Starting an importing and exporting business in the UK can open up a world of opportunities. The savvy entrepreneur can unlock entirely new markets for competitively priced products imported on the cheap. A major factor in running a successful import/export business is the understanding of the United Kingdom's import and export laws, as well as overseas regulations that can affect the flow of goods and capital over borders.
Being one of the most important business hubs in the world with the highest double taxation treaties of any country, the UK is ideally poised to serve as the home-base for any exporting or importing business catering to European and global markets. Not only can UK based export/import companies take advantage of the local British market, they also have easy access to hundreds of millions of potential customers in continental Europe and beyond.
It is the exporter's responsibility to obtain proper export licenses, if required, and also to ensure that their goods do not fall under any export restrictions. Current UK laws place restrictions on the export of military and paramilitary goods, artwork, plants and animals, technology, as well as certain kinds of medicines and industrial chemicals. Obtaining an export licence for such goods may depend on factors like if the item has any potential military uses and to which country is it being exported to.
Exporters also have to ensure that the goods they are shipping meet all the legal requirements in the destination country. These can include the need for import licenses, if the goods meet local product safety standards, labelling requirements and marketing standards. The conditions of delivery, and details on who will handle overseas tariffs and custom duties should be handled in an export contract. UK based exporters should keep in mind that enforcing contracts outside the Eurozone can be difficult, so it is essential to hand matters like customs clearance and final payments well in advance of shipping.
As with exporting, the importation of certain goods into the UK are also limited by licensing requirements or even banned outright. Importers should ensure that their goods conform to UK standards of safety, labelling, and so on. Importers are responsible for UK customs clearance, import duties and VAT on the goods they import. Keep in mind that customs duty rates vary by the type of product imported and the country of origin. In many cases it is easier to employ the services of import agent or freight forwarder to handle such details.
It pays to be thorough with paperwork in the import/export business – exporting or importing controlled goods without a right licence is a criminal offence, carrying severe penalties. For some goods, even importing or exporting samples for an exhibition or trade-show still require a license.
Our agents at Midford Accountants Ltd can help you set up a UK based export/import company in a short amount of a time. We are here to guide you through all the paperwork and documentation needed to register your import/export business as an official UK registered company. Our London based accountants can also handle any tax return filings as well as deal with annual accounts.
As with any other business, an importing or exporting company established in the United Kingdom is subject to taxes, employment laws and so on – Midford Accountants can help you deal with these regulations, leaving you free to run your business without worrying about the administrative duties.