Is your company familiar with the U.S. Department of Commerce export resources to help resolve and assist with trade issues?
Proactive, experienced exporters typically have a good understanding of export mechanics, and may be actively selling to multiple markets on a regular basis. However, navigating larger, challenging markets or smaller markets with high-growth potential often requires extra diligence and commitment. This questionnaire provides an initial assessment of your exporting needs and capabilities, and identifies key considerations when looking to do business in these markets. Many of the links will guide you to more information and resources on exporting.
Commerce’s collaborative, wide-ranging export assistance includes assisting with trade problems through the Department’s global network of offices, Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance Office, and other resources. Each year, hundreds of U.S. businesses take advantage of Commerce’s Advocacy Center and office network which provides government-to-government advocacy to help level the playing field for U.S. businesses competing on international tenders.
Is your company familiar with U.S. Government market intelligence resources that can help you target high-growth markets and navigate challenging entry requirements?
Commerce resources include the Country Commercial Guides that provide the latest market intelligence from boots-on-the-ground trade and economic experts at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. View Research Foreign Markets.
Does your company have knowledge and understanding of U.S. export controls and trade compliance?
Check to see if your product might require an export license, particularly if your product has military or dual military/civilian use. There are several U.S. government agencies that oversee licensing requirements for distinct categories of products. View U.S. Export Regulations.
Is your company knowledgeable about U.S. Commercial Service resources to help you check backgrounds and qualify potential foreign partners?
Among the many U.S. Commercial Service assistance is the International Company Profile, which provides background checks for U.S. companies on potential foreign partners. This includes a detailed credit report on a prospective overseas sales representative or partner. Learn about the range of services for current exporters and the U.S. Commercial Service office network.
Has your firm considered pursuing U.S. free trade agreement countries as part of an export strategy to target regions with greater market access for US products?
59 percent of all U.S. exporters sell to only one market, resulting in missed opportunities. A good strategy for expanding into new markets is to look at the 20 U.S. free trade agreement countries. For example, if you are selling to Mexico, consider selling to the 10 U.S. free trade agreement countries in Latin America such as Chile, Colombia, Peru, and the CAFTA-DR countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Dominican Republic. See the Free Trade Agreements Help Center for guidance.
Does your company have capabilities to modify ingredients and product packaging to meet foreign import regulations, cultural preferences, and survive competition?
Selecting and preparing your product for export requires both knowledge of the product and the unique characteristics of each target market. However, before the sale can occur, your product(s) may need to be modified to satisfy buyer tastes, or regulatory requirements in foreign countries. Visit Negotiate An Export Sale and view the Plan Your Market Entry Strategy video on the How to Export Video Series.
Do you have both U.S. and foreign Intellectual Property Protection for your product?
U.S. businesses should know that protecting your intellectual property domestically does not extend your protection internationally, so companies should do their research first before exporting. Understand how to Protect Your IP Abroad.
Has your company considered participating in a trade show or trade mission as a first step to exploring the international demand for your product?
The U.S. Department of Commerce supports thousands of U.S. businesses at numerous domestic and foreign trade shows annually, and organizes and certifies trade missions and events. The shows and missions are excellent avenues for networking and meeting prospective foreign buyer face-to-face. Visit Finding Buyers and Partners.
Is your firm looking to obtain marketing/media exposure abroad?
Does your firm have a significant message for an overseas audience? The U.S. Commercial Service’s Single Company Promotion can help your company identify and plan promotional events that maximize your exposure in your target markets. This can include marketing your product and services at trade shows and exposition halls, holding seminars for large audiences, or hosting private receptions with key players in your industry at the U.S. Ambassador or country commercial officer’s residence. These opportunities, along with U.S. trade missions and other trade events, often result in local foreign media exposure for participating U.S. firms.
Has your company contacted U.S. Commercial Service trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, or its locations in more than 100 U.S. cities?
U.S. Commercial Service trade experts at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 75 countries have feet-on-the-ground market intelligence and contacts, understand the local ways of doing business, and can assist in resolving trade problems. Working hand-in-glove with the domestic U.S. Commercial Service network, foreign offices also provide customized export solutions; market research, due diligence on potential foreign partners, business matchmaking, and more. Our domestic offices can assist with your “export roadmap” through export counseling and resources available at various levels within each state; e.g. financing grants, and business councils to name a few.