Importer/Exporter Job Description
An importer is a person who brings in goods from abroad, while an exporter is a person who sends goods abroad. Importers and exporters plan, organize and manage the sales and movement of goods from one country to another.
Importers and exporters should be ambitious, enterprising, resourceful and adaptable, and have the ability to identify good business prospects and conduct research to analyze markets and know whether a demand for their products exists. Before importing products from abroad, importers should investigate the reputation of the manufacturers and the reliability of their products.
What does a Importer/Exporter do?
Importers and Exporters may do some or all of the following:
- find and establish business contacts abroad
- conduct research to know whether a demand for their products exist abroad
- find products to buy abroad and negotiate prices with manufacturers/suppliers
- ensure that the importing/exporting products comply with relevant laws
- plan and prepare for the shipments of goods
- negotiate and arrange payments for ocean freight or air freight services
- prepare and compile import/export documents required for customs clearance
- keep up to date with exchange and financial market rates
Where does a Importer/Exporter work?
Importers/exporters may work normal business hours or irregular hours when communicating with clients abroad. They work in offices, but may spend time in warehouses, stores and factories. They may travel abroad to visit companies and source products, or to attend conferences or trade fairs.
What is Required to Become a Importer/Exporter?
There are no educational requirements to become an importer/exporter, but prior knowledge of logistics, commerce and business administration is helpful.
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Importers and Exporters need to have:
- integrity and reliability
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- planning and organizational skills
- research skills
- record keeping skills
- the ability to work well under pressure.
- the ability to respect and appreciate other cultures
- the ability to take initiative
- the ability to relate to a wide variety of people
- knowledge of the goods they are importing or exporting
- knowledge of import and export procedures and documentations
- knowledge of distribution systems