Protocols… yawn, documentation… yawn, compliance… yawn.
As a culture we are often told not to sweat the small stuff, but when it comes to export paperwork this adage definitely does not apply; in fact it’s the small stuff that can derail an export order, or at the very least cause stress, delay and sometimes additional cost.
CAN YOU EXPORT IT?
Some products can’t be exported from Australia to certain countries because we don’t have protocols or export agreements in place. It was only in May 2016 that an agreement was put in place allowing Australian nectarines to be sold to China. Korea has some challenges in organic compliance with some specific ingredients. So check that your product is eligible to be sold into each country that you are considering.
Once you’ve established your product is welcome and you’ve got an order in place, it’s time to look at documentation. Not only does each country have its own specific list of mandatory documents, there are often additional documents for individual products or product categories.
Each shipment will have a contract of sale, shipping documents and various certificates at the very least. Across all of these documents the information supplied must be 100% consistent. If you use an acronym or shorthand version of your product name in the contract of sale, both you and your buyer will know what online you mean, but to a customs or trade official this could look like a different product to what appears on the other documents – and alarm bells start ringing. They are trained to pick up inconsistencies and it doesn’t matter to them if it is in all likelihood simply two versions of the same product name, it’s their job to pick it up and do something about it.
Timelines are also crucial to the paperwork. Not only does it take most companies more time than expected to complete, check and double-check all the information they are providing, there may be third parties involved, such as government departments or business chambers.
THE PROTOCOL GEEKS
At CVEN we have a team of experienced export practitioners whose eyes light up at the thought of protocols, export documentation and compliance (so that yours don’t have to glaze over). They will happily handle your company’s export documentation or teach you and your staff to do it as part of a broader export development engagement. Get in touch to find out more.