What are Free Trade Zones Free trade zones are a kind of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that are designated economic areas free of trade-related fees such as duties and taxes. In these areas, goods that are manufactured, stored, and handled are subject to different customs preferences. They are often offered reliefs and incentives to encourage investments. Here’s the OECD’s definition of a free trade zone: “Countries within which tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers between the members are generally abolished but with no common trade policy toward non-members”
Having to navigate the complex world of ocean freight is complicated enough with the amount of paperwork required for a simple shipment. Throw in having to understand HS codes and pay the right import taxes and duties and things get even more complicated. What if you’re only importing goods for a short period of time, say, for a tradeshow or fair? Or perhaps you are simply shipping commercial samples* to a potential client?
What does China import? With the rise of the Chinese economy over the past decade or two, its import and export activities have long-captured the world’s attention. This is especially so over the past year as the US-China trade war threatens fallouts that will have far-reaching consequences not only for these two economies but for the rest of the globe. The iconic ‘Made in China’ tag is known worldwide for a reason.
Mega-ships and ports: Need for adaptation It is perhaps futile to argue against the relevance of mega-ships and the role they play in the future of the ocean freight industry. The demand is certainly there, evidenced by works at ports that are already underway to bring us the latest fleet of Herculean vessels. Experts are hailing mega-ships as a logical development as they can deliver containers at a much lower cost per container.
Incoterms are part and parcel of any international ocean freight shipment. Established by the International Chamber of Commerce, or ICC, it sets out clear guidelines according to which buyers and sellers must perform their part of the transaction determined by each Incoterm. Incoterms establish rules and responsibilities for both parties, which can be used to resolve disagreements in the event of a dispute. A chosen Incoterm is decided and must be agreed upon by both buyer and seller, who should not only understand the responsibilities involved with each Incoterm but also ensure that he/she is able to fulfill them.
Largest economy in the European Union As the European Union’s largest economy, Germany is responsible for around one-fifth of the European bloc’s overall GDP. For nearly a decade now, it has been enjoying economic growth. But it seems the tide may just be turning. Germany very narrowly avoided a recession after registering zero growth in the final quarter of 2018. This followed a 0.2% contraction in Q3. Experts have attributed this to a fall in overseas demand, which affected manufacturing output and as a result, exports.
Number of exporters down in 2017 According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau, the number of US exporters in 2017 fell to 284,168. That’s a 1.09% decrease from the 287,314 identified in 2016. Despite the slight dip, there was an increase in the total value of the exported goods from $1.29 trillion to $1.292 trillion. SMEs represented 97.5% of the exporters and contributed to around $461.3 billion in total export goods - a 7.
The uncertainties of the ongoing trade war between the US and China are rattling importers and business owners. And with possibly more retaliatory tariffs on the horizon, importers should begin to weigh their options and consider steps they can take to minimize the potential damage these tariff increases can have on their business. iContainers spoke with Lenny Feldman, Senior Member of the Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg law firm specializing in international trade, customs & export law.
The influence of the US market over the global economy cannot be denied. As the world’s second-largest exporter (after China), the US recorded over $1.5 trillion worth of exports in 2017. To put that into a historical perspective, that’s nearly 2.5 times more than what it was exporting just 25 years ago. US top export partners Its NAFTA neighbors, Canada and Mexico, continue to be the US’ largest export partners, with 30% of total US exports destined for the two.
Avoiding mistakes when importing from China The importing process alone can be complicated. Doing so from a country that speaks a whole other language and has completely different rules and regulations can be even more overwhelming. China is the world’s largest exporter with its total exports surpassing $2 trillion in 2016. To put that into perspective, that’s 45.8% more than the world’s second-largest exporter, the United States. Needless to say, trade opportunities with China are plenty and there’s certainly much potential you can tap into.