Welcome! If you are planning on importing or exporting products between the UK and Vietnam, you may have questions about regulations and transportation methods. It can be difficult to find accurate information online, but don't worry, FNM Vietnam has created a "country guide" to help. Despite that, if you still have doubts, feel free to ask.

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1) The best method to ship your goods from Vietnam to the UK

The UK is currently representing the second major economy in the European continent after Germany. Its great population of more than 60 million consumers is attracting worldwide investors to do business in this dynamic market. Composed of two major islands, the United Kingdom is deeply relying on ocean freight to link its insulated territory to the rest of the world. The country has a deep history of water navigation, which explains its numerous busy seaports bordering the coast. To diversify its transport infrastructures, the UK also invested in different other transport solutions. Among all of them, the most original is the Euro tunnel, which connects directly the UK to Europe, in the north of France. Air transportations are also well-developed and numerous international airports are welcoming global passengers and freight. It is not clear how the economic future of the country will be shaped, because of Brexit. The UK has left the EU, to maintain its economical interest, the UK may join the CPTPP or have its own FTA with Vietnam and other countries.

1.1) Sea freight shipping from Vietnam to the UK

1.1.1) Overview – Ocean cargo from Vietnam to the UK

The ocean freight flows in the UK are well shared between the numerous seaports bordering different coasts and countries. The strength of the UK ports, despite their individual small sizes, is the greatness of their total traffic, if you’re combining all of them together. In 2017, 471 million tonnes of cargo were handled in the UK, for instance. The UK is very spirited in terms of sea transportation. The biggest economical partners of the UK are the EU and, internationally, China. Vietnam comes in 22nd place.

Another particularity in the UK is that their ports are also greatly exchanging between them. Here is a list of the busiest ports in the UK (by quantity):

  1. Grimsby & Immingham
  2. London
  3. Southampton
  4. Liverpool
  5. Milford Haven

1.1.2) Shipping company offering services from Vietnam to UK ports

logo shipping company maerskLogo shipping company CMA CGMLogo shipping company coscoLogo company msclogo MOL shipping companylogo shipping company evergreenlogo shipping company hapag lloydLogo company K line Port of Grimsby & Immingham

Grimsby & Immingham is among the 3 busiest ports of the Kingdom. It is a key port for UK imports. 54.4 million tonnes were administered in G&I in 2016.  It is the 2nd port of the country in terms of Roro cargo, the 3rd in terms of oil products, and the 5th for the liquid bulk. In 2016, it administered 16 million tonnes of Roro cargo, 12 million tonnes of oil products, and 19 million tonnes of liquid bulk.

75% of the shipments handled are imported in this port. Only 10% of the shipment are traded with other domestic ports. Half of the goods handled are exchanged with the EU and 25% with international destinations. Port of Liverpool

Like Grimsby & Immingham, the port of Liverpool is equally focused on imports, with 75% of the cargo managed imported. The majority of the exchanges through Liverpool are made with the EU and international ports, and only 20% are made with other UK ports. Liverpool is the 4th largest UK port for Roro cargo and the 7th for liquid bulk. Respectively, 11 million and 8 million tonnes of liquid bulk and Roro cargo were handled there in 2016. A total of 32 million tonnes of goods were handled in Liverpool during the same year. Port of Forth

Cargo flows in Port of Forth are largely oriented on exports, with 80% of the goods’ flows leaving the port and only 20% entering the port. 23 million tonnes of liquid bulk were managed there, which made Forth the second-biggest port in the UK for this type of goods in 2016. Still, in this category, oil products represented 6 million tonnes in 2016, which ranks Forth at the fifth national place for oil products. This port also handled 16% of UK Liquid and Natural Gas (LNG).

10% of the goods managed are coming from the UK, 30% from the world, and 60% from the EU. They were 27.5 million tonnes handled totally in Forth in 2016. Port of Tees & Hartlepool

Like Forth, Tees & Hartlepool ports are widely oriented on exports, which is representing 66% of the port’s flows. With the management of 20 million tonnes of liquid bulk in 2016, it is the 4th busiest port in the country for liquid bulk cargos. 75% of the shipments managed in T&H are liquid bulk, the other cargo is mostly dry and Roro cargos. 10% of the flows in T&H are made with Mediterranean countries, 20% with international destinations, 24% with domestic ports, and 55% with the EU. T&H managed a total of 27 million tonnes of shipments in 2016. Port of Felixstowe

Felixstowe is a more balanced port compared to the previous detail, with 55% of the goods handled being imported and 45% exported. Only 25% of the goods traded in Felixstowe are exchanged with the EU, and only 1% are shared with other domestic ports. The vast majority of goods are traded with international ports. Also, the Lolo shipments are part of 90% of the cargo handled there, the other 10% being Roro shipments. In 2016, a total of 28 million tonnes of goods were administered there. Port of Southampton

The Port of Southampton is also one of the busiest ports in the UK. 36 million tonnes of goods were handled in Southampton in 2016. Its trade flows are very balanced internationally and inward/outward also. 45% of the goods are entering, while 55% are departing from Southampton. It is the 3rd most important UK port for liquid bulk, as 20 million tonnes were handled in 2016. 9 million tonnes of this liquid bulk are oil products, which is ranking Southampton 4th in the UK for this category of goods. 55% of the goods administered in Southampton are liquid bulk. A big part of the other goods handled there is Lolo cargo, as high as 30%. Port of London

London is one of the major UK ports for exports, which is representing 85% of the port flows. Half of the flows are exchanged with the EU, 20% with other UK ports, and the rest with international destinations. For Roro cargo, it is the third port of the UK, with 8 million tonnes administered in 2016. It is also the 6th busiest port of the Kingdom for liquid bulk, with 15 million tonnes managed in the same year. 13 million tonnes of the same liquid bulk products, were oil products, which makes London the 2nd biggest port for oil management in the UK. A total of 50 million tonnes of goods were administered there in 2016. Port of Milford Haven

Milford Haven is also one of the largest ports in the UK. It is the first for liquid bulk cargo, with 33 million tonnes administered there in 2016. 55% of all the LNG in the UK is flowing through Milford Haven, and it is 97% of the total cargo handled here. 35 million tonnes were administered through Milford Haven in 2016. Goods in Milford Haven are traded in equal proportions with the EU and the non-EU Mediterranean countries, a large part is also traded with international destinations. Port of Dover

Dover's port is the 1st UK port for Roro handling in 2016, with 27 million tonnes administered. All these goods are traded entirely with the EU and are exclusively composed of Roro cargos. Quite balanced, 45% of the flows are export and 55% are imported.

1.1.3) Should I ship by consolidation or full container from Vietnam to the UK? What is LCL?

There are two methods to manage goods in a container, and LCL is the first one. LCL stands for “Less than a container Load”, which means that your shipment will not fully load the container. In order to optimize the container space, other small shipments will be consolidated with yours in the container, so the container will travel full. In addition to being space-saving, it is more economic because the total volume in the container will be fairly charged to all the shippers/consignees. You will only pay for the space you’re using. What is FCL?

FCL is the second method used to manage containers’ inside. Contrarily to LCL, there is only one shipment fulfilling the container. This method is privileged and interesting for voluminous shipments. By voluminous, we’re talking about shipments larger than 15 CBM. In which conditions is FCL recommended?

There are two situations where FCL is preferred as LCL:

  • The first is when your shipment is large or heavy enough to fulfill it entirely
  • The second is when your volume is big enough to be financially more advantageous than LCL, depending on the carrier How can I determine which solution is better appropriate?

If you’re still unsure what you must choose between the two methods, here is a table summing up the benefits and drawbacks of each:

The transfer will be shorter in time than LCL Ideal for small shipments
You’ll pay less on a CBM basis than LCL You will not have to decant and unload the container
Your goods will only be manipulated by the shipper and the consignee You’re only paying for what you’re using
It is your responsibility to decant and unload the container Prices are higher than FCL on a CBM basis
It isn’t shaped for shipments below 10 CBMs Always longer than FCL, due to the consolidation and splitting process
The decanting of the container requires skills and labor Numerous handling phases are necessary


Astuce FNM : We wrote a dedicated page for Ocean freight, if you’re interested to learn more about this method between Vietnam and the world. Our consultants can also answer your questions.

1.1.4) How long does it take to ship from Vietnam to the UK by sea freight?

HCMC Quy Nhon/Da Nang  Hai Phong
Orkney / Sullom Voe 35 days 41 days 30 days
Aberdeen / Forth 35 days 41 days 30 days
Tees & Hartlepool / Grimsby & Immingham 34 days 40 days 29 days
Felixstowe / Dover / Medway / London 30 days 40 days 29 days
 Portsmouth / Southampton / Plymouth 32 days 39 days 28 days
Bristol / Newport / Milford Haven 35 days 39 days 28 days
 Liverpool / Manchester / Heysham 40 days 40 days 29 days
Warrenpoint / Belfast / Larne 36 days 40 days 29 days
Loch Ryan / Glensanda / Clyde 36 days 40 days 29 days

*These transit times are just approximate; our consultants will provide you with further details if you are interested.

1.1.5) How much does it cost to ship a container from Vietnam to the UK?

*In general, sea freight is the most preferred transfer method by British importers. It is justified because it is the most cost-effective method for large and regular shipments.

This explains largely why most of the cargo between Vietnam and the UK is transferred through ocean freight. Air freight is becoming greatly expensive when your shipment is above 1 CBM and 100 kg, and because of geography, rail freight isn’t existing yet between the two countries. Despite being a much longer time to deliver, sea freight is by far the most cost-effective solution between the two countries.

FNM Advice: We are experts in freight forwarding. Do you need to ship your goods between vietnam and the United Kingdom? We are here and are able to take care of everything for you to help you save time and money! Fill out this easy form to get started.


1.1.6) Special sea freight services Reefer container from Vietnam to the UK  

Reefer containers are well-appreciated and used in the food and chemical industries. It is explained because great quantities of goods, that require special environmental conditions to be stored, can be transferred in a container where the temperature and humidity rates are constantly monitored. Between both continents, FNM Vietnam can book and plan your reefer container freight. Roro/Bulk/OOG from Vietnam to the UK 

Roll-on/Roll-off vessels, called “Roro” for ease in the shipping industry, are built similarly to ferry ships. On their end, a retractable ramp is enabling to charge of great volumes of goods transported on platforms or on trailers. The automobile industry is largely using this method to transfer vehicles worldwide. All types of vehicles can be loaded inside Roro vessels, like cars, trucks, buses, pleasure boats…

Bulk is a method of transport used by many sectors, that are required to transport great quantities of raw products. Agriculture, energy, and many other industries are largely using it. There are mostly two types of bulk cargo, solid and liquid. Bulk cargo ships are boats composed of several large tanks that can be fulfilled with great quantities of raw shipments like cereals, corn, ores, wood for solid bulk, and fuel, gas, and oil, for liquid bulk.

OOG cargos is another particular category of goods. OOG means “Out of Gauge” which is designating all sorts of elaborated goods that can’t be loaded inside a traditional container due to their weight or dimensions. These kinds of cargos are generally charged on a platform or a trailer to be transported. Sea freight, they can be loaded on the last stage of a container ship or inside Roro vessels to navigate through the world. Because of their volume, they need to be handled with the greatest care.

FNM Advice : FNM Vietnam is proficient to handle all kinds of goods, without regarding their particularity. OOG, Bulk, Roro, we can book it all. Please contact one of our consultants to see how we should proceed with the transfer.

1.2) Air freight shipping from Vietnam to the UK

1.2.1) Overview – Classic vs Express air freight

As you may think, the major difference between express and classic air freight is the necessary time to deliver your goods. The time delay between courier (express) and classic is mostly due to the customs clearance process. In Express air freight, the clearance is done by the express company in its facilities, which is needing a few dozen minutes at most. For Classic air freight, customs clearance is made the traditional way, which is requiring several hours or days in extreme cases. So, for express air freight, 4 days at most are required to deliver your goods, while at least a week is necessary for a classic air freight.

Classic Air freight Express air freight (courier)
More flexible than Express The quickest transfer method on earth
More competitive than courier for large volumes Mostly used and suitable for small cargo
Faster than maritime freight Very efficient process to clear your goods
Prices per CBM are decreasing in function of the volume  
You will only pay for the space you require
Need more time than express freight The most onerous way to transfer goods, especially for voluminous shipments
Ocean freight is cheaper  
Some kinds of goods are refused due to their hazard (lithium batteries…) What should I choose between courier air freight and classic air freight?

It is again a matter of dimensions and weight. First of all, Air freight comes with more benefits than ocean freight for goods that are smaller than 2 CBM and 150 kgs. Between courier and regular air freight, the second is usually more advantageous for shipments larger than 0.5 CBM and heavier than 30 kgs. Below these numbers, express air freight is more competitive. What is the difference between volumetric and gross weight?

*For classic air freight, two different methods are used to sort out how you will pay for you shipment’s transfer. It enables the company to consider the density of your items.

Gross and volumetric weight are those two methods, the airline will calculate your shipment weight with the two methods, and the biggest results will be kept rating your cargo. It’s easy to determine, and you can also do it by yourself to estimate. The two pictures below are showing the way to determine each result:

How to calculate the gross weight of airfreight shipmentshow to calculate volumetric weight

1.2.2) Should I choose a Classic Air freight from Vietnam to UK? Which airline company should you ship with?

FNM Alert: The two countries are not directly linked by air. All the cargo airlines providing air freight between UK and Vietnam are passing through the airports of Luxembourg, Frankfurt, and Paris. These are the only European freight hubs directly linked to Vietnam. We still can book air freight with these airlines for you, to deliver your goods to your UK address. How long is the transfer from Vietnam to the UK by air freight?

On door-to-door, between the airports in Vietnam and in the UK, around 20 hours are necessary to transfer your goods. If a pickup and a delivery at the place are required, further time will be needed to transfer your goods. How much does it cost to ship a parcel from Vietnam to the UK?

Like ocean freight, numerous parameters are influencing your freight cost, so it will not be accurate to provide you with an estimated price. We’re still quoting each air freight request individually, so we will provide you with the best rates based on the information you provided to us. Don’t hesitate to reach our freight consultants, to know how much we will cost our air freight services.    

1.2.3) Should I choose an Express Air freight from Vietnam to the UK? Express service – Perfect solution for small package

As detailed before, classic air freight is competitive for shipments big enough, but for small shipments, express is the most competitive and efficient transport solution. Express air freight is mostly recommended for shipments lighter than 25 kg and tinier than 0.5 CBM. And it is still unbearably the quickest freight solution of our times. Despite being advised for small shipments, FNM Vietnam can still book express air freight for voluminous shipments if absolutely required. How long does it take for a package to be shipped from Vietnam to the UK?

The plane travel duration is still the same between the courier and regular air freight. It’s only the other steps of the process that is better accomplished by express companies, which explains why it is quicker. So, 4 days at the most are needed for courier companies to deliver your goods at your address in the UK, considering the shipment was taken in charge at the shipper’s location. How much does an Express service cost from Vietnam to the UK?

*A different way to proceed is used by courier companies to quote the freight of your goods. Differently from gross and volumetric weight, the ratio used is 1 CBM = 200 kg

As you may have understood, no matter what the freight method is, it is always difficult to provide average rates to customers. Express is not spared from this rule, as many parameters need to be taken into account also. Once we’re informed enough about your requirements, we will be able to build a detailed quote tailored to your needs. We will provide it to you at the best time, right after. Also, we have very attractive rates with the courier companies. You will not be offered such competitive prices if you’re reaching the express carriers on your own. This is explained because we’re providing them great volumes of goods each week, that enables us to have discounts.


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1.2.4) Major airports to ship in the UK

London Gatwick Airport

97 thousand tonnes were administered in Gatwick Airport in 2017. A huge part of this cargo volume (94.9 thousand tonnes) has been traded with international countries, while only 1.8 thousand tonnes were involving the EU. The rest of the cargo was shared with other UK airports. Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is the most important freight airport in London. In 2017, 1.7 million tonnes of cargo were administered in London Heathrow. Among all these shipments, 1.58 million tonnes were exchanged with international destinations, while 111 thousand tonnes were shared with countries within the European Union. All other shipments were traded with domestic destinations. Stansted Airport

Stansted is the second-busiest London airport, far after the tremendous Heathrow Airport. 2017 has been a busy year for Stansted, with 237 thousand tonnes of goods managed. A majority of goods were traded with other international airports, representing 161 thousand tonnes of goods. With the EU the exchanges were of 75 thousand tonnes in the same year, while the last 1203 tonnes were involving other Airports within the United Kingdom.

UK Belfast International Airport

A small amount of cargo is traded through air freight in Belfast. In 2017, 12.3 thousand tonnes of goods went through BIA. The majority of goods exchanged in Belfast are with the other UK airports, 11204 tonnes are coming from domestic airports. Only 11 tonnes are exchanged with international destinations, and, 1094 tonnes are directly shared with the EU. Birmingham Airport

The airport of Birmingham managed 42 thousand tonnes of goods in 2017. Among this volume, 12.6 thousand tonnes were traded with European countries, 25.1 thousand tonnes were shared with airports worldwide, and only 4 thousand tonnes were involving other airports in the United Kingdom. Doncaster Sheffield Airport

Doncaster Sheffield is one of the few UK airports which isn’t trading goods with other domestic airports. In 2017, 8.6 thousand tonnes of goods were handled in DSA. 2.2 thousand tonnes were exchanged with destinations in the EU, while the other 6.4 thousand tonnes were directly traded with international destinations. East midlands international Airport

East Midlands International Airport can be considered an important airport for UK’s international trade. In 2017, 3.2 hundred thousand tonnes of goods flowed through EMIA. Among this quantity, 2.2 hundred thousand tonnes were exchanged with the European Union and 61 thousand tonnes were traded internationally. 43 thousand tonnes of cargo were exchanged with other airports within the UK. Edinburgh Airport

In 2017, Edinburgh Airport administered a total of 20.7 thousand tonnes of goods. The majority of the goods exchanges are made with other UK airports, for a volume of 10.4 thousand tonnes. Around 10 thousand tonnes are also traded with the European countries, while only 152 tonnes are exchanged with other international destinations. Glasgow Airport

In 2017, 16 thousand tonnes of goods were traded through Glasgow Airport. The vast majority of these quantities is exchanged with non-European destinations, counting for 14.2 thousand tonnes of goods. Only 8 hundred tonnes of cargo were shared with European countries, and the last 901 tonnes were exchanged with domestic airports. Manchester Airport

In 2017 at Manchester Airport, 120 thousand tonnes of cargo were administered. The European Union was involved in 7.3 thousand tonnes of this total cargo volume. Most of the volume of goods traded in MA are involved with international destinations, representing a quantity of 113 thousand tonnes of goods. The 830 tonnes remaining were traded with domestic airports. Newcastle Airport

5.5 thousand tonnes of goods were handled at Newcastle Airport in 2017. Among this quantity, around 5 thousand tonnes are exchanged with international airports, and 480 tonnes are traded with the European Union. The last 39 tonnes remaining were cargo traded with other domestic airports. Prestwick Airport

In 2017, 11.4 thousand tonnes of goods were traded through Prestwick Airport. No cargos in Prestwick were exchanged with other UK airports. 3.5 thousand tonnes of goods were exchanged with European countries, while the remaining 7.8 thousand tonnes of goods were traded with international airports.

1.3) Door to door from Vietnam to UK

1.3.1) Overview – Door to Door

Door-to-door freight is the most comfortable freight solution for customers. It’s an all-inclusive freight service which is, involving you the least possible during the transfer of your shipment. We will completely execute and manage the different steps of your freight, like the customs clearance, the trucking, the air, or ocean freight, the warehousing… You will just have to receive the goods at the address you transmitted to us. You will have all the necessary time to complete other tasks in domains you’re mastering well, while we’ll regularly keep you in touch with the progress of your freight. This freight service is greatly appreciated by our customers, as it is providing them serenity, while we’re mastering every phase of the transfer.

1.3.2) Why door-to-door service is necessary?

As a process mastered from start to the end by only one entity, door-to-door is enabling us to ensure the greatest fluidity of your goods. Our agents in Vietnam and in the UK will team up to achieve greatly your shipment transfer. This will enable us to avoid most of the mistakes caused by a lack of communication involving different enterprises for a single freight. All added fees and delays will be dodged. Also, the most delicate step which is the customs clearance will be greatly operated thanks to our customs clearance specialists, both in Vietnam and in the UK. All these reasons are explaining why door-to-door is a hassle-free service.

FNM tips: We built a special page explaining, deeply, how our door-to-door services is operated. You can also contact us directly to determine how door-to-door can be implemented for you between both continents.

2) Customs clearance in UK for goods imported from Vietnam

The customs procedure for import and export in the UK is, like any other advanced country, very precise and automatized. Because Vietnam and the United Kingdom don’t have any FTA (Free Trade Agreement) linking them together, the clearance will be operated the standard way. This will result on average and no reduced paperwork to do, and normal import taxes to pay for your goods to enter the UK territory. You may be worried about how Brexit will impact the customs operations in the UK, but as far as it comes, the same process will certainly still be remained for goods traded between the two countries. It will also the same process if you’re importing British products in Vietnam.

2.1) How much will I pay?

Before beginning all procedures, it is necessary to have a precise estimation of how much will cost the customs clearance and the transfer of your goods in the UK. Like any other countries that are part of the WTO (World Trade Organization), Vietnam and the UK are using the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, to designate traded goods in the same way. This means that all the articles traded in the world are referenced with the same ID code, no matter the country. This code, the “HS code”, is composed of 6 figures.

2.1.1) Calculate applicable tariff with the HS code

The HS code of pineapple is 08043010. You’re wanting to learn what is the meaning of this code? The following picture will precisely describe it to you :

HS code

First, you may not know what the HS code designates your goods. The Canadian post implemented a great web tool that helps you to sort it out. Let’s stay with the pineapple example. If you’re typing pineapple in the search bar, you will first be been asked to choose the country of destination. After choosing UK, it will provide you the following HS code:

How to find HS code on the Canada post website

The official website of the UK government has also a page made to determine the HS code for products. It is called the look up commodity code. If you’re trying to find what the HS code of pineapples is, just type pineapple in the search bar, and it will show you the result which is:

how to determine hs code on gov.uk

As you can see the applicable rates for pineapples are showing 5.80% import duties and no VAT inherent in this product.

2.1.2) Different taxes existing for your goods GST/VAT in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are three different VAT rates, the zero rate of VAT, the reduced rate of VAT, and the standard rate of VAT:

  • The standard rate of VAT is of 20%
  • The reduced rate of VAT is of 5%
  • And the zero rate of VAT is of 0%

All these rates are applicable to a scope of goods and services, which you can precisely determine in the UK’s government guidance for VAT rates page.

2.2) How to get a taxes exemption?

Because the Kingdom is still in negotiations for its retirement from the European Union, the UK government absolutely needs to counterbalance the trade advantages he will lose over the Brexit. As the EU and Vietnam should have put in the application for the EVFTA, the potential exit of the UK may it also exit the FTA. The UK is still working on its side with Vietnam, either to keep the agreement valid between the two countries or to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is involving Vietnam and many other countries. So, there will be no solution of exemption by searching this way. The only way to have an exoneration of import taxes will be to be benefiting from the GSP.

2.2.1) The Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP)

Vietnam takes part in the list of countries included in the general arrangement of the GSP of the European Union. Considered as a developing country, imports of products made in Vietnam are subject to reduced or zero import rates.

To benefit from this measure, you must provide to UK customs, the certificate of origin of your products, proving that they’ve been made in Vietnam. Of course, this very advantageous policy isn’t applicable for imports of competitive categories of goods, like clothing, textile, and footwear.

 2.2.2) The general arrangement

All the products benefiting from the general arrangement are listed in Annex V of the REGULATION (EU) No 978/2012 of 25 October 2012. You can consult it to know if the goods you’re aiming to import can benefit from it.

Depending on the Sensitive (S) or non-sensitive (NS) character of your goods, the import taxes will be respectively reduced or zero. Still, in Annex V, you can determine the sensitiveness of a product. Non-sensitive products are totally exonerated of import taxes, except on agricultural goods.

2.2.3) Sensitive products

There are two types of sensitive products, the products subject to ad valorem taxes and others subject to specific taxes.

Ad valorem taxes are applied on products of chapters 1 to 49 and 64 to 97. On these products, import taxes are reduced of 3.5%. It is also applied to textile products mentioned in chapters 50 to 63. Here, import taxes are reduced by 20%.

If a sensitive product is applied both by ad valorem and specific right, ad valorem is always the chosen right.

To know the applicable import taxes to your products made in Vietnam, you must:

1 – Verify if the goods are mentioned in Annex V of the general arrangement.

2 – determine if the goods are sensitive or non-sensitive in Annex II of the same document.

2.3) Does FNM Vietnam charge duty?

FNM Vietnam is charging for the handling and preparation of the documents. But we’re not taking any advantage of the import taxes applicable on your goods, and we’ll provide you all documents written by UK customs to guarantee you complete transparency of the handling of your goods in the UK.

2.4) Customs contacts

Contact the Vietnamese customs

logo of the vietnamese customs

Official name: General Department of Vietnam Customs

Website: Vietnamese Customs

Contact the British customs

Official name: HM Revenue and Customs

Website: British Customs

2.5) Customs process

If you haven’t done it yet, register an EORI number to be able to import Vietnamese goods to the UK. You will be granted it after 3 working days.

The first step you’ll have to accomplish with customs is to declare your import. The duties and VAT are coming after.

2.5.1) Import declarations to customs

The import declaration in the UK can be done electronically or with paper files. If you’re importing your goods in the UK via rail freight (which is almost impossible to depart from Vietnam), you have to send to British customs an Entry Summary Declaration. This is necessary because before entering in the Kingdom, your goods will travel through the EU. If you’re not skilled, here is a guideline to achieve the import declaration by yourself.

2.5.2) Paying duty on imports from Vietnam

As you probably imagine, your shipment will only be released from UK customs once all duties and taxes have been paid. If you’re importing goods temporarily in the UK, with the purpose to move them to another country, you can claim to customs to be refunded the import taxes and VAT back. It is also possible to ask for delayed payment, for all shipments imported from a non-EU country.

Once the payment is received by UK customs for your import, they will release the shipment, so it can reach its final destination.

 2.5.3) Paying VAT on imports from Vietnam

If it is your first import in the UK, you’re liable to pay import taxes and VAT directly to the HM Revenue and Customs.

After the payment proceeds, the HMRC will provide you with the import tax certificate, to officialize that you paid the VAT and duties. This document is called form 79.

Below is detailed the import process of your goods, precisely with the UK customs:

The scheme of the customs process

2.6) What are the Licenses required (import & export)?

Before implementing any import or export process in the UK, you must verify if the goods you’re aiming to import are requiring a License. Of course, if it is applicable, you can’t import or export such shipments without the applicable licenses. Legal sanctions can be taken by customs against you. Such licenses are also required for temporary imports or exports.

 2.6.1) Import license

You must have an import License in the UK to import shipments of:

  • Food
  • Textile
  • Chemicals
  • Medicines
  • Plants and Animals
  • Firearms

*If your products have a particular country of origin, Import License may not be required

2.6.2) Export license

An export license will be required to send shipments out of the UK territory, containing:

  • Medicines
  • Chemicals
  • Artworks
  • Plants and animals
  • Military or paramilitary items
  • Technology

The needing for an export license is determined by the type of products you’re sending, and also the country where you’re sending them. It is in order to prevent any misuse that may be done with your goods. e.g, weapons and ammunitions to East Africa.

You will find more information on the import and export guidance GOV page. 

2.7) Necessary documents

2.7.1) The Bill of lading or Airway bill

The BL (Bill of Lading) has a double usage for your cargo. It is similar to a passport and a boarding pass for your shipment. Once the BL is released, your goods are able to travel through sea and ocean. Depending on the chosen freight solution, it can be a Bill of Lading for all ocean freight, and an Airway Bill for all Air freight. The BL is proving to customs authority that the shipping was legally established, because the carrier is releasing it once he received payment for the transfer. In international trade and logistics, this document is one of the most important, with the certificate of origin.

The pictures below are examples of Bill of Lading, with the details of each piece of information written on:

explanation of the information on a Bill of Ladingexample of a Bill of Lading 

2.7.2) The original invoice

The original invoice will be used by the HMRC to ensure that the products you’re importing in your shipment are corresponding to the ones you declared through your import declaration. 

2.7.3) The packing list

The packing list is a document describing all the products you’re importing. The HS code, weight, and a number of each item are described in that document. If you’re importing dangerous goods to the UK, the MSDS data sheet and the international code of the goods must be precise.

2.7.4) Certificate of Origin

Like the Bill of Lading, the certificate of origin is one of the most important documents for import and export businesses. If you want to benefit from the GSP tariff treatment, you must show the CO to the UK customs in order to prove that your goods were “made in Vietnam”. This certificate must be issued by a Vietnamese government agency and be signed by your manufacturer. Of course, you must check that the manufacturer is able to provide such documents, before purchasing goods from him if you want to benefit of the GSP.

Below is an example of a certificate of origin (a Chinese one here):

Chinese Certificate of Origin

2.8) Prohibited items in the UK

Some goods cannot be imported in the UK. Such products are:

  • Offensive or defensive weapons like pepper sprays, CS gas, flick knives…
  • endangered animal and plant species
  • Illegal drugs
  • rough diamonds
  • obscene or immoral materials
  • Imports for the personal use of meats and dairies from countries outside the EU

2.9) Restricted items in the UK

The restricted goods in the UK are requiring a special import license delivered by a precise authority in Great Britain. Firearms, ammunitions, and explosives are requiring such authorization.

Agricultural and food products are also restricted if they:

  • May contain pests or other vegetal and animal diseases
  • Are imported for commercial use
  • Were not produced in a country of the EU

You will have more details about it on this page.

2.10) The Brexit impact on the European-Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) for UK

If Brexit takes place, then the UK will exit from the customs union, which means that UK will have to leave all FTAs established by the European Union. It is mandatory because all members of a customs union should establish the same tariffs toward the other members and vice versa. As the automobile and pharmaceuticals sectors are accounting for most of the British exports, it will lose its competitiveness compared to the European Union in the Vietnamese market.

To avoid such losses, the UK government is willing to continue its existing investment and trade relations after Brexit. This means that the Existing FTAs ratified with the EU will be reproduced at least in different forms for the UK, and the EVFTA is included.

This retention is aiming to protect British businesses from a drastic change that they may not be able to swallow.

So, the UK government is doing its best, especially toward Vietnam, to keep its hardly negotiated privilege for trades in Vietnam.

 2.11) Trade relationship between Vietnam and the UK

According to the last statistics established by the World Bank in terms of trade (2017), Vietnam is the 51st export partner and the 22nd import partner of the UK. On the opposite way, the UK is the 9th export partner and the 22nd import partner of Vietnam. Still in 2017 flows of goods departing from Vietnam and going to the UK were valued at 5.4 billion USD, while flows from the UK to Vietnam were valued at 745 million USD. As usual, when it comes to Vietnam, the trade balance is largely benefiting Vietnam with the UK.

The United Kingdom is largely importing broadcasting equipment, furniture, textile footwear, leather footwear, computers, coconuts, Brazil nuts and cashews, and non-knit women's and men’s suits from Vietnam.

In counterparts, the biggest exports of the UK to Vietnam are packaged medicaments, recovered paper, gas turbines, broadcasting equipment, antibiotics, electric generating sets, hard liquor, pesticides, and cars.

FNM Alert: The EVFTA or its British version after Brexit is implemented, will be a great business opportunity if you’re aiming to start or extend your trades between the two countries. FNM Vietnam can be a privileged partner for you to increase your supply chain and optimize your transport chain between the two continents.

3) Additional services

3.1) Our warehousing services

3.1.1) Storage service in Vietnam

We can welcome and store your goods all the time you want in our great warehouses of HCMV, Hai Phong and Quy Nhon. We can then send them on your request, to the UK, or to the delivery address in Vietnam, depending on the direction of your freight. Our very recent facilities, well-designed and well maintained, are secured 24/7 with CCTV equipment and our great security teams. We’re perfectly aware of anything happening and can act consequently in the best delays to avoid any issue.

3.1.2) Storage service in the UK

In the UK our network is enabling us to have also competitive rates for storage services in every city. We are also uncompromising on security there, and the same conditions are applied to both countries.

FNM Advice: If it interests you, you can reach one of our consultants to find out more on the topic. We also wrote a page detailing our warehousing services in Vietnam.

3.2) Our packing/unpacking services

3.2.1) Overview

You may be interested in packing your shipment on your own, to optimize your shipping budget. If yes, the following paragraphs are containing all the tricks and tips that a pro packer, like FNM Vietnam, can provide to novices. But first, you should keep in mind before getting started that this is one of the most important phases of the transfer process, and it must have proceeded meticulously. The packing of your goods is enabling your cargo to travel the world without being damaged on arrival, so it is the first way to protect your goods. Also, if you prefer to use our packing services, do not hesitate to send us a quote request.

 3.2.2) Packing material Carton box

Carton is a packing material that is not very recent, since it has been used in various industries for decades. But its effectiveness is still, making it a very secure and convenient way to pack almost all types of goods. You must privilege inflexible and thick cartons for your packing, as they will cover your goods against all constraints applied. Without regarding the shape and the volume of your products, our teams can handle their package securely, and will only use premium cartons to avoid any problems during the freight. Palletization

Like cartons, pallets are an industrial classic when it comes to the goods’ conditioning. Strong and adherent, great quantities of products can be put on top of it. It is also very convenient to handle your goods with a pallet truck, thanks to this object. In our facilities, we can palletize your goods if needed, in case your manufacturer can’t do it. We’re having all types and dimensions of pallets, to make sure they will be adapted to the goods you’re forwarding. Wooden boxes

If your items are too voluminous or require greater protection than cartons and pallets, we can put them in a wooden crate before their transfer. We can place them inside a box or a crate, depending on your goods’ type. If your goods must be placed and handled in a particular direction during their transfer, the wooden box will be preferred. If your goods aren’t requiring a precise direction, then the crate is more appropriate. This process can be perfectly handled by our packing teams. They can realize tailored crates adapted to the size and weight of your goods. Others: bubble wrap, tape, wrapping paper, polystyrene…

These aren’t the main wrapping materials, but shouldn’t be neglected during any packing. They are softening the contact between your goods and the carton or crate. The bubble wrap should be placed in numerous layers around each object, while the polystyrene should be put between your items and the carton or crate. These great materials are almost always used by our teams to protect your goods.

 3.2.3) Why packing is important for insurance?

That’s a very delicate point. If your goods are damaged during their freight, the insurance covering them will not refund you asap. First, they will investigate if your goods were packed professionally or not. If they realize that you packed your goods by yourself, chances are great that they will refuse to reimburse your loss. They can’t refuse if it was made by professionals, like FNM Vietnam. To avoid any trouble, lost money, and time, we’re strongly advising you to use our packing services or services from any other pros. This will give you the greatest peace of mind.

FNM Alert: We’re telling you all on our dedicated page, describing our packing services. You can also reach one of our specialists to be personally advised.

3.3) Freight insurance

3.3.1) How much does a freight insurance cost?

To sort out the price of your freight insurance, a simple calculation based on the price of your goods is made.

Here is the method used to determine the price of your freight insurance: freight cost + shipment value * 2-3%

The percentage is depending on your product's type.

As you may think, you will have a lower insurance price if you’re declaring a lower value of your goods. Even if it’s true, it isn’t recommended because, in case of trouble, the insurance will partially reimburse you, based on your small product value. Also, it is pointless to declare a higher value, as you will only pay unnecessary high freight insurance.

FNM Alert: Further information is available on our cargo insurance page. Our experts will also be delighted to give you a few tips

3.4) Supplier management in Vietnam

3.4.1) Control quality in Vietnam

Quality control is very important because if your goods are too fragile, or the packing is insufficient, chances are that some breakage will happen during the freight. This is why we always check your shipment before containerizing it, to be sure everything will proceed greatly. That’s why we’re always reaching your supplier or manufacturer first, to establish great communication with them, and make sure everything is alright. Hence, we will dodge most of the issues that may appear.

3.4.2) Relationship with supplier

As said above, we’ll always verify the category of your goods, the HS code, their size, and the packing… before any further process even if the incoterm of your transfer is FOB (Free on Board). Our multilingual team, proficient in English, French, and Vietnamese, will greatly communicate with your manufacturer to make sure all the necessary conditions are reached to transfer your goods. So, the documents, the conditioning, and the handling of your goods will be mastered, and nothing will be left to chance. The international transfer of your goods will be fluid and uninterrupted.

3.5) 3PL Services in Vietnam

3.5.1) Order fulfillment/Packing & labeling in Vietnam

We have packing and fulfillment centers here in Vietnam, to fully manage your inventory if required. We understand that the supply chain of e-commerce is very difficult to master, especially if you’re not located in the sourcing country. We’re able to pack and forward your goods anywhere in the world to satisfy your clients. You can greatly rely on us for the management of your inventory and customer support.

FNM Tips : If you’re interested, we’re detailing all our services, and giving you tricks to manage your inventory on our warehousing services page. Our specialists can also be reached for this purpose.

3.5.2) Last mile delivery

No matter where your customers are in the UK, our great international network of messengers can deliver the shipment to the final address. They are achieving a great role in our door-to-door services, always increasing the quality of the service provided.

3.6) Shipping personal effects from Vietnam

3.6.1) Excess baggage

It’s not uncommon for tourists traveling to Vietnam, to fell in love with the country, and to take back home to the UK numerous souvenirs. But if you’re bringing home much more goods than on arrival, you might have issues with your airline, and some goods may be refused. For this purpose, we implemented our excess baggage services. We’re transferring your goods by express freight back to you, so you will receive them in the next few days after you come back.

Tips FNM : Our specialists can be reached whenever you want to implement this service. You can also read our express transport page, giving more details on the topic.

3.6.2) Moving service from Vietnam to the UK

Between UK and Vietnam, we have very efficient and flexible relocation services, that will be tailored to your needs. If required, we can ensure the packing, the freight, the customs clearance, and the storage of your personal effects on both continents. Our great relations with the Vietnamese customs will enable a smooth entrance or exit of your goods in Vietnam.

FNM Alert: Reach one of our advisors to know more about our moving proficiency. We also made a detailed page about relocation to Vietnam, so you can prepare yourself greatly before.

3.7) Free regulation advisor

Between Vietnam and the United Kingdom, we’re greatly skilled to handle all freight demands. We’re also proficient in sourcing in Vietnam, so if you have any questions about your supplier or manufacturer, or if you want to find some of the most valuable, we can help you on that also. On any aspect of your project, financial, administrative, legal… We can advise you on the best solutions to avoid any kind of misfortune.

4) For 1st-time importers from Vietnam

FNM Door to Door services from Vietnam to the UK– What do we need to know to provide you with a quote?

To send you a detailed and accurate quote, we should base ourselves on the following documents and information:

  • Dimensions and weight of your goods
  • HS Code
  • Pickup and delivery address
  • If you have them, the packing list and the pro forma invoice

If you have particular goods to transfer like hazardous or chemical products, then we’ll ask you further questions and documents, like the MSDS data sheet…

How can I ensure that I have selected the correct site/supplier/factory to shop on?  

There are a few steps that all importers should complete before treating any supplier/manufacturer. First, you should verify the medium you used. If it is a sourcing agency, check its reputation in forums on the web, on Google reviews… Do the same if you found them on a marketplace. Once the medium is checked, you can verify the supplier’s reputation directly. Follow the steps below, and you’ll know if you can trust him:

  • You should first make a detailed analysis of his customers. It is proof of great product quality if the bigger part of his customers is located in North America, Australia, and Europe for instance. You must be more careful if you find out that the major parts of his customers are based in the Middle East or in Africa. It probably means that their products aren’t qualitative.
  • Then you should check how is its product catalog. If the products that he is offering are homogeneous and coherent, like silicone watch bands, silicone iPhone cases, and other accessories in silicone, chances are that he is a manufacturer. Contrariwise, if the products proposed in its catalog are motley, like iPhone cases, headphones, hand spinners, and selfie sticks, chances are that he is a retailer and not a manufacturer. Usually, retailers are less worried about quality issues than manufacturers, which means that you should be privileged to work with manufacturers directly if you’re able to.
  • In the end, you should verify the time since your supplier is existing on the internet, if you can track its activity for more than 5 years, it is a plus. If he’s been active for less than 2 years, you must be persnickety before ordering.

If you still don’t know what you think of the suppliers you selected, do not hesitate to reach us directly by mail or phone, to have our professional advice on whether you can trust your supplier or not.

5) Conclusion

Here is all you need to know about freight and international trade between Vietnam and UK. We hope that all this great data helped you to see more clearly what you need to implement, and what you must avoid for all import/export purposes between the two countries. As Brexit is still on the line, changes may have occurred at the time you’re reading this article. We’ll still update it the soonest. If it wasn’t enough, or we didn’t answer what you were looking for, do not hesitate to reach one of our experts to have recommendations tailored to your situation. As we’re proficient in all supply chain issues, like sourcing and transferring goods, you can ask us anything on these topics.

Adivce FNM :We help you with the entire sourcing process so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions !

  • Having trouble finding the appropriate product? Enjoy our sourcing services, we directly find the right suppliers for you!
  • You don't trust your supplier? Ask our experts to do quality control to guarantee the condition of your goods!
  • Do you need help with the logistics? Our international freight department supports you with door to door services!
  • You don't want to handle distribution? Our 3PL department will handle the storage, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery!


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