Basic Guide for companies: Producers, Distributors, wholesalers and retailers of Mercosur.

How to import

This page has been designed for those businessmen who are in their first approach in outer commerce. Most of the small argentinian companies believe that the possibility of making business outside the country is reserved for those who count on with a big amount of money, and see that chance like something complex and hard to reach. This is far from the truth. We will try in a few and simple words to explain you the steps that an import follows, including how to calculate costs, going through the way that the outside acquired  merchandise will do until it gets to it warehouse.

Import sequence
Next we will detail you how is the sequence of an import operation. It goes through the following stages: 
Contact the outside supplier and agree the buy
Contact a duty Foreign Trade employee
Register in Foreign Trade Duties
Payment to supplier
Dispatch to Place
Rent a load

1). Contact the outside supplier and agree the buy

Once you have analyzed the market and you have taken the decision of import a product, you must make contact with those foreign companies which can provide it. Now a days, this kind of information is very simple of obtain using tools like internet and e-mail.
Usually, the international buy-sell contract requires an order of purchase (“Orden de Compra”), which means the explicit acceptation of the supply (“Cotización del proveedor”) suppliers quotation.
About the International Commerce Prices, these could be of any kind. The most commons are ExWorks, FOB and CIF. The use of the different price conditions has to do many times with the experience that each part (buyer and seller) in outside commerce.

Ex Works is “In Company” and means that the merchandise is delivered in the supplier company, and the rest of the costs of bringing it to the buyer´s warehouse are in charge of the buyer.
FOB means “Free in Ship”, it means that the merchandise´s price includes all the costs until it is charged in the “ship” in the origin port, the rest of the costs are in charge of the buyer.
CIF: “Cost, Insurance and Load”. It means that the price includes the costs until the merchandise is in the arriving port, what is left to pay are the papers in the port (unload spent), foreign trade duty costs (nationalization rights, advance payment duty) and the buyer load.
About the quantity, it becomes necessary to mention the merchandise transportation way. The most used one is in containers, are big metallic boxes which in different sizes. The most common sizes are 20 feet (6 x 2 x 2.5 mts.; 30m3) or 40 feet (12 x 2 x 2.5 mts, 60m3).
So, we can buy enough merchandise to fill a complete container, or at least, part of it (the companies that make the loads of international merchandise have containers to carry small volumes from different owners).  That is why it is a very interesting option for those who are new in outside commerce to join with some businessmen of the same heading and form a purchase pool in order to rent a complete container.

2) Contact with a dispatch man

The dispatch man is a professional who will advise you about the import rights according to the kind of merchandise that you want to import in order to analyze the operation chances.
Besides, the dispatch man is who will make up to you the foreign commerce papers related to de incoming and outcoming of merchandise in the country.  These papers are made up at the moment that the merchandise arrives to the destiny port and is checked by the foreign commerce employees.

3) Foreign Commerce Registration:

In order to make up the outside commerce operation, you need to ask for the import/export registration before the “Dirección General de Aduanas”. This proceeding has no cost and it takes 15 days (approximately) from the corresponding solicitation presentation moment. This must be done only one time.  

4) Make the provider payment

One of the payment ways frequently used is the credit letter. This proceeding assures the fulfillment of the arranged conditions between the parts. The buyer must start the payment proceeding in a bank of his place (For example in any branch of his bank in his district), this receives the name of “Emitter Bank”. The emitter will contact with his correspondent in the outside to inform the provider about the existence of a credit letter opened on his favor. Once the provider has been notified he ships the merchandise and presents the papers of original shipment in his bank waiting for the payment. The bank in the outside checks the papers and, if the papers are ok according to the credit letter, they pay to the client. At the same time, this bank sends the original papers to the emitter bank to be checked, if the emitter bank finds the credit letter as it was established will emit the payment to its correspondent. In this moment the buyer is notified about the income of the original shipment papers, for him to retire them and pay. With this documentation the buyer can dispatch the merchandise to his place.         

5) Dispatch to place:

Is important to know that the merchandise transfer from it origin (For example, USA or Europe) until it destiny takes about 20 or 25 days.

Once the merchandise arrives to destiny port (Buenos Aires port probably, the most Important of Argentina), the Customs house employee informs the buyer the amount to deposit to the National State, through Dirección Nacional de Aduanas, for import rights or nationalization. Then, the Customs house employee prepares the documentation and presents it before the destiny port Customs house delegation, for them to authorize the merchandise income. This proceeding takes 5 days from the ships arrival until the Customs House merchandise liberation.      
The documentation required to make the Custom House dispatch is:
Commercial registration (Factura Comercial): Is the only document that will count for the determination of the sell ´s value. It is required to present an original and three copies.
Shipment Document (Documento de embarque): Can be asked for shipment knowledge, for transport, sea transport, air guide, air transport and for terrestrial transport.
Packing List: It details the amount of merchandise contained in each package (absolute and relative weight, and measure).
Origin Certification: Not always obligatory, may be asked by the argenitinian Custome House in case the merchandise has to pay some special duty (Clothes, Shoes). For example, by the SICM 305/99 resolution, the argentinian government requires the origin certification for every merchandise coming from not OMC member Countries.   

6) Load Service: Once the merchandise has been liberated by the Custom House, a transport company can retire it from the port and take it until the buyers place.

Sources: Official site Zona Franca La Pampa.

Home Page