Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A Checklist of Essentials for Exporters in 2023

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While the global marketplace expands and contracts according to political whims, out on the front line are thousands of companies dealing with the bureaucracy’s idiosyncrasies every day.

But don’t be put off. If you are looking at setting up an export business, plenty of knowledge and resources are freely available. To streamline the planning process for you, we have stripped down the steps you need to be aware of and clarified them here. 

Documentation

Every ‘I’ needs to be dotted when exporting, and every ‘t’ crossed. Your export documentation is the foundation of this, and can be split down into key areas:

  • Trade documentation
  • Transport documentation
  • Payments documentation

Adherence to the information required within each ‘realm’ of documentation is crucial if your goods are going to reach your destination on time and intact.

  • Trade documentation

You will need to verify with your particular industry specific trading body for any special paperwork you will need to include, but in general trade documentation includes the following: certificate of origin; commercial invoice; packing list; UK export licence; proof of insurance.

  • Transport documentation

Your transport documentation needs to set out clearly, concisely, and with no grey areas (that could lead to costly delays) the precise instructions a carrier needs to follow to deliver your goods. Again, you will need to clarify if your particular sector has specific requirements, but in general your transport documentation will include the following: export cargo shipping instruction; standard shipping note; bill of wading or a waybill; CIM consignment note; proof of insurance.

  • Payments documentation

With the large sums involved in exporting goods, a paper trail of transactions is essential to ensure that the export contract is honoured by all parties. Payment documentation includes: bank collection or documentary collections; documentary credit, also known as a letter of credit.

Export Regulations

Rules and regulations around exporting are changing constantly, and it is a full time job to keep up to date with those that affect your business particularly. If your business and product needs are complex you would be advised to seek out a full time export professional who will be able to guide you in the right way.

However, the more you arm yourself with the right information, the more control you will have over the process. The government’s Department for Business and Trade website has a wealth of information that will point you in the right direction. 

As a young and ‘green’ (as in naïve) business, it is all too easy to fall foul of the myriad of different regulations that govern different industry sectors. Even down to the types of material used for transportation can make the difference between your goods reaching their destination, and being impounded for non-compliance. 

For example, it is well known that all wooden pallets must meet the ISPM15 standard to prevent the spread of disease and insects. This is achieved by heat treating the pallets. However, if non-compliant pallet blocks are also used then that will be picked up by trade authorities working at the point of entry and lead to the goods being impounded. It is essential that every tiny detail is checked and double checked to ensure compliance at every stage.

Although it may seem daunting, companies are actively encouraged to explore export opportunities, particularly in the wake of Brexit. The Department for Business and Tarde has support and help available that covers every region across the globe, and they will support any enquiries you may have and put you in touch with the right people. 

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