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Entering foreign markets with export intermediaries

Should you work through an export intermediary or learn and develop international trade and marketing strategy on your own?

As the Global Trade Web continues to expand, conducting business internationally has become an essential part of the overall strategy for many companies. Despite the fact that U.S. businesses doubled total export volume from 2007-2016, smaller companies account for only 29% of all U.S. exporting volume. According to a Congressional committee on small business and entrepreneurship, a number lower today than it was 10 years ago. Less than 1% of the nation’s 28 million small businesses are exporters.

Risks, concerns and challenges of going global

Expanding local business to international markets can be challenging. Differences in laws and regulations, cultural, language and trade barriers are the primary reasons why many U.S. companies are reluctant or deterred from expanding sales into foreign markets. Companies that do, usually export to one country, which in most cases is Canada.

How can I find international customers? How to make my product exportable and appealing to international customers? How to deliver and get paid for products and services sold across borders? It costs time and money to do it right, so why do it, why go through the challenges? These are common questions for U.S. businesses considering going global.

'Made in USA' as a competitive advantage

People around the world, look up to the United States for a better value of products and services. The strength of America's international standing continues to be innovation, technology, quality, the level of service and sales support, and the right price. The “Made in USA” brand has value overseas, there is significant demand and wealth outside the United States, and foreign consumers are eager to purchase U.S. products and services.

Ease of Access to Global Customers

Today it’s easier than ever for a company, regardless of size and location, to sell goods and services across the globe. The ease of connectivity and transportation coupled with global product demand has reduced the barriers to entering markets overseas. Internet and social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, along with the advent of smart phones and tablets, enable us to extend our connections rapidly worldwide, increasing our ability to identify the vast business opportunities outside the United States. Trade finance and global banking have evolved to the point where buying and selling things internationally is routine, safe and efficient.

Selling Internationally is a profession and it takes time

Today, you can easily access various online and offline resources as far as international trade and commerce concerned. Assistance is available through U.S. government programs, international trade associations or by simply hiring international trade intermediaries.

In many instances it makes better business sense to work through an intermediary rather than developing international trade and marketing strategy on your own. Instead of spending time and resources on learning the ins and outs of international commerce and creating an in-house export department, businesses can save time and money using international trade intermediaries. They can help you enter the exporting world and secure international sales. Among the multitude of services intermediaries can provide are assistance with product adaptation to a foreign market, regulatory compliance, cross-border payments, international shipping and documentation, thus eliminating the risks associated with cross-border transactions.

International trade intermediaries are also able to assist with market entry strategies and perform market research, a huge advantage because it can immediately make available marketing resources that exporters might take years to develop on their own. Helping exporters analyze trade potential and understand domestic and foreign regulations as well as introducing them to export techniques and strategies is vital to overseas success.


With the ample opportunities for global trade increasing, businesses should not be deterred by the uncertainty that comes with international trade and commerce. The perceived complications can be easily navigated. International trade intermediaries can remove much of the complexity and risk, real or assumed. Through cultural, language, business and legal insight into a target markets, international trade intermediaries are able to remove much of the hassle commonly associated with exporting. Whether your company merely needs business guidance on market entry or the full gamut of services from product compliance, shipping and customs clearance, to warehousing, distribution/fulfillment services, merchant account and logistics support, international trade intermediaries can act as the export department of your business.


Angela Tierney is business development director at WCC International, Inc. a Maryland based international trade management company, helping businesses buy and sell across international borders hassle-free.


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