Things to consider when using international business suppliers

If you need to import services or products from abroad, there are a number of considerations you need to make before starting. Here are some of them.


Many companies use international suppliers, to source either materials for creating their own products or to purchase actual products from abroad and resell in a different market.

There are many advantages that using international suppliers can provide rather than sticking to domestic ones, as products are often cheaper and there is more choice.

Whatever type of business you run, if you need to import services or products from abroad then there are a number of considerations you need to make before starting.

Being aware of these issues should better prepare you for dealing with international suppliers.

Trade regulations

Depending on what you are intending to import, how much and where from, there may be specific trade regulations in place that mean there are restrictions on certain products.

Using suppliers within the EU is fairly straightforward but importing from non-EU countries can sometimes present a few more problems.

Be aware of rules for importing into the UK before you agree to start working with certain suppliers.

Communication capabilities

Working with foreign suppliers, unless they’re based in the USA, Canada or another English-speaking nation, can bring about problems due to the language barrier.

It is important to have a good communication channel in place, so you know when items have been shipped and can easily get in contact with the suppliers should any problems arise.

Whether this is through email, phone calls or another method, it will help ensure a more efficient supply chain model.

Currency exchange

Purchasing goods or materials from abroad will involve spending more as you will have to pay for exchange rates on top of the price of products being bought.

When transferring money internationally to pay invoices, using Currency Fair results in better exchange rates for using international suppliers in a more cost-effective method.

There are other financial considerations too, such as getting insurance, negotiating the price and whether you have to pay importing fees in your own currency or that of the supplier’s country.


Consider the location, as using an international supplier closer to home will more than likely result in much cheaper importing costs.

Close time differences, cultural and language similarities can make the whole process a lot easier, along with there being trade agreements in place in certain areas.

However, seeking out suppliers further afield can present more choice and competition, along with lower prices, so it can be worth considering suppliers from all across the globe.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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