Friday, January 30, 2015

Buying Names of Importers and Exporter From USCustoms

One of my perennially popular posts relates to Importgenius, zepol, PIERS and other import export data mining services.  In essence the services buy some names of importers and exporters from USCustoms and repackage them for retail at a markup.  Their customers are people who believe that knowing who might be competitors, and with whom they do business might be of some use in international trade.  Delusional! They are looking for a shortcut but find a dead end.

Here is the rules on the raw data the services buy:

And you can read ...

that (e) Availability of manifest data on CDROMS—(1) Availability. Manifest data acquired from the Automated Manifest System (AMS) is available to interested members of the public on CDROMS.
Requestsfor CD-ROMS must be in writingand submitted to: 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 
National Finance Center, Collections Section, 
P.O. Box 68907, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268,

or  6026 Lakeside Blvd., Indianapolis,

Requests must include acheck to cover the cost of the
CDROMS requested. Actual costs and other specific information should
be ascertained by contacting the Collections Section at (317) 614–4514.

Some questions I had that were answered:

Q:  I want to confirm as the AMS it only reports ocean going goods, not anything by rail or truck from canada or mexico, plus nothing by air.  Do I have that correct?

A. The AMS data is only ocean going vessels.

Q. Is there anything that tracks trade in services, such as say importing of radiology reviews from India to USA?

A. In regards to importing radiology reviews, that might be something a data mining company can do.  The data that is provided is just raw data without analysis.  This is done by the trade journals or data mining companies that purchase the data.

  The AMS data reports are ran daily, except on Sundays.  The cost for data is $100/day. You can either purchase a single days’ worth of data or purchase a subscription. Either way the price is the same ($100/day). Historical data is available too in most cases, depending on the dates.

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Ocean Freight Quotes

This needs to be done, several people are trying it, someone will get it right...
Customers pay a monthly fee to use the service, and in return can get a quote for shipping a container or pallet including shipping trucking, handling, and insurance. In addition to a higher frequency of deals, freight forwarders can also adjust their prices on the fly to discount last-minute space and maximize efficiency and revenues.
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Bullet Point Boom and Bust

Lending money (properly defined) as a charitable act.

Lending money at usury

Lending money at usury, with fractional reserve (some money some credit).

Lending credit at usury with nigh nil asset backing.

pffffffffft!  The bubble pops.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reintroduce Money In Mexico

There is a billionaire in Mexico who made his money creating radios for sale, Hugo Salinas Price.  He went on to do a turn as president.  I don't quite agree with everything, but it is so far along the right path it would "get there." Here is the project of a remarkable man:

Proposal to introduce "Ounce Silver Libertad" the monetary system.


  • Start the process of monetary independence against the dollar.
  • Prepare the impending economic meltdown US
  • Put in the hands of people a solid and indevaluable currency.
Mexico does not have its own currency
  • Weight is a derivative of the dollar.
  • Worth weight based on the dollar amount not enough reservas.Si
  • dollars in reserve, the weight value plummets.
The lack of a currency itself requires us to:
  • Export to obtain dollars.
  • Into debt to obtain dollars.
  • Depend on the income of dollars.
  • Sell ​​the country, in exchange for papers.
With an ounce of silver "Libertad", the population:
  • Would preserve the purchasing power of their savings.
  • Would have an immune currency crisis or errors.
  • Would have greater confidence in the future.
  • Feel a renewed national pride.
How to start the process of introducing silver coin?
  • Gradually.
  • In parallel with the current trustee weight.
  • No cause economic dislocations.
Why the "Libertad", and not "weight silver"?
  • Historically, it has not worked. Examples:
  • The weight of silver from the 50's.
  • The "silver Morelos" of $ 100 pesos JLP.
  • Coins with Silver presidency of CSG.
Why the "weight silver" does not work?
  • Because engraved with a nominal value.
  • When the price of silver increases or no devaluation, the silver content exceeds the face value of the coin. Then:
  • Negative incurred wedged señoraje and stops.
  • It melts, as people prefer to take their metal content.
  • Stops flowing; only preserves numismatic interest.
Benefits of currency without par value
  • This currency rises in value as the price of silver or devaluations.
  • Therefore: His señoraje is always positive.
  • Remains indefinitely in circulation, without melting.
The coin he intends to use already exists:
  • Is Ounce Silver Libertad, no par value, minted by the Mint of Mexico.
  • Contains one troy ounce of pure silver.
  • It is legal tender, according to Art. 2 Bis of the current monetary law.
Currently, why ounce Freedom is not used as currency in everyday use and is not widely used as a means of saving?
  • The population does not know what is legal tender.
  • There is general and compulsory value.
  • Your quote changes daily, even lower.
  • Discount charged on repurchase.
The proposal of the Association:
  • To recognize the silver ounce "Libertad" character of legal tender and integrated to all circulating coins.
  • That their releasing power equals its "formal equivalence in pesos".
  • That this "equivalence weights" is determined by the Banco de Mexico and adjusted periodically according to the increase in the international price of fine metal content of the coin.
  • The value of equivalence is integrated, taking into account: 1) The international price of an ounce of silver, plus: 2) the cost of minting, plus: 3) an additional ten percent seigniorage.
  • So once the latter method, the following can not be reduced.
  • That equivalence is I rounded to multiples of five dollars.
  • An ounce is placed and received the same value of formal equivalence.
  • These provisions govern exclusively for Freedom silver coin denomination of an ounce, and not for other similar coins.
These provisions would allow:
  • At the macroeconomic level, laying the foundations for progressive monetary independence.
  • Using an ounce in trade, for having an equivalence defined and known weights.
  • Your hoarding for saving purposes, a perfectly determinable equity in pesos by the holder at any time.
  • His stay in circulation, thanks to its float.
  • A seigniorage always positive in favor of the Bank of Mexico.
Other important benefits
  • Giving people encouraging news.
  • Having a national project to promote political unity.
  • Encourage people's confidence in their institutions.

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Stock Exchange Graveyard
I recall the first time I saw this, it is not trick photography, there is a large graveyard in front of the American Stock Exchange in New York City.  Odd juxtaposition.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Turn Down the Large Order

Of course, as a start-up, thieves will come a-calling and flatter you with a large order.  They intend to get you to ship but never pay you.  The dead give-away is the long discussion.  Real buyers are laconic.  If business takes more than a few minutes to discuss and effect prepayment, you are either being ripped off or the buyer is not worth favoring with your business.

With the MOQ FOB, keep drawing anyone proposing to buy back to the offer.  When they attempt to divert you with visions of sugarplums, you say:

Dear Ms. Buyer,

Ms. Client much esteems your inquiries, and has asked me assist her in this exceptional case.

We have studied YOURBIZ and its admirable success, and are keen to work with you.  Here are two important facts we keep in mind.

1. The end-result, the taste, of our products is superior to all others in the market, resulting in solid reorder business.  

2. We are currently the right size to grow successfully into the USA market.

What you propose initially is what would be a very large test of our product in your market.  We would have to organize around this opportunity, possible to the detriment of our USA efforts, at least for a while.  If your large test did not yield happy results, then we have really gained nothing.  If this concern is unclear, please let us know so we can make this clear.

Having said that, we urge you to order the MOQ FOB, and test it in a few key stores, and then work up a tentative "roll-out" order.  Based on actual sales in your market, we could then warrant organizing around the opportunity you offer.

Further, this would be a solid basis upon which to discuss the exclusive arrangements under consideration.

We are keen in supporting your goals with all of the resources we may call on here in the USA, but we need some solid sales data upon which to proceed.

Please feel free to offer any concerns or questions.

May we have your order for the MOQ FOB, and begin a relationship in which your customers enjoy the best tasting (named) products?

We look for ward to your kind reply,


John Spiers

Sales is about making others hopes and dreams come true with your products.   Those real buyers have a modus operandi.  Scamsters do too. Let's trim the sails to meet the needs of the real players.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Starbucks As a Candy Store

As far back as 2006 I noted in this blog that Starbuck's was in reality a candy store.  And now comes Howard Shultz announcing he wants to become the Willy Wonka of coffee.  Why not?
In fact, Schultz called it nothing short of the "Willy Wonka of coffee."
I also advised Starbucks to go wholesale only and supply more localized versions - they did not take my free advice but they are developing their own localized versions.

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends. Cheap Airline Tickets

Just saw this clever way of finding cheap flights.... it is getting sued by the airlines, but there is nothing to keep you from using its service.

When airlines priced shorter trips at higher prices we who travel frequently from say Seattle to say Los Angeles would in the face of two three day trips one month apart would buy a LV SEA 4 April LAX RT 4 May, for a cheap price and then buy a LV LAX 1 May SEA RT 7 Apr also cheap.  Save like 50%.

Then I leave seattle on one ticket, return on the other ticket.  A month later, use the other two parts to complete another trip.

No matter what plan anyone makes to discriminate, there are ways around it.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

"Piracy" - Five Kinds of Knock-off

Intellectual Property Rights makes fools of otherwise sane business people.  A successful building materials producer went to China for production, and pulled out when they found their producer was attempting to go around them with direct sales to standing customers.  In brief, USA company Bond selling to Lowes has Xiamen Hwaart produce for Bond in China so Bond can sell to Lowes.  After a few years Bond realizes Xiamen Hwaart is trying to sell Bond designed goods directly to Lowes, cutting out Bond.  So Bond foolishly sues under "intellectual" "property" "rights".
 Bond claimed that while setting up its exhibit for the annual tradeshow, its president Cam Jenkins discovered the exhibit for Xiamen Hwaart Composite Material had several pallets containing large boxes bearing the Bond logo and the marks of several licensed subsidiaries.     Bond previously did business with the Chinese firm but said it ended the business relationship in 2012 after learning Xiamen tried to "circumvent Bond to sell our products directly" to Lowes in violation of their business agreement.     The boxes bearing Bond's mark at the 2013 tradeshow "were clearly labeled with descriptions and pictures of products" bearing Bond's various trademarks and Bond item and SKU numbers, according the lawsuit.     "These products are unauthorized, and appear to be exact knock-offs of Bond products in every detail, because they were unlawfully made by Bond's former manufacturer to Bond's specific, proprietary designs," the complaint said.
The reporter covering the stories has no idea of how the world works, so he claims Xiamen Hwaart "must pay" $7.5 million judgment.  It will never happen.

What is foolish about all of this is there is an alternative.  Assuming the bona fides were performed, and Xiamen Hwaart was the best supplier in the world (and not just a decision made with "China fever"), then Bond contracts to have X (X = Bond's USA supply demand) produced for Bond, and Bond authorizes Xiamen Hwaart to make as much Bond product under private label or any liable Xiamen Hwaart desires, at say, 5% overage.  This works just like a royalty, except it is under contract law, not intellectual property law.  Bond manages the markets it knows, and encourages Xiamen Hwaart to discover all of the market it can worldwide.  At 5%, Bond is making riskless net probably superior to its operational net.

Bond stays in the business of collecting and distributing market feedback on the product and ever product improvement, plus new product development, where the profits are, and Xiamen Hwaart makes money producing goods and finding product worldwide for Bond-designed goods.

Objection one:  How can you trust Xiamen Hwaart?  If you did your bona fides, and understood int'l trade, then  you can trust them because both sides agreed.

Objection one-A:  They are cheating presently! How can anyone ever trust them?  No, it was only after Bond had foolishly ended the relationship out of fear that Xiamen Hwaart kept selling Bond.  Had Bond made the right deal, China Hwaart (again assuming bona fides were done) would honor the rigth deal.

(This is where Hong Kong agents are so valuable.  They instruct American on how the world really works.)

Objection Two:  How can you track whether or not you are getting your 5%?  You can't really.  Word gets out, or you can get proactive and look for blips in trade data (are you studying your HTS at USITC?)  But this is American's weakness, our strength is out contacts, where China to this day depends on relationships.  There is an ancient practice in the West called "occult compensation" which gets to this, we lost that with our hyper-legalism.

The result of the news wire report of the $7.5 million judgment lets all of Bond's customers know they can get perfectly good Bond-grade products at a lower price going directly to Xiamen Hwaart.  The lawsuits never disputes that the product was perfectly good, it only claims it was unauthorized.  Now Bond is in a funny position.  Their business will be impacted, but they cannot know exactly how come.  they've lost control of their market.

We misallocated billions a year in preventing problems that do not occur while inhibiting innovation all in the name of intellectual property rights.  Here are five kinds of piracy we fight that do not matter:

1. Bad copies with merely "confusingly similar" branding "Kelvin Klein" blue jeans, of shoddy workmanship.

2. Good copies with no "intellectual" "property" "rights" violations... a scarf everything thinks is Hermes, but it is not.

3. Excellent alternatives but not the same: a $30 "Rolex" "copy watch" on Nathan Road in Hong Kong is an excellent value and a good watch, as long as it has the Seiko movement with which most are made.  But is is not at all a Rolex.  It just says so.

4. Bad copies with real logos, often say Prada or some such garment, with accurate logo.

5. The real thing with the real logo, production overruns, unintended or not.  The article above seems to be #5, Bond design made to Bond specs in Bond livery.

No one needs to pay a penny to defend against any of this...  one through four are sold to people who would never bee your customers anyway, so why sweat what does not matter?  Five is the one that would matter, but refusal to work with reality or foolishly hiring an attorney is counter-productive.

No doubt Bond paid attorneys to get a contract with the chinese, and no doubt Bond paid the usa attorneys to do the IP case, and the usa attys will refund what Bond paid them when the Chinese pay the atty frees they "must pay".  In short, Bond is out what they paid the lawyers, and will get nothing, and now that the world knows perfectly good Bond product is available from Xiamen Hwaart, well, why mess with Bond, who apparently tend to turn business problems into legal problems?  Who wants that?

People hire lawyers to avoid legal problems, and get expensive and time killing business problems. Business and law have nothing to do with each other, and lawyers are state actors , not business people.  Why we teach in usa to turn all business problems into legal problems, I don't know.  But if and when an associate  threatens legal action, welcome that, but suggesst first a meeting to discuss the problem, and see if it can be worked out on business basis.  You are already ahead by attempting to mitigate.

If anyone still or otherwise proceeds against you in law, go pro se.  Do not retain an attorney.  If and when you are served with papers, draft your own responses and hire a neighborhood will and probate lawyer for form and timing of response paperwork. Once the case starts, require all communications be in writing, refuse to speak on the phone or in person with the other side.  In the law it is mostly the deal at the end, so play rope a dope and wait for the end.

Lawyers constantly threaten to "haul you into court."  It's not their court.  Ignore any such threats.  If an when a judge's order summons you, then obey that.  The trick in court is simply never, ever mess with the judge.  Otherwise, it is you versus the attorney, and in fact your rights pro se are superior in a court than an attorney.  Just do not mess with the judge.

Let your opponent spend $90,000 while you spend $1500.  The result will be pretty much the same.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

MOQ FOB & Resources

An aspect of the MOQ FOB is resource-preservation.  One reason to avoid Alibaba in all circumstances is the astonishing waste of resources necessary to play on that field.

Listen to this fellow at a food show, 28 seconds in...

Exactly!  Metzger, the fellow talking, has been around the block.  I've never met him (I don't think) but he says exactly what I say...  maybe one in a hundred "trade leads" becomes a customer.  (On alibaba, I'd bet more like one in 1000...) The trick is at these shows, filter out the 99 non-customers, and get to the real buyers.

And with what?  The MOQ FOB.  Cocal Cola was locked in marketing battles until they pulled ahead of everyone by introducing the six-pack, when all others had a minimum of 24 pack.  Testing and reorders led the way.

Small is beautiful.

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