How to be an expert exporterThese are the important skills needed to promote exports in the post-coronavirus world.
A business opportunity and sourcing system can be developed to list online Nepali exporters or firms interested in exporting which should be updated yearly. Such a system can identify active exporters of exportable products. In some cases, firms may have little or no experience in exporting products. These firms will be unable to provide a valid, experience-based response about which practical export skills are necessary to export or to provide a skill comparison between the two market groups. Each firm seems to use a particular set of export skills to manage its exports, although it draws upon its skills in varying degrees as per the specific export market being served.
Among these skills, the ability to identify a firm’s competitive advantage and define its international objectives is considered to be of equal importance. Knowing how to work effectively with foreign cultures and being familiar with international business travel documentation are considered significantly more important for overseas sales than for sales in neighbouring countries. Of the skills deemed to be of moderate importance, knowing the neighbouring countries’ regulations affecting exporters was considered to be equally important for sales both in neighbouring countries and overseas. However, very low priority is attached to the use of strategic alliances. Trade and export promotion insurance and financing, licensing and especially countertrade, along with relatively high standard deviations, indicate that most businesses are not involved in these types of activities.
Other general exporting knowledge about free trade areas and customs unions, the impact of multilateral institutions such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), how exports are classified, and trade rules such as countervailing and anti-dumping are also viewed as being equally important. It is significantly more important to know how to use foreign agents and trading companies to enter overseas markets. Apparently, businesses in the neighbouring countries are more willing to use international trade intermediaries for overseas markets.
Knowing how to use strategic alliances, licensing, and countertrade to enter export markets, as well as familiarity with trade and export promotion, export credit insurance and export financing programmes, are all significantly more important for overseas trade. The great importance of the skills needed to get information to profile potential customers, prepare competitive profiles, prepare market penetration plans, determine target market regulations, and get country profile information are equally important for the neighbouring and overseas markets.
The ability to assess product suitability for export markets and know when product adaptation is necessary is viewed as being equally important for both groups of export markets. The high priority accorded to the skills needed to gather market intelligence and assess product suitability for export markets can be viewed as evidence of the importance of knowing the market for export marketing success.
Of the moderately important skills, the ability to ‘quantify additional costs related to export marketing’ and knowledge of ‘various export pricing options and approaches’ are viewed as being significantly more important for overseas sales than for sales in the two neighbouring countries. Getting information and planning marketing strategies is viewed as being equally important for both market groups. Interestingly, the importance placed on collecting information to assess market attractiveness does not extend to interpreting secondary information on export markets or to do primary market research which is given low importance. Using the support of the governments of the neighbouring countries to promote Nepal’s export sales by participating in government-led trade missions, participating in overseas trade fairs, and selling to both groups is viewed as being of greater importance for overseas sales than for sales in the neighbouring countries.
With regard to international finance skills, knowing how to process letters of credit is viewed as the most important one. Interestingly, this skill had a very high prioritised deviation in its importance emphasising both neighbouring countries. The use of letters of credit in both neighbouring countries is much more selective for Nepal's export market. Perhaps varying by buyer credit risk, order size and standard industry practice would tend to lead to a letter of credit terms.
Other important international finance skills include the ability to assess international credit risk, prepare export-costing sheets, and prepare cash budgets for export sales. These mainstream financial skills are viewed as being equally important for both neighbouring and overseas markets. Interestingly, all other international finance skills are viewed as being of greater importance for overseas markets than for the neighbouring countries. Of the remaining skills, the more general skills of determining the best payment terms for an export sale, knowing how to speed up international cash flow, being able to determine foreign exchange risk for exports, and knowing how to process bank collection orders are viewed as being of moderate importance to achieve exporting success. So, the post-Covid-19 era needs to create professional expertise and skills for export promotion to fight the adverse impact of the pandemic.