By Janice Kleinschmidt, a freelance writer and editor based in Palm Springs, Calif.
Mary Lynn Landgraf, senior international trade specialist, Office of Textiles and Apparel, U.S. Department of Commerce, provided answers to the following questions:
Q. What steps should a business take to get into the global marketplace?
A. The best way to enter the global marketplace is through research, planning and strategy development. These are the functions that the U.S. Department of Commerce provides American exporters. We offer a multitude of services through the U.S. Commercial Service and the Export Assistance Centers located in most major American cities and in 80 countries across the globe.
Q. How can companies protect themselves from the turbulence of the global market?
A. Businesses need to be on the cutting edge of information-gathering and place an emphasis on constantly improving innovation. Our Export Assistance Centers can help analyze current trends using our trade data as a resource. These experts can be an advocate on behalf of American businesses while navigating the turbulent tides of international trade. The International Trade Administration is committed to helping companies remain focused on identifying issues they may face, reducing barriers to trade, maintaining fairness in the global marketplace and remaining competitive and successful.
Q. How can companies deal with differing quality standards on a global scale?
A. Keep your standards at the apex of perfection. Inform and educate yourself on the market or regional demands and meet or exceed them. You can overcome competition by offering top standards in the target market. Our International Trade Administration Web site (www.trade.gov) for market reports offers information on country-specific standards.
Q. When do companies need to establish brick-and-mortar operations in their foreign markets?
A. There is no prescription for success in the market. You need to maintain due diligence through market research and seek expert legal advice in the marketplace.