Exporting From the UK

Exporting From The UK

Expansion into international markets can offer huge opportunities for UK businesses. Finding and developing new supply chain exportation routes for products is truly a fantastic avenue for business expansion. Companies around the world may be looking for a wide variety of goods that is in turn exactly what you are offering. Trading internationally is very complex business but – as with many things – can be a rewarding business venture. If your business is exporting goods to countries outside of the EU (known as ‘third countries’), you must have the appropriate licenses in place and make export declarations to customs through the National Export System (NES).

UAE/Dubai/Saudi Arabia

Over 5,000 UK companies are doing business in the UAE.

The UAE is an important trade destination for UK exporters with a massive amount of cargo shipping out to the ports of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jebel Ali and Port Rashid.
Significant percentage of UK exports to the UAE being re-exported, specifically to Iran and Saudi Arabia. The GCC currently only has a few free trade agreements in place, including those with the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) and the European Free Trade Area. Each Emirate retains control of their individual regulatory powers.


The United States is the richest market in the world, it is also the UK’s biggest destination for exports. For UK entrepreneurs, the United States represents a wealth of opportunities for business growth and development.

Making a go of it on the other side of the Atlantic is a fantastic opportunity for UK businesses. Using an experienced freight forwarder helps to link these markets for you and they will help you navigate the security and documentary requirements. Amongst the many US ports LOS Angeles, Long Beach, New York and Charleston are particularly large ports and very common destination ports for shipments from the UK.

All corporations in the US have to register with a government body in the individual state they incorporated in. Business filing documents are available through the appropriate state government authority. US publicly traded companies have to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission and must make their annual reports available to investors. To avoid product liability exposure it is important that you assess US government requirements in addition to voluntary standards and industry practices for your exported goods.


India is an enormous country made up of 29 different states and 7 union territories. The market varies significantly across its multiple different regions and states. India does not have a single national market, each state resembles a separate country, often with its own language, cultural practices, and preferences. Different regions also have different industry clusters making trade in India complex. You must check what the import duty is for your product in India to see if your export is actually viable. It’s likely to be a minimum of 35% once all additional taxes are included.

Before conducting trade in India there is a long list of considerations to bear in mind such as multiple religious, ethnic and annual holidays which may require careful planning for business trips, barriers to trade and investment in some sectors because of regulatory constraints, local sourcing requirements and import tariffs, intellectual property protection risk of delays due to administrative requirements, difficulty of land acquisition, access to the right skills in the local workforce, infrastructure challenges in reference to distribution and logistics, extreme weather conditions and the risk of bribery and corruption.

You can mitigate against such issues by developing good business and working relationships with potential importers and ensuring that they are aware of any import licenses or specialist requirements with documentation. Duties and taxes are payable by the consignee so they should be aware of the requirements and regulations for import.
A Freight forwarder would be able to assist exporters with the process up to the arrival at port In India, and provide advice and assistance on export customs formalities and


Many UK firms initially opt to operate in Japan through a distributor or other form of partnership, Japan is conveniently located to serve as a hub for expansion into other Asian markets. Advanced infrastructure and transport system within Japan mean it’s easy doing business in many areas of Japan as well as south East Asia. Strong trade relationships with neighboring countries provide fantastic business expansion opportunities as well. Personal relationships are very important in the Japanese market and should be developed with a long-term perspective, built on mutual trust. This requires enormous patience and an investment of time and personal presence. Regular visits to Japan are often an important part of a successful interaction with the agent/distributor.

Again Japan is a very large market for UK manufacturers and represents a huge opportunity for companies who are looking to expand and trade into other areas. Key destination ports include Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo.


With over 140 million consumers and a growing middle class, not to mention unlimited infrastructure needs, Russia continues to be one of the most promising markets for UK exporters. Russia is a geographically huge market, spanning nine time zones and encompassing over 17 million square miles. VAT is applied at a standard rate of 18% but a reduced VAT rate of 10% is applied to medical goods, books and periodicals, food products and children’s garments. There is an import VAT exemption for ‘technological equipment that does not have an equivalent product produced in accordance with a government approved list. The specified equipment usually also qualifies for a 0% rate of customs import duty. Import customs duties are collected based on the classification code and the country of origin of the goods being imported. In the majority of cases, they are 5%, 10% and 15%. Certain goods are exempt from import customs duties, and the import of certain goods will require an appropriate license.


There are many existing business links between the UK and Turkey, it should be noted that the Turkish Customs and Commerce Ministry regulates all goods imported into the country. The EU and Turkey are linked by a Customs Union agreement, The (VAT) rate varies between 1%, 8%, and 18% depending on the goods being imported. However, there are certain challenges when it comes to doing business in Turkey. These challenges include, bureaucracy, regulatory issues, sudden changes to legislation and regulations without warning, a need to demonstrate a commitment to the market, either by having a visible presence in the country or building and maintaining strong relationship and the necessity of regular market visits to fulfil Turkish requirements.

Turkey has traditionally been seen as a gateway between east and west and it is a massive trading area for both importers and exporters. Many UK exporters have found viable trade in Turkey shipping their cargo to key ports such as Istanbul, Izmir, and Iskenderun.


There are huge benefits and opportunities in exporting outside of the UK, and if you are looking for significant growth this may be the route for you. Like anything, make sure to do the necessary research. You will need to develop viable business partners and clarify clearly with any potential buyers what the import requirements may be prior to shipment. They will need to check with customs regarding licenses, specialist documentation and taxes.

Selecting a reliable freight forwarder is a key part of the process as they will guide you throughout the whole shipping process from collection from your factory or warehouse to arrival in the export country.

They will negotiate freight rates, make bookings on your behalf, coordinate loading and onwards transport to the quay, book vessel space and organize schedules for shipment. They can also complete the export customs formalities and provide invaluable guidance for UK businesses who are looking to export their products.
There is so much room for Uk Manufacturers to look to sell their products beyond the UK and Europe and with the ride research and trade partners, it can help you consolidate and expand your business.

We have seen this here at GWT in recent years with more and more companies starting to export to third country buyers. Moving forward with uncertainties over Brexit and a potential shift in trading patterns it is well worth it for UK exporters to explore potential opportunities elsewhere.