Before you sign an import order, you’ll need to understand trading terms used by importers and exporters, and you’ll need to be sure that both parties are using commonly accepted understandings of these terms.
To get to grips with terms like EX (ex works or ex factory, warehouse, or plantation), FAS (Free Alongside Ship), and FOB (Free on Board) is not as difficult as it might first seem. The International Chamber of Commerce has developed standardised rules for the interpretation of trade terms called Incoterms. Incoterms 2000 is currently used, but a revised edition, Incoterms 2010, will come into effect from the beginning of January 2011.
Your bank’s international trade department, a freight forwarding agent, or your local Chamber of Commerce should be able to help you with this.
There are a number of customs requirements that you need to be aware of if you plan to start importing. It is an offence to make an erroneous customs entry or declaration and it is recommended that you have a freight forwarder or customs broker assist you with this paperwork.
Assistance is available from the New Zealand Customs Service for first-time commercial importers, but all importers are expected to handle their own paperwork, or use a professional service provider for subsequent imports.