7 Steps To Become an Import/Export Agent or Broker

 Import / Export Agent or Broker

Import-export agents or brokers work with both importers and exporters by helping them prepare necessary documents for exporting or importing their products. They also help their clients establish connections in foreign companies. So, they work on both ends of import-export deals—that of the origin and that of the destination.

If you are looking to become an import/export business then read on to understand the guidelines you need to get started.

What is an import/export agent?

The role of an import or export agent is to act as a central person for the purchase or sale of products between both domestic and abroad companies. 
  • Define export agent responsibilities work in the country where the product is produced. For example,  If you want a product producer in India and the seller in foreign markets as the export agent.  
  • Define import agent responsibilities based in the country where the product will be sold to, in which case you represent the buyers. For example, you may know a corporation in China that are looking to buy a particular kind of product abroad. You’d identify sellers of that product abroad and represent the buyer in foreign markets as the import agent.  
  • Define Brokers: A broker is an independent agent who connects buyers and sellers together. A broker differs from the import/export agent in that it doesn’t usually represent a corporation. Instead traditionally hired to bring together one-of-a-kind or nonrecurring deals. There are also blockers called Customs brokers their responsibility is to clear shipments of imported goods, prepare needed documentation for export shipments and collect duties and taxes. They act as an intermediary between importers and the government, helping companies deal with legislation.

How to Become an Import / Export Agent or Broker

1. Get a degree-: To become an import-export broker, you must understand the basic jargon of import-export law, currency transactions, trade policies, and everything else that goes into making profitable import-export deals.
  • This explains why your first step towards becoming a successful import-export agent or broker is to get a relevant degree or diploma in international economics or any other discipline that focuses on international business, global marketing, and import-export trading. You can enroll for this at any accredited institution within your state or country.
  • Obtaining a relevant degree will not only give you the necessary conceptual and mathematical knowledge you need to understand and profit from both established and developing markets, but it will also give you insights into the problems and benefits of international markets. You must have all these because import-export brokerage is a risky business that you need to understand before plunging into.
2. Specialize-: After obtaining a relevant degree, you need to decide on a specific area of specialization. You can either focus on a particular type of products such as electronics or agricultural produce, or you can focus on a geographical area such as Southern China.
  • Specializing is necessary because it helps you understand and meet the licensing requirements of the specific products or geographical location you’re focusing on. Because the success of your import-export career hinges mainly on your fluency in the legalities of both sides of the transaction, focusing on one political and geographical area is the best.

3. Study your area of focus-: After choosing an area of specialization, you need to study that area deeply. If you are focusing on a geographical location where a different language is spoken, your first step would be to study the native language and underlying protocol that obtain in the country. This is necessary because there is no guarantee that all the documents you will be presented will be in English or that the people you will deal with will understand English.

  • Also, you need to study the politics and economics of your area of focus. For example, if you are focusing on agricultural produce, you need to understand the rules and regulations binding these products in specific international markets, how the prices of the products change with times of the year, and so on.
  • Similarly, if you are focusing on a geographical location, you need to understand the danger, opportunities, and joint problems that come with trading with that specific country.

4. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits-:
If you are based in the United States, contact the United States Department of Commerce to apply for appropriate licensing or to find out the licensing requirements for doing business with certain other countries. But if you are outside the United States, visit the appropriate local agency to do the same.

5. Review your local export laws-: Before starting out as an import-export agent or broker, you need to understand your country’s export laws. In fact, this is equally as important as studying the import laws that obtain in the country you will be doing business with. You must avoid running into legal problems, as this can cripple your career and prolong your journey to success.

6. Find import-export opportunities and get started-: Once you have carefully taken all the previous steps, then you can apply for import-export job positions or start your own agency or brokerage firm. If you are starting your own business, you need to acquire an initial operating fund and secure office space.

7. Continue researching-: The import-export market is ever-changing, and one of the keys to success as a broker or agent is to keep abreast of global economic trends and act accordingly. This is the ‘continuing education’ aspect of the business.

For example, the government in the country you are focusing on might make an announcement that will either increase opportunities or make things more unfavorable. If you get this information on time, you will be able to quickly shift some of your resources accordingly. This is how you build a business.

Post a Comment