Whatever your views on Brexit, it has changed our trading relationship with the world and certainly within some areas of trade it has given businesses new opportunities to sell products to, or buy goods from, different markets.
Looking to seize upon these new opportunities, entrepreneurs have been focused on starting import and export businesses within the UK, reaching out to new worldwide partners.
But setting up a new import/export business in the UK requires careful thought and no little planning. While there are potential benefits of wider profit margins and the chance to sell a broader base of products at a lower price, there are costs to consider when importing goods, and greater risks involved too.
So, what are the key advantages of importing products to the UK? Suppliers across the globe can sometimes produce goods cheaper than they are available in the UK, whether that is due to lower labour costs, more efficient production or better access to natural resources. These savings can enable a UK business to sell products cheaper or with a higher profit margin when sourced from overseas.
There is also a greater choice of products available from foreign markets. Food stuffs, materials or specialist knowledge may be more available abroad, compared with the UK. Other countries might also specialise in particular products that are therefore of greater quality than those that can be sourced in the UK. Sourcing the best standard of products from a global marketplace can give your business a significant edge over competitors and a unique appeal to customers in the UK.
Similarly, products from the UK can have their own unique appeal for overseas markets, giving you the chance to sell them at a premium price. Ahead of exporting products abroad, be certain to research the overseas markets you’re planning to work in carefully. You’ll need a full understanding of your legal obligations, and the customs demands, related to those markets, and each may have very specific requirements.
Of course, importing goods to the UK is a highly regulated activity and the specific rules around importing goods into the UK will vary depending on where you are importing from. Things you will need to consider include being certain of the correct commodity code for your goods, the duty you will need to pay on your imports and the controls on the goods you plan to import that may require an import licence.
In Essex, we are blessed with some of the UK’s leading airports and seaports, allowing import and export companies speedy access to international markets. Transporting goods by road or rail can be very cost effective, particularly when trading within Europe, thanks to the good standard of infrastructure.
Sea freight is more common for trade between Asia and the UK. One of the crucial benefits of sea freight is that the cost is based on the volume you take rather than the weight of your cargo. Inevitably, sea freight takes time, making it more difficult to react to the changing demands of customers. Air freight provides a quicker option but tends to be more expensive and the weight of your product will be a determining factor in the cost.
Are you looking to start an import/export business? Or currently importing or exporting goods and want to improve your processes and increase profits? Sign up to our fully funded workshops and our experts will share best practice and help you make the most out of international opportunities.