WHY WE IMPORT
Reams of high-sounding economic theory have been printed to explain or justify the act of importing. But the real forces at work on why we import are simple and human. Man invented phrases such as “Balance of trade” and “supply and demand” to rationalize such basic human drives. Human need is one of the strongest.
WE NEED IMPORTSIn recent times, when he or she thinks about it, the average person in the U.S. is amazed by how much everyone depends on imported goods in daily life. Small habits and pleasures–not to mention needs–would be upset if we stopped importing: coffee, tea, bananas, sugar, rubber, tin, nitrate, etc. You will recognize your dependence upon imports when you think about it. But normally we live our daily lives happily unaware of our dependence on imports. We assume there is an abundant and ready supply of those imported goods that give us pleasure, tend our comfort and improve our health.
The machinery of World Trade rolls on, spewing out goods so quietly, peacefully and efficiently that we don’t even notice. Here are just a few of the commodities we take for granted: Cocoa from South America; jute from India, nickel from Canada; palm oil from the East Indies, Africa and South America; copra from the Pacific Islands; flax from Argentina; wool from Australia.
WITHOUT IMPORTS: BARE SHELVES
Then scan the shelves and counters of your department store or discount house. Electronic assemblies take the form of radios, tape recorders and television sets; many of the transistorized circuits used today come from abroad. Then look at the sporting goods section. Much of this equipment comes from overseas. The stamp of foreign manufacture appears on goods everywhere.Shelves would look bare without imports.
THE UNSEEN IMPORTSOur industry in the U.S. needs raw materials, chemicals and supplies. Lots of this material is imported “invisibly”. We don’t notice because imported materials in the raw state rarely enter our lives. True, the United States is blessed with abundance in human skills, advanced technology, and natural resources. But we don’t have everything. It is cheaper, more convenient, or downright necessary to import the things we lack from other lands. So we also import items for industrial, as well as personal use, out of need.
WE DESIRE IMPORTS
We also import some foreign goods because we just plain want them. French perfume, Japanese cameras and Turkish rugs are prized for quality and prestige. Economy-minded drivers buy the Honda because it is practical and well built. Sports car buffs would trade their right arm for the performance of a Lamborghini. So you see that foreign goods are brought over to this country–not for need alone–but because many buyers prefer them. LOW PRICES ARE LIKE MAGNETS & Because the cost of labor and materials is lower in most foreign countries, items usually can be built cheaper abroad than in the United States.
Buyers love a bargain. They will pick the imported radio, camera or toy–as long as the quality and performance of these imports appears to be good. You are attracted immediately, as an Importer, to the low cost of such foreign goods. It should. Low cost gives you the opportunity to enjoy big profit margins. Also, you are able to sell imports at fair, competitive prices in this country. This is why you find the bargain prices of foreign goods listed on Tradezone.com like in the Suppliers Directory and Trade Leads sections of this site. And you also look to sources such as the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. This undeniable “trade secret” is so obvious it is often ignored. But not by you.
BALANCING THE SCALES
Life is give and take. We learn this, sometimes painfully, in school. This learning guides our relationships with other persons. In a larger sense, it is true of our exchanges with other nations, i.e., World Trade.
The country that only exports will tend to get rich in money but poor in goods. The nation that only imports tends to lose its money supply while the goods are used up in personal consumption. Ideally, for the economic health of the whole world, a country’s imports should equal its exports.
This is called balance of trade. Business news reports in newspapers, radio and TV have talked in recent years about the U.S. “Negative Trade Balance”. What this means is that we as a country have been importing more than we export. Ideally a country would balance imports with exports.
But now, dramatic world conditions are starting with vigor to change our status as a bigger Importer than Exporter. The move toward a market economy in Eastern Europe and nearby countries creates a giant void which can be filled only by exports of North American goods and technology. We have not talked much so far in our blog about opportunities in export, but you will be fully informed on exporting in subsequent sections. Almost overnight, exports have become a startling new source of profits for entrepreneurs. And, as you do business in export, remember that you will be doing a vital service in helping us achieve and maintain a favorable balance of trade for our country.