Manage the risks of importing

Assess the reliability of overseas suppliers


As in the UK, you want to deal with reliable suppliers who can deliver what you want, in the right quantity and quality, on time:

  • You should assess product quality and check that the goods you buy are suitable. Read more about how to ensure imported goods meet your requirements.
  • Investigating suppliers' management systems can help reassure you about product and service quality. You also want to be sure that they follow ethical working practices - for example, your reputation could suffer if you buy from suppliers who mistreat their employees. Find out whether certification has been issued by an accreditation body.
  • You may need to check where raw materials come from, particularly if you want to be able to claim a preferential rate of import duty.
  • You need to know whether the supplier outsources any work to subcontractors. If so, you may want to assess these subcontractors as well.
  • You should check that suppliers are who they claim to be. Frauds do occur in international trade.

Visiting potential suppliers is usually an essential part of supplier assessment.

Managing your overseas suppliers

Dealing with the right supplier helps reduce the risks of poor quality goods or delivery problems. Even so, suppliers can fail to meet their obligations. Enforcing your contractual rights can be difficult, time consuming, expensive or even impossible.

Choosing the right payment method can reduce the risks and the consequences if things do go wrong. Read more about how to avoid payment problems with imports.

Read more about how to manage overseas suppliers.