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Import / Export Advice

Learn to get started in international trade, including how to export products overseas and import products into the United States / U.K. 
  • Always verify that who you are importing from is a reputable supplier. Don't jump at deals that are too good to be true.
  • NEVER deal with a foreign company that doesn't do samples and that doesn't accept credit cards for your initial purchases. You have to establish a relationship built on trust and efficiency in order to thrive when doing business with companies overseas.
  • The only legal requirements to opening an import business are having an importer of record number, (the business's tax-identification number) and a surety bond to protect the U.S. government if you can't pay your duties, taxes and other fees. If you do not have an IRS number you can obtain one by going to If you do not have a business, you can use your social security number.
  • All imports must have the following documents to clear U.S. Customs: Invoice/Packing Slip (showing detailed description, cost, and weight) Carrier's Bill of Lading.
  • Do as much research as you can online before actually sending your hard earned money overseas.
Quick Tips - Safeguard your Business Interest
Never send money by Western Union: It is tempting as it is very simple and you can send quickly. But it is illegal for business use in most countries and it is non-recoverable and non-traceable. So the chances of getting duped are very high if you pay by Western Union. I have yet to come across any serious business insisting on money by Western Union.
Never remit money by Bank Transfer to a personal name: Always send to a company name. Many use this trick and I am surprised how many keep falling for this. No matter what the other guy says, if you send a bank transfer to a person, chances are high that it will be the last you will hear from him.
Avoid being a victim of the ADVANCE FEE SCAM: Never try to sell anything to anyone who insists on some payment from you before placing an order for your goods. They usually promise a very large order to tempt you. Various tricks used are fee for foreign exchange transfer, registration of your company with authorities, etc. Basically stop dealings with anyone who places an order with you and then wants you to send some money first for some reason or the other.

Quick Tips - General
Use a personalized paid email address: In case you are using a free email address like yahoo, rediff, hotmail, msn or any other free email, please stop using it immediately as you are harming your business by doing so. Free email address look very unprofessional and create a poor impression about you. So start using an email address which is like as soon as possible.
Build your company website: If you are in business and you do not have a website you are losing business. No matter what your argument may be, a website is becoming a qualifying criterion for buyers to select people they want to talk to. Not having a website reduces the number of people who would be interested in talking to you. Do you really want to do that?
Make it easy for people to contact you: The below three points are a basic minimum:

Having voice mail on all your phone lines: Basically, you must have a system where a person can leave a message if your phone is busy or no one is there to attend it so that you do not miss anyone trying to contact you.
Having a dedicated fax line: Faxes nowadays are mostly being sent by some fax software. So if you have a system where a fax tone is given on request, chances are you will not receive the fax.
Always including complete contact details in all emails you send. A simple way is to use signature files.
Review your website critically: If you have a website, look at it critically from a buyer's viewpoint and see if your website does the following:

Make the visitor believe you know your business well
Provide more information than competitors
Enhance your credibility
(d) Make the visitor feel like contacting you
Is your contact information easily accessible?
Understand the mindset of your buyer: Learn to listen and understand the pulse of the potential buyer. Find out what drives him. Although I know all of you will jump and say 'price', you know that there is zillions of dollars of business being done at a price much higher than the 'best possible price' even when buyers know that. It is being done because of timely delivery, quality assurance, excellent communication, comfort level or special customization, etc. Each buyer has some factors he holds as key. Once you know that, you should be able to reassure him on that front.

Faq about exporting to China

China business info U.S.A.

Small business help

U.S. Customs

Official business link to U.S.

Exporting / Importing U.K.


Import / Export Advice

The information and opinions expressed on this web site are not intended to be a comprehensive study, nor provide legal advice, and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice concerning individual situations.  Arch1design is not responsible for the content of external internet sites which link to this site or which are linked from it.

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