Considerations for Companies
Looking To Export
Besides researching the regulations, Anderson suggests that a company that is thinking about exporting
should ask itself questions such as:
• How will my product be priced
abroad? What will my margins be?
• Is my product stable enough to
travel around the world?
• How will it get there? How will I
get it through customs?
• Who will sell it? How will it be distributed?
• Who will manage clients once the
product is over there?
• How will our company get paid?
Figure Out if Exporting Your Product Makes Sense. Price can be a challenge to selling U.S. organic products
abroad. Due to import duties and
taxes, the retail price in foreign markets is often two to four times higher
than it is in the United States. The devaluation of foreign currencies
against the U.S. dollar exacerbates
this situation. There are also costs associated with getting a license to sell
in a foreign country. And don’t forget
to factor in shipping. “Exporting can
be costly,” noted Anderson. “These
costs are often greater than people
A company also should weigh
whether it is willing to satisfy the demands of the importing country. Is it
willing to invest in putting foreign-lan-guage labels on its product? For
example, the “made with” category
does not exist in some countries, so
labels on products may have to be
Also, in considering if exporting
makes sense, companies must also
look at the shelf life of their products.
As a rule, Hal Shenson, president of
Nature’s SunGrown Foods, Inc., suggests, “If perishable goods have a shelf
life of less than 45 days, they are not
exportable. If dry goods have a shelf
life of less than nine months, they are
Exporting Expertise. A company must also decide whether to export on its own or work with an exporting company knowledgeable
about foreign requirements for organic products. Although this adds
to your exporting bottom line, such expertise can save your company
a lot of time and many headaches.
Besides brokers, certification agencies can guide you toward sales
opportunities and help you understand the differences in standards.
“The biggest challenge is meeting the diverse array of international
standards and maintaining multiple certifications,” according to Faye