Guide to export the United Kingdom

Guide to export to the United Kingdom


1. Market Research
Exporting implies you will have to carry out some market research, in order to determine the price you will set for your product, but most importantly to perfectly know about the demand for that product.
2. Sending the Proforma Invoice
The exporter will need to provide a Proforma invoice, in order to ease any procedures the importer will have to carry out such as licenses and import permits and set the payment instrument.
3. Acceptance of the Terms
The importer confirms the acceptance of the negotiation terms and proceeds according to them to the opening of a letter of credit in the correspondent bank or to the transfer of letters or commercial notes for the correct values.
4. Confirmation of the Letter of Credit
The Colombian commercial bank receives a copy of the letter of credit from the correspondent obligor bank or any other document agreed to act as guarantee of payment and notifies the exporter so he can start the procedures for shipping the goods.
5. Commercial invoice
It is used by the customs authorities of the importing country as a document to evaluate the customs value of the goods to which will be applied the import duties.
6. Packing list
It provides information on the packaging, the quantity of boxes or bulk, its content, its weight and volume as well as the handling and transportation conditions for the goods.
7. Transportation Hiring
The exporter will hire the most suitable means and company of transportation (taking into account the kind of goods, the costs and the availability requirements), according to the terms agreed to with the buyer.
8. Guarantee of Origin of the Goods
It is a requirement for the naturalisation or to obtain tarriff prerferences from the receiving country. The exporter will begin proceedures for the approval of the guarantee of origin certificate at the MINCOMEX.
9. Purchase and completion of the Export Document (DEX)
The export document or Declaration of Exportation, DEX, can be used in two ways:
  • As Authorization of Boarding
  • As a Final Declaration
10. Clearance Certificate Requests
Exporting certain products requires exporters to be registered with the entity in charge of its control and/or the clearence certificate grant.
11. Export Declaration Presentation and Goods Capacity
Once the Export Declaration is submitted along with its appendices, the customs accept the shipment authorisation or final declaration request is accepted, as the case may be, proceeding with the capacity of the goods and its boarding authorisation.
12. Payment of the Exportation
Exporting forces the exporter to give away the currencies they have received. According to rules set by the currency system, exporters will proceed to the sale of their currencies through financial intermediaries authorised by the Bank of the Republic.
13. Application for the Tax Refund Certificate (CERT).
If the exported product benefits from the CERT, in conformity with Decree 33 of 2001, the exporter will authorise the financial intermediate to proceed before MINCOMEX.

Commercial policy in the UK

The United Kingdom grants preferential access conditions to a large number of countries, with which it has concluded economic, commercial, technological and financial agreements. In some cases, these programs establish autonomous parameters of cooperation.

To design the differential commercial policy, different aspects such as geography and economics are taken into account, as in the case of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The Lomé Convention also applies these criteria to Israel and its former colonies. It also participates in multilateral initiatives such as the one defined in UNCTAD II with the design of a scheme to apply the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); and, the criterion of aid to countries that face difficulties for the fight against illicit substance trafficking, as is the case of the Andean SGP.

UK market regulations

The conditions of access to the markets of the EU European Union, and as an example to the United Kingdom, require the anticipated preparation of the exporter in order to not incur errors that cause costs, loss of merchandise, and non-authorization of the corresponding customs for entry into EU territory.

A FTA between Colombia and the EU was ratified in 2013, opening a new chapter in the history of commercial relations between the two parties. This FTA had a monumental impact on the exchanges, estimating the cost savings in tariffs to about 500 million dollars per year.

According to the trade agreement that the EU has with the country of origin, the products may be exempt from tariff, or have a reduced tariff, as well as for other reasons, such as if they are samples without commercial value, goods for repair or other products that are of temporary importation.

There is a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that was introduced in order to protect local food production and is related to the agricultural products of the temperate zone. A characteristic of the PAC is the system of levies integrated into a system of entry prices ex: if the import price is lower than the minimum entry price, an additional duty is imposed in addition to the customs duty. The system is applied to several products throughout the year and to other products during certain times, with the exception of exotic fruits and vegetables.

    In the EU Market, the following controls are applied: Import Quality Control, Import Health Inspection, Phytosanitary Inspection, Import Veterinary Inspection, International Convention that regulates the trade of threatened species of fauna and flora.

    Since the 1st of March 2005, the EU demands food exporters to use systems that guarantee the tracability of their products. According to regulation 178/02 from the European Commission, traceability is the possibility of finding and follow the traces, through all stages of production, transformation and distribution, of food, meal or animal destined to production of food or substances destined to be incorporated to food. According to article 18 of regulation 178/02, food companies must use systems and procedures that allow them to: 1- Identify suppliers; 2- Identify the companies to whom the products are provided; 3- Make this information available for higher authorities. In the same way, products that are comercialised in the EU must comply with international standards with regards to labelling and packaging.

Logistics and Transportation

The country has more than eight (8) ports of great importance, however, the maritime transport from Colombia to the United Kingdom has as final destination the ports of London, Tilbury, Southampton, Liverpool and Felixstowe Most of these ports belong to companies port, thus facilitating documentation procedures in cases of internal transfer of goods.

From Colombia, mainly from the ports located along the Atlantic Coast, operate direct services and transshipment to the aforementioned seaports, being the port of Cartagena which concentrates the largest supply of transport for both loose cargo and containers.

The United Kingdom has an airport infrastructure composed of 34 airports distributed throughout its territory, but some of these airports have time limits to maintain the cargo, additional areas for storage despite the cold perishables. It is offered only by the airports of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London Gatwick and Manchester.

The offer of air services from Colombia to the United Kingdom is mainly confined to connecting flights in different American and European cities such as Miami, Caracas, Havana, Paris and Madrid.

Are you interested in starting a business in the UK?

The United Kingdom has a highly welcoming business regime thanks to the speed of its procedures and easy access to the market. The constitution of a company has a simple procedure for nationals and for foreigners because there is no special regulation for the latter.

There are four types of companies in the United Kingdom:

Limited Liability Company ("Private company limited by shares", "Ltd")

Limited Liability Company ("Private company limited by guarantee")

Regular Collective Society ("Private unlimited company")

Public company ("Public company limited by shares", "Plc")

To establish a company, you must:

Complete the ISO1 form (Make the corresponding payment)

Public Deed of Constitution (Memorandum of Association)

Statutes of the Society (Articles of Association)


  • 1. Check that your name is unique in the Database of Company Names on the web - This procedure can be done online on the website of the corporate -This procedure can be done online on the website of the corporate chamber
  • 2. Prepare Public Deed of Constitution and Statutes of the Company; fill out ISO1 Form -The forms are available on the website of the Chamber of Societies:
  • 3. Present the documents of incorporation of the company in the Chamber of Societies -The presentation can be done online or in person.
  • 4. Register for VAT -Can be carried out online at: https: // in less than one day, free of charge
  • 5. Contact HMRC and register for PAYE
  • 6. Enroll in Employer Liability Insurance