‘‘I want to export but don’t know to whom I should export’’- This is what everyone asks. How to identify buyers in foreign countries. This task is not that formidable. Those who import our goods from our country are the ones who have, in turn, created the market for us. The export business flourishes only because of them. We must be in a position to spot out these importers(Buyers) and there lies the success of the export business.
Computers with internet access will do the job in a jiffy. With the help of Google Search Engine, we will be able to get the required information. For instance, if we key in ‘Indian Vegetable Importers in…… Country’ (Eg.Indian Vegetable Importers in Singapore), the entire list of the importers of vegetables in that particular country will be made available.
Instead of vegetables, we can search for flowers, coconuts, fruits as the case may be. Similarly, instead of importers, we can get the list of distributors or sales agents. If we mention a specific country, we will get the list pertaining to that particular country instantly.
Next, we will be able to get the business directory containing the list of importers without their names. It will have only the name of the company. The specific website would differ from country to country like…if it is Middle East countries, it will be www.yellowpages.ae/(Free Online Business Directory)com .ae; if it is Singapore, it will be com.sg. We can access the mail ids of the importers and we can send an official and introductory mail to them on what we have to offer. In case we do not receive any response from them within 3 – 4 days, we can send a gentle reminder. Alternatively, we can search for other importers if there is no response.
APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) which comes under the Commerce Ministry also helps one to get the contacts of importers and products in different countries. To log into this www.agriexchange.apeda.gov.in/ Website, one should have RCMC Number. Once we get the details, we can contact the concerned importer either through e-mail or phone and take it forward.
Further, there is one more definitive source of contacting the importers which are by attending exhibitions and international fairs. Again our Central Government’s website, indiatradefair.com will be very handy. It facilitates easy contacts between two traders across the globe. Similarly, FIEO (Federation of India Export Organisation) is very helpful in this direction. Fairs that are conducted in countries like Israel, America, South Korea, Japan etc. are highlighted in this website. We can get direct business by participating in their fairs and by exhibiting our products in an appealing manner.
Apart from the above, whenever we go abroad either on an official visit or as a tourist, we can try to contact the importers with their prior permission and appointment. Since we can carry up to 30 kg baggage, we can take some samples of our products for showing them to the importers. While doing so, it would be more advantageous if we carry the registration certificate issued by APEDA for better credibility. Once we contact a few importers, we can cross-check with ECGC(Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India)to know whether they are already registered or not.
Whatever be the means – either through Government department or private website or direct contact with the importers, if they do not make advance payment along with their orders, we can safely assume that they are not credible at all. It is a golden rule that without getting advance money, we should never be tempted to export at all.
Similarly, we should not accept the order just because an importer places a huge order like 5 or 10 containers. Mr Kamaaludeen has had a bitter experience in the past. He strongly suggests that the quantity should be gradually increased. We will discuss the opportunities for value-added products in the next part.
Ten Key Points to be observed before exporting:-
Before exporting one has to get clear answers for the following ten questions.
1. What is the product and how much is the quantity?
We must ascertain whether it is vegetable or rice or aromatic or preservative or any value-added product and how much quantity is required to be exported.
2. What is the mode of shipment?
Some importers may prefer air cargo and some may prefer ship mode of transport. Based on their preference, we have to decide.
3. Packing size:-
We must get it confirmed with the importer whether it needs to be packed in 5 kg or 10 kg or in a lot as per their required quantity.
4. What is the specific packing material to be used?
Importers from America and European countries would require special packing. Similarly, if the importers would require forwarding the same to the sale point, they would still need a different packing method. We must get these points correctly to satisfy them.
5. Product Labeling:-
The label on the pack contains details of the name of the product, date of manufacture, date of expiry, the weight of the product etc. We must confirm with the importer whether they need to be mentioned and, if so, in which language. If the export is to be made to Arabian countries, it must necessarily be mentioned in the Arabic language.
6. Payment Terms:-
The payment terms and the deadline within which the payment needs to be settled should be mutually understood very clearly at the beginning itself.
While exporting, it must be clearly understood and confirmed with the importer as to whether it would be enough for us to despatch the materials only up to the port or airways in our country or it should be sent to their respective countries.
8. Delivery Time:-
It must be specifically discussed and confirmed as to by which date the required materials should be delivered.
In the case of European countries and America, the PQ certificate is essential. For some countries, a health certificate is important. Hence, we must check with them to note what type of certificate should accompany the materials and do the same accordingly.
10. Final Destination:
Since some countries will have more than 2 or 3 ports, we must get it confirmed from the importer as to which port the materials must be despatched.
The answers to the above questions are significant because then only, we will be able to fix the price. It is always better to get these points clarified in advance with the concerned importers so that we will be able to adhere to their requirements perfectly and ensure prompt despatch and delivery accordingly.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):-
What is the meaning of H.S.Code? Is it necessary for export?
H.S.Code refers to Harmonized System Code allotted to each and every commodity internationally. This is very important for export. The purpose of this code number is to be able to identify the commodity easily by any country since it is universal.
Separate and distinct numbers are given to individual commodities such as vegetables, dry vegetables, aromatic substances, herbal products etc. and this number is required to be mentioned in all the concerned documents.
Are subsidies available for exports? If so, how much can be expected?
Rajamani - Tirupur
Yes. Subsidies are offered by the Indian Government for certain products. It depends on the product, quantity and the country to which it is exported. This is termed as MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme). The details can be found on the website: www.indiatradeportal.in. While accessing this website, we should quote the H.S.Code to select the particular item, following which we must choose the country to which it is exported in order to get the information pertaining to offer of subsidy by the Government. Normally, up to 6% subsidy is possible based on the nature of the product.
(This article was written in Tamil by K S Kamaludeen for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dated 25/11/18 has been transcreated in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)