find a manufacturer
  • Negotiate a deal
  • Understand the shipping costs for importing furniture
  • Maintain a relationship with your supplier
  • And more

Ready to start sourcing and importing furniture from a manufacturer in China? Contact Epic Sourcing today.

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