Discover 50 Import Export Business Ideas

Do you want to start importing and exporting your trading business today? If YES, here are 50 of the best ideas and opportunities for small businesses in the field of import/export.

According to the US Department of Commerce, imports are $ 1.2 trillion a year. Exports alone are just as large as US companies exported $ 772 billion worth of goods to more than 150 foreign countries.

The third-largest exporter in the world is the United States, and their exports account for 13% of GDP. The import and export market for many product lines is already saturated, and there is information confirming this.

Therefore, in order not to run into any problems in this business, make sure that there is a real need for the products you want to deal with. When you do this, with a big return on your end, your import/export business will start well.

If you think that starting an export and import business is what you want to do, then you can consider starting an import and export business.

50 best import export business ideas and opportunities

Here are some business ideas you can take action. You can make money on international trade with any of the following import export business ideas:

1. Online Import

You have probably heard of,, and several other online markets. All of the sites listed above deal with online trading as they go to other parts of the world.

You place an order and pay online while they ship your product to the address you provide. You must also pay the shipping cost.

The Internet has destroyed walls that previously limited access to manufacturers thousands of kilometers away. Improvements in the field of transport and logistics allow small enterprises with a small capital to import a smaller quantity of goods at low shipping costs.

The beauty of this business is that with a small start-up capital and access to the Internet, you can start to get a good income.

2. Brokerage Import / Export

An import-export agent or broker, also known as a trading agent or customs broker, is an individual or company that sends and receives goods to and from various countries.

Import-export agents or brokers work with both importers and exporters, helping them prepare the necessary documents for exporting or importing their products. They also help their clients establish relationships with foreign companies.

Thus, they work at both ends of import-export transactions of both origin and destination. To become an import-export broker, you must understand the basic jargon law on import-export, foreign exchange transactions, trade policy and everything else related to the conclusion of profitable import-export transactions.

3. Product Source Agent

As a product selection agent, you can easily connect to the export value chain. What is a good way to create a successful export business from scratch and enjoy it?

Not only do you need small financial investments to start with, you do not need previous experience in this field, but you must be well versed in the organization and pay constant attention to small details. As a product sourcing agent, you will need to contact exporters.

You can register on some trading portals, where you will have access to the products he has chosen, specifications and contact details. You can also send them a letter and let them know that you can satisfy their requirements.

As a product search agent, you will deal primarily with farmers. You will need to go to their farms and deal directly with them, and you may need to deliver goods to the city. You can also deal with local purchasing agents and a merchant.

4. Brokerage Company

If you have the skills of logistics and business management, as well as the spirit of entrepreneurship, you can learn how to start brokerage transportation of goods. As a brokerage company, you must act as an intermediary between shippers and client companies that need their services.

Their tasks also include cleaning your ports from ports, paying duties and taxes, transporting your consignment to your desired destination, etc.

Sometimes freight brokers are called clearing and forwarding agents. There is a lot of money to be made as a cleaning agent and expedition.

The best part is that this business can be run anywhere, in any country; as long as international trade still exists and your country is a member, you are in business.

5. Used Cars

This is another business in this area. Buying and selling can turn into a profitable business if you do it well. This is especially true, especially if you are considering the idea of ​​how to buy and sell used cars.

With the development of technology and the production of the most modern cars, people will always need to buy new cars; thus creating the need to dispose of old ones.

Regardless of the country in which you reside. Are you in the USA, UK, Canada, Singapore, Nigeria, Ghana, etc. You can import and sell used cars.

6. Furniture Export

Today, the construction and furniture sectors around the world cannot do without the use of wood, but for you, as an entrepreneur, it is important to determine the markets for these products, while connecting wood producing countries to the market, although this is very stressful and energy depletion, the pain is always worth it.

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7. Manufacturer Representative

If you specialize in a particular industry, you can very well turn to a foreign manufacturer and ask to be represented in your chosen countries.

A representative has an advantage because you are an expert in the industry or in a particular market.

For example, if you are an expert in the manufacture of wooden furniture and sold in the western region of the USA, you have a great opportunity to visit a Chinese furniture manufacturer and ask to become a representative of their western region of the USA.

Most manufacturers love people like you, because you have their free labor (without any base, only commissions) to help them enter the market. This is a win-win situation for both you and the manufacturer.

8. Import of Tobacco Products

Although it is well known that tobacco is hazardous to health, the addiction associated with its consumption only helps maintain an increased demand for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Although many will be unhappy with this option, the truth remains that tobacco and its products sell well anywhere in the world, and you can make a fortune by importing them.

9. Import of Seafood

Tons of seafood such as fish, crustaceans, mollusks, etc. are consumed daily. Ironically, however, local suppliers cannot satisfy the huge demand for these products, leaving an open window of opportunity for seafood importers.

Despite the fact that there are many opportunities for import and export that you can use, you are unlikely to go wrong with importing seafood.

10. Online Export / Import Catalog

Publishing a two-year catalog of import / export opportunities in print and electronic format can make you rich, as millions of aspiring entrepreneurs around the world are constantly looking for income and business opportunities.

Simply create an import / export catalog containing information on global manufacturers, wholesalers and agents who seek to expand their product lines in foreign countries and new markets, or individuals or companies who seek to import certain products into their regions.

Charging for listing in the catalog, as well as selling catalogs to people who are looking for this kind of valuable and potentially profitable information and contact sources, will bring income for the business.

11. Warehouse Distribution

Starting a warehousing and distribution service means that you can act as a warehouse, shipping and picking agent for 20 or 30 different companies. This business venture requires a lot of research and investment capital.

However, thanks to careful planning and exceptional organizational skills, this type of business can generate six figures a year, all in a very short period of time for an entrepreneurial entrepreneur.

12. Import and Export Consulting

Given the many obstacles and all the problems associated with importing goods into this country or exporting goods from this country, it is not surprising that so many enterprises do not know where to start, and are simply disappointed.

Of course, smart business owners who do not want to miss a single opportunity to grow their business and income do not give up.

Instead, they hire an import export specialist who helps them solve complex issues of legal, transport, storage, import, export, trade, labor, environmental, political and financial business.

To start the import export consulting business, you will need industry experience or a desire to learn about the industry. One of the simple ways to promote your services is to develop and conduct a free information seminar on import and export, as well as use this event to register enterprises and individuals who want to start import and export.

13. Online Factory Directly

There are thousands of home manufacturing enterprises in North America. Two of the biggest challenges these entrepreneurs face are marketing and competition with much larger and better funded competitors. This is a business opportunity.

Design a Factory Direct online site that shows products for sale made by these home-based entrepreneurs. You will not only give these small manufacturing enterprises a fantastic marketing and distribution channel, but also give them the opportunity to compete for the business without wasting time developing and marketing their own website.

Products sold through the site can be sent directly to customers from the manufacturer, eliminating the need for stock. In exchange for providing manufacturers with a marketing channel, you can save part of the sales generated by the site; in the range of 10 to 15 percent would be fair.

This type of cyber business can indeed be successful, as the pricing of “direct producers” attracts consumers, and providing products for placement on the site will be very simple.

14. Export of Agricultural Products

Africa and many developing countries are rich in food and natural resources; and most of these natural resources are the raw materials necessary for the production of some finished products.

Every day, tons of raw materials and food are sent from the shores to countries such as India, Vietnam, China, the USA, Great Britain, Brazil, etc. however, demand is never satisfied.

You can become an exporter by simply registering with the appropriate government agency and deciding on the specific product that you want to export.

Examples of high-demand foods are chili peppers, cola nuts, bitter cola, cassava flakes (harry), cocoa, peanuts, yama flour, cashew nuts, etc.

15. Cosmetic Products

While cosmetic products are usually quite expensive to buy at salons, they can be imported quite cheaply from abroad and resold for significant margins and profits.

Regardless of the economic climate, these items, as a rule, are always in demand – especially given the female demography.

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16. Export Management Company

If you want to work with local sellers to find foreign buyers for a small group of companies for the long term.

EMC does it all – hires dealers, distributors, and representatives; processing advertising, marketing and promotions; labeling and packaging supervision; delivery organization; and sometimes arranging financing.

If you want to serve foreign buyers, this is a great option for you.

17. Import Export Merchandising

You will be responsible for purchasing goods directly from a domestic or foreign manufacturer, and then independently pack, ship and resell the goods.

If you are interested in importing goods from global retailers in bulk, then pack them individually for resale, and then move on to this line of international trade.

18. Export, Trade Company

While EMC has merchandise for sale and uses its power to search for buyers, ETC attacks the other side of the trading coin.

He determines what foreign buyers want to spend their money on, and then tracks down domestic sources who want to export. ETC sometimes gets ownership of the goods, and sometimes works on a commission basis.

19. Used Clothes

Clothing is another basic human need. Regardless of the economy, people should wear clothes, including shoes, bags, underwear, perfumes, etc.

Now there is a rapidly growing trend called “Used clothes” or “Secondary clothes”.

As the economy is getting tougher and needs to be put on, the masses decided to buy second-hand clothes, not new ones. However, there is a market for new clothes; for men, women and children. You can receive materials from China, Hong Kong, Italy, France, Dubai, India, etc.

20. Import of Smart Phones

While smartphones may seem like “everyday” goods in markets like the US, in many developing countries they are just starting to scratch the surface.

The cost of producing this type of technology is extremely low, especially if you can find opportunities to export these goods to China.

21. Import of Electronics

Although electronics, of course, is popular, in fact these are accessories that come with the latest smartphones, laptops and other gadgets that are highly profitable products.

Many of these items can be bought in bulk for a penny for a dollar, and then resold to the end user at a retail price either via the Internet or through traditional retail outlets.

22. Import of Households Accessories

Home accessories is another area that thrives when it comes to profitable import and export opportunities. It can mean anything – from picture frames to candlesticks, soap dispensers – and everything in between.

Most household items are easy to manufacture and can be shipped and sold in bulk packages.

23. Customs Broker

A customs broker facilitates the export and import of goods with foreign countries that are subject to customs restriction and verification.

These cargoes can be small or large and include both perishable and perishable products. Some brokers work as independent contractors that provide services for different companies.

Customs broker companies and international freight forwarders are usually considered the most employers of professional customs brokers.

However, customs brokers also usually work for trading authorities, shipping companies, as well as export and import companies.

24. Transportation of Goods

The international freight forwarder is a specialist in the field of global transportation and organizes delivery in accordance with established industry standards. The role of the forwarder is to give advice, inform and fill out all the necessary documents for sending.

Since they regularly communicate with different people at the international level, they are aware of the requirements, rules and policies of each country regarding international trade. They are also considered experts in the field of transportation.

25. Delivery Service

With the growing demand for transportation services that offer reasonable prices and promise convenience, speed and reliability, no other time can be better than now to plunge into the shipping business.

The industry is growing and changing rapidly due to its growing dependence on online shopping. However, you must be aware that the maritime / shipping industry is highly capital intensive and competitive.

Secondly, creating your own transport company requires in-depth knowledge of import and export procedures, as well as shipping, containers and logistics in your country.

You also need to know the laws for crew members to work on board your ships, how to operate a ship at certain ports and beyond, how to handle dangerous goods and other types of goods, and how to control certain communications equipment on board your ship. ship and much more legislation.

26. Legal Compliance Service

Compliance experts investigate and verify organizational trading using predefined rules and laws on compliance with trade standards, including internal and external trade agreements. Many regulatory officers work with local, state, or federal government agencies such as the Bureau. Industry and Security, a division of the US Department of Commerce.

Since the consequences of non-compliance with international trade rules can be serious, including the loss of business rights and imprisonment, all companies must ensure that all legal aspects of their import and export business are informed and respected.

While smaller companies may consult with third-party services, larger companies are more likely to have legal departments dealing with tax, accounting, and export controls.

27. Logistic Specialist

Logistics specialists analyze and coordinate supply chains for organizations and enterprises. They manage the distribution of materials, supplies, and products, and oversee procurement, shipping, warehousing, and delivery. They also submit performance reports, seeking to find cost-effective solutions for the production, delivery and delivery of products.

28. Marketing Service

Marketing managers play an invaluable role for organizations involved in import and export, develop and create foreign markets for goods and services. These specialists identify markets and develop competitive pricing strategies.

They use computer applications for forecasting and work with various aspects of messaging and communication, including public relations and advertising.

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29. Arbitration

The process of buying foreign currency, stocks, bonds and other goods in one market and selling them immediately in another market at higher prices.

This is another business idea for you if you have the means and knowledge.

30. Export Import Insurance Brokerage

Export shipments are usually insured against loss, damage, and transit delays due to cargo insurance. For international transport, carrier liability is often limited to international agreements, and coverage is significantly different from internal coverage.

Cargo insurance arrangements can be made either by the buyer or seller, depending on the conditions of sale.

Exporters are advised to consult with international insurance carriers or forwarders for more information. Damaged weather conditions, rough handling of carriers and other common hazards to cargo make marine insurance important protection for exporters.

If the conditions of sale make the company responsible for insurance, it must either obtain its own insurance policy or insure the cargo against the freight forwarder’s policy for a fee. Thus, you can become an insurance broker in the field of import and export.

31. Cassawa Muk Export

Cassava flour is very close to harry, pit flour, road flour, etc. Despite this, it is a very popular product that is easy and quick to cook. The raw materials for this project are cassava tubers. Raw materials are available throughout the federation.

Machines, accessories and equipment necessary for the production of high-quality cassava flour are cassava cleaner, cassava tuber, chopper, sieve, dryer, fermenter, sealing / sewing machine and an international standard measuring scale.

All of the above can be manufactured locally for any capacity needed by investors. There is a ready market in Europe, America and the Middle East.

32. Export of Leather Goods

Currently, the global footwear and leather goods sector is moving from industrialized countries at high costs to developing countries, and many developing countries have significant potential in this sector in terms of raw materials and human resources, but remain mainly suppliers of raw materials and semi-finished products.

Raw materials for the skin and its products are mainly from livestock, and Nigeria is provided with the third largest livestock in Africa. The availability of raw materials was recognized as the main comparative advantage in the export of leather and leather products.

33. Palm Kernel Cake Export

Palm kernel pie (PKC) as a byproduct of chopping palm oil. Palm kernel pie is considered a medium-grade protein in feed containing from 14.6% to 16.0% of raw protein, which is useful for fattening cattle either as a single feed, with the addition of only minerals and vitamins, or mixed with other feed.

It has also become a major ingredient in the daily diet of cattle. Palm kernel pie is usually exported, mainly to Europe. It is delivered in bulk through a vessel or packaged in bags to facilitate handling and distribution.

Recently, it has also been used as biomass fuel in Europe, especially in the UK, to provide heat and energy. The cake is in demand by millers and exporters.

34. Gum Arab Export

Gum Arabic is produced by acacia and is found in the Sahelian ecological zone of Nigeria. United States is currently the third largest exporter of gum Arabic in Africa after Sudan and Chad. Its annual export is estimated at 5,000 metric tons.

The highest quality of gum Arabic – Grade 1 – is used in a wide range of food, drinks, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, which makes the market for this chewing gum quite stable.

35. Export of Nuts

Cashews found wild. Actual production is not available, but is estimated at 50,000 tons per year.

More than 80 percent of it is exported raw and unprocessed to India, Vietnam and Brazil, where they are processed into kernels and sold at a higher price in Europe and North America.

Recently, world market prices for kernels have stabilized at $ 1.7 per pound for the reference grade – W320.

This consumer-friendly price is likely to maintain a constant demand for the product, even when new low-cost suppliers enter the international market. A single cashew tree produces 200 to 300 cashew nuts per year.

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36. Charcoal Export

A cry for alternative energy sources has brought CHARCOAL to the forefront of the global market.

A large market exists in the EU, USA and Asia, with prices ranging from 700 to 800 dollars per ton, with a return on investment of about 40%.

37. Export Yellow Stone

Gallstone is a solid substance in the form of clay, found in the gallbladder of a mature cow or oxen. It is the size of a peanut and can be as big as a pigeon egg. Sometimes they can be as large as regular eggs, and can weigh from 15 to 18 grams.

They are collected by pharmaceutical companies abroad for medical purposes. Good quality stones must be dried when collecting a certain amount of, say, 100 g, then you can send them and send them to buyers abroad who immediately pay with hard currency as soon as the parcel is received.

Gallstone has a well-developed market in Asia and America. The market is guaranteed and can take as long as delivered without any adverse effect on the price.

38. Import and Export of Oil

Every nation in the world needs energy and fuel to support its economy, and not all of these countries have this fuel in excess. You can export and import crude oil from one country to another. It is important to note that this is for large dogs, as it involves high startup costs, but a very profitable business in the long run.

39. Kitchen Seeds Export

Sesame seeds (sesamum indicum) belong to the Pedaliaceae plant family. This important oilseed is believed to come from tropical Africa. 25% of the world’s hectares of sesame seeds are grown in Africa, and Nigeria is one of the main producers of sesame seeds in Africa.

The product takes second place after cocoa in terms of exports and foreign exchange earnings. World production in 2005 was delivered at 2.4 million metric tons, while China and India became the leading producers.

40. Export of Pure Honey

Honey mainly consists of fructose, glucose and water. It also contains other sugars, as well as trace elements, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

Honey is produced at one of the most effective plants in the world – the hive. On the international market, honey is currently priced between $ 10 and $ 12 per kilogram.

41. Yam Export from Nigeria

World yam production is 51.4 million tons per year, of which Nigeria averages 36.7 million tons, Ghana 3.6 million tons and Côte d’Ivoire 4.8 million tons.

Tere are no specific standards for the export of yams, but potential exporters should request information on the quality and rules of the importing country, as well as product specifications required by the importer.

42. Drop shipping

Drop shipping allows business owners to sell goods and ship them directly to their customers without the need for an inventory. Shippers resolve all issues related to packaging and delivery, which allows business owners who use their services to focus on offering products to potential customers.

Bad business practices from some business owners have spoiled the idea of ​​direct delivery for others, but it is still possible to run a reputable company using direct delivery.

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43. Spare Part Import

Just like used cars, you can import both used and new parts. Since it is very difficult to return cars to the factory, especially from Africa, importing spare parts is a gold mine if you have the knowledge and you can import it in large quantities.

44. Import of Fabric

Although this may seem like a dirty business, there is a ready-made market for used fabric in Africa and other Third World countries. You can specialize in importing this product to those places where it is in high demand.

45. Export Shrimp from Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the tropical countries endowed with abundant shrimp resources. Due to the rich organic deposits flowing out of the drain, the Niger Delta region is the center of shrimp and oil production in Nigeria; with a production capacity of 12,000 metric tons (tons) per year.

The main markets for Nigerian shrimp in Europe are Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France and the USA. All of them are usually packed in 2.2 kg bags in main boxes. So this is a business that you can enter and succeed.

46. Poultry Export

The term “poultry” is commonly used to mean all poultry containing eggs or meat. The neighboring countries of West and East Africa also depend on poultry eggs from Nigeria, as the weather for the production of poultry eggs in Nigeria is very favorable compared to neighboring countries.

Regardless of the plentiful animal feed that is readily available, there is also an export potential that has not been fully utilized. For any natural or legal person looking for a project that will generate income on a daily basis, the production of chicken eggs is one such project.

47. Export Chile Pepper

Nigeria is known to be one of the largest pepper producers in the world. The consequence of this is that we have good weather that can readily support the growth and production of pepper in Nigeria.

There are hundreds of different types of chili peppers that vary in size, shape, color, taste and heat.

This fleshy berry contains many seeds in a powerful package, the length of which can be from less than one inch to six inches, and the diameter from half to one inch. Chili peppers are usually red or green.

48. Cargo Tracking

As an importer and exporter, there is always a risk associated with a business, especially if you do not know where your product is located at sea. But this risk can be reduced with the help of cargo tracking firms, which you can use their services to track and update in real time the location of your goods.

The safety and timely arrival of your shipment is of utmost importance.

But keeping track of where it is and whether its journey is going according to plan can be difficult without the right tools. Tracking solutions are the control of the cargo during its movement, so you can be sure that it should be where it should be, when it should be there.

In addition, you will be able to receive real-time notifications of departures, arrivals and passes through checkpoints so that you can easily and efficiently document your cargo.

This is a smart way: to track and document the temperature of perishable goods during their transportation, to document where your goods were and when they reached their destination, quickly find and return lost or stolen goods.

This business helps you increase the productivity and efficiency of importers and exporters, as they can organize the rest of their logistics around the expected arrival of their goods.

49. Palm Kernel Oil Exportation Business

The kernel of palm oil (FFP) is extracted from the palm kernel. Not to be confused with palm oil, which is obtained from the pulp of palm fruits.

Palm oil has a light yellow color and a milder taste than palm oil. It is often used in the manufacture of various cosmetic, confectionery and pharmaceutical industries.

Palm oil crushing is a viable investment because raw materials can be easily obtained, production technology is simple and feasible, and the end-product market is automated. Therefore, you can export FFP to Europe and to Asian markets.

50. Avia Cargo Business

The sea is not the only means by which cargo can be delivered; air can also be used to transport containers. In 2014, airlines transported 51.3 million metric tons of cargo, which is more than 35% of world trade in value terms, but less than 1% of world trade in physical terms.

With the necessary tools and equipment, even if it is very expensive, you can start an air transportation business, helping businessmen transport their goods faster and safer.

If you have the opportunity to sell, and you have the spirit of diplomacy, the import/export business may be suitable for you. All you need is a desire and determination to make it work.

As you progress in business, many factors become apparent and easy to handle. Once you start a business, the commission for setting up sales becomes very profitable. And after you create and maintain a number of exclusive accounts, you will find that the time you spend is highly rewarded with money.

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About Faheem Rafique

The author is an entrepreneur and business writer with over ten years of experience in the field of small business ideas, marketing and branding. Let's connect if you have anything to discuss!