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Top Ten Tips for Successfully Exporting to the USA

Article by Ivan Kaye BSI

1. Do your Research

• Investigate: Competitors in terms of Prices, Packaging, Promotion, and Point of Purchase
• Check out assistance available through Trade Start and Australian government
• Use the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) and other assistance wisely

2. Develop Preliminary US Prices

• Americans are not good importers-Price Ex-US location
• “Delivery Duty Paid” shipping terms – landed and cleared prices
• Use a general exchange rate
• Base freight costs on small, medium and large sized shipments
• Contact US Customs Brokers to determine import requirements / duty
• Use a sharp pencil to determine COG ex factory
Note: US Customs do not require paying duty on freight

3. First US Market Visit: Investigative

• Trade Show(s)– obtain price lists
• Visit stores – buy samples
• Meet with sales agents, industry specialist and/or brokers – not buyers
• Use samples and price lists to show factory and office

4. Develop a Strategy

• How to approach the market: i.e., via distributor or direct?
• What is the product range: US buyers prefer specialists
• Who are your key customers: Focus to save resources and time
Note: Start with smaller orders and buyers for the first few shipments

5. Investigate Legal Aspects

• Product liability, labeling, patent & trademark concerns.
Note: US government websites that can help
www.ftc.gov (“for business”) outlines labeling for consumer products
www.fda.gov – US Food and Drug Administration for registration
www.sba.gov – US Small Business Administration
www.uspto.gov – US Patent and Trademark Office

6. Second US Market Visit: Meet with Targets

• Set appointments with potential sales reps, brokers, distributors, buyers
• Check on customer credit references
• Visit websites and research background on buyers and distributors
• Ensure that your company representative can quote delivery and negotiate prices
• Respond quickly to sample requests – don’t wait until you get home to organize

7. Prior to Shipping, Consult a US Customs Broker

• Double check all export documentation
• Include tariff codes on export documents
• Don’t use wholesale invoices as the commercial invoice for shipping
• Confirm the Importer of Record with the Broker
Note: For samples or shipments under 50 kilos, use Federal Express

8. If Selling Direct, Establish an Independent US Base

• US business address
• Receiving checks
• Vendor applications

9. Build Relationships

• Developing relationships with the right people in the USA…. getting somebody on board you can trust and communicate with is paramount

10. Be Persistent and Patient

• Visit market regularly (1-2 times per year)
• Starting a new business can take 3-5 years to generate a profit
• Volume business starts after the products and supplier have been tested

For more information please contact:
BSI Services Pty Ltd
Ivan Kaye
Ph: (02) 9212 5505
Email: ikaye@bsi.com.au

Posted on January 19, 2010

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