Export Management Companies and export trading companies are firms that market American products and services abroad on behalf of manufacturers, farm groups, and distributors. These export intermediaries may handle products in a single sector, such as automotive equipment or clothing, or they may handle a variety of items from a number of different sectors. Intermediaries may service markets worldwide, or they may specialize in certain countries or regions.

Export management companies (EMCs) help U.S. manufacturers establish an overseas market for their products, usually on an exclusive basis. The management company maintains a close relationship with its clients as well as with overseas distributors. Its business is supply-driven.

Management companies may take title to the products they sell, making a profit on the markup, or they may charge a commission, depending on the type of products being sold, the overseas market, or the manufacturer client's needs. Export management companies may also work on a retainer basis.

In contrast, export trading companies (ETCs) most often act as independent distributors, bringing buyers and sellers together for a transaction. Business for ETCs is demand-driven and transaction-oriented. Most export trading companies take title to the products involved, but others may work on commission.

There are more than 1,500 ETCs and EMCs in the United States. Potential exporters should develop a list of those ETCs and EMCs which specializes in exporting the types of products proposed to be sold overseas.

For assistance in locating and selecting the proper ETC/EMC, contact the Commerce Department's Office of Export Trading Company Affairs, International Trade Administration, Washington, DC 20230, (202) 482-5131. Or, call a local office of the Small Business Administration or local world trade center.

More information is available from The Export Yellow Pages, Office of Export Trading Company Affairs. The publication is free and is available from the International Trade Administration, Washington, DC 20230. This directory of more than 15,000 firms involved in a foreign trade is designed to facilitate contact between producers of goods and services and firms providing export trade services. The directory is available free of charge from an ITA district office. Call the nearest Commerce Department district office to list your company in the next edition. For advertising information, call (800) 288-2582.

Also check the Directory of Leading U.S. Export Management Companies, Bergano Books, P.O. Box 190, Fairfield, CT 06430. Phone (203) 254-2054. This directory provides contacts, names, and addresses for 400 EMCs and 41 product categories. Geographic specialties and language capacities are also included. Lists export consultants. Cross-referenced by company name, state, and product category.