How to spot genuine manufacturers at a sourcing fair

I get asked a lot about sourcing fairs, which involve in the main the Canton fair in China. Below is a guest post by a friend of mine over in China, Ashish Monga which will answer one of the more common questions.

As the spring edition of the 2015 Canton Fair is on at the moment, we have a lot of existing & new clients visiting our office, when they find some time-off from the Canton Fair or for free consultations that we offer at this time. Every year during these meetings, one of the questions that many importers, especially new importers tend to ask, goes something like this:

“I have heard there are lots of trading companies at the Canton Fair, how do I ensure I am dealing with genuine manufacturers only.” Continue reading

The importance of foreign exchange conversions in the Import process

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Guest post by Matt Richardson, founder of betterFX

As anyone who has done it knows, importing from around the world has challenges and all kinds of costs that need to be combined to give you the overall cost of your venture. Most of these costs are visible and directly measurable.

Apart from one that is. Foreign Exchange cost.

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The curse of the ‘Cheap’ product

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China is the focus here again. Not because of any particular bias, simply that it seems to be the first Country that people look at when looking to source goods from ‘Overseas’.

It has the World’s second largest GDP (to the US), but actually takes first place as an economy when the figures are adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, which takes into consideration wages, price of goods and servicing.

The quest for ‘Cheap’ products seems to be a common one judging from the enquiries I receive, and I have covered this loosely on other posts already, but I need to re-iterate:


Declared values

3d Rubber Stamp - "Fact!"Declaring items as gifts or under declaring value

This relates more to postal and courier imports generally, for example where someone might have imported an Android Tablet from a supplier in China, often the Supplier will offer to declare the item as a gift on the paperwork or possibly under declare the value you have actually paid for it.

They are in fact trying to do you a favour, or at least trying to make the sale more attractive as by doing this you are likely to avoid paying Duty/VAT on arrival, or if it is a high value item being under priced, paying less than should be due.  Continue reading

Delivery within the UK


The final delivery of your goods in the UK once they have been customs cleared is seemingly an obvious procedure, so much so that I nearly did not include it here.

However I heard about a tricky situation during the week that reminded me that things can be overlooked sometimes.  As this guide is all about minimising your costs and making the process as simple as possible, it makes sense to include it here. Continue reading

How to lose £20,000 in one day

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The question as to whether to hire the services of an overseas sourcing / quality control agent usually comes down to money.  How much can you afford to lose?  I will go into this in more detail in future posts but for now I want to share with you a real life story that shows what lengths some Suppliers will take in order to scam an importer.

This comes courtesy of a friend of mine – Daniel Cassidy, who moved to China from the UK early in 2012 to make his millions, which through pure hard work he is certainly on his way to doing.

So, what happened?

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Weather and the impact on the supply chain and sales

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In recent weeks and months, the weather in the UK and globally as a whole has been somewhat unpredictable.   Much of the collateral damage has been reported in the press for all to see.  There is however, more subtle damage – To the supply chain.

The recent storms in and around the UK has caused a handful of containerships to lose cargo overboard (another reason to obtain cargo insurance), with the majority of others suffering berthing delays due to booking slots being missed and Ports being unable to offload cargo in the high winds.  It has been well reported that many Vessels were diverted from Felixstowe over the Christmas period to Southampton and London Gateway where weather conditions were less harsh.  These last minute decisions on top of already delayed vessel arrivals cause administrative and logistical headaches for shipping lines and importers alike (as well as us Freight Forwarders stuck in the middle).

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What to expect once an order is ready

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These are the practicalities of the import process that perhaps we within the industry take for granted but can be a worry to new importers which is perfectly understandable.  I will try and summarise the process from A to B to make it as clear as possible.


Let us assume that your order is ready at the factory or you have at least been given a date when it will be ready.  For arguments sake it is of a size suitable for shipping by seafreight – say a part load shipment (LCL) which is perhaps the most common.

You should have already asked your supplier for an FOB price prior to agreeing to any purchase.  This means the supplier will arrange to get goods to the port of export and will almost certainly be the cheapest option in the long run.

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How to (Legally) reduce your customs costs


How to make savings on Customs Costs

Imported goods are usually sourced with an eye on price and quality, with shipping costs to door being the final part of the net import price.  Many importers take the payment of Duty and VAT to Customs as a necessary evil of the importation process.   However, in some cases there can be savings to be made by looking at all options available to you to see if any (legal) reductions can be made.

The examples below are all various ways of reducing your customs costs.  Some of them are retrospective, so can also be used to reclaim costs back for goods imported within the last three years if you have imported before.

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