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The importation and exportation of commodities is a financially lucrative industry which attracts many small businesses. Yet this industry may also present many challenges and complexities for those who are just starting out. An import export consultant plays a significant role in guiding businesses on issues such as tariffs, insurance, shipment, quotas and business tax compliance. Becoming an import export consultant or specialist entails obtaining the requisite education, extensively familiarizing yourself with the industry and marketing your services.
Obtain a four-year bachelor’s degree if you have not done this yet. Take up majors in areas such as finance, business administration and management. Concentrate on courses such as exports, customs regulations, business law, money and banking.
Take at least two years of a foreign language. Take into consideration that import export careers are very competitive; speaking a major foreign language will give you an advantage over others in this career field.
Gain experience for at least five years. Start, preferably, as an intern or trainee with a firm with global operations. Inquire with the international trade division of your state’s department of commerce about overseas internship opportunities. Use your internship experience to learn about the industry and to get you positions in import export firms.
Work with consulting firms, too, as part of gaining experience. Make useful professional contacts with customers such as businesses and other import export firms; this will serve you in creating a client base if you decide to become self-employed.
Become a self-employed import export consultant when you have substantial knowledge of the industry. Market your services by contacting your network of previous clients and industry professionals to obtain your initial consultation assignments. Host a free informational seminar on international trade to attract businesses which want to get started in the import and export industry.
Obtaining a Customs Broker license will increase your marketability. The test is quite detailed and is given twice a year at district Customs offices.
Diana Wicks is a Canadian residing in Vancouver. She began writing in 2004 while still a student at Lincoln School of Journalism, in the city of London. She has worked as Chief Editor of Business Chronicle, an online magazine based in London. Wicks holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in journalism and a Master of Business Administration from the London School of Economics.