Tips for U.S. Exporters

Opening a plant overseas isn’t the only way to penetrate a foreign market. Many companies choose to export products – and with good reason. Two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries, and 96 percent of consumers reside outside the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

If you are considering exporting, the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) can help. As the export promotion agency of the Department of Commerce, CS provides a range of services and programs to help U.S. companies increase sales in international markets. Commercial specialists can help you identify trade opportunities, find local business partners, obtain market research, promote your products, protect your intellectual property and more. Here are six tips from Kirsten A. Hentschel, a commercial specialist with the U.S. Commercial Service Dusseldorf in Germany:

1) Listen to your local distributor or business partners; they know the local market and customers best.

2) Support your partner’s efforts in marketing your products locally. It will result in success for both of you.

3) Business partners are interested in long-term business relationships. For example, experience in Germany shows that leaving the market after six to 12 months can negatively impact a company’s business reputation if it tries to return later.

4) Comply with local regulations if appropriate, such as the European Union’s chemical regulation (REACH).

5) Expect competition in a foreign market. A good product, a well-established local partner and a sound business strategy are a promising mix to help your company succeed.

6) If you seek to export worldwide, participating in trade shows in Europe can help expose your company’s products to visitors from all over the world.

To learn more about the U.S. Commercial Service and how to export, visit