Importing industrial products from USA: A complete guide to get startedIFExport Editorial Team
Importing industrial products from USA can be a tipping point for any company around the world.
United States of America has proven be a high technical country where a lot of industrial products are created and designed.
Another good reason for using industrial products designed or even manufactured in United States is the technical support all of them use to have.
This guide is about 5 aspects you need to care when planning buying industrial products in United States of America.
1) Find a good supplier
When you need an industrial product, the first thing you need to know is who can sell it to you. In United States there is a lot of companies who trade industrial products.
But not all of them are prepared or intended to sell internationally. You need to find a company whose scope is exporting industrial products from United States.
If the word Export is included in the name, tagline, slogan or description of the company, is a good signal.
Nowdays this searches use to get started online. So, use Google, or your preferred search engine, to find the product -and the seller- you are looking for.
Let’s say you are searching an engine driven welding machine. One way to go is put these very words in the search engine. Or if you know the manufacturer or the specific model you need, you could search that.
Following the example, if you would like to buy a Miller Big Blue 500X Pro. Searching for this you can find the manufacturer’s website as well as some distributor websites.
To dedicate some time to this can save a lot of trouble in the future.
Prepare to buy more than once
Importing industrial products from USA is, usually, a task you could do several times. Sometimes in a daily basis.
That is why is pretty important your supplier can not only sell you a specific equipment, but also spare parts, accessories, consumables, etc.
Due importing from USA could take some time is highly recommend to define all what you could need to get started in using this industrial product.
For instance, if you are importing a Miller Big Blue 500X Pro Welding Machine, you could need torchs, wires, spare cables, etc. It would be a good idea to include all this in the same purchase order.
Once you have defined all what you need, and found a distributor who can sell it, is time to get in contact with this supplier. By the way, this is something we can sell to you.
How to develop a relationship with a supplier
When importing from USA, is essential to know well who your supplier is. We recommend strongly to check its website, its location in the map, ask references and talk over the phone with the seller.
You can also google the name of the company to know better what is said about this supplier. If you use the word scam with the company name, you could find out if have had some irregularities or outlaw deals in the past.
If everything seems right, call this company and ask about the product you are looking for.
Normally a big distribuitor of industrial products represents several brands. Each brand can have a complete catalog of products. So, you could take advantage of this purchase to create a long-term relationship with this supplier.
We have customers that have been buying industrial products from us since 1997, when we got incorporated.
Once you have a supplier, is time for double check if there is any restiction about what you are trying to buy.
2) Check products restrictions or countries forbidden
United States is a very open country about trade and commerce. In normal conditions, there are not prohibitions or restrictions from the US government to sell industrial products globally.
Despite this, some brands may have internal restrictions about selling their own products from USA to specifics markets, due their local office.
But normally, prohibitions can come from local goverments. This is a piece of information very serious, because a fail in this could mean loss a lot of money.
Sometimes local goverments make this kind of prohibitions in order to protect internal industry.
They do not want enter to the country some products imported from USA that can jeopardize national manufacturers selling and, as a result, job positions.
Other posibility is that the product you want to import from USA is restricted.
For example, if is a specialized industrial product, the local country may require certain documents from the importing company.
If there is a trade agreement between the importing country and USA, an origin certificate or similar document could be required as well.
Check the product is usable in your country
Beyond legal affairs, you need to be sure the industrial product you want to import from USA can be used in your own country.
Normally, an important information in this regard is the electrical current used in your country as well as fuel type.
To explain this: electrical equipment in USA requires 110-220 volts and 50 herz. But in european countries are required 220-480 volts and 60 herz.
When is about fuel type, in USA gasoline is used as well as diesel in industrial products. In European countries is only diesel normally and the engine must be different.
So, an industrial product bought in USA is not necessarily a perfect fit in all the other countries.
3) Start the process of buying
Once you have find the supplier and double checked you can import from USA the industrial product you need, you should start the process immediately.
The first step is to know prices, payment conditions, shipment, etc. All these areas can be defined with your supplier.
Many suppliers ask for a 50%, 70% or even 100% payment of the purchase order when they receive it from you.
With the passing of time, and cultivating a relationship with the supplier you could have a credit line.
Anyway, you need to send a purchase order to your supplier and get feedback about delivery times.
In some cases of very special products, equipment is not ready to buy, but manufacturers produces them by demand.
This mean that your supplier could be an authorized distributor, but need to wait to receive from the fabric the machinery you are looking to buy.
This is particular important when you are calculating times to receive industrial products in your own country. Maybe you are in a hurry due to production times.
Following our example, when a customer buy from us a Miller Big Blue 500X Pro, the normal waiting time is 1-2 weeks. Ocasionally, this wait have been up to 4 weeks.
After that period, manufacturer send us the machine and inmmediately we send it to our customer. Depeding of the country you are located in, the shipping time could be 1-6 weeks.
For that reason, is quite important to plan ahead when buying industrial products like manual or mechanized welding and cutting equipment.
4) Set transportation
The transportation is a fundamental thing that can swift or delay the importation from USA to your country.
The documents you need are a bill of lading, commercial invoice and, in some cases, a packing list. This documents are required for your custom broker to nacionalize the merchandise in your country.
According to the volume of your purchase, you could fill an entire 20 feet container (FCL) or just some pallets (LCL).
If you are trying to importing from USA several industrial products at a time, you could ask the freight forwarder to manage all the cargo and send it to your country at once. This could save some money.
Or if you are in a hurry, you could need get products dispatched to you as they could be available.
But before all the custom procedure, is needed to set costs and responsabilities between you and the supplier. For simplify this, Incoterms have been developed.
Incoterms are acronyms that define until what point your supplier is in charge of the merchandise. There are a lot of Incoterms, but the most used are:
- EXW (Ex-Work): In this your supplier only is responsible for the merchandise and cost of transportation until the door of the warehouse
- FOB (Free On Board): This mean your supplier will take responsability and cost of transportation until delivery to the sea or air line
- CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight): In this your supplier should be responsible for the merchandise until the country of destiny, having to pay for the freight and insurance as well. Is used to sea cargo
- CIP (Cost and Insurance Paid): Similar to the previous, is used to air cargo
With these documents custom brokers can set the taxes amount you would need to pay, according to the government tariff.
Choosing the transport mean
Depending on how many industrial products you need to import from USA, you could need sea or air transportation.
Sea freight are most common for regular importers. In this cases costs of transportation keep at a razonable level, but delivery times are longer.
For example, a cargo from Miami, USA to Spain or Italy could take a sailing time of 25-30 days, but to South Africa could be 50-55 days.
Air freights use to be an expedite way to get your purchase in your country, but usually costs 5 times more than sea freights. As well, can have limitations relatives to sizes and weights.
That is why come companies use sea transportation for regular purchases, and air freight only in emergency cases.
5) Custom process in your own country
Here is where the process change to very specifical ways and times. Each country have its own rules to manage importing goods from USA and other countries.
The best advice is to hire a local custom broker. Some of them are specialized in sea cargo, and others in air cargo. But many of them manage all kinds of cargo.
They can advice you about prohibitions or restrictions about importing industrial products from USA. Also, they can indicate you taxes amount to pay for your importing goods.
Since every country have its own norms and taxes, is hardly difficult to have an idea about how many you would pay for any industrial product you want to import from USA. But taxes ranges can vary from 5% to 30% in most cases.
In all cases, get to know your government taxes as soon as possible in order to calculate clearly your costs when importing industrial products from USA.
In a few words
We have been since 1977 serving customers all over the world, so, you can be sure, we can also help you to get started in international purchases.
Feel free to contact us anytime. Our industrial products catalog includes over 75.000 part numbers.