Question about taking equipment to China

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Mongo, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    A co-worker just found out that he's on his way to China in a few weeks. I asked if he was taking a camera, and he asked me if he'd have any problems taking his gear into China with him.

    I have to admit that I don't know the answer to that question. My gut told me that there would be no problems taking any kind of camera equipment into China, but then I remembered discovering that I cannot travel to Malaysia because of a prescription medicine that I have to take. I didn't want to give him information that would ultimately lead him to making an expensive mistake...I have no knowledge of whether he needs any sort of permit, purchase records, or anything else to take his gear with him.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Dave
     
  2. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I have taken everything from my F4 to my Hassey, with all sorts of lenses into China. No probs.

    Regards, Art.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Most of the time, if your going to have trouble traveling internationally with camera gear, it is upon your return to the US. If customs believes you may have purchased your gear abroad, they will try to charge you duty on it. To avoid this get form CF 4457 from a customs office, document your gear and have them stamp it.
     
  4. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Just a tip for Canadians. While Canada Custom's has the same type of form as the US for declaring equipment before you leave the country, I was flat out told that if Custom's wanted to check my gear, the little green card was completely useful - they want to see receipts, since having the card only shows that you had the gear with you before you left. The card is not proof that you paid all the applicable taxes.

    It was interesting - I spend about 30 minutes filling out a few cards, writing down serial numbers and such. The Custom's agent simply stamped the card without even looking at it. That's when I started asking questions, and got the reasoning I mentioned above.

    So, in short, save ALL your receipts, including those that say you paid taxes and duty on imported items....
     
  5. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Mei wenti (no problem) taking camera and computer equipment into China. I've never had a problem bringing it back into Canada either, but Canada Customs did look it over a couple of times to make sure it wasn't new equipment. Having the receipts is a good idea though, just in case you run into a particularly obstreperous customs agent.
     
  6. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Thanks very much for the helpful information.

    Interestingly enough, the only time I got hasseled was returning to the US from Canada with my FE-2 and a couple of lenses. I had the proper form (whatever it was back in the mid-'80s...might even have been the CF 4457), but the dragon-lady at the airport reeeeeealy wanted to hassle me about the camera.

    (Off topic note: To some, I look like a drug smuggler, and I always have. I'm tall, with long hair and beard - generally unkempt at the end of a long trip. I wear very nice eyeglasses, a nice wristwatch, and I'm usually dressed like a complete slob for the actual flight...comfort trumps appearance when flying. Of my 24 airplane trips outside of the US, I've been searched 13 times upon my return. Searched as in bags emptied, pockets emptied, pointed questions asked, more bags emptied, body search...if you've been there then you know the routine. It'll be fun to see if the searches continue now that I can't walk without the aid of a cane. :smile:)

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  7. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    I sometimes travel with a person who looks like you describe yourself. The first time we came back to Canada together he warned me not to be seen talking to him, as I would get hassled by customs. I didn't believe him, but sure enough, it happened as he said it would.
     
  8. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    I am also going to mainland China in 3 weeks and my gear is old! I don't have any receipts for my stuff. I've moved provinces 3 times and had a kid since I've had my camera gear and there's no way I have any kind of receipt. I'm just going to have to let my old equiptment speak for itself. I didn't have any trouble when I came back from Vegas.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I have heard - but only anecdotally - about people traveling with Minox subminis having some additional scrutiny.

    US customs had a form that allowed you to list and file your equipment in advance.

    Many problems in the past had to do with trademark issues - bringing in an Asahi Pentax when Honeywell owned the trademark in the US.
     
  10. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    With the focus on such security matters as this, it's no wonder terrorists got in!

    Art.
     
  11. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I've flown in and out of both Beijing and Shanghai - never had a problem. In fact, on the trip to Hong Kong and Beijing last October, I had more hassle at the TSA security check at Newark Airport than going through immigration and customs anywere along the way.

    Years ago (1971), I visited Indonesia, entering the country through a remote airport in Sumatra (Pekanbaru). I had been told that it was wise to have the customs dudes write the pertinent data on my photo equipment in my passport, and then stamp the page to indicate that it had all come in with me. Was that ever a mistake! Took forever to get them to do it, and then it was a major hassle when I went to leave because then they wanted to inspect everything on the list to make sure I hadn't sold anything on the local black market.

    Since then, I just throw the bag over my shoulder and present my passport - and I have never had a problem with photo equipment since.

    Although I do have a few "war stories" about other kinds of things that caused local customs dudes to have gas. Like the time the guy in Libya confiscated the copy of Ana Karenina that I had been reading on the plane just because it was in English rather than Arabic.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Perception is so funny. I mean people have cameras in their phones, but thats "normal" but a minox? Oooh! thats a terrorist spy camera!

    The safety illusion joke continues.
     
  13. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Being hasseled when you're setting up a view camera is the ultimate foolishness. Common sense tells me that the bad guys take pictures quickly then leave...they wouldn't spend 20 minutes composing an image on the ground glass, would they?

    (But, as I mentioned above, I do have that "drug runner" look about me...)

    Be well.
    Dave