Greg: This is PKF Texas and another chapter of the Entrepreneur's Playbook. I'm Greg Price, director of consulting solutions, and I'm here with Keith Miceli, PKF Texas's international business advisor. Keith, welcome to the Playbook.
Keith: Greg, nice to be here.
Greg: So, Keith, we look to you to advise us and our clients on international business matters. Something recently happened in the fall that had to do with these trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Can you share your insight as to what that means for us here?
Keith: Yes. The free trade agreements have the advantage for American companies of eliminating tariffs and reducing non-tariff barriers. For Houston-based companies these countries are very important because South Korea is number five as a destination export market at $6.4 billion in 2010, Columbia is number eight at $4.4 billion, and Panama number 23 at $1.8 billion. In addition to the advantages of lowering and reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers is the fact that the dollar itself is quite cheap, which in turn makes American products a lot more competitive. And finally, and I think it's important to note, is that American-made products have a great reputation overseas, and overseas consumers, when they have a chance to pick an American product that is price competitive, is likely to choose the American product.
Greg: So if I'm a Houston-based company and I have this brand name recognition, is that something that I would want to maybe look to to export to these countries that you mentioned?
Keith: I think it's important that companies look to diversifying their business model. Being able to export will give you the opportunity for a different revenue stream and to improve your profitability. But if you want to get into the business of exporting you need to create an export plan, conduct market research, identify buyers, and learn a lot more about shipping and insurance.
Greg: So, Keith, it sounds like we might want to have you back to talk some more about this. Will you come back and share some more insight with us?
Keith: Yes, sir.
Greg: All right. Thanks for being here today at the Playbook. This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas, the Entrepreneur's Playbook. Turn in next week for another chapter of the Playbook. And remember, if you're doing business internationally give PKF Texas a call.