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Practical advice for business
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Entering overseas markets

There are various ways of entering overseas markets. You can manage the process yourself - selling directly from the UK or setting up an operation in the target country. Alternatively, you can use an intermediary such as an agent or a distributor.

Deciding how to enter an overseas market will be a crucial part of your export strategy. Different methods will be appropriate in different markets or for different types of product. You should not assume that you can take the same approach in all cases.

This guide contains basic information on the different ways of entering an overseas market and helps you identify which will be best for your situation. For additional basic information see our section on market entry, selling and promotion and our guide researching overseas markets.

Subjects covered in this guide

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UK Trade & Investment Enquiry Line

020 7215 8000

Institute of Export Helpline

01733 404 400

SITPRO Helpdesk

020 7215 8150


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Sales and marketing

Selling overseas


Entering overseas markets


Current section



The different ways to enter overseas markets


Choose how to enter overseas markets


Selling direct from the UK


Opening operations in overseas markets


Using an overseas agent


Using an overseas distributor


Finding and choosing overseas agents and distributors


Contracting with overseas agents and distributors


Here's how an export agent helped me sell my products abroad