Foreign Trade – Why Product Exportability Matters

foreign trade

Export readiness’ applies to your company, your market preparedness and your product. Provided you have optimised your operations to comply with the relevant quality standards, and have done extensive research on the foreign trade markets you wish to engage with — the most essential element that remains is ‘product exportability’. The question is, what exactly do we mean by ‘product exportability’?

What Do We Mean By Product Exportability? 

‘Product exportability’ refers to the quality of your product vis à vis competitive foreign products, its price competitiveness, the ease with which it can be assembled and operated, whether or not it requires after sales service, and the extent to which it complies with foreign market requirements. Regulatory compliance requirements may vary greatly from country to country; ultimately, however, they determine the likelihood of your products being able to access foreign markets.

product exportability

Important Considerations for Product Exportability 

Now that we understand what ‘product exportability’ means, it is time to evaluate the exportability of your particular product. The results of this exercise may indicate a need to develop a completely different product to the one you have been selling locally. Product names, descriptions and associated marketing approaches, when engaging in international trade, may all be affected by cultural and language differences, and may need to be changed to ensure their marketability in a target market. Coca-Cola, for example, changed its name to “Kekoukele” in China, meaning “tasty fun”, in order to penetrate and gain sales momentum in the Chinese market. Your product’s packaging and labelling is also likely to be impacted by cultural and regulatory differences between countries.

foreign trade

Potential Foreign Trade Challenges

There are many potential challenges associated with the preparation of your products for foreign trade. If your products require expert assembly, installation and/or operation, your international marketing effort will have to be accompanied by plans for a technical service facility and you will need to build the cost and logistical elements of this into your export budget. You may also need to adapt your product, and/or its packaging and labelling, to suit particular foreign market tastes and legal requirements – which can also be costly. The good news though, is that governments often provide export assistance in this regard!

Understanding the countries with which you wish to trade will help you eliminate potential ‘bottlenecks’ in your international trade activity and ultimately save you from making costly mistakes!

In this article, we have explained the meaning of ‘product exportability’, as well as identified important considerations and potential challenges associated with foreign trade. However, there are many more aspects to consider. To broaden your knowledge, Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa [ITRISA], has developed a cost-free and comprehensive online training course covering all aspects of exports. Click the links below to sign up and get started!


To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.

If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.


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