Attending a Trade Show? How customs and sales ready are you?

Date: 23/01/2024
Author: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Company: Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

If you are an exporter, it is likely you are now getting ready to attend trade shows to support your exporting growth strategy. Attending a trade show can be a fantastic opportunity for networking, business expansion, and staying updated on industry trends. You need to think how you can make the most of it, ensuring your staff or whoever is manning your stand understands how to effectively engage with customers, how to make sure your exhibition booth stands out, as well as have clear KPIs and how you will measure success.

Equally, it is very important your staff are aware of any customs processes they need to observe when taking goods overseas on a temporary basis. Since the UK left the EU, exporters need to meet new customs regulations when temporarily taking exhibition goods, commercial samples or professional equipment to the EU. With many well-known trade shows and exhibitions taking place in countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands to mention but few, it is important your staff are aware of what customs requirements they need to comply with.

Not only that, if you are operating within a sector which is subject to export and import controls, then that is another consideration you need to bear in mind.

So, for instance, if you are planning to take some display booths, demonstration equipment, samples and you intend to bring these goods back to the UK, then you may well benefit from using an ATA Carnet, also known as the Passport for Goods. This is an international customs document that allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for exhibitions and fairs without paying customs duties or taxes. 

If you, however, think you may sell some of the goods at the exhibition or simply leave them behind, then you may need to consider doing an export/import customs clearance  - both here in the UK and at the country where the exhibition is taking place. This could well mean you may need to pay for duties and taxes.

So, how the Chamber can help you get customs and sales ready for your next trade show?

  • Join us on 21st March for our new 'Tradeshow Engagement Optimization' masterclass to help exporters make the most of their investment! This masterclass will help you with planning ahead, mastering engagement with potential customers, how to ensure a great 'Booth Experience', following up strategies and lastly how to set up realistic and yet ambitious KPIs and measure your ROI! Members access preferential rates!
  • Are you intending to bring back to the UK some of your exhibition goods? Then why not explore if an ATA Carnet can ease the temporary export/import of those goods? GM Chamber is an authorised ATA Carnet agent and we offer fast track (24hr) and standard services. For more information and how to apply, click here.
  • If you are intending to sell some of the goods you are taking to the exhibition or simply leaving them behind, GM Chamber can also help you with your export customs clearance in the UK. Simply email us at
  • First time using an ATA Carnet and need help how to complete one? Check our events calendar as we run regularly Step by step workshops. Our next one is on the 25th Janusry! Still chance to register! Can't make the workshop, then book a 1-2-1 with a member of our team by emailing us at Members access preferential rates.