Take a look at the household items and equipment you have in your home. Made in West Germany; made in Japan; made in Korea. You may have clothing from India, shoes from Brazil, a leather wallet from Italy. Your car may be an import; your stereo equipment may be manufactured elsewhere. There are hundreds and hundreds of items manufactured all over the world, now being used by the Australian consumer.

There are many Australian firms looking for foreign-made merchandise to distribute. Some items are less expensive; some are better made; some are imported because they are made in a country now fashionable with the designers.

What can you tap into? Maybe you have contacts in Australia, distributors looking for certain goods. And you’ve already made contacts in the foreign countries that produce these goods. Follow through and get yourself an exclusive distribution agreement with those manufacturers.

Importing requires the same diligence and follow-up as exporting does. You’ll need a signed contract with the manufacturer to be the sole agent distributing to Australia – or the world, depending.

You’ll also need to obtain firm price quotes from the manufacturer in the quantities your distributor requests. These quotes should be converted into the appropriate dollar figures representing the currency exchange.

Investigate the reputation of the manufacturer and the reliability of the goods. If you import something like electronic components, check into the other distribution market the manufacturer has to assure the quality of merchandise.

Your commission will come through from the foreign manufacturer. Have your bank investigate the solvency of that company and the reputation of living up to agreements. Since it’s on foreign territory you’d have more trouble in any legal suits, even in light of the many international laws.

Prepare the price quotation. It is easiest if you request terms of delivery to the port of that country. Your freight forwarder can help you move the merchandise from that port, overseas, and through domestic customs.

Follow through with all the details of shipment. Be sure to include any insurance, dock fees, storage rates, and shipping overland. Overlook nothing so your price quotation to the American distributor is accurate.

Itemize the quotation and give it to the Australian distributor. Upon receipt of an authorized order, double check prices and follow through on delivery.

The letter of credit will go from the Australian distributor to the bank of the manufacturer. All terms and agreements regarding prices, freight and insurance will be defined. The manufacturer’s representative will confirm receipt of the letter of credit, which will release the goods for shipment.

Have your freight forwarder follow up on the shipment of goods. They may have to be freighted from the factory to the docks. Arrangements for shipping need to be carried out. Customs duties and unloading need to be followed through from the Australian port. Then, the goods may need to be freighted overland to the final destination.

As soon as the goods have arrived at the proper assigned destination, papers have to be documented and presented to the bank that holds the letter of credit. Then, all carriers and agents need to be paid, and you collect your commission.

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