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Tips For Starting An Import And Export Business

Aug 17, 2007
Some of the most fashionable trends and popular technologies today involve products that have been imported from other countries. From exotic spices from Africa to electronics from Japan, the import industry is huge. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the industry is worth over 1.2 trillion USD. There's a big pie - the only challenge is getting a piece.

Exporting is a huge business as well, with American manufacturers sending out merchandise to over 150 different countries. The total worth of that industry is estimated at around 775 billion USD. Trade between countries will always exist, and if you want to start importing and/or exporting, you have many things to consider.

The types of products most often imported and exported are extremely varied. You can look at almost any product, and find one country with an excess and another country with a lack. This is the only requirement for importing or exporting an item.

There are several other factors that will determine the popularity of the exported item. The first is that it is much cheaper and easier to produce in the country of its origin. This could be due to an abundance of natural resources, or relaxed labor laws. Another factor is the item's availability in the other country. For example, you would have a hard time growing bananas in Scandinavia. So, they are imported. The final factor is if the item is more distinguished if it is imported. Fabrics from Egypt seem special and exotic, so they are more likely to be sold on this factor than, say, a wristwatch from Taiwan.

If you feel like you have an item that could meet one or more of these factors, then you should by all means export or import it. You can bring a taste of a foreign culture back to your country, while making a good profit off of the business. However, there are all sorts of legal and business factors that you need to take into account, so that you don't end up failing miserably.

There are several different types of import/export businesses. Some will help companies to transfer sell their products overseas. Some will buy products, and then search for buyers overseas. Some will find buyers who are lacking products, and track down a seller and work out a deal between the two. If you want to be a sort of import/export "freelancer", you will establish all sorts of contacts, and perform whatever jobs need done out of the things I have mentioned. When you gain expertise in the technical aspects of moving shipments of items, you will be a sought-after asset for all international companies.

To start with, you should narrow your idea down to a simple venture to get started with, and test the waters. First you need to find out about any legal factors that may be involved with your importing. Particularly if you are importing a food product, you will have to deal with all sorts of licenses and other hoops to jump through. Talk to your local business bureau, and tell them your business idea. From there you will be able to get the ball rolling on whatever processes you will have to go through. This could include local business practices, or customs for the country you are shipping to. Investigate all aspects so that you don't get hit with a nasty surprise when it's too late in the game.

Running an import/export business takes a lot of courage, and a lot of effort. But if you have the personality and the ideas to make it work, then it could be a great possibility for a lifelong career. Just consider what all you could sell, and how you are going to do it. Make sure that you are fairly knowledgeable about trading in general before you try to do it internationally. And most of all, you should be willing to go out on a limb and take risks for the sake of starting up a better business.
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Find trade leads for your import / export business at http://www.tradeworld.com
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