Guide on Starting Importing Business in Kenya

How to  start importing business in KenyaA business owner placed in Kenya or anywhere else in the world should possess knowledge of a few things in order to be able to conduct a successful export/import business.

These things include, necessary work permits and licenses, import/export procedures and documents, along with details of their business partners.

Conducting a business in any particular manner requires one to understand the processes involved and possess a firm grip on handling each of the processes, as and when they come.

This is especially true for export/import businesses where one has to carry out trading across borders. Even if the business is small and you are not even importing/exporting products in bulk, you need to be well aware of the formalities and nitty gritties, in order to avoid getting into murky situations.

This article provides a step-by-step guide to newbies on how to start an importing business in Kenya:

1. Position the Business

The key strategy to popularize an international trade, is by creating an online presence, i.e through the medium of internet. International trade is all about attracting global clients and broadcasting the company’s services on a large-scale.

Internet provides an effective route to identify prospective suppliers in case of import and plausible clients, if one wishes to export. It is also a feasible idea to create the company’s website and optimize it to showcase the export/import company’s products, work ethics and quality of services.

This goes a long way in making target-based advertisements to suitable clients in case of an exporting business.

2.  Obtain the Work Permits/licenses:

As a business owner, it is important to stay updated with the various work permits and trading licenses that may be required for carrying out overseas transactions. One can always consult the local government agency to check for requirements.

In Kenya, an importing license is required only for a few items pertaining to health, environment and security. Traders need to pay the Import Declaration Form fees on goods that are manufactured for export. Manufacturers operating under the scheme of Tax Remission for Export Office are liable to a fee payment of ksh.5000.

Wherever locals in Kenya are not available for the export/import work, the State Government does allow investors to engage expatriate staff. Such expatriates in the export/import business should acquire work permits issued by the department of immigration and renew it at a periodic, basis of two years.

3.  Revise the Procedures of Import/Export

Importing or exporting a standardized goods cargo, requires a set of procedural documents. These documents are associated with each and every official procedure and include everything, right from contractual deal between the parties to the final delivery of goods.

The procedures in a serial manner are, documents preparation, customer clearance, terminal handling at ports as well as inland transportation. One must keep in mind the limited time frame of procedures.

4.  Acquire Documents for Export/Import

Investors in the export/import business need to garner a set of documents for exportation or importation of goods.

These documents are: bill of lading, order of cargo delivery, certificates, customer export proclamation, invoice, inspection report, terminal handling receipts and packing list. All of them may be acquired by the concerned government agency.

By following the above mentioned steps, it may be possible to complete the formalities of an export/import business and be on the safe side of the law, but to establish it successfully, one must handle the procedures with enough time and discretion.

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