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How to Start an Import and Export Business in Malaysia

April 28, 2015 | Sharon Cheong

Many foreign countries have offices set up to specifically assist those who want to establish an import or export business and Malaysia is one of those. As a very business friendly country, the Consulate and/or Embassy will have industry directories and information about local manufacturers. The Malaysian government provides many helpful services and a good deal of information about how to start a new business. 

Licenses and Permits 

One of the first and most important elements of starting a new import export business in Malaysia is to formulate a sound business plan. Next, you'll want to give your company a name, then register your company with the appropriate Malaysian government offices. You will also need a business license and various permits depending upon the type of products you will be working with. The import export business in Malaysia is highly lucrative and countries all over the world rely on their goods and services. 

Choosing a Product 

New entrepreneurs should start out with low risk products such as consumer goods, clothing, and accessories. Because of the complexity of the required licenses, avoid importing and exporting high risk items such as firearms, liquor, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Some industries also impose restrictions and quotas on the quantity of imported and exported goods. 

Working with Customs Brokers 

It is recommended that new entrepreneurs check with their own country's Embassy as well as the Malaysian government's Embassy to ensure that the product is not restricted. Networking with other individuals who have experience in a particular field can be of great value. Customs brokers can be helpful in completing the required paperwork so that there are no delays at the border. In some cases, you can be fined for mistakes on your paperwork. 

Freight Forwarders 

Shipping and handling is also a tricky area for new business owners. Perform adequate research before engaging the services of a freight forwarder. It's important to ask the right questions and check into any company before working with them. The International Chamber of Commerce website has posted a list of the standard trade definitions involved in import and export business activities. This is known as Incoterms and it can be very helpful when attempting to understand the shipping and payment responsibilities for all parties concerned. 

Letters of Credit 

Funding for your new import export business can also be difficult to obtain. Experts recommend working with a financial professional to put together a comprehensive packet of information about your company. Documents should include letters of credit, a company profile, your business plan and other information about you and your business. If you work with a bank in your home country, then talk to your banker about a letter of credit. In some cases, especially with new businesses, it will be necessary to pay for goods in advance. 

Search for information about international trade and try to be as prepared as possible before moving forward. You will need adequate funding, but also will benefit greatly from knowledge of the Malaysian import export industry before moving forward with your new business in Malaysia. 

Upscale Office Space 

You can save money by leasing a serviced office space in Malaysia from Servcorp Serviced Offices. You can lease a beautiful office with attractive furnishings and skilled personnel for a fraction of the cost of setting up an individual office. With fully equipped office space in the heart of Malaysia, you will be much better prepared to make those important business contacts that you need. Please call for more info.