This empirical paper delivers new insights to understanding the linkages between importing and skill upgrading, and importing and exporting. The propensity score matching analysis uses employer-employee panel dataset for Slovenian manufacturing firms. The results show that firms with a better skill structure start importing and later also sustain a higher skill share, compared to non-importing firms. Meanwhile, firms’ skill structure deteriorates after firms stop importing. The study also highlights the importance of importing, serving as a prerequisite before the start of exporting through importing intermediate goods and/or technology, and exposing a different function of intermediate and capital goods in the production process.