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Small Business Digest


Organization Eases Exporting/Importing Efforts

With the dollar at an all time low, many American firms are thinking about beginning or expanding their export efforts. 

Among the many obstacles to such endeavors are export documentation and regulations. 

One way to ease these problems is through an organization called Trade Bridge International (TBI).

TBI is a trade association that was established in 2005 to serve the needs of small and medium US importers and exporters and currently has 6,000 members.

Trade Bridge has two major functions: advocacy and product development. TBI advocates with government and regulatory agencies for US SME importers and exporters both nationally and internationally.

For SME importer and exporters that are interested in communication with government or regulatory agencies without either being overshadowed by multinational corporations or intermediaries, Trade Bridge provides that service at no cost.

Trade Bridge gathers feedback from its members on topics of interest, such as post-9/11 security initiatives proposed by Customs and Border Protection and the World Customs Organization, and delivers that feedback to these authorities before, during and after changes are made that affect SMEs business operations. 

Trade Bridge, through its sponsors, also develops products, services and distribution methods that are uniquely suited to the SMEs in the international trade market.

Examples of those are:

  • US Customs bonds for importers supplied directly from the surety agency,
  • ATA Carnets for exporters supplied direct from the surety agency,
  • Direct-filing of customs entries by importers,
  • Electronic Certificates of Origin,
  • Letter of credit expedite and preparation,
  • Marine cargo insurance,
  • Incident response coverage, and
  • Free seminar-webinars covering topics of immediate interest to international traders

Since TBI makes every effort to provide these services to its members directly from the source, utilizing the latest technology, the cost to the importer or exporter is typically less than the same services provided through an intermediary such as a customs broker, freight forwarder, accountant or consultant.

TBI is a virtual association and there are no membership dues, meetings, committees, conventions or full-time staff.  Instead, the association relies on sponsors, who are experts in their fields and are running successful small businesses serving the US importer - exporter marketplace. 

These sponsors cover all expenses and deliver all member services. They do not pay a fee to be a sponsor, but qualify by virtue of the unique value of the services they provide to TBI and its SME members.

For additional information about the association, visit

To sign up for free membership go to Complete the contact form and check the "I'm ready to join Trade Bridge International."

Following a short review process, any US SME membership applicant that is importing or exporting (or plans to import or export in the next 12 months) is accepted as a member. Applicants must have 500 employees or less to be eligible.

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