an Export Plan
By Joe Robinson
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
4.0 Mission Statement
5.0 Executive Policy Commitment
6.0 Company Analysis
Brief Company History
Product Description and Beneficial
Export Staff and Organization Chart
Financial Resources Dedicated to the
Non-Financial Resources Available to the
6.5.1 Allies – Banks, Freight
Multipliers – Reps, Government
Assistance, Trade Organizations,
Documents and Paperwork
8.0 Industry Analysis
Describe the International Customer
Needs and Wants
Explain Local Competition
Explain Global Competition
9.0 Select Target-Rich Market(s)
Top Three Countries
Define a Successful Rep/
Create Rep/Distributor Sales
Prepare Rep/Distributor Search/
10.0 Financial Goals
Profit and Loss Forecast
Export Operating Budget Statement
Export Plan Operations Calendar
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
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.
How Well Do You Know Your Export Customers?
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.