The International Trade Blog

Joseph A. Robinson

Joseph A. Robinson

Joe Robinson has 43 years hands-on experience in global commerce targeting new markets highlighting investment opportunities. He is an author, has lived abroad 4 times; traveled to 81 countries and exported to 105 countries in both private corporations and in government positions. He is currently a consultant to companies, government agencies and universities providing guidance in export procedures, regulatory control and compliance.

He graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Economics and Master of International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He was 1 of 5 Americans to receive a full Japanese government scholarship to study International Market Research at Keio University in Tokyo, the leading Business School in Asia.

Joe was the International Trade Manager for the State of Virginia, formerly of the Governor's office, providing assistance for export management, marketing and best business practices covering export control support and compliance training and procedures manuals and led many overseas businesses and delegation trade missions to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America

He participated in the China US Dept. of Commerce 1982 trade exhibition, the first since 1947, and led the very first of any state trade mission opening up Saudi Arabia. This wealth of real-life experience affords Joe the opportunity to provide consulting services to corporations, government agencies, NGO's and universities focusing on government regulations and compliance issues and directed towards generating new markets and new businesses highlighting profit return and successful investment opportunities. Joe also writes business and technical articles for International Business Training, a well-known and respected world-wide international internet publication.

Joe was appointed one of seven on the Team of Excellence presenters under the U S Department of State to provide training to "Kyrgyzstan Women Leadership and NGO Capacity Building" in September 2011.

He designed "Export Management & Marketing Procedures, Documents & Compliance" workshops. Joe trained over 1050 exporters in over 240 companies from very small as well as leading Fortune 100 companies. Joe co-authored the book "Global Business: From Theory to Practice", a college text book for MBA classes and for those already in international business interested to further their career with a guide truly "from theory to the practical".

Joe's practical experience comes from managerial positions at Rohm & Haas Chemical; American Cyanamid; and American Hofmann; was country manager for A. H. Robins Pharmaceutical in Tokyo; and vice president for Vickers Kawasaki joint venture in Kobe, Japan; and international marketing manager for the Limitorque valve actuator company. He was president and owner of his own international business, Robinson Engineering Products.

Joe was also president of three international trade associations, one of which he founded. He continues to author export subject matter articles for International Business Training (, an international publication.

One highlight of Joe's career was providing White House Executive Briefing to the President of the United States on the pros and cons of the NAFTA Agreement.

His honors include being the youngest Eagle Scout in Virginia and a varsity mascot at Virginia Tech. Joe's hobbies are whitewater rafting and wilderness camping in the Grand Canyon, the Saudi Arabian Desert, the Yukon, Alaska and the Appalachian Trail. He continues global business travel and enthusiasm for outdoor adventures.

Joe is available for consultation, training, manual preparation and overseas trips for companies, government agencies, universities and NGO's.

Articles Written By Joseph A. Robinson

Export Trade Missions Can Be a Good Investment for Your Company

Trade missions are prearranged working trips conducted by organizations that serve the interests of exporters, such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, various state trade offices, chambers of commerce and industry associations. Wise exporters—large and small—use trade missions to expand their international marketing programs and grow sales.

Since in-person trade missions have resumed once again, now is a good time learn about why they're a good investment for your company.

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AmChams Advance the Interests of American Businesses Overseas

American Chambers of Commerce, traditionally referred to as AmChams, are formed to advance the interests of American overseas businesses through advocacy, information, networking and business support services.

There are currently 118 AmChams in 105 countries affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that strive to develop mutually beneficial social and commercial relations between American companies and those of the host country.

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Middleman Blues: How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Cut Out of the Loop

A middleman is a person or organization that provides services and offers something of value to both buyer and seller. In other words, a bona fide middle person bridges the gap between suppliers and buyers by initiating quality contacts, providing sourcing services for buyers, assuring reliability of suppliers, and ensuring a continuous supply of products.

This matchmaking process can be hard work and deserves to be appropriately compensated. But once the suitors have been introduced and the relationship has been consummated, how can you, as a middleman, protect yourself from being cut out of the deal?

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How to Write an Export Plan

Companies frequently ask me to provide a sample outline for producing an export plan. Small companies typically request the outline so they can establish an export department, whereas larger companies are either looking to expand their export promotion program or to use the outline in ISO 9000 procedures.

The following is a simple export plan outline that is a compilation of a dozen outlines that have come across my desk in the past 25 years. This outline is by no means inclusive; however, it covers many basic issues that should be addressed for the plan to be useful and implemented.

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The Export Proforma Invoice: Validity, Acceptance and Price

In a previous article, I outlined 15 steps an exporter should follow when responding to an international sales inquiry. These steps help ensure you respond with a sales proposal, quote or proforma invoice that will maximize your chance of a successful export transaction.

In this article, I discuss two of those steps in more depth.

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Growing Your Exports: Calling On Overseas Customers

A successful export manager recently told me that many years ago he made an overseas business trip to a major country in Asia.

As an afterthought, he decided to stop by a small country that he had never visited before. Much to his surprise, he was able to develop a reasonable amount of business developed from his side trip that continues even today.

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14 Reasons Small Businesses Should Start Exporting

Right now is the perfect time for your small company to explore the benefits and merits of exporting. Or, if you export a little bit already, right now is the time to look at expanding your exports to additional countries.

The U.S. Department of Commerce emphasizes that 97% of all U.S. exporters are small businesses. It also reports that 96% of the world's customers reside outside the United States.

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Certificates of Origin and More: How Chambers of Commerce Assist Exporters

Exporters often think of chambers of commerce only in terms of signing certificates of origin. But there are other services and programs that chambers of commerce provide to assist you in your export process.

Business savvy managers utilize chambers of commerce routinely to help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their international business.

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Export Basics: Create a MAP to Grow Export Sales

It is now easier than ever for companies to reach potential export customers. By doing nothing more than hosting a web page and attending a few trade shows, even the smallest companies are reaching nearly as many potential international customers as only large multinational corporations could once afford to reach.

Even though it may be easier to locate potential international customers, that doesn’t automatically translate into a profitable, growing export business. You wouldn’t just hop in a car in a strange town and expect to find your destination without directions. Likewise, a company will quickly get lost in the world of exporting if it doesn’t know where it’s going and how to get there.

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How to Create a Great Visitor Control Program for Exporters

First impressions are important. The manner in which you receive visitors at your company can create positive images of a quality organization and a favorable attitude about doing business with you. It can also directly impact whether or not your company is compliant with export regulations.

Does your company have a written policy for receiving visitors? If you're an exporter, your policy needs to incorporate practices that cover compliance issues pertinent to U.S. government export regulations. The transfer of commodities, software or technologies to foreign persons is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations whether the transfer occurs inside or outside the U.S.

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