The Legalities of Trading Overseas

The Legalities of Trading Overseas
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Mon 2nd Mar 2015

Tapping into international markets presents a big opportunity for small businesses to expand and make a profit. If you're concerned about export regulations and procedures, fear not.

Paul Marks, Director of Sales for UPS UK shares the legalities to consider when exporting internationally, so you can trade with ease.

Customs Clearance

UPS research shows customs clearance as the greatest fear for exporting small businesses. One way of reducing the risk of having your goods held up in customs is to be fastidious in packaging and labelling products and making sure all export documentation is 100% correct. Check out our Export Toolkit checklist which will provide you with additional information on how to make the process of customs clearance as easy as possible.


Regulations vary from country to country, but most have some controls on certain goods leaving or entering their territories. If you're planning on exporting one of these goods, then it's probable you'll need to get an export license and your customers could need an import license too. The full list of goods and which category they fall under can be found on our Export Toolkit.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is a document that proves the goods you are exporting were wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. Almost all countries use the origin of goods as a key basis for applying duties and, in some cases, whether the goods can be legally imported at all. Electronic certificate of origins are available from your local chamber of commerce. To get started you can locate your nearest chamber of commerce and also see a sample certificate on the UPS website.

Prohibited and Restricted Articles

Certain items such as furs or ivory are prohibited for international trade to all countries. In other cases, there may be restrictions to quantities or how they are transported across borders, meaning you may need to agree transport on a contractual bases. UPS, along with other major carriers, must abide by local regulations when carrying restricted, sensitive or hazardous goods therefore it is important that you open up a discussion and agree the terms of carriage specific to your product.

Taking these steps will make your journey into new markets more navigable and get your products safely into the hands of new customers.

The Go Global campaign is supported by UPS, PayPal and HP


Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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