U.S. National Small Business Week 2016 recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in its economy.
May is also World Trade Month in the U.S. Events across the country will focus on providing resources to US businesses seeking to export their goods and services.
To honor both these events, we re-post our blog from 2014 that highlights some of the resources available to support companies, wherever they are located, to do business internationally.
Rule # 1: Know Your International Destination
Country Commercial Guides prepared by the US Commercial Service to assist US businesses are excellent places to start. They provide a good overview for anyone, anywhere who is interested in a particular country. There is a guide for every country – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, except the United States.
For that information, a starting point is the BBC Country Profiles. They provide a more general but important overview of most countries, including the United States.
Most countries, even the poorest, have an Investment Promotion or Investment Support agency to attract and support investments in the country. Their purpose is to tell you why you should do business in that country and so will focus on its most positive attributes. More importantly, this will be a good source of information about incentive programs that may be available to you. The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies provides a listing of its members (see Members List).
Here is a handy link to investment promotion agencies across Europe. For those interested in doing business in the United States, that information is available at the level of the states! SelectUSA.gov provides a handy link to each state’s investment promotion office and incentive programs. Some states maintain their own overseas presence in key countries, as well.
Rule #2: Know the Rules
Resources for Exporters
Some countries, notably the major economies, have dedicated resources to support exporters. In the United States, for example, Export.Gov is a government-run one-stop shop for exporters. Your country’s trade and investment agency is also a good source for this information. Or you may want to try the agency or department that supports commerce.
Resources for Importers
Importers of goods need guidance that is very specific to the good being imported, its country of origin and intended destination. But here are some overview guidelines:
- The US Country Commercial Guides contain chapters on each country’s trade regulations, including their customs rules.
- The EU Export HelpDesk provides a one-stop shop for those interested in accessing the EU market.
- For importing into the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency provides a Guide for Commercial Importers.
- Contact us for assistance.