Passages

The International Trade Blog

Richard Corson

Richard Corson

Richard Corson is the president of Corson International Trade Consulting LLC, which creates and implements international business expansion plans. He works primarily with small- and medium-sized companies—manufacturers and service providers—in all industries.

Richard has 30 years of experience in international trade/exporting/marketing. He began his career with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, International Trade Administration, in 1990 as an International Trade Specialist (ITS) in Cincinnati and went to Michigan in 1994 where he worked as an ITS in Detroit and then opened the East Michigan U.S. Export Assistance Center, which he directed from 1995 until his retirement in December 2019. Richard was also the director of the Detroit U.S. Export Assistance Center from 2018-2019. Richard and his staff helped hundreds of companies successfully navigate the international marketing/sales/trade process.

Throughout his career, Richard worked closely with the U.S. Foreign Service at American embassies and consulates around the world and with many agencies within the Commerce Department and other parts of the U.S. government. He also interacted with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and with government officials from other countries. Richard has been to 30 countries for business and pleasure, including a month-and-a-half in Oslo, Norway, where he was acting Senior Commercial Officer.

Richard earned a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in Political Science from Temple University, an M.A. in International Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, and a J.D. from Washburn University School of Law.

Email Author: rcorson@intltrade.info

Articles Written By Richard Corson

How to Sell International Expansion to Your Company's Top Decision-Maker

Throughout my career with the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, and now as an international business consultant, the most challenging situations with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not involved the technical, logistical or regulatory aspects of exporting; rather, the really tough and relatively common issue facing SMEs entails getting the ultimate decision-maker’s long-term commitment to international market expansion.

In the last three decades, I have met with many directors and vice presidents who enthusiastically articulated their passionate interest in growing their company’s international sales, who later received direction to discontinue the effort by the top decision-maker. I have also spoken with top decision-makers who initially indicated an interest in exploring international markets, only to later abandon the effort.  A frustrating, but not uncommon, situation.

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4 More Emerging Markets That Deserve Exporters' Attention

In my previous article, I provided a list of 22 emerging markets and took a closer look at four countries that have a free trade agreement  (FTA) with the United States: Mexico, Korea, South Korea and Peru. In this article, we venture beyond the FTAs and identify opportunities for exporters in the emerging markets of Brazil, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indonesia and Poland.

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Emerging Markets Hold Big Potential for Exporters: Four to Consider

In my previous article on political risk, I explained that emerging markets present a greater likelihood of peril due to political and economic instability, the latter often caused by political decisions. Still, many emerging markets offer significant opportunities and deserve serious consideration.

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Why Managing Political Risk Is Critical for Exporters

Political risk is a topic often overlooked entirely or just given a cursory glance by many small- and medium-sized companies. As firms work every day to meet payroll, compete and grow, analyzing political risk might appear better suited for a discussion in a business school class, rather than a component to add to a company’s international strategy. This is short-sighted.

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Due Diligence for International Sales: Do’s and Don’ts

During my nearly 30-year career with the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, both as an International Trade Specialist and as the director of a U.S. Export Assistance Center, I spoke many times with exporters who told me that their buyer in China owed them money and their multiple attempts to reach them were unsuccessful. I always asked the exporter if they had conducted due diligence on the buyer and, invariably, the answer was no. The exporter never stood a chance.

Had the exporter conducted due diligence, the company might have concluded that the buyer was not legitimate, which would have prevented the problem in the first place. (To be fair, this can happen anywhere; however, in my experience, China was the preeminent player). Due diligence is not a guarantee, but it can certainly mitigate risks.

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International Market Research for Exporters: Making a Molehill Out of a Mountain

The unfathomable amount of information available online about anything and everything can overwhelm us. International market research is no exception; most of the vast amount of information we collect to guide our international business decisions is obtained from online sources. Knowledge of where to find reliable, accurate, current data and statistics, and how best to use the websites, is crucial to making good decisions.  

So, how do you begin?

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