Retail & Customer Products


Creating a strong brand identity, leveraging new product categories, and growing the customer base are core concerns for consumer product companies. Firms are looking to maximise profits and market share in a highly competitive environment that includes such challenges and risks as demanding customers, consolidation and global expansion. Sustaining a competitive advantage is the hallmark of today’s retailing environment. Changing retailing patterns, industry consolidation, globalisation and the growth of technology have blurred the lines among the traditional role of a consumer product manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and the customer. This convergence of the consumer supply chain creates an opportunity for consumer businesses to optimise the relationship between their suppliers and vendors to create timely new products, streamlined operations, and high quality low cost service.

Custom and international trade issues

The customs and international trade issues range from tariff quotas to toy safety; from post-importation price adjustments to eco-labeling. Companies involved in the textiles sector are undoubtedly aware the abolition of tariff quotas is scheduled for 2005. This will be of great importance in terms of economic efficiency and development, as well as general growth in the textile sector.
Many goods destined for retail sale are originally imported. Their importation gives rise to a number of customs issues which must be considered. There are so many customs and international trade issues facing the retail & consumer products sector that it is virtually impossible to provide an exhaustive list.

Solutions to help you succeed

Tariff Classification: when goods are imported they are allocated a commodity code which determines the rate of duty applicable. Where products are of an unusual design – falling between, for example, a T-shirt and a shirt correct – tariff classification can be difficult with a possibility that the wrong commodity code could be declared and hence the wrong duty rate applied. We can help companies design products to get the most advantageous tariff classification.

Import Licences and Tariff Quotas: many textile products are subject to import licensing which is again driven by the commodity code applied together with country of manufacture. If the wrong commodity code is used the importer could either apply for import licences where they are not required or not apply where they are required! The significance is that some import licences govern tariff quotas and without the import licence, certain goods cannot be imported from particular countries. We can guide consumer product companies through this veritable minefield.

Preferential Origin: where goods originate in certain countries they may obtain reduced duty rates on import if they meet specific rules. This can be a risk area, since although the exporter issues the preference certificate it is the importer who suffers a retrospective duty charge should the certificate fail verification by the Customs authorities. We are able to assist consumer product companies to ensure that this risk is eliminated as far as possible while enabling them to claim preferential origin with confidence on goods they may previously have thought ineligible. We can undertake origin engineering also.

Customs Warehousing: customs warehousing offers duty and VAT free storage of goods until required for sale. This gives cash flow savings by delaying payment of import charges, it also allows flexibility in terms of re-exporting stock, carrying out quality control or re-valuing past season stock before the duty point. This could prove a particularly valuable tool for catalogue sales. Have you ever thought about the benefits of selling your goods from a customs warehouse?

Customs Valuation: as well as problems and opportunities common to all importers, the import of retail goods have particular customs valuation issues associated with them, for example:

  • the treatment of quota charges;
  • the treatment of buying and selling commissions; and
  • the inclusion of assists in the customs value at importation.

e-commerce: We can provide consumer product companies with practical solutions to fast track them through the regulatory minefield as they roll-out their e-Business strategies. All the way along the supply chain, customs and international trade issues need to be taken account of in the formation of an e-strategy, to ensure that inter alia:

  • the evolving strategy takes full account of customs consequences;
  • potential customs benefits are figured into the decisions on alternative structures;
  • the effect on customs compliance obligations is known; and
  • the regulatory environment is observed and obstacles to change identified.