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Chapter 4: Export Advice


  • U.S. Commercial Service assistance
  • Other government agency assistance
  • Assistance from chambers of commerce

Download a PDF of a Basic Guide to Exporting.


As Chapter 3 noted, there are a lot of sources of market research information for exporters. This can be a big help in deciding what, when, and where to sell overseas. There are also plenty of sources that provide practical information about how to export, and offer concrete assistance as well. These range from government agencies to commercial entities to trade groups and beyond. The help they offer includes everything from financial support to commercial and political advice to advocacy and more.

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Commercial Service is a major source of such assistance. It has local offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as overseas offices with country specialists. It also has an Advocacy Center, which supports in various ways companies trying to bid on foreign government contracts.

Each U.S. Commercial Service office can offer information about:

  • Services to locate and evaluate overseas buyers and representatives, distributors, resellers, and partners
  • International trade opportunities
  • Foreign markets for U.S. products and services
  • Industry information
  • Foreign economic statistics
  • Export financing
  • Export documentation requirements
  • U.S. export licensing requirements and import requirements of foreign nations
  • Export trade finance options
  • International trade exhibition participation and certification
  • Export seminars and conferences
  • E-commerce strategies
  • Additional local export assistance services and networking

Other Agencies
Other agencies also offer a range of useful services. The Commerce Department’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance (TANC), for example, is one of many organizations aimed at helping reduce or eliminate overseas trade barriers. The Agriculture Department’s Office of Outreach and Exporter Assistance (OOEA) supports exporters of food, farm, and forest products. The National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI) provides information about, and even the opportunity to review and comment on, foreign countries’ existing and proposed standards, regulations, and certifications.

Other Sources of Help
There is a variety of yet other sources of help. A major one is the United States Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, which among other things provides pre- and post-import financing, credit, and other assistance. Particularly beneficial are the insurance and loan guarantees it offers to reduce the commercial and political risks of exporting. State and local governments also offer help in various ways.

Other sources include:

  • District export councils
  • Financial institutions, many of which have international departments with specialists
  • World Trade Centers, International Trade Clubs, and local chambers of commerce
  • American Chambers of Commerce abroad
  • Export intermediaries
  • International trade consultants and other advisors
  • Freight forwarders and shipping companies
  • E-commerce providers

In short, any U.S. company that is willing to look for help in exporting will have no trouble finding it.

This chapter’s Success Story is Advanced Superabrasives, which sells to buyers in 16 countries including Brazil and China, used Commercial Service business matchmaking to find buyers, and has taken well-advised commercial and technical measures to prevent reverse engineering.

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