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First Steps To Exporting: Anticipate Regulatory Formalities

By Ian Silverton
Senior Operations Manager, FedEx Express Spain

Many Spanish companies are looking to export as an avenue for broader growth. According to Agencia Tributaria (Spanish Tax Agency), Spanish exports in 2013 reached €234 billion, 5% more than in 2012. Still, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to international trade. Here are some key starting points as you delve into expansion beyond Spain.

Get to know local markets
  • Nothing beats visiting the country/territory itself. Attend country/territory-specific events, connect with in-country/territory contacts who can share relevant knowledge or join a local SME organization to get advice.
  • Visit the website of the local Chambers of Commerce, country/territory business offices, Ministry of Commerce and National Customs Services.
  • Browse the European Commission’s market access database for an overview of the customs procedures between countries/territories.

Understand your own export markets and sectors
For Spain, our biggest export markets are our neighbors: France, Germany, Portugal. Our key export sectors worldwide include Industrial Technology, Chemistry, Raw Materials and Fashion. In 2013, Spanish exports to BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India and China) were over €11 million; to MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) were over €8.6 million; and to CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa) were over €8.3 million.

Learn how your product travels across borders
Every product has its own customs rules and regulations, which can vary broadly from country/territory to country/territory.

  • Check the HTS code for your goods. Also confirm essential specifications like measurements and technical specifications.
  • Create a Commercial Invoice, which functions like a passport for your package. All information in the invoice must conform to the particular entry requirements of the country/territory to which your goods are being shipped. Typically, this includes a consignee (a.k.a. the recipient), shipper, country/territory of origin, value and a description of the contents (product, materials, HTS code, intended use, country/territory of manufacture, quantity, etc.) — but you should always verify per country/territory.
  • Don’t forget to take advantage of FedEx online documentation. With electronic filing capability, you can send customs agents the information they need before your package even arrives.
Useful Resources

Mercado de la Comisión Europea
Cámara de Comercio