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How do you know if you are ready to export?

As an exporter, it is important to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before engaging in foreign trade. You have to make sure you adhere to local and international legislation. All your official documents must be in order. You also have to make sure that it is financially viable to export your product. Doing your homework beforehand will help you avoid any nasty surprises down the line.

This export readiness checklist will help get your business ready to export in no time:

Register as an importer and exporter. Register here.

Obtain your export goods’ tariff code/HS number. You can look this up in the Tariff Book, or contact us to obtain a professional tariff classification.

Are you exporting to a country that has a trade agreement with South Africa? If yes, apply for a certificate of origin to help your customer save on import duties.

Determine whether you will need to charge VAT.

Identify if any of your export goods are regulated and require a special permit. For assistance, contact 087 550 1038 or enquire online.

Decide on the Incoterms.

Decide on insurance cover. Your logistics company can advise you on this.

Decide on a payment method.

Make sure your commercial invoice meets international standards.

If you are arranging the shipping, obtain a freight quote. You will need the following information to obtain a quote:

  • Size and weight of the shipment
  • Whether the goods need to be air-freighted or sea-freighted
  • Tariff code
  • Shipping terms
  • The supplier’s contact details and collection address
  • Your contact and delivery address

Now you are ready to export!

For more resources to assist you in your export journey, visit our Calculators page. For advice and assistance with getting your business export ready, contact us at 087 550 1038, or fill out this form and we’ll contact you.

Tracy Venter

Tracy transitioned from industry to founding Import Export License in 2011, aiding importers and exporters with customs compliance. In 2014, she launched Trade Logistics, focusing on supporting startups and SMMEs in international trade. Since then, Tracy's team has assisted 35,000+ businesses, reaching 32,000 traders monthly through newsletters. She's contributed to publications like Entrepreneurs Magazine and SME Toolkit, spoken at trade events, and participated in customs forums. Import Export License helped with the pilot trial to launch customs' new online registration platform (RLA). Through Trade Logistics she has launched 3 online import-export training courses. She holds an Honours degree from Stellenbosch University and a Cum Laude Masters from Middlesex University. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys running, mountain biking, playing piano, and cherishing moments with her husband and four children.