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Starting a trading company in Germany

Import-export company

Many non-EU e-commerce, import-export companies and manufacturers are eager to expand their business and multiply their income on the EU market. Those who tried to enter the EU market know that around 90% of wholesale and almost all end customers prefer to buy goods from European companies. From this article you will learn how to start trading with EU customers, how to establish an own import-export business in Germany and what it gives you.

Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, assists foreigners with starting and developing their own business in Germany and moving to Germany through business immigration or the EU Blue Card. Over 20 years of operation we have helped more than 7000 customers.

Get a residence permit in Germany through business immigration or a Blue Card: info@nexus-gmbh.biz

Starting a business in Europe is a complex task that requires a serious approach. In many cases having an immediate presence in the EU is the only way to do business.

Trading with the EU through importers

As an option, one can find an importer within the EU and supply goods through them. However this option has a lot of disadvantages:

  1. Importer services are rather expensive and would cost you a significant part of your profit.
  2. Your business becomes absolutely dependent on the importer’s conditions. If they decide to change their conditions or for some reason stop working with you at all, you’ll have to deal with the consequences.
  3. In many cases it is very hard or even impossible to find an EU importer at all since they have to ensure that only products compliant with EU regulations are put on the market and therefore are very selective in whom to work with.

Watch our video on how to open a trading company in Germany:

Opening a trading company in Germany

A much better option in most cases is opening your own trading company in Germany. It enables not only trading with Germany but allows you to do business within the whole EU simpler and faster. Some of the main benefits of having your own company in Germany are:

  1. being your own authorized representative in the EU,
  2. opportunity to work with EU wholesale and end customers directly,
  3. becoming an e-commerce seller in the EU,
  4. having a simpler interaction with customs,
  5. saving on importer services and not being dependent on them.

Now we will tell you about the main steps for establishing a ready-to-operate import-export business (trading company) in Germany.  Please note that some steps can be fulfilled parallel to the others or in a different order. In our previous articles we spoke about the difficulties when opening a business in Germany for foreigners. That’s why our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, offers full support during the whole process. You get a ready-to-operate import-export business in Germany.

During over 20 years of experience in Project management Nexus-Europe GmbH has helped more than 7000 customers from all over the word. At your disposal there are experts in different fields: economists, lawyers, tax advisers, strategists, business consultants. Because all projects are guided by certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs), you get a working business in Germany and ensured quality and performance. On time and at the specified cost.

So, what is required to open an import-export (international trading) company in Germany?

Step1. Defining your operation scheme

First of all you need to think through how your business is going to work. Are you going to rent a warehouse, take care of customs clearance, delivery etc. yourself? Or do you intend to hire a fulfillment service provider who will do the customs clearance, store your goods at their warehouse, process, pack up and deliver the goods to end customers for you?

Step 2. Registering a company in Germany

Your trading company in Germany will act as your authorized representative in the EU. We take care of correctly preparing the documents for company formation and registering the company in accordance with all regulations. Please check out our article about the challenges that foreign entrepreneurs face when registering a company in Germany.

Step 3. Obtaining tax and VAT numbers

This is a quite complicated and time-consuming process due to tax authorities considering each application carefully and checking the details several times with the applicant. When you register a company in Germany through us, our experienced partner tax adviser takes care of the tax and VAT numbers application and the correspondence with the tax office.

Step 4. Obtaining the EORI number

If you have an import-export activity, you require an EORI number for trading with Germany or trading with the EU.

Step 5. Hiring an accounting company

It is important to decide who will be taking care of the accounting. Usually in Germany such services are outsourced. When you form a trading company in Germany through us, we can introduce you to a reliable accounting company that is experienced in import-export activities and working with foreigners.

Step 6. Renting a warehouse and hiring local staff or finding a fulfillment service provider.

Depending on the chosen operation scheme you need to either rent your own warehouse, hire and register personnel or sign an agreement with a fulfillment service provider that will store, process and deliver your goods for you.

Step 7. Business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung)

Business registration needs to be done after your trading company in Germany is registered with the Commercial Register but before any business activity is started.

Step 8. Obtaining product certification

Some products require CE or other certification to be sold in the European Economic Area. Those need to be obtained before you start trading in Germany or trading in the EU.

When we are approached by companies what work in the import-export field, we form a company in Germany for them, find warehouse rooms or fulfillment service providers. We find and equip the office, obtain tax, VAT, EORI numbers. We select logistics and customs companies, find and register personnel, provide accounting services. As a result, you get a business in Germany ready to be launched "right now".

We also provide other turn-key solutions such as starting a transport company or a restaurant in Germany and many others. On our website you’ll also find a lot of other useful information on opening a business in Germany and business immigration.

Contact us to open a business in Germany and move to Germany:


This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Each situation is unique and professional advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action.

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