Common Sense Importing And Exporting: An Interview With An Import / Export Masterby Michael Senoff
In this interview with Barney, FITA’s web master and advertising expert, you will learn about how the FITA web site is the Number One portal for
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The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) was founded in 1984. Its mission is to foster international trade by strengthening the role of local, regional, and national trade associations.
In this interview with Barney, FITA’s web master and advertising expert, you will learn about how the FITA web site is the Number One portal for both export and import international trade. Barney and I begin by discussing how to use the FITA web site (www.fita.org).
The site contains over 500 different links to different products and services to help American manufacturers to safely export their products to any country in the world. Additionally, if yours is an international company wanting to import your products into the United States, the web site is the source for questions, answers, and logistics on bring your product to the United States.
One important term that Barney introduces is the “trade lead.” Trade leads were started in 1993 by the United Nations to get the word out about products that third-world countries had for sale. At that time, the Internet was still in its infancy and was not used. Rather, there were offices called Trade Points set up in strategic cities of the world where a person could go to obtain the latest list of trade leads.
Now, with the advent of the Internet, the Trade Point offices have been bypassed and everything is handled online. Further, now anyone can post a trade lead and Barney and I discuss how there are a lot of trade lead scams online and what to look for to identify a scam.
There are currently approximately 700 web sites that contain trade leads. In China, it’s really become a big business. The two main Chinese trade lead sites are AliBaba and Global Sources and they basically do what the UN used to do. However, instead of their services being free, they charge factories to list their trade leads.
The FITA web site has 500 associations having to do with international trade as members. You will hear Barney give examples of some of the associations that are members of FITA.
FITA’s web site is free for people to browse but only members who pay a small fee get access to their database of respected trade systems. This is one way the FITA qualifies its trade association members, such as AliBaba, Global Sources, and Trade India.
Barney gives us a hypothetical example of how a US manufacturer can use FITA to get into Business to Business exporting. First, the manufacturer would put his trade lead information into the databases of several trade associations. Within a few weeks, the manufacturer would begin getting emails from interested parties around the world and you may begin negotiating with them. Barney warns that you have to make sure that the buyer can and will pay you. There are many complications with international trade and in fact, most transactions don’t get completed because of these complications.
We discuss how international trade, especially in Asia, is very different than doing business only in the US due to the cultural aspects of the country of the person you are dealing with. It’s all about building relationships and trust. Barney advises that the most important thing a new importer or exporter must learn is patience. Additionally, it would behoove an importer or exporter to learn all of the “hidden” obstacles that he may be faced with in different countries.
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- Michael Senoff
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