Shipping gear across borders


Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
We are doing a gig in Cabo in a few weeks.

There is conflict with how the inventory list should be constructed. Mainly country of Origin.

I browsed google but can’t come up with a real answer.

My thought on this is it’s going from US to Mexico so the country of Origin is US.


CB Mods
Premium Member
Yes, that is correct.
I hate shipping things internationally. sent some huge set to China. THAT was a paperwork NIGHTMARE!

To clarify further, even if the lights you are shipping were made in China, Canada and Norway, their country of Origin is US as you are the direct shipper. If you were importing them from one of those countries and drop shipping them to a third country then the originating country would be where the shipment originated.


Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
That’s what I figured. I knew it couldn’t be as complicated as everyone is making it out to be.


CB Mods
Premium Member
That’s what I figured. I knew it couldn’t be as complicated as everyone is making it out to be.
No the worst part, which is hilarious, is typically dealing with the destinations Fire safety laws. You know as well as I do that MANY Chinese products will barely pass NFPA, or NECA standards , but, damn, I had to document, supplement, verify, notarize and cross-reference Fire retardant, electrical, etc, etc nine way from Sunday to get stuff into Macau.


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
No the worst part, which is hilarious, is typically dealing with the destinations Fire safety laws. You know as well as I do that MANY Chinese products will barely pass NFPA, or NECA standards , but, damn, I had to document, supplement, verify, notarize and cross-reference Fire retardant, electrical, etc, etc nine ways from Sunday to get stuff into Macau.

@Amiers and @Van Posting in support of @Van 's comments regarding certifications DEMANDED when manufacturing and shipping into China.
For those playing along at home, here's a brief summary of a PM I'd already sent to Van.

In the mid 1990's, a producer and scenic designer in Red China were seeking to build a raked deck for an opera.
The raked deck was approximately 120' wide x 40' from DS to US.
I suspect the Red Chinese army would have built it themselves
BUT: High ranking government officials, cabinet ministers, ambassadors (those sorts of high ranking politicos) considered this a fabulous opportunity to promote international cooperation, not to mention the potential for photo op's / 'Grip 'n Greet' photos of smiling Canadians shaking hands with their Red Chinese counterparts.
Bid drawings were sent out and several Canadian scene shops bid to build the project. Not only was the deck to be built, several large pieces of integral scenery were to be included including one wide / TALL piece which had to begin off stage and (during a brief Black Out) be brought on stage, stood vertical on the raked deck and be quickly and magically locked in place. When the wide, TALL piece was offstage, there were to be NO visible blemishes in their pristine, BLACK, raked deck (Quickly securing the TALL piece against the effects of gravity was the big trick.)

Approximately 240 lineal feet of custom designed and manufactured lighting fixtures were to be provided along with detailed drawings and ALL P Eng Stamped drawings plus documentation attesting to Canadian Provincial & National approvals. Similar approvals were also to be provided attesting to any / all hazardous effects of chemicals and off gassing.
The performers were to perform bare footed and concerns for freedom from cuts, chemicals, off-gassing, etcetera were RIGIDLY specified.

Essentially we were working for the government of Canada who'd taken it upon themselves to PLEASE the government of China; I got the impression our Canadian government was presenting this entire project to China as a gift. Four or five sets of custom colored borders and legs were to be included. A soft cyc / sky blue drop approximately 80' wide by 50' tall was part of the package plus one or two painted drops of similar dimensions to totally obscure the cyc'.
Again, ALL fabrication and stamped approval documentation had to be included for the velour and its coloring.
Our local automation and scenery shop won the toss.
The Chinese Production Manager, along with the set and lighting designers were to make two trips to Canada; the first to visit our shop / meet our people / assure themselves we fully understood their specified requirements and the second to inspect the end product(s) fully assembled prior to disassembly, packing and loading into several large ocean going containers.

Bureaucracy: When the three Chinese were coming for their initial look & see / meet and greet tour, the entourage included:
- The 3 Chinese; each accompanied by an interpreter from China.
- One Chinese press photographer for a total of 7.
Plus at least 7 "Body guards"; 1 per each of the 7 Chinese folks.

Of course our Canadian government (in their roles as good hosts) NEEDED to attend; thus another 3 or 4 Canadian politicos materialized along with their accompanying RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers [at least they didn't arrive with their horses and horse trailers] plus a battery of press photographers and camera crews from both our national television networks.

Our shop had plenty of floor space in our assembly and finishing area. Dealing with the TALL drops was a problem, we managed to roll their bottoms, rig sheaves and hemp, then fly them as high as possible given the constraints of our approximately 30' ceiling height.
(Loadstars were considered but sheaves gained approximately 2' of additional vertical exposure.)

Our owners naively thought they were hosting THREE Chinese guests and were incredulous when a full flotilla arrived plus caterers our governments laid on with an unbelievable selection of beverages, finger foods (et al).
ALL foods and beverages real people from China would recognize and prefer, none of what we North Americans consider to be "Chinese" food.
Our owners were scrambling to conjure table space for the caterers to spread out their finest table cloths prior to placing their array of platters, tubs of ice and sealed beverage containers along with heated flat surfaces for sealed containers of Chinese teas.

The moment the Chinese vacated along with their "body guards", the Canadian politicos were in their limo's and down the road closely followed by our cadre of Canadian press and TV folks.
In three blinks of an eye the entire flotilla was out the door and gone leaving us with piles of garbage and a huge amount of foods you'd likely not want to taste. Several of our shop-ites grabbed the Chinese alcoholic beverages before they hit the bin but we had a lot of clean up to deal with including items casually strewn about and abandoned on workbenches immediately adjacent to our final assembly area.

@Van is DEFINITELY correct when he posts of the staggering amount of materials and off-gassing certifications DEMANDED by the Chinese with our construction drawings having to be stamped, signed and sealed by several PEngs specializing in structural engineering, materials, finishes, off-gassing, fire proofing, electrical for the 240 lineal feet of custom designed MR16 incandescent strip lights which needed be below the deck's finished surface, secured parallel to the slope of the rake yet produce rows of narrow beams shooting perfectly vertical (even though mounted parallel to the sloping deck) through six 40' narrow slots the maximum width of which were specified in Metric but roughly 3/4" wide. Designing and manufacturing incandescent strip-lights in 8' long units with each of their MR16's canted to compensate for the angle of the rake was a decent trick in itself. Of course the male and female tails of the strips had to enter and exit the sides leaving the ends clear to seamlessly butt together and the backs (bottoms) clear to accommodate sliding into their mounts from the US end of the rake.

This entire project was to tour through six to eight venues in China thus it had to be totally modular, capable of fitting into trailers and trucks once within China, with weight restrictions on each module permitting each to handled, for packing, loading, trucking, unloading and assembling by an army of typically non-theatrical minions while touring from venue to venue. (We all suspected the "army" of non-theatrical minions were likely to be members of the Red Chinese Army)

All in all, an "interesting" project but our owners thanked the deities of their choices for our National and Provincial governments dealing with the acquisition and approving of ALL paperwork required and MANDATED. If our governments' don't know how to kill trees and push paper, WHO DOES??
The MANDATED paperwork didn't outweigh the deck but it was getting closer by the day.
Ron Hebbard
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Well-Known Member
When I was on tour I bought a pair of nunchucks at a pawn shop here in the U.S.

When we crossed the Canadian border in the middle of the night Canadian customs decided they were going to search our bus.

They found the chucks, that turned into a two hour ordeal for me!

My advice to the kids now is don't give customs any reason to mess with you no matter what border you're crossing.

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