Whether due to market demands, necessity or simply opportunity, more and more companies require the figure of an importer to facilitate access to certain materials / products / parts… that they cannot find or do not have in their own country. with the qualities or conditions required. Let’s learn a little more about what an importer is and what their functions are.
Who are the importers?
Importers can be people, companies or even nations that are dedicated to buying raw materials or products from suppliers abroad to sell them in their own country and obtain a profit for it. The target or objective audience of the importers is in countries other than their own. They play the role of a hinge between the manufacturer of the merchandise and the customer in the national market. They must know first-hand the latest incoterms due to their international negotiating nature.
What risks do importers run?
In any commercial activity there are risks, but the most common for importers are exchange risk and good logistical control. The first refers to the price set by the buyer in a foreign currency and that in the future the value of said currency may increase in relation to the local currency. The second tells us something that should be taken into account whenever merchandise is transported, and that is the need for professional and experienced logistical control so that imported products are kept in optimal conditions upon arrival at their destination.
The types of importers can be classified according to the objectives that each one has:
Input optimizers: In essence, a company travels to different countries to find optimal inputs. When they are located, they are directed to the various production points distributed among the different countries. Factories assemble these inputs to produce finished products that are imported by markets around the world.
Opportunists: Your business is based on finding products that you can import and sell to local citizens profitably. Their target audience is the local market as they take advantage of the opportunity by importing products available only from foreign suppliers.
Arbitrageurs: They are those in charge of obtaining greater profitability with a lower cost. They look for the highest quality at the lowest price.
What is the import logistics chain?
It is the key to all international logistics management. It allows you to make the necessary plans and monitor them strategically during the supply process for the distribution of raw materials, as well as finished products in international trade operations.
The factor that is most taken into account in the international logistics chain for importers is transportation, since it is the one that generates the highest logistics management costs. Even so, each activity within this chain has an impact on the others, from the moment the product leaves the exporter’s warehouse until it reaches the importer’s warehouse. The main actors in the international logistics chain are the importer, the exporter, logistics operators and customs agents.
Logistics chains have certain advantages. We present some of the main ones:
- They help to optimize resources.
- Lower purchasing costs.
- They reduce and manage product stocks in the warehouse.
- They organize and improve processes.
- They shorten supply times by reducing waits.
- They guarantee and ensure that the merchandise will be delivered at the indicated place and time.
- They generate solid and strategic commercial relationships between the parties.
- They improve the quality of service.
- They have quality certifications that guarantee the supplier and/or their product.
- What are the tariff codes for a product?
The tariff is the tax applied to exported and imported goods.
Tariff codes allow products to be classified and identified in the international market. They are essential when transporting merchandise internationally, since they are what allow the discrimination of the payment of tariff taxes established for the merchandise, fiscal control and the correct generation of statistics to, in the future, be able to use them as a tool in international trade negotiations.
Tariff codes are divided into three different classification systems:
- Harmonized System (HS): It is the oldest of the three codes, periodic checks are carried out every four years. The objective of this system is to bring together all the merchandise coding systems that exist in the different commercial areas. It was created to avoid inconveniences regarding international trade.
Before this system there was the Nomenclature of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCCN). One of the reasons why it changed to the Harmonized System is because of the lack of respect that some important countries such as the US and Canada showed towards the NCCA. The Harmonized System is the one most used when carrying out international sales operations. It has 6 digits that are subdivided into chapters, tariff items and subheadings. Two digits correspond to each of the subsections.
- Combined Nomenclature (NC): This classification system is characteristic of the European Union and is easy to identify. We have seen that the code is made up of 6 digits in the Harmonized System. In the Combined Nomenclature it is made up of 8 digits.
It also has an annual renewal published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU). It is used to establish tariff duties applicable in the European Union in relation to imports from third countries. This classification is necessary to carry out the declaration of trade exchanges between EU Member States.
- TARIC Code: If operations are carried out on certain special merchandise, the TARIC code is necessary.
How does it work? The TARIC code has 10 digits formed from the Harmonized System and the Combined Nomenclature. The first 6 correspond to the Harmonized System, the next two digits to the Combined Nomenclature and the last two to the TARIC Code. This tariff code is managed by the European Commission and the Member States, and is updated automatically through the computer system.
If you know the three types of tariff codes well, you will be able to understand any operation of import and export of goods much better, since these have been created to improve commercial accessibility, facilitating international transactions and making them more efficient.
But what is the sequence of the logistics circuit in international trade?
The international logistics chain process for importers goes through different activities, which are:
- International purchase and sale.
- Internal transport of the country of origin.
- Customs warehouse.
- Loading and stowage at the port of the country of origin.
- CIF freight and insurance.
- Unloading and unloading in the destination country.
- Temporary deposit in the destination country.
- Electronic transmission.
- Customs where DUA is listed.
- Payment of import taxes.
- Channel assignment.
- Delivery of the merchandise.
- Internal transport to the importer’s premises.
What does it take to be an importer?
To begin with, if you want to import, you must be informed at a technical level about the peculiarities of the country in which you are going to buy and the characteristics of the products or goods that are going to be purchased.
A prior analysis must be carried out to know if the product to be imported carries the European Community (CE) mark. If the product is required, it must be verified that it is marked with this seal and if it complies with current European regulations. It is important to know whether the good being imported is approved for subsequent use, as well as whether additional documentation is required so that it can pass the customs controls of the importing country.
Logistics needs for an importer (storage, transportation…)
Imports and logistics are like meat and potatoes. Sometimes the company itself can take charge because it has a logistics department, and other times it will be necessary to subcontract to logistics operators. The international logistics import needs are services, planning, labeling, transportation, storage, maneuvers, packaging, customs management and various activities that increase the quality of customer service.
The labeling. Essential for import. It has a commercial, protection and signaling function. In the import process, labeling must include codes, country of origin, quantity and weight. Packaging and packaging are used to ensure that the product is delivered complete and undamaged.
The means of transport to be used is important and must be decided taking into account the customs procedure. A punctual delivery must be made taking into account the times throughout the process and the quantities.
Distribution and storage is the activity that is responsible for preparing goods, verifying quantities, tariff classification, codes and weights for later storage on shelves or to be distributed to their final destination.
Through maneuvering and stowage, the goods are arranged in the best way to optimize their handling and minimize risks. The goods are then prepared for customs inspection.
What are the main countries that trade with Spain?
International commercial logistics is what allows countries to trade, export and import products between them. The main countries that trade with Spain are France, Germany, Italy and China. Relations with France are characterized by being close and multifaceted due to its geographical proximity and its traditions of economic, commercial, cultural and tourist ties. There is a great intensity of commercial flows with importers in Spain from Germany, our country being the second most important client and the main supplier.
Exports from Spain are mainly capital goods, automotive and semi-manufactured goods. Italy is the third client in the classification with exports of automobiles, fuels, lubricants and women’s clothing. China is in third place as a supplier to Spain, while Spain is in 10th place as a customer of China.
When it comes to becoming an importer, it is essential to have an important import logistics and services department, as well as freight transport, however, it is very common for companies that want to import not to have these. Antonio Marco can carry out with the greatest efficiency all the necessary logistics and transportation actions for importing companies, thanks to first-class facilities, a qualified team, and the support of more than 50 years of experience in the sector.