A free export helpline is a powerful benefit for the IOE’s 2,500 plus members, providing sound advice and practical tips on a plethora of international trading issues.
What is the purpose of the helpline?
IOE members know that international trade can be complex. Dealing with a variety of customs and regulatory issues, both at home and overseas, and keeping track of the different regulations, procedures and rule changes in each country, can be a headache for large and small businesses alike. The Institute’s member helpline service is designed to help ease that pain.
Who can use it?
The service is available to all IOE members, whether individual, business or corporate, and is free of charge. The Institute’s Director of Special Projects, Mike Josypenko is the first point of contact for the service, but members are able to call on a range of expertise from specialists among the IOE’s 2,500+ members.
What are the main concerns that keep exporters awake at night and do they include regulatory issues such as customs compliance and VAT?
The service is intended to provide an expert source of information and advice on any aspect of international trade. The most commonly asked questions tend to be about practical issues, such as customs procedures and tariffs, export documents, transporting goods, how payment procedures work, as well as regulations for specific products or countries.
Are there any particular types of businesses/sizes/sectors using the helpline?
Experienced exporters, who have taken the Institute’s professional qualifications or short course training, are among the most frequent users of the service. Training and qualifications give companies a solid knowledge of the web of regulations, and the helpline provides reassurance by allowing members to double check that their knowledge is up to date. Company size is not a factor; enquiries come from large multinational companies (including Queens Award winners), and SME businesses alike!
Which countries do the businesses using the helpline export to?
Enquiries often relate to specific countries – usually the growth markets such as Asia, Africa and South America – where regulations and customs procedures can be complex or restrictive. For instance, the Arabian Gulf is a common market; companies are attracted by the potential rewards, but want to be confident that they can negotiate the minefield of procedures and regulations. However, enquiries can also come from closer to home – EU VAT regulations are a regular subject.
Do you signpost callers elsewhere – and if so, where might this be and why?
The range of expertise available within the IOE means that we can advise on a wide range of subjects, although some topics may occasionally require knowledge from specialists, such as lawyers or accountants, who can offer more detailed advice – either at a reduced rate – or sometimes free of charge.
So what do members think of the helpline?
Pennine Industrial Equipment, which supplies conveyor equipment and supplies around the world, is a regular user of the helpline service. From queries regarding Incoterms, to shipping procedures and technical inspection requirements, Alison Buckle, from Pennine’s Export department says that “the reassurance & advice we receive from the IOE is second to none.”
Another IOE member, Oliver Glendenning Sales Director Parry Building Products Ltd, says: “The members’ service has been invaluable to our exporting efforts and the team members’ knowledge of the specific countries has saved us valuable time and given us confidence to trade in new markets.”
Have you used the helpline? Did you find the guidance or advice you wanted?