November 2002

Creating an Export Plan

By Joe Robinson

Companies frequently ask me to provide a sample outline for producing an export plan. Small companies typically request the outline so they can establish an export department, whereas larger companies are either looking to expand their export promotion program or to utilize the outline in their ISO 9000 procedures.

The following is a simple export plan outline that is a compilation of a dozen outlines that have come across my desk in the past 25 years. This outline is by no means inclusive; however, it covers many basic issues to be addressed in order for the plan to be useful and capable of being implemented.

Export Plan Sample Outline:

1.0   Table of Contents

2.0   Leadership Summary (Management

3.0.   Introduction: Why Do We Want to Export?

4.0   Mission Statement

5.0   Executive Policy Commitment Declaration

6.0   Company Analysis

        6.1   Brief Company History

        6.2   Product Description and Beneficial

        6.3   Export Staff and Organization Chart

        6.4   Financial Resources Dedicated to the
                Export Department

        6.5   Non-Financial Resources Available to the
                Export Department

                6.5.1   Allies – Banks, Freight
                           Forwarders, etc.

                6.5.2   Multipliers – Reps, Government
                           Assistance, Trade Organizations,

7.0   Procedures

         7.1   Documents and Paperwork

         7.2   Regulatory Compliance

8.0   Industry Analysis

         8.1   Describe the International Customer

                  8.1.1   Needs and Wants

                  8.1.2   Buying Patterns

         8.2   Explain Local Competition

         8.3   Explain Global Competition

9.0   Select Target-Rich Market(s)

         9.1   Focus Criteria

                  9.1.1   Top Three Countries

                  9.1.2   Secondary Countries

         9.2   Pricing Structure

         9.3   Distribution Channels

                  9.3.1   Define a Successful Rep/

                  9.3.2   Devise Rep/Distributor

                  9.3.3   Create Rep/Distributor Sales

                  9.3.4   Prepare Rep/Distributor Search/
                             Appointment Strategy

         9.4   Sales Terms

10.0   Financial Goals

         10.1   Sales Forecast

         10.2   Expense Forecast

         10.3   Profit and Loss Forecast

         10.4   Export Operating Budget Statement

11.0   Timetable

         11.1   Export Plan Operations Calendar

         11.2   Project Milepost

         11.3   Follow-up and Review Points

The Export Plan should be treated as an ongoing dynamic document capable of being modified as new intelligence and market changes occur. You may find it beneficial to add, delete or modify the points in the above outline since each plan should be unique to the company that is creating it.

A well thought out and carefully written Export Plan ideally creates a basis for interacting with other departments of the company that are essential to the success and profitability of the export department. A good Export Plan also makes a strong statement to outsiders who can favorably impact the company by understanding its export goals and mission. This would, of course, include financial sources for providing funding to the export operations.

By creating and then implementing a strong export plan, your company will enhance its opportunity for success in the export arena and expanding further into global markets.

Mr. Robinson's bio

Other Resources:


How Well Do You Know Your Export Customers?

By Catherine J. Petersen

Exporters are often not aware that there are lists of individuals, firms and other entities that are restricted by U.S. law from purchasing goods shipped from the United States. Unfortunately for these exporters, their introduction to these restrictions comes when they receive a call from a Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS) Special Agent.

Every exporter should be screening their international customers against a number of U.S. government “restricted parties” lists. These lists are managed by the Department of Commerce, U. S. State Department and the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and encompasses 14,000 plus companies, individuals and organizations.

All exporters who sell products of U.S. origin are required to verify that their customer, end-user(s), banks and other known parties to the transaction are not on these lists. At a minimum, there are two critical points to check the lists: before the quotation is sent out, and before the shipment has been made.

You may download each of the lists independently or you may subscribe to the service offered by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) in cooperation with BIS. You can subscribe to the online EAR database, which includes access to the Prohibited Parties Database or by calling the NTIS at 800-363-2068.

A subscription to this online service allows you to screen your export orders against the government lists of prohibited parties described below with just a single keyword search. The 2003 price for an on-line subscription is $252 and the paper version is $125.

If your company exports general merchandise, you are advised to check all the lists. If your company manufactures arms regulated under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, you must check the Debarred Parties list.

Denied Persons List—Parties denied export privileges as administered by the Bureau of Industry & Security (formerly known as the Bureau of Export Administration or BXA). The list may be found in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR Part 764 Supplement No. 2. The Department of Commerce maintains the current “Denied Persons List.”

You should check this list prior to responding to any potential customers who want you to export your merchandise to them. If you encounter a firm that is on this list, you may contact the Office of Enforcement Support for a clarification of the scope of the denial order for that firm or individual. Their phone number is (202) 482-4255.

The Denied Persons List is printed quarterly and distributed as a supplement to subscribers of the Export Administration Regulations. The Denied Persons List is updated in the daily publication of the Federal Register and as a separate publication on the Internet.

Entity List—Entities subject to license requirements because of their proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The list may be found in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR Part 774 Supplement No. 4 and as a separate publication on the Internet.

Specially Designated Nationals, Terrorists, Narcotics Traffickers, Blocked Persons and Vessels—Parties subject to various economic sanctioned programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) maintains the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” listing, which is a compilation of entities that have violated U.S. law. As a result of the violation(s), the companies and individuals on this list are prohibited from purchasing products from U.S. firms or people.

Debarred Parties—Parties denied export privileges under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as administered by the Office of Defense Trade Control (DTC) and listed on the web.

Unverified List—The Unverified List includes names and countries of foreign persons who have been parties to a transaction, but BIS was not able to conduct a pre-license check (PLC) or a post-shipment verification (PSV) for reasons outside of the U.S. government's control. This list serves as notice to U.S. exporters to be vigilant before engaging in transactions involving such end users.

If you are an exporter of commodities or products that require special care and control, you must familiarize yourself with all of the applicable regulations, including other controls and expanded lists of individuals or companies to whom you will not be able to sell your products.

BIS recommends that you screen the end use, end user and country of destination for all your exports whether or not your product requires special care. BIS has published the Export Management System guidelines, which recommend that every exporter create a document that proves they have screened their products, buyers and country of destination before they shipped.

Ms. Petersen's bio.

Other Resources:

Important International Trade Links

 Bureau of Industry and Security (formally the Bureau of Export Administration)
 CIA World Factbook
 Federal Maritime Commission
 Import Administration
 International Trade Administration
 International Trade Data System
 NAFTA Customs Website
 Small Business Administration
 Trade Information Center
 U.S.A. Trade Center
 U.S. Census Bureau
 U.S. Customs Service
 U.S. Department of Agriculture
 U.S. Department of State
 U.S. Department of Treasury
 U.S. International Trade Commission
 U.S. Trade Representative


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