Import Question on Triangular Shipments

A question comes in from a reader prompted by the Triangular Shipments video, except it is more import related while the video was from a U.S. export perspective.

There is a website representing artists and artworks in Switzerland. (Not registered as a company)
The goods are of course artworks
The artworks are located in each artist country.
People who would like to buy artworks from the web will have to purchase from the website, EXW basis.
so the buyer(A) pays to Switzerland(B), then to pay the artist(C) then the artist(C) will send the goods to the buyer(A)

It’s like a triangle shipment
Please advise following

1: does the swiss website have to register as a company? if they want to deal the artworks
2: how should we do the customs invoice, the shipper should be the artist or the swiss web?
3 is there any easy way to solve this? Basically the artists are (they are in japan, korea, and european countries) friends of the swiss web owner so, if there is any easy way, it would be possible to change the way.
4: or would be easier for the buyer to send the money to the artist directly thereafter the artist to pay whatever the comission for the swiss web?


In this situation, Switzerland would be country A in the video; the buyers are in the video’s country B, although actually in multiple countries; the artists are in the video’s USA, conceivably, again, in multiple countries.  This is not unlike a company using that famous online-retailer-named-for-a-river-in-Brazil as a marketing channel.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe I have a simple answer.

1: does the swiss website have to register as a company? if they want to deal the artworks

I am not an expert in Swiss business law, and don’t know the Swiss requirements.  I would not think it would matter to the buyers’ importing countries.

2: how should we do the customs invoice, the shipper should be the artist or the swiss web?

This largely depends on the buyers’ countries’ import laws.  And whether the Swiss web site takes ownership of the goods will likely influence this.  In other words, if the artist sells to the Swiss web site, then the web site sells to the buyer, I believe the Swiss web site would be the appropriate seller on the import invoice.  But if the web site never takes ownership, and is acting only as a broker, then I believe the artist would be the appropriate seller.

3 is there any easy way to solve this? Basically the artists are (they are in japan, korea, and european countries) friends of the swiss web owner so, if there is any easy way, it would be possible to change the way.

Refer to the response to question 2.

4: or would be easier for the buyer to send the money to the artist directly thereafter the artist to pay whatever the comission for the swiss web?

This would be the second scenario in the response to question 2.  I don’t believe there are any hard and fast rules requiring one scenario versus the other.  Rather, just do what is more practical, then invoice accordingly.

I’m sorry I cannot be of more help in this matter.  Perhaps another reader might be able to assist?

Amazon River map in public domain.

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