Becoming an Export Agent

Question posted by Julie Thompson, on behalf of LONJAM in SE25

Good Day
I am a UK National and plan to live in Jamaica on a semi-permanent basis. Therefore, with a view to having a business that affords me to travel between the UK and Jamaica, I am interested in becoming an Export Agent for goods traded between the two countries. I have made numerous contacts in Jamaica whom are keen to reach overseas markets. Could anyone give me some guidelines to the feasibility of this and how I would go about it please?

At this stage, I would prefer to be an agent rather than an distributor or producer of goods. As this dispels with some of the financial burdens, such as, the overheads of storing the goods to be traded and so on. Plus, I have experience of running a (construction) business for 10 years and I originate from a strong sales, advertising and marketing background so feel I would be able to assist these SMME producers in making overseas sales.

Many of the contacts I have made in Jamaica produce agricultural goods, with others producing finished products, such as manufactured food goods, skincare products, pottery and wooden decorative and furniture items and so on. What are the implications of exporting these goods out of Jamaica?

Running a construction business has made me aware of the benefits of 'eco-friendly' items, such as wind turbines, solar panels, water recycling and so on. Again, this is something that appeals to me in terms of importing products into Jamaica and the wider Caribbean area. What are the implications of exporting these (or other) goods into Jamaica?

Also, if I may ask one more question! Would I be best to create a UK based Ltd company or a Jamaican Ltd company, or both? Where does the tax and business trading implications, such as the need for a work visa / permit, lie within this type of trading between the two countries?

I really appreciate any assistance that is given, even if it is a partial answer to question.

Thanks and best wishes Jules

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Excellent questions Jules,
Your new venture seems exciting.
Export Agent:
Feasibility is good but it would be good for you to do you research to determine what the cost of acquiring goods are and how much people are willing to pay for them in the UK. Especially with perishable goods as time is of the essence there. It might be good to talk to an existing exporter or importer before. In Jamaica there are trade organizations like the Jamaica Exporters' Association that can help you as well. There are little restrictions to exporting goods from Jamaica and there is a long-standing tradion of trade between the two countries. There are restrictions on meat-based products and you would have to be a little more clear about the skin care products for me to provide guidance there.
Eco/Green Products
There is a very strong interest in those products in Jamaica now due to a push by the Government and also high electricity costs. There are also waivers and low-cost loans to help keep costs low so more Jamaican to use alternative energy products. The Government
Company Registration
If you are going to be going back and forth you will ultimately need a work permit. The tax question I cannot answer and should be done in consultation with an attorney and accountant based on your specific situation. For you to do business in Jamaica, you will need to have tax registration however. We can help you to find professionals who can guide you. For the work permit, you will need to have a company registered (not necessarily in Jamaica) and we work with JAMPRO to help make the process quick and painless.

Happy to discuss this further with you and to email you a publication called 'Doing Business in Jamaica' that may be a useful starting point for you. My telephone number is (1876) 936-0717 and my email address is charmaine.wright@fco.gov.uk.

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You might find this guide book useful: just launched as an EBook
http://exporting-made-easy.com/2013/09/04/exporting-made-easy-e-book-launched/

It covers all the different kinds of setup, and it also includes some standard contracts so you can see what clauses to include. Its written for people wanting to go into exporting, but it could still be useful from your point of view.

You can also access a contract written from the agent's point of view at http://www.contractstore.com/A102-agency-agreement

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HMRC Advisor, on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs in G67.

Information on the Customs requirements for exporting goods from the UK is given in HMRC Public Notice 275. All notices can be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk under Quick Links > Library > Official Statistics – Publications – Notices, Info Sheets & Other Reference Materials > Import, Export & International Trade. The Public Notices are in numerical order.

I would also suggest that you contact the Customs Authorities in Jamaica to ascertain if there are any import restrictions on such items.

Information regarding the importation of goods into the UK can be found in notice 501 “A brief guide to import procedures” again this notice can be obtained from our website as above.

A more comprehensive guide to importing / exporting can also be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk > ‘Import and export’ from the home page > scroll down to ‘Guide to importing and exporting: Breaking down the barriers’.

For information regarding the tax, I would suggest that you refer to our website. For information regarding work visas and permits you should contact the Home Office and/or the Jamaican High Commission

HM Revenue & Customs

Customs International Trade & Excise

www.hmrc.gov.uk/contactus

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