Importing or exporting can be fruitful for growing businesses, but it’s important to get it right. Are you in the process of setting up an overseas operation where you will import and export goods? We spoke to Woodgrange Immigration lawyers to look at the top import/export mistakes that businesses can avoid. Here are some of the most common ones:

Pay Attention to the Exchange Rates

2017 has been a volatile year for foreign currency. If you’re a business operating overseas, fluctuating FX rates could easily impact your bottom line. The currency market fluctuates on a daily basis, which can cause challenges when trading on 30-90 days (i.e., the time at which you pay for the cost of producing your goods is considerably different to the point at which you receive end payment, and the FX rates could swing adversely in the mean time). Even if you make a deal with a foreign supplier, a lot can change from the time the deal is signed and the goods are actually delivered.

Instead of losing money on these deals due to a lack of focus, you need to keep your eyes peeled for any changes in the currency market. If you start to notice large fluctuations, you may want to wait on making a deal with a foreign supplier until these prices start to level out.

Understand Country Regulations

Some business owners think that they can import/export just about anything they want from a foreign country, but this is not the case at all. Most of the countries out there will have very strict guidelines when it comes to the types of products and materials they will allow to go in and out of their territory. Failing to know what these regulations are will usually lead to make a variety of costly mistakes. If you are shipping in things to a country that are regulated, the shipments will usually be seized. This means that you will lose product and money. Rather than having to take these losses, you need to find out detailed information regarding what a particular country allows regarding import/export.

Read our trade tariffs and shipping guide here.

Build Relationships With Customs Officials

Another important thing you will need to do when trying to be a successful importer/exporter is to build relationships with the custom officials. Each country will have customs officials that will be in charge of checking all of the shipments that come in and go out of their territory. Ideally, you will want to develop a relationship with these officials so you can make it easier to get your goods moving to their final destination in a hurry. If you are known as a troublemaker, you may find it difficult to get your goods through the custom officials a country has in place.

Pay Attention to Packaging and Marking Regulations

You will also need to pay close attention to the regulations a country has regarding the packaging and markings you can use on your goods. The last thing you want is to have your items shipped back to you due to a violation of these regulations. If anything on your packaging is even somewhat offensive, you need to think about changing it before shipping to a foreign supplier. While new packaging may be a bit costly, it is well worth the money invested due to the trouble it can save you in the long run.

Having success in the world of importing and exporting goods will require you to do a great deal of work.