Monday, May 14, 2012

Export Broker: Adventures in the Trade " The Export Assistance Centers"

If you are like many of us on the export/import arena you probably read, or at the very least browsed,  "A Basic guide to exporting". This "document" has been produced an important resource for distributing the basics of exporting to the widest possible audience for more than 70 years. Reading the 2012 version, which was advertised as completely revised and updated in the website, I have arrived at 2 conclusions that might help others in the export/import broker business.

1. The revised and updated edition is neither much revised nor much updated. If you have a copy of the old guide I suggested that you should hold on to that and wait for another "revision". Many of the examples are from the pre recession era (i.e. 2005 and 2006). This might have been good enough a decade ago but we all know that the market is changing at light speed this days, a guide with information that is 6 years old is not keeping much up to date. The problem is not that the information is obsolete, the issue is that much of the information loses its relevance. Save yourself the time, keep using your old guide.

2. Don't be discouraged by the Export Assistance Centers. In the guide all of the answers seem to rest at the Export Assistance Centers. With such a phenomenal organization, how are independent consultants going to survive? Surely the EACs will run all of us out of business. Not true. First let us remember that the EAC are just plain government agencies, i.e. not known for being efficient or providing the best service. Granted that there are excellent trade specialists in many of the EAC but overall the service is not much different than other government agencies. Second, the EAC can provide a lot of the information, but they can't represent a sole party. Your attention is divided among many customers and your best interest, although important, are not the sole interest of the center.  Independent consultants fill many voids that the EAC, simply by being government agencies, can never fill. Learn to leverage their expertise and work with them, but constantly remind your clients that there is a difference, in quality and service, between a government agency and a private company.

As always I am open to your comments on the opinions presented in the blog.

I look forward to your comments.