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Friday, May 24, 2024


The international trade turf

Enterprise Issues

with Siaka Momoh

Enterprise Issues

With Siaka Momoh


The international trade turf is one that one was
privileged to tread shortly after school certificate.
My late foster father, F.Omo Okotete, ran a company,
Metropolitan Business Consultancy Services which
traded raw rubber locally and internationally. We had
a small rubber sheets processing factory in
Ekrerhavwen, a village in Agbarho clan at the
outskirts of Warri, on the way to Ughelli.

From this humble factory, we moved lorry loads of raw
rubber sheets in bales to Dunlop factory in Ikeja, Lagos and
to the Sapele Port for onward shipment to the United
Kingdom. We made journeys to London to hold meetings
with our oversea buyers. Thus from those early days
(the 1970s) of one’s life one had the rare privilege
of knowing such terms as stuffing, or hatches of
vessels which are stuffed with cargo.

A second phase of this touch with international trade
was between late 1990s and early 2000s in
Lagos, where one had the privilege of managing a
bonded commodity warehouse, one that was into
commodity warehousing and freight forwarding. This was
an advanced phase that involved the whole gamut of
international trade – sales contract, export
documentation, etc.

So when a document like How to Become A Successful
Import/Export Agent
is given one for review, one
naturally gets excited about it. This document is a
teaching manual of Multimix Export Academy. It is in
four parts – A, B and C and an intimidating fourth
part, appendices. Part A is made up of seven chapters,
B and C, one chapter each.

Part A deals with issues like the basics of the
subject in question, starting export business, methods
of payment in international trade, import-export
practice, export financing, export marketing
strategies and export/import business communication –
eight chapters on the whole. Part B looks at the legal
aspect of international trade, while C deals with
negotiating agency agreement. Under basics you get
informed about what you benefit for getting involved
in international trade. You are told for instance that
sales to external market fill-in for the seasonal
nature  in the demand of some products, that this
demand is needed to keep factories in production (this
of course is true because the South which we belong to
has since the colonial era been structured to  grow
primary products for the metropolitan countries in the
North); you are told, with international trade, you
can achieve  lower unit cost of products as a result
of expanded production; you are told companies that
export in many countries have priority in foreign
exchange allocation for machinery importation and raw

This vital document touches on one very important
basic of international trade – one that all players
are very familiar with. Take this:
“The dynamics of international trade demands
additional expertise on the side of all operators:
exporters, importers, bankers, shipping agents,
warehouse managers, consultants and trade agents. In
international trade, the overriding consideration is
protection: while the importer wants to ensure that he
receives goods that conform to his specification, the
exporter wants to ensure that he receives goods
supplied. The problem of protection, coupled with that
of distance and various other problems call for a lot
of hard work on the side of operators of import/export

The author has touched on the sore point in the supply
chain. Controls are needed to checkmate those who
engage in unwholesome practices – those who stuff bags
of cocoa with extraneous matters like granites,
chaff, etc., produce inspectors who compromise on bad
practices, transporters and ‘wharf rats who brazenly
bring about leakages, etc.

Fine details on how you can start export are made
available and you get all you need to know on methods
of payment in international trade – another very
important aspect of the trade since you are in the
business to make money. Coming along with this is
export financing. You are told export financing is a
specialized financing comprising of various financing
products.  And the issue of cheap funding which the
exporter loves to have is raised too.

Part B is devoted to the legal aspect of international
trade – law of contract – different types of contract,
determination of existing contract, and validity of
contract, all that goes with sales of good acts. It’s
an entire package beautifully delivered.

In Part C is negotiating agency agreement, manifesting
negotiating fangs clean and clear. Here you get
tutored about the undeniable importance of negotiating
skills. Your attention is drawn to Claud Cellich’s
International Trade Centre, Canada’s key factors you
must review and check before any negotiation. These
include knowing your position, the other side’s
position, competition and negotiating limits and
developing strategies and tactics.

How to Become A Successful Import/Export Agent is a
complete tool for exporters and would-be exporters.


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