Living, working and doing business abroad
Exporting can boost your turnover and reduce your dependence on UK-based customers and if you are importing into the UK, negotiating with your supplier on price and terms of delivery is essential.
This factsheet provides links to useful organisations and guidance on importing and exporting, doing business abroad, living and working abroad.
Import/Export general guidance
- Research your export markets (IoD factsheet)
Further sources of information:
- Starting to import (GOV.UK) – Government guide to procedures to follow when starting to import goods to the UK.
- Import controls (Dept. for Business, Innovation & Skills) – notices to importers and information on import licensing.
- Exporting and doing business abroad (GOV.UK)
- Get help researching export markets (GOV.UK)
- Export (Department for International Trade) – Government campaign to encourage export – guide to exporting, diary of export events and details of expert advice.
- Open to Export – Open to Export is the UK’s online export community where people come together to help each other become smarter and more confident doing business abroad. OtE have launched a new online Export Action Plan tool.
- Institute of Export & International Trade - Professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade.
- British Exporters Association – Trade association representing all sectors of the export community.
- Enterprise Europe Network – London – Operates to support small and medium enterprises based in the Greater London area to increase their competitiveness through internationalisation and innovation.
- Department for International Trade home page
- Department for International Trade teams in the English regions (see also the equivalents for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) See also the Find a Department for International Trade office tool which covers all the UK.
- Exporting country guides – Department for International Trade guides for British businesses who are interested in developing their overseas trade and doing business oversea.
- Department for International Trade – services for exporters
- Department for International Trade – Find overseas customers and export opportunities
- UK Export Finance (Exports Credits Guarantee Department)
- Import and export procedures (GOV.UK)
Doing Business Guides
- Economies ranked on their ease of doing business (World Bank) – Rankings for the ease of doing business in individual countries + links to economic profiles.
- Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 – Annual Global Study, rates trust (in companies, government etc) in countries around the world.
- Country Reports (Atradius) – Atradius publications provide you with their view on the economic situation in more than 40 countries and the trading outlook of major industries.
- Tax Guides (EY) – Browse in-depth guides covering corporate tax, indirect tax, personal taxes, transfer pricing and other tax matters in more than 150 jurisdictions.
- Doing Business Guides (UHY) – Guides covering the country specific business information you need to consider should you wish to pursue business interests. 84 countries covered.
- International Tax Guides (Deloitte)
Living & Working Abroad
- UK and the World (Foreign & commonwealth Office) – foreign affairs information, travel advice, guides to living abroad and other help for British nationals including overseas missions and DIT contacts.
- ‘Living in’ Country Guides (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) – guides to living in 73 different countries.
- Foreign embassies in the UK (Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
Cost of Living
- Cost of Living City Rankings (Mercer) – ranking of over 200 cities worldwide based on a basket of goods and services frequently purchased by expatriates.
- Prices and Earnings Study (UBS) – report published every 3 years comparing prices and wages around the world.
- Numbeo cost of living comparison calculator – Tool allowing the comparison of the cost of living by various indicators for two cities.
- Expatistan Cost of Living Index – Compare the cost of living between 2,241 cities in 221 countries.
- Statistics by country or topic (OECD) – Wide range of indicators on agriculture, development, economy, education, energy, environment, finance, government, health, innovation and technology, jobs and society.
- Directory of National Statistical Office Websites (World Trade organisation) – national statistical offices are the holders of data on individual countries like the Office for National Statistics in the UK.
- Trade Market Access Database (European Commission) – Overview of trade flows in goods between EU and non-EU countries for specific products.
- Eurostat (European Commission) – European statistics.
- UKTrade Info (HMRC) – Current UK import and export statistics.
- Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum) – Ranking of national competitiveness — defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity. Covers 137 economies.
- Nation Master – Compilation of data from hundreds of sources allowing country comparison.
- Tourism Statistics Review (Tourism Alliance) – Brings together the headline tourism figures from the three main national tourism surveys and combines them with key information from other studies and publications to provide an over view of the size and value of tourism to the UK economy.
- Statistics & Insights (Visit Britain) – Data on inbound visitors.
Legislation & Regulation
- EUR-Lex (European Legislation) – Summaries of EU legislation.
- Import & Export (HMRC) – Information on customs declarations, duties and tariffs.
- Import and export of manufactured goods (GOV.UK) – international trade regulations for materials, equipment, goods and appliances, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, aerospace and defence.
- Consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items that require export authorisation (Department for International Trade) – List of ‘controlled’ military and dual-use items that require an export licence issued by the Export Control Organisation.
- Trade Tariff: look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates (GOV.UK) – Search for the import and export commodity codes plus the tax, duty and licenses that apply to your goods.
- Access2Markets (European Commission) – All content previously on the Trade Helpdesk and on the Market Access Database is now on Access2Markets. Find information on requirements, tariffs, statistics, preferential arrangements and trade barriers.
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (European Commission) – Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (i.e. to protect human, animal and plant life / health) by country and section.
- Import Procedures & Documents (European Commission) – Information on import procedures and documents required by specific countries.
- World Customs Organisation – Information and news on the nomenclature and classification of goods, valuation and origin.
- Model contracts for international trade (International Trade Centre) – Eight generic contract templates aimed to help small firms secure international business. (Nb. The IoD Business Information Service is also able to supply a number of international trade contract templates)
- Protecting your UK intellectual property abroad (Intellectual Property Office) – To protect your intellectual property outside of the UK, you usually need to apply in each country you want protection in.
- IP protection abroad: country guides (Intellectual Property Office) – Guides to applying IP protection in Brazil, China, India, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, the USA and Vietnam.
- World Intellectual Property Organisation member state contacts (WIPO) – Contact details for Intellectual Property bodies (trademarks, copyright, patents etc) in member countries including links to further information on national IP laws, etc.
- Overseas registries (Companies House) – List of company registries located around the world, grouped by region.
- Law firms, lawyers by country (HG.org) – Directory of overseas lawyers, searchable by country and specialism.
- Martindale directory – Search for law firms and lawyers worldwide by country and/or specialism.
- Lists of lawyers abroad – (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) – Lists of English-speaking lawyers abroad for British nationals who may require legal advice and assistance.
- Index of Corporate Governance Codes (European Corporate Governance Institute)
- World telephone directories (Infobel)
- Sea-web directory – (IHS Global) Comprehensive directory of maritime industry contacts such as shipping brokers. (Subscription service)
- British Exporters database – Features 13,000 British exporters and 100,000 British products.
- Factors Chain International – Worldwide directory of FCI member factoring banks and companies.
- Foreign embassies in the UK (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) – The London Diplomatic List contains the addresses and contact details of all embassies and High Commissions.
- Worldwide organisations (GOV.UK) – UK High Commissions, Consulates, Embassies, UKTI offices and DFID offices.
- Central banks and monetary authority websites list (Bank for International Settlements)
- Index of World Stock Exchanges (WhichWayToPay)
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