Finding Exporting Opportunities

You can’t just sit in your office and wait for foreign buyers to get in touch with you. Finding potential international trading partners takes some investigation. You’ll need to learn about global markets and confine your research to the best possible leads.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of help available to locate the best international markets and trading partners that may be most open to your products and services. One way to discover potential opportunities is to consult with your industry trade organization. These organizations can often help you narrow down the most logical and promising international markets to consider.
If you’re just starting out, it’s probably a good idea to confine your search to nations that participate in “free trade agreements” with the US. There are about 20 countries that have agreements with the United States that make the exporting process more straightforward and subject to fewer regulations.
Other resources you can take advantage of include attending trade fairs (some of which are located in the U.S., while others are held overseas), using exporting “matching services” available through U.S. government agencies, reviewing market research reports, and consulting with various U.S. trade missions located worldwide.
In addition, various U.S. states have their own services to help businesses in those states find potential buyers and get started with exporting.

Game Plan

  • Consult with your industry trade association to see if they offer exporting help or advice.
  • See if your state offers special programs to encourage exporting by providing assistance in locating potential international buyers.
  • Review this list of countries that have free trade agreements with the US. This will help you narrow down your search to opportunities that may be easiest to arrange.
  • Review market research reports, such as those available through the U.S. Commercial Service.
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