Importation of goods is the process of bringing commodities from one country to another, of course using means recognised and approved by law. The purpose of importation of goods varies. The reason varies from resale (trading), consumption, construction, ecstasy, education, etc.
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: WHY THIS ARTICLE?
Having worked in the import and value chain for many years, I found out that many people start importation with little knowledge. A lot of people do not know how the processes work; at least they do not know the beginning and the end. Consequently, untold resources are spent down the importation line. Worst yet, some goods are either lost or confiscated by relevant agencies for non-compliant with due process. This has brought serious heartache to many, and thus, making the business look cumbersome.
Hence, I am releasing this article to help just anyone considering importation of goods. My aim is to help people understand the processes of importation of goods as clear as possible. Thus, they can avoid the issues and heartache resulting from lack of adequate knowledge.
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS ARTICLE?
Is your aim that of growing your local enterprise? Or rather, would you at some point consider expansion? Are you new to the importation business? What if you have been in the business, but still see things through another person’s eyes? Are you a Customs Broker? Or are you planning to be one in the future?
Whatever stage you are in the importation of goods business, this article will benefit you. So, importers, exporters, shipping agents and freight forwarders certainly have something to gain from this article.
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
What is Due Diligence? For brief Due Diligence means thorough investigation. Before embarking on just any business, it’s advised you study the process and the people through. When it comes to importation of goods, you especially want to establish the genuineness of your sources. Who are your suppliers? Maybe, you want to check on the chamber of commerce for reputation of the would-be-supplier. Or you want to ask consulates in the origin country for reasonable information about the company? Other sources of verification include trade portals and other local importers. Be careful to establish originality of the seller. Lots of fake people and con artists are out there with well decorated websites.
Some of the questions you ask to establish originality and reliability include:
- How long are you in this business?
- Have you exported to my country before?
- Are you ISO or any of the known body certified?
- Would you accept Letter of Credit as means of payment? Otherwise, how do you establish financial security for payments?
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: WHAT TERMS OF SALE?
Under terms of sale, you should establish the following points to avoid pleasant surprises down the line:
- Who pays for what?
- What about actual shipping, who arranges it?
- Who does the export haulage and export clearance
- Will the goods be delivered at door step or some import clearance will apply?
- What INCO Terms is used?
- Draw a written contract
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: SECURE MEANS TO PAY FOR YOUR GOODS
Are your purchases from China or USA? Could you use PayPal or any other financial service provider that keeps money until you ask them to release? Could you establish part payment option? Try and secure your funds.
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: REGULATORY AGENCIES AND DOCUMENTS
Know the following in advance of importation of goods:
- How do authorities in your country classify the goods you want to import?
- Who regulates the item? NAFDAC or SON for those importing to Nigeria.
- Will the item need to be inspected at the origin before shipping commences?
- How do you obtain the regulatory document required for the importation of your goods?
- Are there other requirements? For example, if you are importing to Nigeria, will you need Form M and PAAR?
Read Also: FORM M NIGERIA: HOW TO PROCESS AND OBTAIN IT
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: ENGAGE A CUSTOMS BROKER (CLEARING AGENTS)
The services of Clearing Agents are a must-need in the importation of goods. It pays to employ the services of clearing agents from the onset to avoid costly mistakes.
IMPORTATION OF GOODS: LOCAL CHARGES
Make sure to ask your agent to detail all the expenses involved in the process. In Nigeria for instance, there’s the Customs Duty, Storage charge, terminal handling charge, shipping company local charge, documentation charge, agency fee, etc. Ask what applies in your peculiar case. Note that all imports come with some form of peculiarity. Use credible agents and pay the full price. Vagmon Integrated Services is an expert Clearing Agent in the Nigeria space.
Research the process through before importation of goods. Engaging the Clearing Agent early in the importation process spares you of much heartache later. Do not make payment for items in hast. In my next article, I will treat a typical import to Nigeria from zero to finish. Remember to like and share this weblog.