Five steps: finding help with import and export
Top resources for international trade.
The key to
successsful import/export is not, as you may have guessed, just to
go blundering blindly into countries you have no understanding of.
Use these resources to help you research, trade with and positively
flourish in international markets.
1. UK Trade & Investment
This government body is the daddy of all import/export resources
in the UK. It tackles all the basics, and the bits you need after
the basics, and, well, the bits after that too, through a
combination of free online content, advisors and courses.
website can be a little maze-like, but we suggest you pick your
sector using the options at the top and go from there, which makes
things clearer. Each sector section explains where the best
countries to export to are for your industry, events that could be
relevant to you and points you towards relevant guidance elsewhere
on the site. Use the search button for more specific
UKTI provides advisors too (real people ones), who can give you
far more hands-on and tailored help. You can find your local one
through the site or by calling 0207 215 8000.
It organises fantastically useful trade missions so you can go and
meet potential buyers and suppliers in your destination of choice,
and find out more about business there first-hand. They're usually
fully or part-funded.
UKTI also does tailored reports on how to break into a specific
country, though at £500 you may want to try pulling that info
together from elsewhere first (try the British Library Business
& IP Centre, for example). As a first exploration, check out
the site's country profiles explaining the economy and
where the main opportunities lie.
Find it: www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/
2. Business Link
It's dry as dehydrated toast but Business
Link does provide one of the most comprehensive guides to all
the key regulations and processes you need to know about. It has
also replaced the HMRC website as the place du jour to find
government-voiced import/export info online (HMRC redirects you
there at every turn as part of a more holistic attempt by the
government to converge its various small business resources). Try
to fight off the urge to take impromptu naps on your laptop while
Find it: www.businesslink.gov.uk
3. British Chambers of Commerce section on Global
The BCC isn't a straight-up advice-provider like
some of the other resources here, but its mix of free and paid-for
content caters for preliminary forays into the import/export domain
as well as for those in need of advanced guidance.
The big draws for the penniless many are the free market briefs on a pretty diverse
selection of countries and events listings. You can find a healthy
dose of these on the Link2 website as well, which offers a further
sprinkling of info on different parts of the world and is worth a
If you're happy to get your wallet out, you'll find training (typically around the £500 mark), and
a review service of the market you want to enter and how to make
your business suit it, similar to that of UKTI's (£500 again though
can be subsidised to £150). The BCC will also handle of help with
your documentation for a fee.
Find it: www.britishchambers.org.uk/zones/export
4. HMRC's import and export
Does exactly what it says on the tin, albeit in perhaps not the
most tantalising fashion you may have hoped for. It is a government
leaflet, after all. On the plus side, that means it really will go
into those hard-to-reach corners of pedantic technicality you need,
to make sure you don't do anything wrong. For best results, use in
conjunction with plenty of face-to-face and online help elsewhere.
Coffee will also help.
Find it: download it from this page
Not your average resource. This cheeky little chappy is actually
an HMRC site in possession of a whole lorryfull of import/export
statistics. You can use it to do (pretty darn advanced) research,
but also find things like the right commodity code for your goods
or the right airport or seaport code.
It's also got a whole section dedicated to Intrastat, which you
need to find out about if you trade goods within the EU of a total
annual value of more than £270,000.
Find it: www.uktradeinfo.com/
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