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'[OT] International Wires / International Forwarder'
2008\07\03@230402 by Forrest W Christian

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As I do more and more business overseas, I'm getting more and more
irritated with both the local banks and with the shipping companies who
seem to like to take you to the cleaners as soon as you say "international".

I know some on the list do international import/export type work, so I'm
hoping that some of you might point me in the right direction.

First, I'm having nothing but problems finding somewhere I can easily
send and receive international wires.  My bank charges $10US for
incoming, and $50US for outgoing wires.   Plus, on the incoming side
they don't have a SWIFT code so I can't easily receive wires from the
rest of the planet which uses the SWIFT wire transfer system.

I am aware of xetrade for outgoing wires, but it also requires the
foreign account to be denominated in something other than USD.  Plus,
the currencies are limited - for instance, I have a vendor who wants
either RMB or USD.  USD is not an option since I am in the US, and a
currency conversion is required.   And RMB is not a supported currency.
 So that doesn't work for me.   Plus, they don't support inbound.

I have also checked with the banks easily available to me (Wells Fargo,
US Bank, and several regional/local banks), and although a couple have a
SWIFT code for inbound, they want a lot for each transfer.  I have a
hard time telling a customer to include an extra $50 for the bank fees
when the product is usually only a couple hundred dollars.   Also, for
outbound, all of them require masses of paperwork.

I would really like to find somewhere where I can, preferrably online,
insert an order to remove X dollars from my USD account, and transfer it
to this international account.   Ideally, the same vendor would handle
inbound transfers as well for a reasonable price.  My understanding is
HSBC does this, but being in Montana prevents me from opening the
appropriate commerical account.

The second problem is moving freight in a reasonably-cost-sensitive way.
 If I originate a shipment from this end, it can easily cost thousands
of dollars to move even a modest amount of product.  An example of this
is a recent purchase of power supplies.  90kg of supples, 6 boxes.  I
ended up wiring the vendor the money, and it cost something like
$600USD.  If I had used my DHL or UPS import account, it would have been
more like $2000USD.  The part I didn't find funny was that the $600USD
was shipping via DHL - If they ship on an account in Shenzen china, they
charge $600USD - but if you order the exact same shipment on the US
side, they charge $1800.  Go figure. Another gross example was the
shipping costs related to bringing in one rather small (12x12x12) box of
cables was something like $800, since the vendor didn't have a
relationship with a shipping company on the foreign side.

Because of this I'd really like to find some way to move (even if it
takes a couple of weeks) reasonably sized items into the states without
paying an arm and a leg.  I think what I am looking for is an
international forwarder, but there are lots of them out there and none
seem to be what I want.   I simply want to be able to say "there are x
packages weighing x, containing x at the factory - bring them to me, and
I need them in 3 weeks", and they show up at my door for a reasonable cost.

Ideas?

-forrest

2008\07\04@004125 by Roger, in Bangkok

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Freight forwarders, aka consolidators, work based on partnerships with
like-feathered companies in the foreign country.  You need to go to your
local guy and tell him what country(s) you want to ship to/from.  He will
have or will a partners as close as possible.  If you want goods shipped to
you, go to the local guy after making your arrangements with the foreign
supplier and verifying goods are ready to go.  Then your local guy will
issue a pickup request to his overseas counterpart who will send his truck
to the supplier.  Then he takes the goods, packs it up, initiates the
paperwork with copies to your guy ... everything is done through harmonized
codes and goods are (should!) already be cleared for you before they
arrive.  Same thing more or less for shipping, but give your guy time to
find a partner.

What these people do is consolidate many shipments into a single container
so their profit potentials are huge and you can leverage that for good rates
if you're doing ongoing business with them.  If you don't need something
ASAP, tell them, they may have a container due to go out next week that is
only 1/3 full, so they can pick up 100% profit on anything they can squeeze
into it.  Weight is never a factor except in exceptional cases ... container
shipping costs are based on volume.

If you're in the states, call SBA (small business administration).  they
have tons of good solid helpful information for free.  They also have (or at
least used to) a thing called CORE ... corps of retired executives who
voluntarily mentor people through such things as this.

Good luck!

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok

On 7/4/08, Forrest W Christian <spam_OUTforrestcTakeThisOuTspamimach.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2008\07\04@012749 by Vitaliy

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Forrest W Christian wrote:
> First, I'm having nothing but problems finding somewhere I can easily
> send and receive international wires.  My bank charges $10US for
> incoming, and $50US for outgoing wires.   Plus, on the incoming side
> they don't have a SWIFT code so I can't easily receive wires from the
> rest of the planet which uses the SWIFT wire transfer system.

We're in the same boat. Our bank is Wells Fargo, they charge $35 per
outgoing wire.

Until recently, the biggest problem was not the fee, but the actual process
of initiating the T/T. Go to the branch, wait in line, meet with a banker,
wait for him to fill out a 2-page legal-size paper form, call a week later
to find that the transfer was never sent... >:-(

Now, we have set up "recurring wire tranfer" that allows us to send wires to
certain vendors, by phone.

> I would really like to find somewhere where I can, preferrably online,
> insert an order to remove X dollars from my USD account, and transfer it
> to this international account.

Me too. [Wouter, feel free to remind us again how great the European banking
system is, compared to the US.]  ;)

{Quote hidden}

If I didn't know better, I would swear you worked in our purchasing
department. :-)  We found the same to be true -- DHL, FedEx, and UPS charge
far more if we use our account, versus allowing the supplier to use theirs.
FedEx rep's explanation didn't make any sense ("fuel costs are lower in
Elbonia compared to US").

{Quote hidden}

One company we worked with is DFDS. Lately though, we mostly deal with
companies that arrange the shipping on their end.

Vitaliy





2008\07\04@020109 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Me too. [Wouter, feel free to remind us again how great the European banking
> system is, compared to the US.]  ;)

But it did force PayPal into existence! Would using PP be an alternative?

Otherwise, find a trusted pal living inside the 'european' style banking
system (no, not me, I can't be trusted!) . My favorite large-quantity
(for me that is > 10 ) PCB house is in HongKong, but a Dutch guy is
serving as front-end for them. Very convenient.

Or: are you allowed to open an account in a foreign land yourself? IIRC
I once cehcked and I was allowed to open an account in Belgium, but
maybe that does not count as foreign :)

Or vote for a next president who promises to change the banking system.
Do any of the candidates care?

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\07\04@022640 by Forrest W Christian

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> But it did force PayPal into existence! Would using PP be an alternative?

For most of the vendors, no.

> Otherwise, find a trusted pal living inside the 'european' style banking
> system (no, not me, I can't be trusted!) . My favorite large-quantity
> (for me that is > 10 ) PCB house is in HongKong, but a Dutch guy is
> serving as front-end for them. Very convenient.

My favorite PCB house is "PCBFabrication.com" which does the same
thing..   At least as far as I can tell.  All the work is done overseas,
but with a local US contact (I think only one or two guys here in the
US), which handles things like the CC transactions, etc.   Shipping is
cheap also.

On the other hand, the injection molded cable company I am working with
also has 1-2 people here in the US, but they haven't figured out how to
make this work..  I think I paid $1US each to have some 6" long cables
moved in...  There has to be a better way.

> Or: are you allowed to open an account in a foreign land yourself? IIRC
> I once cehcked and I was allowed to open an account in Belgium, but
> maybe that does not count as foreign :)

I should perhaps check on that...  Open a foreign currency account
somewhere and use xetrade to move funds there...   I'll have to see what
I can figure out there.

> Or vote for a next president who promises to change the banking system.
> Do any of the candidates care?

I think the problem is that domestically, the US banking system works
well enough that for most people it isn't an issue

-forrest

2008\07\04@025108 by Vitaliy

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Forrest W Christian wrote:
>> Or: are you allowed to open an account in a foreign land yourself? IIRC
>> I once cehcked and I was allowed to open an account in Belgium, but
>> maybe that does not count as foreign :)
>
> I should perhaps check on that...  Open a foreign currency account
> somewhere and use xetrade to move funds there...   I'll have to see what
> I can figure out there.

Can you please drop me a note if you're successful?

>> Or vote for a next president who promises to change the banking system.
>> Do any of the candidates care?
>
> I think the problem is that domestically, the US banking system works
> well enough that for most people it isn't an issue

Is this not something banks themselves should fix?

Vitaliy

2008\07\04@030224 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> My favorite PCB house is "PCBFabrication.com" which does the same
> thing..

For all we know behind the scenes the same Chinese factory might serve
us both :)

> I think the problem is that domestically, the US banking system works
> well enough that for most people it isn't an issue

yeah, and when you say "domestically" that's the same (in number of
people) when I say EC-wide. Maybe the UK will change over at some time
and take you with them.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\07\04@033542 by Forrest W Christian

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Vitaliy wrote:
>> I think the problem is that domestically, the US banking system works
>> well enough that for most people it isn't an issue
>
> Is this not something banks themselves should fix?

Yes, and it will probably happen eventually, as we go more and more
electronic in the US.  I'm already seeing things like banks permitting
online ACH origination by individuals to non-owned accounts.   I think
it will just take time.

We could discuss the whole credit card fraud risk being passed onto the
merchant issue (instead of the credit card issuer or the card owner -
who both are in a better position to prevent the fraud in the first
place), but that is way off this discussion and I don't necessarily
wan't to get this thread off-topic (with the hope that someone will add
just the right piece of information to solve my dilemma).

-forrest

2008\07\04@062014 by Djula Djarmati

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> Forrest W Christian wrote:
>>> Or: are you allowed to open an account in a foreign land yourself? IIRC
>>> I once cehcked and I was allowed to open an account in Belgium, but
>>> maybe that does not count as foreign :)
>> I should perhaps check on that...  Open a foreign currency account
>> somewhere and use xetrade to move funds there...   I'll have to see what
>> I can figure out there.
>
> Can you please drop me a note if you're successful?

I don't think you can do that legally, the IRS very actively prohibits
US residents from keeping their money in foreign banks.

One example http://www.internaxx.lu

Incoming bank transfer fee - free
Outgoing bank transfer fee (EU) - free
Outgoing bank transfer fee (outside EU) - 10 EUR

BUT: "Please note that we are not able to accept US residents or US
citizens as customers."

Djula

2008\07\04@064155 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I don't think you can do that legally, the IRS very actively prohibits
> US residents from keeping their money in foreign banks.

But does that also apply to a US (one-man) company?

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\07\04@072700 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Forrest W Christian wrote:

>> Or vote for a next president who promises to change the banking system.
>> Do any of the candidates care?
>
> I think the problem is that domestically, the US banking system works
> well enough that for most people it isn't an issue

"Well enough" only for someone who never experienced it otherwise -- I
still remember the feeling of being set back by a few centuries when
arriving in the "promised land" and doing my first banking things :) Also,
I think there are enough big players in the market (like CC companies and
PayPal and the like) that don't want a well-working banking system because
they make their money because there isn't one... I wouldn't hold my breath
for this to ever change.

But to get back to your question, I don't think the European banking system
helps much when crossing the EU border. AFAIK, wire transfers are generally
expensive there, too.

I've just sent my first transaction with Xoom.com. AFAICT, they are the
cheapest to send money to pretty much anywhere. When comparing the cost of
sending money internationally, you have at least four cost items: the
sender's fees, the recipient's fees, the exchange spread and the work
involved to set up the transfer. It's not only about the sender's fees; the
exchange spread can be substantial. You can check that by going to e.g.
Xoom's site and start setting up a transfer, and it'll tell you what
exchange rate they give you. Then you call your bank's wire department, and
ask them what rate they'd give you if you sent a wire now.

There went something wrong with my transaction, but it seems they are
resolving this in an acceptable manner.

Gerhard

2008\07\04@073116 by Djula Djarmati

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>> I don't think you can do that legally, the IRS very actively prohibits
>> US residents from keeping their money in foreign banks.
>
> But does that also apply to a US (one-man) company?

That is a very good question, if you could open an account in EU or Hong
Kong it would be very easy to send/receive money.

Please let us what you find out.

Djula

2008\07\04@074433 by Chris Smolinski

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>  >> I don't think you can do that legally, the IRS very actively prohibits
>>>  US residents from keeping their money in foreign banks.
>>
>>  But does that also apply to a US (one-man) company?
>
>That is a very good question, if you could open an account in EU or Hong
>Kong it would be very easy to send/receive money.
>
>Please let us what you find out.

Let's be clear here. The IRS doesn't prohibit you from having a
foreign bank account. If you have one, you need to report the assets
in the account, for tax purposes.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=148845,00.html

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2008\07\04@074934 by Roger, in Bangkok

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Since when?

If we have signature authority on foreign accounts where more than 10,000
USD has been transferred in a single transaction then the account details
have to be reported to US Treasury department, but only after the
transaction and no restrictions otherwise.

We do have to report all profits from off shore accounts and transactions
for tax accounting purposes.

Where we have our money is in no way restricted.  When we use our money in
illegal ways then we pay the penalties ... I assume that is the same for
most people in the world.

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok

On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 5:19 PM, Djula Djarmati <.....piclistKILLspamspam@spam@sbb.co.yu> wrote:

> > ...
>
> I don't think you can do that legally, the IRS very actively prohibits
> US residents from keeping their money in foreign banks.
> ...

2008\07\04@080101 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> But to get back to your question, I don't think the European banking system
> helps much when crossing the EU border. AFAIK, wire transfers are generally
> expensive there, too.

a few figures (rounded:

E 1200.00 (to China) charge E 5.00 (probably split charges)
E 1200.00 (to UK) charge E 5.00 (split charges)
E 4000.00 (to China) charge E 20.00 (charges on me)

Domestic transfers and transfers within the Euro-countries are charged ~
E0.10 (I don't know the exact figure, it is too low to bother).

Note that this is all done from behind my PC, zero paper work, no trip
to the bank. I don't even know if my bank has physical offices or where
those could be.

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\07\04@083348 by Djula Djarmati

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Roger, in Bangkok wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Ok, I had this impression since many reputable banks have the "NO US
RESIDENTS" warning.
So, the OP can open an account in Hong Kong or EU and pay online and
cheaply. Again, please let us know how this works out.

Djula

2008\07\04@090330 by Alan B. Pearce

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>But to get back to your question, I don't think the European banking
>system helps much when crossing the EU border. AFAIK, wire transfers
>are generally expensive there, too.

Too true - if I want a UK bank to transfer funds to an EU account I pay
something like GBP30 - around US$60 - for the privilege. This sis even
though the UK is in the EU zone, but because it still has its own currency
it is not in the Euro zone.

2008\07\04@090601 by Cedric Chang

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{Quote hidden}

Is the US banking system constrained by law into being inconvenient ?
cc


2008\07\04@092232 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Is the US banking system constrained by law into being inconvenient ?

No, but at least part of the current EC-region low transfer fee system
was forced upon the banks by (European) law. So law/regulation can be
for the good :)

--

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu

2008\07\04@092252 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Is the US banking system constrained by law into being inconvenient ?

nah - it will be like the UK banking system, out to get every penny they can
by being a cost-plus industry, second only to the government.

2008\07\04@092956 by Spehro Pefhany

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Quoting Djula Djarmati <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....sbb.co.yu>:

{Quote hidden}

It's because the reputable banks don't want to be the target of draconian
extra-territorial US laws, so it's simpler for them to just prohibit any US
persons or corporations. Few other countries have such laws, and the  
few that do (other than the US) don't have the ability to enforce them.

I think you'll find that most banks which do business in and outside  
the US have a pretty solid wall between the businesses, practically  
arms-length.

Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..."                          "The Journey is the reward"
s...spamspam_OUTinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com


2008\07\06@185653 by Vitaliy

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>> Is the US banking system constrained by law into being inconvenient ?
>
> No, but at least part of the current EC-region low transfer fee system
> was forced upon the banks by (European) law. So law/regulation can be
> for the good :)

TANSTAAFL. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TANSTAAFL

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