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My Blog - The Import Guide

Discussion in 'Import & Export' started by Import Expert, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Import Expert

    Import Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Messages:
    3,331
    I've decided to start a blog to try and help importers.

    It is aimed at both those new to importing and also experienced importers looking to minimise there costs and improve the service they can offer to their own customers.

    If anyone would like to follow or promote it, the link is:

    http://thewoodlandgroup.wordpress.com/

    Hopefully once the content builds up it will be a valuable resource.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  2. SimonN

    SimonN

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
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    2,162
    Great idea, Darren. I shall keep an eye on it.
    Import Expert likes this.
  3. Digitalfever

    Digitalfever

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    Jul 8, 2009
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    1,718
    Nice one Darren,
    Import Expert likes this.
  4. Import Expert

    Import Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    Thanks Chaps.
  5. Gary

    Gary

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
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    16,358
    Just have to love this line:

    "So here we have the beginning of a journey into International Trade. Are you coming?"

    All the best with the blog Darren!
    Import Expert likes this.
  6. planner

    planner

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,793
    I thought this was good,

    I WANT TO MAKE YOU A SUCCESS :)
    Import Expert likes this.
  7. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    Just added a post regarding Cargo Insurance.
  8. successjourney

    successjourney

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    Jan 8, 2009
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    A great write up - very informative, not too formal and easy to read through. Full of information there!
    Import Expert likes this.
  9. BoredDoug

    BoredDoug

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    89
    wow, I have just been reading your blog and its amazing. There is so much information there and easy to read.

    Just subscribed to your RSS feed.
    Import Expert likes this.
  10. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    Hey - many thanks BD.
  11. BoredDoug

    BoredDoug

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    Dec 5, 2013
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    89
    When I was in the promotional merchandise industry the two companies I worked for used to source. I wish your blog was around then.
  12. sali1

    sali1

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    New importer bookmark this, you will need this info later.
    very good info, good for new importers.
    It will be even better if you put information about EEE importing requirements for UK.
    Thanks for your effort to help others.
    Import Expert likes this.
  13. Gary Ashe

    Gary Ashe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    582
    quick question darren please

    is the bolded correct, for clothing.

    Up to £15 No Customs Duty
    No Import VAT
    £15.01 to £135 No Customs Duty
    Import VAT is due
  14. Import Expert

    Import Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    £0.01 to £15

    • No customs duty
    • No Import VAT
    £15.01 to £135

    • No customs duty
    • Import VAT due
    £135.01 and greater

    • Customs duty due, but waived if the amount calculated due is less than £9
    • Import VAT due
  15. Gary Ashe

    Gary Ashe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    Messages:
    582
    righto ta.

    that's kinda peed on my chip's, i was under the impression, total goods and carriage under 135 was vat free, infact it was the only reason i was considering a steady flow of small parcels from china, cheaper, quicker, safer, to buy from uk clearance houses then, for me anyhow.

    ps
    nice blog, bytheway
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
    Import Expert likes this.
  16. sali1

    sali1

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    FAO,
    TWF this post deserved to be sticky. I found it very helpful, also the blog post answered many of my question and Surely it will help many others.
    Thanks
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2014
    Import Expert likes this.
  17. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    3,331
    Many thanks Sali1 :)
  18. Generix

    Generix

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Messages:
    302
    Not to contradict Darren, but if you were dealing in childrens clothes, then there would be no import VAT, this is due to the 0% VAT rate applied though - rather than the low-value. (Same applies to any other goods attracting a 0% VAT rate). Hope that makes sense.

    [I mention this as you mentioned clothes in your last post but one].
  19. Import Expert

    Import Expert

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
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    3,331
    Please find below the latest post on the Blog - This explains in very simple terms how the importation process works, for Sea, Air and Courier.

    If anyone has any questions please do ask as I am more than willing to help.





    These are the practicalities of the import process that perhaps we within the industry take for granted but can be a worry to new importers which is perfectly understandable. I will try and summarise the process from A to B to make it as clear as possible.


    Seafreight

    Let us assume that your order is ready at the factory or you have at least been given a date when it will be ready. For arguments sake it is of a size suitable for shipping by seafreight - say a part load shipment (LCL) which is perhaps the most common.
    You should have already asked your supplier for an FOB price prior to agreeing to any purchase. This means the supplier will arrange to get goods to the port of export and will almost certainly be the cheapest option in the long run.

    1) If you have not already, get a quote from a UK based freight forwarder for FOB Port to delivered door UK. This will ensure no unexpected costs.

    2) Should the price be acceptable, confirm the booking with the freight forwarder. You need to advise them that you accept the quote, provide confirmation of weight, cube, number of packages and type of goods. Give them contact details for your supplier including name and address, contact number/email and contact name along with any references required.

    3) Ask the forwarder for details of their agent/office at the relevant place of origin. Provide the details to your supplier and advise them that they will be in touch to arrange shipping.

    4) You also need to decide at this point whether you want the goods insured- Ask for a price for this and again confirm in writing that you require this if acceptable.

    At this point behind the scenes the UK forwarder will get in touch with their overseas office, who in turn will make contact with the supplier. Once you have paid your supplier they will deliver goods in to the forwarders warehouse at the port of origin and pay the FOB costs.

    Insider Tip

    Now and again a new Supplier will agree FOB price, but when they go to pay the freight forwarders agent in China the costs are higher than they expected and they advise it is not viable for them. The reason for this is that FOB costs are not set in stone so they vary from company to company. The fact that the supplier is advising that these are too high after they have already agreed to the sale is not a scam as such – it might be that they have simply underestimated these or based their calculations at the lower end of the scale. Be aware though that this might be a tactic to get you to ship under CIF/C&F terms, where they make more money in the long run. These circumstances are very rare, but if they do happen, let your forwarder know and they can open a line of communication for you. What you end up doing obviously depends how much room you have in your profit margin to subsidise this as if a small amount it might just be easiest to pay slightly more, especially if your freight rate is very cheap. They might end up agreeing to them - often after some negotiation something can be done.

    5) Goods will be loaded into a container, put on a Vessel and will be on their way.

    6) A bill of lading is issued by the overseas agent, which shows the confirmed shipping details. This is a very important, often misunderstood document as the 'holder' of the original bill of lading has legal title to the goods. There are two choices here that you and the supplier have that you need to agree between yourselves.

    a) Have the original bill of lading sent to you in the UK. The overseas agent will issue the originals - (usually three of them) to the supplier. The supplier (once all costs have been paid to them) will post these to you. You will need to present one of the originals to the UK forwarder for them to release/deliver goods to you.

    b) Ask your supplier for a telex release/express release. This simply means that the supplier will inform the agent that they do not require the originals as they have been paid. In this case you will not need to present the originals to the UK forwarder but you should still ask for a copy as it shows the shipment information.

    7) So now the goods are on the water you need to consider getting them to you. Whether you are VAT registered or not, you will need to apply for an EORI number from HMRC, which effectively allows you to import. You need to complete a fairly simple application form that can be downloaded from HMRC website. It will ask for you and your trading details and details of the shipment in question. The form can be emailed to the EORI team at HMRC and they will process and issue this within 72 hours or so, depending how busy they are. I would recommend doing this a week or two before goods due into the UK. Please note you can only reclaim import VAT as input tax if you are VAT registered - An EORI alone will not allow you to do this.

    8) You may receive a notice of arrival from the freight forwarder a week or so before the goods due into the UK, confirming the arrival details and often asking for your information for customs clearance. Please note that it is not a legal obligation to send out notice of arrivals so you should not rely on this alone - if you know goods are due in imminently call your forwarder and ask for an update.

    9) Provide them with your EORI number, the commercial invoice, the original bill of lading (if required) and the customs tariff code for the goods. The tariff code is a ten digit number that refers to the exact product you are importing and will show what Duty rate you are to pay on the goods. The forwarder will often be able to suggest the right one for you but it is your legal responsibility to ensure this is correct - I would always recommend ringing the HMRC classification department who will provide this over the phone - 01702 366077.

    Back to 'behind the scenes' now. The Vessel has arrived, the container has been unloaded and more than often the forwarder will move this to their customs warehouse to unload and carry out customs clearance.

    10) The forwarder should then issue you with a sales invoice covering the shipping costs as quoted (Check it matches the quote - if it doesn't, ask why). Unless you have your own deferment account, you will also get a Duty/VAT invoice for those costs which the forwarder will have paid to HMRC

    11) Pay the forwarder. Credit arrangements are rare nowadays unless you are a very established importer so you will usually need to pay the invoices before they will book delivery. Payment methods vary but usually BACS/CHAPS or internet bank transfer, are the most common methods. Note that some forwarders might require cleared funds, so ensure you do this in plenty of time.

    12) Rent charges - This is something you need not worry about as long as you do everything in time. You will usually be given seven days free of charge from the date the container was unloaded (called the devan date) to get goods delivered to you. After this date you will incur daily rent costs, hence the need to be on the ball and not delay payment.

    13) Confirm delivery. Check payment has been received (don't always wait for them to contact you if you know payment has been sent and received as they may handle thousands of transactions a day and they can sometimes be hard to match up, especially if payment has come from a different name to the one on the invoice) and ask when you can have delivery. Depending on location this might be next day or 2/3 days afterwards. The forwarder will usually only be able to give you a rough indication of when it might arrive (i.e. late AM) but you can usually request an AM/PM or timed delivery for a small additional cost.

    14) Unloading. You will need to unload goods from the vehicle as the drivers are not insured to do this for you. Bear in mind factors such as restricted access and restricted parking and be sure to warn the forwarder of these in advance. If it is a large/heavy load, you may need to consider the need for a forklift.


    Airfreight

    There is a similar procedure involved, but everything happens slightly quicker as you would expect.

    The main differences to sea freight are as follows:

    1) Ask your Supplier for Ex Works price (EXW). This covers cost of product only.

    2) Get quote from your UK forwarder based on EXW to Door UK.

    3) Bill of Lading (known as an Airway Bill / AWB) for airfreight, will generally be express release, so no need to lodge with UK forwarder.

    4) Rent free period will be much shorter – Usually 24/48 Hours.


    Courier/Postal

    Generally it’s cheaper to let your shipper arrange the shipping to UK Door, as they are likely to have contracts with various carriers.

    1) On arrival UK, the courier will usually post you an invoice for Duty/VAT and a customs clearance or processing fee.

    2) Pay this by phone/online or in person and goods will be delivered to you.
    Cody likes this.
  20. UKbuyer1

    UKbuyer1

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    8,314
    Hi Darren.

    This is a great idea for a blog, and has some cracking information for newbies and old hands alike. I STILL get confused with certain aspects even now, so great job.

    However, if you are serious about this blog, I would secure some hosting and a proper domain, instead of the free wordpress.com site you have at the minute. The reason I say this is the site you have now is not fully customizable (i.e you can't install plugins, can't add adverts etc). And there will come a time, when you want to install a plugin, or make a modification, only to find you can't. The SEO benefits of having a self hosted wordpress blog is also another advantage.

    However, I am sure you have thought about all this and have it all in hand, but i am saying this simply because someone could 'turn off' your blog at any moment, with no prior notice, if they deem you have somehow broken their TOS. I should know, it happened to me once :(

    All my sites run Wordpress.org now, and not wordpress.com, because I always want full control over my sites.

    If you ever need any help with Wordpress, drop me a PM. I will be happy to assist wherever I can.

    Rick
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