An import agent is a person who specializes in manufacturing and a reliable person in terms of knowledge in the manufacturing process.
Hiring an import agent is an ideal thing to do when it is your first time to enter into manufacturing business in China because it will help to simplify and make the manufacturing process easier and faster.
Corresponding remuneration should be given to the import agent in exchange of the services rendered by him which is usually added on top of your per-unit cost.
What an Import Agent Can Help You With
An import gent is someone who is knowledgeable enough with the negotiation process. Often or not an import agent has pre-existing relationship among the manufacturers and suppliers, hence it is easier for him to contact the manufacturers or suppliers. Import agent should speak Chinese language because it would be difficult to negotiate if the import agent cannot speak Chinese.
Import agents should know the legal and tax issues when it comes to importing from China. Thus the import agent can help you solve barriers in transacting business.
The Dangers of Working With Import Agents
You should take precautionary measures in hiring an import agent. You have to find import agents with existing good reputation and it is more preferable if you have an import agent who worked with someone you know. It is essential to ask references and to check the references.
There are several downsides in working with import agents.
First and foremost, the actual supplier is basically not disclosed. In other words, the import agent will take care of everything, but they won’t actually tell you where you’re getting your product from.
Second, if the import agent goes out of business or terminates your relationship, you’ll have to start back to zero, which usually destroy your supply chain for 6-9 months which is enough to paralyze any business.
Third, it makes it very difficult to make sure that your products are really manufactured in a factory where everything is done by the book. For example, you can’t be sure that your factory isn’t employing child labor if you don’t know who’s manufacturing your product.
Lastly, you won’t have actual contact with the factories and you take on some risk as a result of lack of control.
Therefore, it is not easy to find a reliable import agent, thus you have to take into consideration the disadvantages before you entered into transaction. You have to take into account those precautionary measures before hiring import agents so that problems will be minimized or even avoid possible problems in the future.