QUESTION ON Starting An Import/Export Operation
I would like to start importing products native to my country, the Philippines, Right now, I’m thinking of coconut oil. how do i go about this? I want to find a recipient country where there are the need for this product. Also, i would also like to venture in exporting products that are needed in certain country, preferably third world countries, supplying their needs, like for example if a certain country is looking for supplier for raw products. Where can I get these kind of information? –
– Nathaniel Ngo, Philippines
Advice by Nach Maravilla
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Coconut Oil –
The best way to get information whether importation of coconut oil is allowed, you may visit the Department of Trade and Industry. The Philippines used to be a major exporter of coconut oil and importation may not be allowed or if it is, the tariff would be very high. I believe, Philippine Refining Company (if it is still operational), PMC and Lu Du & Lu Ym Corporation in Cebu, are producers of coconut oil.
For information of coconut oil producing countries, which to my knowledge would be nearby countries such as, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, etc. You can visit their embassies in Manila and inquire from their Trade Representatives.
Actually, coconut oil, due to its high saturated fat content, has long been replaced by soybean oil and the United States is a major exporter of this commodity. For Asian countries, Singapore is a less expensive source due to its proximity, Soybean Oil is usually delivered in drums of 500 gallons while coconut oil is usually shipped by tanker vessels of about 25,000 tons capacity. Retail packaging in not advisable as it can make prices uncompetitive.
With regards to your second question, you may visit the Bureau of Census and Statistics. They publish a yearly Import/Export Statistics Report of Imports and Exports of the Philippines to all countries. From that book, you can see what products the Philippines exports to other countries including the volume and value. The same with imports. You will see also what products the Philippines is importing and from where.
Referring to the statistics can provide you an idea what products would be good for importation and what products would be good for export. However, these statistics will show you that there is trade going on already with the products. That means that the market is already there.
For example, in the case of Soybean Oil, there are already companies importing them and repacking them into retail packages. Sardine manufacturers like Century Canning and others use it in their sardines. This will give you an idea that the market is there. The next step for you to do is to look for a supplier and submit your application to represent them in the Philippines.
I have a few articles about International Trading which might be of help. You can read them here:
In the meantime, start with the Bureau of Census Statistics.
Let me know the outcome.
Nach M Maravilla
Recommended Resources on Starting An Import/Export Operation
- International Trade and the Successful Intermediary
- Import/Export Kit For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))
- How to Open & Operate a Finanacially Successful Import Export Business: With Companion CD-ROM
- Mastering Import & Export Management