Import Definition

Import definition

To import from outside sources, such as introducing (goods or products) into a country from abroad. : to shift (information or data) between different forms, typically within a new document. : to convey with intent and purpose: signify.

What Is an Import?

The global market is reshaped by international trade, which can only be executed through importation and exportation. A nation will export its goods to another country for importation there; in this way, the two countries are linked economically. On top of that, customs authorities limit what types of goods may be imported or exported from a given country via quotas or mandates.

Imports are products or services purchased in one country that were manufactured elsewhere. These imports and exports make up international trade, which can benefit or harm a nation’s economy. If the value of all imports is greater than the value of its exports, then this leaves it with an unfavorable balance of trade where a deficit occurs.

Some countries, such as the United States, recorded a staggering $576.86 billion trade deficit — an issue plaguing their country since 1975. The U.S. Census Bureau revealed these findings in its 2019 global trade trends and statistics report.

How Imports Work

Nations are likely to obtain goods and services from foreign countries when the costs of production within their borders would be too expensive or could not meet the demand. This is especially true for resources such as oil, which many nations cannot produce enough of domestically. By importing these items, they ensure that their citizens can access them at an affordable price.

By implementing free trade agreements and tariff structures, importing certain goods and materials can be more affordable.


In recent years, globalization and various free-trade agreements between nations have led to a booming increase in U.S. imports of goods and services – from $580.14 billion in 1989 to an impressive $3.1 trillion as of 2019.

By entering into free-trade agreements, nations can purchase goods with lower labor costs from other countries. This practice has been blamed for the sharp decline in manufacturing jobs within those importing nations. Free trade gives them access to cheaper imports, thus reducing their dependence on domestically manufactured items. The adverse effects of manufacturing job losses were visible between 2000 and 2007, further aggravated by the worldwide economic crisis during the Great Recession and the slow recovery period.

Disagreeing About Imported Goods

Many economists and policy analysts are divided on the effects of imports. Those who oppose this action argue that increased reliance on imported items leads to decreased demand for domestic products, hindering business growth and entrepreneurship. However, proponents suggest that imports raise the standard of living by giving customers more options at lower costs; these cheaper items also help regulate skyrocketing prices across markets.

What is the process of imports?

Before sending goods, a typical process must be followed for import and export procedures. This incorporates confirming licensing and agreement rules, organizing transport and storage after the unloading of the items concerned, obtaining customs clearance, as well as paying any appropriate taxes before releasing the merchandise at last.

To make international trading a breeze, it is essential to secure the correct documents and permits from the customs department as well as other governing authorities. Depending on your destination country, you may be required to provide documentation such as proof of origin certificates, licenses, insurance policies invoices, and bills of lading.

In some instances, additional documents may be required.

Import Requirements & Certificates, and Documentation

Depending on the country, import requirements vary; however, they often have some standard specifications such as documentation, a Certificate of Origin, and a transportation invoice.

This documentation is designed to assist both the exporter and foreign importer meet all their import requirements, ensuring a smooth and successful transaction for everyone involved!


To ensure the successful importation of goods, the following documentation is required:

  • Unless the commercial sample is of a value less than X, an invoice must be issued.
  • Whether it be an oceanic, inland, or through bill of lading for cargo transported on the high seas – or even an air waybill for freight carried by plane – all are essential components to a successful journey.
  • Evidence of Insurance Coverage
  • Obtaining a Certificate of Pre-Shipment Inspection (when applicable) can help ensure that the goods you are receiving meet your standards.
  • Port expenditures (when applicable)
  • Transportation Invoice
  • Packing list
  • When required, a Certificate of Origin should be obtained.
  • Additional certificates, if applicable.

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