Introduction to Exporting – Institute of Export course

Work experience student Freddy Batchelor-Collins shares his impressions of the Institute of Export “Introduction to Exporting” course.

I recently participated in the Introduction to Exporting course at the Institute of Export in Peterborough. This one-day course was delivered by Jeff Lewis, an experienced exporter and International Trade expert.

I would recommend this course to companies of all sizes that are considering export and its implications for their business. Not only will you leave after the day’s training with a clear idea of can how to take your business to clients within the EU and beyond, but you will also be aware of ways to save a significant amount of money and make the export process as efficient as possible.

The course began by covering income duty levels on different products and looking at VAT from the perspective of both the buyer and seller. Jeff then went on to explain tariff/commodity codes, which are codes used to identify products or the components a product is made up of.

Tariff codes for particular products can be found on the site.

Next we moved on to Incoterms. These are internationally recognised commercial terms that refer to the tasks, costs, responsibilities and risks involved in the transportation and delivery of goods. Incoterms communicate clearly who is responsible for the goods at each given point in their journey from seller to buyer. Selecting certain Incoterms could save you money, as they transfer the responsibility for costs to the buyer at different points in the journey, rather than at the point of delivery. This could have a major impact on your bottom line, depending on the type of goods you are transporting, so it’s worth familiarising yourself with the codes, or asking an expert for advice.

My 5 key take-away points from the day’s training are:

    • 1. Get your documentation right!

Incorrect documentation can cause delays, confusion and incur extra expense to your business. In some cases you may even be breaking the law.

    • 2. Provide detailed invoices

Make sure your invoices are broken down in enough detail to avoid any confusion, and that all charges are clearly explained.

    • 3. Verify the VAT situation

Different rates of VAT apply to different countries, and within the EU in many instances VAT should not be charged at all.

    • 4. Find out how the size/volume of your goods will affect shipping costs

Larger products cost more to ship because they take up more room on board. Weight is another factor to consider.

    • 5. Learn about Incoterms

Failure to be specific about terms and responsibilities for the goods while in transit could be costly and damage your business reputation.

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All in all it was an information-packed day, and would certainly be invaluable to businesses taking their first steps along the export route.

More information on this and other IoE courses is available on

The Institute of Export or your local Chamber of Commerce are both good sources of further help and advice on exporting.