Export of and Import to Portugal, can be the only ways for a company to have a reliable economic model in one market as limited as the Portuguese.
Nowadays, if you want to have a company economically sustainable, especially in a limited market as the Portuguese, frontiers can and should be, just geographic references, not having vital importance in where businesses take place. It is in this context that products Importation and Exportation – intra-community acquisition of goods, when within European Union – rise.
Import to Portugal in a safety way, is not too complex. That doesn’t mean that it does not have any risks. It is important to identify those risks, be ready and mitigate them. You have to pay attention to some processes so everything go without unpleasant surprises.
In this article, Green Ibérica intends to approach the theme “How to Import to Portugal” and give a few tips to help you with this process.
First of all, planning is crucial. As Portuguese, we have the art of “desenrascar” crusted in our identities. Maybe you should keep that cultural quality for other fields, though. You’ll have to develop a good business plan so you can know/define the strategic way to follow. Research, study, devote resources and describe in detail all the actions you’ll have to take.
Make Sure You Are Legally Able to Import to Portugal
After you plan and know exactly the way to go, make sure your company have every legal requirements needed in this kind of transactions. Make sure the “NIPC” of the company have the importation and exportation activity in the corporate object.
Select Your Importation Suppliers
To make sure that you can rely on your potential suppliers to import to Portugal, you should attend to fairs, conferences, congresses, etc., that they can be at. Beyond that, personal contact with the company, with their representatives and with their products and services can help you deciding if that is what you need. Look for references. Try to know more about their clients. If possible, try to reach them and hear their experience.
There are several websites that can help you researching for the best places to go. n’Feiras and 10times are just two examples, there are much more, you just have to look in the area you want to.
Go to the Supplier Factory
There are no better way to know your suppliers and their products, than go and see them in loco. If you have that opportunity check all the manufacturing process. Including machinery conditions, certificates, safety norms and anything that can certify the integrity of your supplier.
Built an Expenses Sheet
Is not easy to get immediately how much you will pay. The product price is just one of the costs you will have. To be aware of taxes, charges, insurances and other amounts of the import to Portugal transaction, will help you determine its feasibility.
So, before you close a deal, be aware all the potential costs, which can include:
- International Shipping;
- International Shipping insurance;
- Importation Taxes;
- Customs Fees;
- Bank Expenses;
- Port Charges;
- Storage Charges;
- Customs Broker;
- Internal Shipping…
By the time of the negotiation it is possible your supplier offers you three intercoms for the cargo shipping:
FOB (Free On Board or FCA – Free CArrier, for air cargo) – cover the shipping costs, from the place of receipt to the Port of Loading.
CFR (Cost and FReight) – the seller its responsible for the sea shipping.
DAP (Delivery At Place) – The seller is the responsible for all the costs of the shipping, since the place of receipt to the place of delivery.
To choose the best incoterm will depend on the knowledge and the contacts you have, mostly in the origin place of the goods you acquire.
Documents Needed to Import to Portugal
After boarding, the exporter send several documents that will allow the importer to release the cargo in the customs. Be aware on the details in the documents. Little inaccuracies can drive to major problems, which ultimately can lead to the apprehension of the goods. If you don’t have the knowledge, looking for an experienced partner can be important.
There are global laws, and so documentation, which are mandatory all over the world. Besides that, there are local laws and local legislation that should be studied, so you avoid unpleasant surprises.
Some of the most important documents to importation:
Bill of Lading (B/L) – Is the most important document in the sea shipping. It is issued by the containerized shipping company (or by a transport agent, as Green Ibérica) to be informed about a cargo shipping. B/L has three main purposes: is the shipping contract between the shipper and the containerized shipping company; is the delivery receipt of the cargo; and is possession title of the goods, which usually can be negotiated/transferred.
AirWay Bill – Such as B/L in sea shipping, AirWay Bill is the most important document in air cargo transport. In contrast to B/L, it can’t be negotiable. The main functions of AirWay Bill are: transport contract; receipt proof of the goods; freight bill; insurance certificate; customs declaration…
Commercial Invoice – Emitted by the supplier, the commercial invoice have the data of the company and of the cargo. In many countries is used to determine the value of the goods that will determine the customs fee.
Packing List – It’s a supplementary document to the commercial invoice, which intent is to describe the content of the shipment. Identify volumes, dimensions, weights, references, etc., of each package. In short, Packing List covers transported boxes and/or packages. Commercial invoice covers every item commercialized.
Origin Certificate – As its name, this document certificate the origin of the goods. There are several Origin Certificates, the most usual is the Form A. This form also allows to have access to tax benefits of some goods.
Insurance Certificate – It’s a way to assure consignees that possible losses and/or damages occurred in the goods during the shipping, are covered.
We’ve had discussed some tips that can be useful if you are thinking about internationalize your business. Export of and Import to Portugal, and so internationalization, can be the only way for you to manage a dynamic and secure company. Even so, maybe you shouldn’t take the deep plunge. Work your way paying attention to the market´ response. Don’t forget, the most important is for you to surround yourself of people/companies secure and experienced in the field. Gather as many information as you can.
Work hard, be confident and believe. Your resilience will be awarded!
 Incoterms are the international terms used in commerce, which determine duties and obligations of both importers and exporters. Know more about Incoterms in the website of ICC – International Chamber of Commerce.