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Exporting and Importing

Simple Alliance, Kenya Limited


Understanding the dynamics of exporting and importing

A business owner will need to know a few things for them to be able to conduct export and import activities for their business. These include:

  • Who to work with
  • How to position their business
  • Necessary licences and permits
  • Import and export procedures
  • Import and export documents

Conducting business in any form requires one to clearly understand the processes involved and have a grip on how to handle each of these processes as they come. This is a feature that one really needs to concentrate on when conducting business that involves either exporting or importing goods and products. A small business may not necessarily import or export in bulk but all the same the business owner needs to well understand what they are dealing with to avoid getting into tricky situations.

Use the internet to position your business

The first and most efficient strategy in conducting international trade in the form of exports and imports is the use of the internet. Through the internet you will be able to identify suppliers if you intend to import and potential customers if you intend to export. The internet would also be a resource in the sense that you would be able to develop a website where you advertise the products you intend to export in the case of an exporting business. This, the SME Toolkit offers you for free the moment you register with them. It should not be a problem setting up a website.

Determine and obtain relevant licences and permits

It is important for you as the business owner to try and determine the relevant licences that you would be required to have in order to export or import goods. Most companies that you will be dealing with if not all, in the act of importing and exporting will want to ascertain that they are working with an establishment that has a license or is permitted to conduct export or import services.  Consult with the concerned local government agency and check for the requirements. The assertion that you are a licensed establishment with a permit to conduct export and import on your website makes it more attractive for those who may be interested to work with you. A portfolio on your website makes it user friendly and so it would be important that you concentrate on working on one. Proving to your potential clients that you are great in what you do will set them looking for you.

Understand importing and give it your all

Importing for your small business might prove to be a challenge but if you handle things the right way then there is no doubt that you will succeed. This will require investment in the form of time and effort and will require you to establish relationships with companies from other countries which will provide you with the products you intend to import for your small business. This means that by that time you will have already established a customer base for these products that you will be bringing in.

Import and export procedures

There are procedural requirements for exporting and importing a standardized cargo of goods. There are documents associated with every official procedure and the range from the contractual agreement between the two parties to the delivery of goods. It is important to note that there is a time frame necessary for completion. These procedures are as outlined below but can be accessed in detail in the article Trading Across Borders in the International Finance Corporation website

Export

Export Procedures

Duration (days)

US$ Cost

Documents preparation

12

305

Customs clearance and technical control

4

375

Ports and terminal handling

6

375

Inland transportation and handling

4

1,000

Totals

26

2,055

 

Import

Import procedures

Duration (days)

US$ Cost

Documents preparation

11

250

Customs clearance and technical control

3

430

Ports and terminal handling

6

390

Inland transportation and handling

6

1,120

Totals

24

2,,120

 

Export documents

The following documents are what a business owner will need while dealing with exportation of goods:

  • Bill of lading
  • Cargo delivery order
  • Certificate of origin
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Customs export declaration
  • Inspection report
  • Packing List
  • Terminal Handling receipts

Import documents

While importing these are the documents that you will require:

  • Bill of lading
  • Certificate of origin
  • Commercial invoice
  • Customs import declaration
  • Inspection report
  • Packing list
  • Terminal handling receipts

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