How to Import
Export Goods


Learning how to import export goods is a lengthy process, but it can be a profitable one. It is advisable to get legal counsel before you begin this process because of the intricacies involved in it. However, this article will give you some ideas about what to expect as you learn how to import / export goods.

Start an Import / Export Business Step by Step


The first step in starting an import / export business is to figure out what you want to do. What kinds of products do you want to deal in? Where do you want to do business?

If you need ideas about where to start, consult some of the many government agencies geared toward people learning how to import export goods. The “Small Business Administration” and your state’s government can both help you choose countries to start with and line up financing. The Export-Import Bank of the United States ( is also a valuable resource for business owners learning how to import / export goods.

After you’ve made some decisions about what you want to do, then it’s time to start securing licenses, and this is where the process gets trickier. To import goods, in most countries you’ll need licenses from the agency that governs the type of product you want to import.  In the US, for example, you do not need a license to act as an importer, except for certain items.  These special items are regulated by the individual agencies governing that type of good.  For example, the Food and Drug Administration covers food and pharmaceuticals. 

It could take a while for your licenses to be approved, so while you are waiting, you can start building trade connections in the countries you want to work with. If you’re located in the U.S. for instance, then call the U.S. embassy in that country to get a list of trusted suppliers that are in good standing with the U.S.  Then proceed to work on contracts with your suppliers.


Helpful Tools for Import / Export Information


One of the most important things you need for importing and exporting is cash. This is why it is so important to work with the government agencies listed above to line up financing.

Usually you will have to pay a portion of your order when you place it and then the rest on delivery, so you will need the money before you sell the items.

You might consider using importing or exporting software to manage your international trade.  Visco is one reputable program small business owners use to handle their imports and exports.

What Not to Do When Learning How to Import / Export


Finally, make sure that you follow all rules and regulations set forth by the governments of both countries you are dealing with. Make sure that you understand the product transferability regulations and that you have all of your licenses in place. Failure to do so could result in your cargo being impounded by authorities. You could even face charges in some cases.

Also when learning how to import export, make sure that you have everything set down in stone with your suppliers. Don’t just assume that everything is understood, especially when dealing with someone whose native language is not your own.



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