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The third step in the importing process is to decide a foreign source of the product you wish to import.  Determining the source of your imported goods can vary due to product differentiation. Some importers will be able to make use of the Free Trade Area arrangements that make importing from countries like Mexico and Canada tariff free. 

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Researching online trade lead listings can often lead to foreign sources of products required to import. Traveling can spur importing ideas and also identify potential foreign sellers. 

The following trade lead sites map out which country may be exporting a particular product which can help you determine the ‘source’ country.  When researching ‘offers to sell’ trade leads make sure you find out all you can about the foreign exporter to properly qualify them for future business.   

Trade Lead Qualification:

  1. Ask for banking references
  2. Obtain business references
  3. Evaluate company’s web site and company infrastructure

Be wary of those exporters who do not have any tangible evidence that they have a record of success. You can also use various trade promotion centers such as the TradePort Service Centers in California Assistance Centers to assist you when qualifying trade leads.

 Trade Lead Resources on the Internet:

  • Import Trade News USA, www.fita.org/

  • Busy Trade Online www.busytrade.com

  • The Internet International Business Exchange, or IMEX at www.imex.com offers comprehensive trade leads and global market research information 

  • Trade Leads Online www.tradelead.com  

  • Business Patrol Online www.businesspatrol.com

  • The World Trade Centers Association www.wtca.com

  •  Foreign Products Trade Directory, www.cobleintl.com

  • Alibaba, at www.alibaba.com is a fee based global link for exporters looking to advertise their products, locate buyers and verify trade leads.

  • The American Chamber of Commerce at www.amcham.org has offices throughout the world that act as helpful tools for making contacts and accessing governmental advice for your specific country of interest.

  • An excellent source for researching background and industry analysis for a particular country is www.worldtraderef.com

  • The Global Trade and Technology Network is a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored website with qualified trade leads from developing countries.  www.usgtn.net

  • The BuyUSA website is a directory of online trade leads and business opportunities published by the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service of the USDOC www.buyusa.gov

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