Importing Spanish olive oil into UK

Importing Spanish olive oil into UK

Spain is the main olive oil producer in the world and also the first of the very best top ten high quality olive oil producers in the world. Companies are recognizing the worth of Spanish oil production and its prestigious products, so that many foreign companies are interested in importing tons of Spanish oil to sell it later in their own countries.

This great idea is fabulous if this is aimed at selling Spanish oil in a non-producer country and not at importing Spanish oil and selling it as if it was from another country. There are several business ideas in UK that have been successful in this sense. This is the case of a Spanish woman who lives in UK and who decided to give everything up and began her own business. Now, she is the manager of a company that imports Spanish virgin olive oil and sells it to restaurants and private customers. So, which are the main steps to take by someone interested in importing Spanish olive oil into UK?

The steps are not very complicated. First of all it is essential to define a good strategy to follow. It is very different to import Spanish olive oil into United Kingdom with the idea of selling it there than to do it with the aim of exporting it again to a non EU country.

Importing Spanish olive oil into United Kingdom and sell it there

The first step is to know the commodity code of your product. This code classifies your goods for tax and regulations. Usually, an import license is necessary, but in the case of virgin and extra virgin olive oil produced in another EU country and since July 2008, this license is not compulsory. In addition, it is not necessary to pay taxes or duties on goods that have been produced in the EU. These goods are in free circulation in all EU countries.

Nevertheless, the VAT tax is obligatory when you move goods from another EU country. Therefore, you must add these acquisitions to your usual VAT return. Notice that you’ll have to pay VAT at UK rates for acquisitions from another EU country and that if the total of your goods is worth more than £600,000 you’ll also have to fill in an Intrastat Declaration.

If you wish to bottle and package extra virgin or virgin olive oil in the UK, your establishment will need to be approved under their domestic legislation and then fulfill the labelling requirements which are in addition to the general labelling provisions in the Food Labelling Directive.

As a conclusion, you can find below a scheme of the main steps to follow when importing goods: (given by UK Government services and information website)

  • find the correct commodity code for your goods
  • pay VAT in some cases
  • fill in a VAT return if you’re VAT registered
  • register with the CHIEF system for importers if you’re exporting outside the EU
  • declare the goods you import using the CHIEF system
  • pay duty in some cases
  • get a licence for some goods (eg firearms)
  • check if the goods are banned from being imported into the UK or require an import licence
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