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Deliver the Goods)
A. Prepare Goods for Delivery
To move the goods overseas, you'll need to pack, label, document, insure, and ship them. Some
of this preparation is precautionary -- to protect the goods from damage, theft, or delay in transit.
Some actions are required by law, either by the exporting or importing country. In these cases,
the requirements are usually very specific and must be precisely followed. Given the
complexities and risks, most exporters use a freight forwarder to perform these critical services.
Packing for export. Exported goods face greater physical risks in transit than domestic
shipments. They're more vulnerable to breakage, theft, and damage. At some ports, goods may
still be loaded or unloaded in a net or by a sling, conveyor, chute, or other method, putting added
strain on the package. In the hold, goods might be stacked atop each other or bump sharply
against other goods in transit. Overseas, handling facilities may not be up to domestic standards,
so the cargo might be dragged, pushed, rolled, or dropped. Moisture from condensation is also a
danger, even if the ship’s hold is equipped with air conditioning and a dehumidifier. The cargo
also might be unloaded in the rain. Some foreign ports do not have covered storage facilities.
Goods can also be stolen when inadequately protected. Packaging tips and advice can be
obtained from freight forwarders, carriers and marine insurance companies. If you're not
equipped to pack the goods yourself, use a professional export packing firm. This service is
usually provided at a moderate cost.
To avoid problems:
Use strong, reinforced boxes or crates to pack the goods. Seal and fill with lightweight,
moisture-resistant material. Distribute the weight evenly to brace the container.
To deter theft, use strapping, seals, or shrink wrapping where possible.
Don't list the contents or show brand names on the outside of the packages.
For sea shipments, containerize your cargo whenever possible. Containers vary in size,
material, and construction and are best suited for standard package sizes and shapes.
Refrigerated and liquid bulk containers are readily available. If you can’t fill an entire
container, a freight forwarder can arrange to combine your cargo with others to get the
benefit of lower container rates.
For air shipments, you can use lighter weight packing, but you must still take precautions.
Standard domestic packing should suffice, especially if the product is durable. Otherwise,
high-test cardboard or tri-wall construction boxes are more than adequate (at least 250
pounds per square inch).
Export marking and labeling. Export packages need to be properly marked and labeled to meet
shipping regulations, ensure proper handling, conceal the identity of the contents, and help
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receivers identify shipments. The buyer usually specifies export marks that should appear on the
cargo, such as:
Handling marks (international pictorial symbols)
Country of origin
Cautionary markings, such as "This Side Up."
Weight marking (in Lbs. and in Kgs)
Port of entry
Number of packages and size of cases
Labels for hazardous materials
Mark containers legibly to prevent misunderstandings and delays in shipping. Stencil lettering
onto packages in waterproof ink. Markings should appear on three faces of the package -- on the
top and on the two ends or the two sides. Old markings must be completely removed. Most
freight forwarders can advise on specific marks and labels required by each country.
B. Get Cargo Insurance
Cargo insurance offers important protection against delays in transit and losses or damage from
bad weather, rough handling by carriers, and other common hazards. Either the supplier or the
buyer is at risk for the cargo in transit, depending on the terms of sale. For all CIF transactions,
the supplier is liable for any loss or damage to the goods up to the point the buyer takes title. For
FOB or FAS sales, the buyer assumes risk at the exit point. The responsible party must insure the
cargo for its portion of the risk. To cover your share of the risk, you can take out a company
policy, or insure the cargo under a freight forwarder's policy for a fee. Make sure to include a
ggeneral average clause. This obligates the insurer to share the cost of losses incurred voluntarily
to save the voyage from complete destruction.
If the foreign buyer has responsibility, don't assume (or even take the buyer's word) that the
insurance has been purchased. You could still be liable if the buyer fails to obtain coverage or
takes too little. The carrier will not insure the cargo. For international shipments, the carrier's
liability is frequently limited by international agreements, and the coverage is substantially
different from domestic coverage. Check with an international insurance carrier or freight
forwarder for options and advice.
C. Transport the Goods
The sooner the goods arrive, the sooner you get paid, so speed is essential. However, faster
transport may cost more. The procedures, routes and rates vary with the transport mode -- truck,
rail, air or sea. It’s best to use international freight forwarders to ship the goods. They're the
experts. They can compare the costs, lead times, and transit times for each transport option;
select the best option; and make the booking. If desired, they can also prepare the required
documentation; handle the packing, marking and labeling; transport the goods from the factory to
the exit point; obtain cargo insurance; and arrange to clear the goods through customs on arrival.
Their modest fees can be factored into the export price. The ITCI Website provides access Trade
Logistics Tools to assist the exporter or the forwarder
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Export Start-Up Aids
1. Export Readiness Assessment System (ERAS)
ERAS was developed by Maurice Kogon as an on-line diagnostic tool to assess a company's
export potential and “readiness”: to export. It is intended mainly for non-exporting
manufacturers who see exporting as a possible new or expanded activity, but are uncertain if
their product has export potential or how export-ready they are as a company. Trade counselors
can also use ERAS as a fast, user-friendly way to “qualify” new clients for export assistance. The
Assessment starts with 23 questions about the company’s domestic activity, business practices,
organization, and products. After answering each question in one of the 3-6 possible ways given,
the user gets an immediate export readiness “score” and a detailed diagnostic report that
addresses the company’s export strengths and weaknesses in each of the 23 areas. The report
further suggests specific steps the company can take to build on its strengths and overcome any
weaknesses. The user can save, copy, and print the entire report and, if desired, can automatically
share the results with a trade counselor of choice.
The 23 ERAS Questions & Possible Responses
A. Company Export Readiness
1. Are you an established presence in your industry domestically?
O Well known
O Somewhat known
O Not well known
2. How extensive is your current domestic sales outreach?
O Sell to large national customer base
O Sell to large regional customer base
O Sell to large local customer base
O Sell to few regional/national customers
O Sell to local customers
3. How do you sell and distribute your products in the domestic market?
O Use combination of own sales force and regional distributors
O Use regional distributors only
O Use own sales force only
O No sales/distribution network
4. Do you customarily conduct market research and planning for your domestic
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5. To what extent do you advertise and promote your products in the domestic market?
O Very aggressively
O Fairly aggressively
O Not much
6. Do any of your current managers or staff have export marketing or sales experience?
O Considerable experience
O Some experience
O Little or no experience
7. Has your company received any unsolicited inquiries from foreign firms?
8. Could you promptly fill any new export orders from present inventory or other sources?
O With Some Difficulty
O With Great Difficulty
9. How would you handle any new or additional export business within your organization?
O Establish export department
O Establish export manager
O Hire more staff
O Train existing staff
O Assign to current staff
10. What is the current status of your export activity?
O Export to many markets
O Export to some markets
O Export occasionally
O No export activity
11. Is your top management committed to exporting as a new or expanded area of activity?
O Strongly committed
O Somewhat committed
O Little commitment
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12. How much per year could you afford to spend on export development?
O $ 26-50K
13. How long would your management be willing to wait to achieve acceptable export
O Up to 3 years
O Up to 2 years
O Up to 1 year
O Up to 6 months
O Need immediate results
B. Product Export Readiness
14. Have domestic sales of your product grown over the past 3 years (average per year)?
O Zero or negative
15. What is your product's current share of the domestic market?
16. Is your product price-competitive in the domestic market?
O Highly Competitive
O Somewhat Competitive
O Not Competitive
17. What payment terms would you be willing to offer reputable foreign buyers?
O Pay in advance
O Pay on delivery
O Up to 30 days
O 31-60 days
O 61-120 days
O Over 120 days
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18. Does your product compare favorably with domestic competitors in features and
O Very favorably
O Somewhat favorably
O Somewhat unfavorably
19. Would you be willing to adapt your product and/or packaging to better suit foreign
O Very willing
20. Is your product costly to transport over long distances?
O Not very costly
O Somewhat costly
O Very costly
21. Is any special training required to assemble, install or operate your product?
O No special training
O Some training
O Extensive training
22. Does your product require any special technical support or after-sale service?
O None required
O Some support/service
O Extensive support/service
23. Can your product tolerate harsh or widely varying environmental conditions?
O High tolerance
O Some tolerance
O Low tolerance
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Export Start-Up Aids
2. Four Stages of Export Development
Needs for Assistance at Each Stage
Build Export Capacity
Develop Export Markets
Make Sales/Get Paid Deliver the Goods
Identify Best Markets
Close the Deal
Respond to inquiries
U.S regulatory compliance
Select target markets
Quote prices (Incoterms)
Foreign regulatory compliance
Assess target markets
Negotiate sales terms
Develop Export Readiness
Develop Entry Strategies
Finance Sales/Get Paid
Assess export readiness
Market strategy planning
U.S documentary compliance
Enhance company readiness
Foreign documentary compliance
Export training & education
Export credit insurance
Transport the Goods
Trade assistance network
Manage the supply chain
State export assistance centers
Prepare goods for delivery
USDOC/USEACs & Embassies
Int’l partner searches
Book cargo/ship the goods
County/city export centers
Promote export sales
Trade assistance resources
Partner client databases
Market promotion financing
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Commodity Classification Codes
The most widely used trade classification codes are: the Harmonized System (HS) Code, a
universal standard; the Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
(HTSUSA); and the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), used by the United
Nations. Other coding systems may be used to categorize products by industry sector rather than
for trade purposes, such as the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS),
which replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).
Schedule B Export Codes are used only in the U.S. and only for export shipments. The
10-digit Schedule B codes are required entries on U.S. Electronic Export Information
(EEI) filings (formerly Shipper’s Export Declarations). At the 6-digit level, Schedule B
codes are equivalent to Harmonized System (HS) codes.
Harmonized System (HS) Codes were developed in 1989 by more than 60 countries to
provide a uniform classification system for export and import statistics and to determine
applicable import duties by product. The first 6 digits of an HS number are the same
regardless of country.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) Codes are specific to the
U.S. for exports (comparable to 10 digit Schedule B codes) and imports (to determine
applicable U.S. import duties.
Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) Codes were developed by the
United Nations in 1950 for use solely by international organizations for reporting
international trade. The SITC has been revised several times; the current version is
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes are used to
categorize business establishments and industries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico,
replacing the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. The NAICS, adopted in
1997-98, was developed to provide a consistent framework for the collection, analysis,
and dissemination of industrial statistics. Of the 1,170 NAICS codes, 358 are new
industries, 390 are revised from SIC, and 422 can be compared to the older SIC codes.
See SIC-NAICS Code Concordance to look up SIC or NAICS Codes for specified
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Market Research & Planning Aids
1. ITCI Trade Information Database
The International Trade Compliance Institute (ITCI) Trade Information Database (TID) is an
extensive one-stop source of trade information drawn from many different U.S. Government,
international, and non-governmental Websites. The TID is organized into 12 broad categories
and 74 subcategories for convenient, drill-down searches, Within the 74 subcategories, are nearly
900 direct links to export/import guides; trade reference tools; product-and country-specific
statistics and market research; trade directories, trade opportunities; tariff and non-tariff trade
barriers; trade promotion programs; guides to trade finance, documentation, and transportation;
and sources of trade assistance.
Trade Readiness Tools
How to information and tools to prepare and train for international trade
Export Readiness Assessment
Internet Export Search Wizard
Trade Tutorials - Webinars, Courses, Videos
Trade Reference Tools
Quick look-ups to commonly needed international commodity codes definitions and conversions
Commodity Coding Systems
Other Handy References
Trade & Economic Data/Policy
Worldwide trade and economic data, U.S. trade policy, and U.S. exporter composition and job impacts
U.S. Trade Data
Foreign Trade Data
World Economic & Demographic Data
U.S. Industry Profiles
U.S. Economic Data
U.S. Trade Policy
U.S. Exporter Composition & Job Impacts
California Trade/Economic/Industry Data
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Foreign Market Research
Extensive industry country and topical market research to help pinpoint best export markets assess
particular markets adapt to local cultures and customs and develop effective market entry strategies
Manufactured Products Research
Food & Agriculture Products Research
Services Sector Research
Countries & Regions Research
Country Risk Assessments
North America Region Research (U.S./Mexico/Canada)
South/Central America Region Research
Western Europe/EU Region Research
Russia/Eastern Europe Region Research
Asia/Pacific Region Research
Africa/Middle East Region Research
Trade Contacts & Leads
Trade directories and specific trade leads to identify prospective suppliers, buyers and distributors
U.S. Producers & Exporters
Foreign Manufacturers & Importers
Hot Trade Leads
Major Project Opportunities
U.S. and worldwide laws and regulations affecting market access and compliance
U.S. and Foreign Import Duties
U.S. National Security Export Controls (EAR, ITAR, FACR)
Other U.S. Export Laws & Regulations
Intellectual Property Law & Regulations
U.S. Import Laws & Regulations
Invest in USA Incentives & Regulations
Foreign Trade Laws & Regulations
International Trade Treaties & Agreements
International Legal Resources
California Law & Regulations
Requirements procedures and forms needed for documentary compliance
Sample Export Documents
Documentation Forms & Software
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested