Opinion

Commercial Representative

By Stephen Doctor Matatia

My topic to day is about Commercial Representative. This title as the term implies and as the nature of the job can dictate is to represent the country in a foreign country or in the embassies in the countries of our choice.

It is not so easy to over emphasize the importance of successful commercial gross activities to a country and its people .In almost all developing countries, economic development depends upon growth in export trade, which in turn creates jobs and raises living standards of its people.

The increasing import requirements which flow from development, production industrialized and exporting countries must somehow be financed from foreign exchange receipts derived from export earnings and capital investment.

Therefore without dynamic expansion in exports the growth of a country’s economy will almost certainly slacken .The main objective of a commercial representative is obviously to do the best possible job of improving his country’s net export earnings in the broadest meaning of that ward.

Commercial representation is a profession.

Since we are now a sovereign country it is a right time for us substantially  to recognize commercial representation as a profession per se the successful exercise of which is positively correlated with careful, initial selection of commercial representatives ,the level and content of their formal education including the specialized training ,the length and variety of their pertinent experience, and the quality of the support they receive from the Trade  Promotion organization (TPO) or Ministry at home .

Trade representative, trade commissioner, trade attaché’ or Commercial Secretary he deserves and he is likely to have all the diplomatic Status his job can requires .This Status will enable him even as it enables the traditional diplomat, to establish and to maintain relations with officials of the host country and of other countries ‘embassies/ ministries up to the highest levels appropriate for your position.

The trade Attache’ as we call it here must in more or less daily contact with many sectors of the economy In addition to the usual diplomatic circles ,he will  become more familiar with the business and financial ,environments of his own country .He will have the possibilities for learning the local language , adopting himself to the local customs and generally feeling at home in the host country.

“B” The Duties of a Commercial Representatives in an Embassy / Abroad .

The task /work of a Commercial attache’ or trade commissioner  is absorbing , complex and challenging. .It is never confined to one of few products lines , market areas , types of buyers or sellers , marketing management skills . or functional specializations .Trade attache’ must acquire a knowledge of many aspects of business activity .He must understand government laws ,polices and regulations ,both at home and in the host country .He must gain an insight  into International trade practices and at least the elements of Commercial Law.

Since it is obvious and actively that he must seek out Trade opportunities carefully ,expeditiously and professionally identify market for specific products and services .Trade attache’ will need to understand the techniques  of market research and the interrelationships between marketing channels .It is imperative that he must require a through knowledge of his own products and their producers back at home xxxxxxx.

The trade attache’ must be able to identify and access barriers to trade  affecting his country .He must be able to look into matters such as international physical distribution ,(shipping services ,freight rates ) financial terms and other aspects of trade facilitation .Trade representative may thoroughly learn about export documentations and terminology ,packaging ,costing and pricing for export and product adaptations ,and appreciate the importance of quality control.

He will  be expected to organize trade publicity campaigns and to provide advice on , and support to his country’s participation in trade fairs ,exhibitions ,including store promotions . He is also expected to assist in coming Trade missions and individual exporters .The commercial attachee’ will also be concerned with the identification and recommendation of agents in his territory /country of origin and will bear certain responsibilities for handling trade disputes.

The Trade representative at times be called upon to encourage foreign investment, can help foreign business visitors to and to stimulate Tourists interest in his country.

Trade Attache’ at  times will be involved with international tendering in connection with his country’s import procurement and with it’s participation in capital projects in his country. It is therefore necessary for the commercial Attachee’ to have at least a basic understanding of contracting and international bidding practices and procedures .He will likely have a role to play in Trade Policy formulation .Policy comprising informed judgment ,taken at the highest level of government is the result of carefully evaluated inputs from innumerable sources of objectively analyzed information . As the Trade representative in a foreign country representing his country on the spot , he will be the primary source of information as far as your territory is concerned .He is expected to contribute through regular and ad hoc reports to the evaluation of your county’s trade policies and export strategies for which purposes , he will need to know how to organize and to write such material.

It is equally and necessary important that he you will be able to manage human ,material  and financial resources .He must know how to exercise self discipline in planning and ordering his own priorities and objectives , so as to make the best use of his time factor .His success as a commercial  representative will depend quite literally depend on his initiative and the energy and enthusiasm you bring to your myriad task. He will constantly think of a new way of placing his country’s products to the market . He must be prepared to leave his office and desk .he has to go out to talk to key people ,the buyers and other decision makers in the market place .

In trade promotion ,your success is likely to be in inverse proportion to the amount of time you spend in your office .

Finally in all your professional dealings with others ,honour all your commitments and never betray a confidence .He must consciously earn and maintain a reputation for absolute professional reliability and personal integrity .

In conclusion ,I am obliged and indebted to put this ideas to our dear readers ,policy makers decision makers and so that they may be mindful that to manage a sovereign country ,human/resources/beings and resources is not a joke .it means a lot sacrifices and challenges for change  while we must know that the path to development is very thorny Here must share ideas ,experiences ,exchange all the experience we have acquired ,follow the best practices so that we can cope with the complicated globalization and digitization with dreadful climate change .

Thanks a lot to all our dear readers.

Stephen Doctor Matatia .

Ministry of Trade Industry &EAC Affairs.

The writer can be accessed through; sjorbek@gmail.com

 

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