Importing - getting started

Importing goods, machinery or raw materials from overseas can be an effective way to improve productivity and become more competitive as a business.

The first step is to find a reliable trading partner - at the right price - but there is a lot more to think about before you begin importing goods from overseas. Here are some of the key points you need to consider.


1. Meet and get to know potential suppliers face to face

Visiting trade shows and international business fairs can be a great way to meet potential new suppliers and assess their suitability.

2. Do your research

Research is an important way of identifying and managing your risks. Find out about a country and its politics, economy, culture and business environment so you are not caught out by unexpected issues.

3. Build supplier relationships

Once you've chosen a supplier, invest time and effort in establishing strong relationships with their key staff and management. Visiting their premises is a good way to build rapport.

4. How reliable is your supplier?

Is your supplier able to supply your goods consistently, on time and to the required quality? Do they have an established track record?

5. Does your supplier have ethical working practices?

While price is important, it isn't everything. Your reputation could suffer if you buy from a supplier who operates unethically.

6. Make sure the supply contract is clear and legally binding

It's important to make sure the contract between the buyer and supplier sets out who is responsible for transport and insurance at every stage. Use internationally accepted trading terms (these are known as Incoterms®) to set out exactly what delivery terms you have agreed and reduce the risk of confusion.

7. Ensure the goods to be imported comply with NZ Government regulations

Be aware of import and any other government regulations and ensure you will have the required documentation, packaging etc. Failure to do so could delay the customs clearing process and / or may impact the sale of the goods.

8. Fully understand all the costs before placing any overseas orders


  • Transportation (insurance) costs.
  • Port/warehouse costs.
  • Import duties if any.
  • Inspection charges.
  • Agent's and bank fees.
  • Funding costs.

9. Understand your payment risks

If your supplier wants payment or a percentage of payment before shipment of the goods, consider an Import Documentary Credit that can help to reduce your payment risk. As ANZ credit criteria apply, talk to us before you agree the payment terms.

10. Understand your foreign exchange risks

If you are paying your supplier in a foreign currency, you may be exposed to foreign exchange risk. ANZ can assist in managing this exposure by using a Forward Exchange Contract.

11. What are the cash flow impacts?

If required, how will you finance the goods from receipt (storage) until sale? We may be able to assist with cash flow solutions, subject to ANZ credit criteria.

Contact us

For more information about how ANZ can help you get started and grow your importing business, contact our Trade Finance Desk.

Call 0800 269 873, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Important information

A copy of any applicable product disclosure statement in relation to Global Markets products is available, on request and free of charge, from 0800 107 562 (New Zealand).

ANZ lending criteria, conditions and eligibility criteria apply and fees may be payable.