The crazy-fast trick to hide your factories from your competition (includes script template)
Earlier this week I wrote about how to find factories- and my #1 trick is to backtrace the factories of my suppliers via customs databases like Panjiva (aff link).
But you can also guard your factories from appearing when your competitors search you. It’s fast, easy and cheap.
How do you work this black magic?
Dear CBP Privacy Officer,
I hope this email finds you well.
Please remove our company name from US Customs vessel manifest data as described here: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/285/related/1/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xMzgzNzc1MjkzL3NpZC9QRGhnWkhFbA%3D%3D
Our company name is xxx. We are also known by the following dbas, aliases, and misspellings: xxx xxx xxx
Our address is: 123 xxx xxx, xxx 12345
Note that this confidentiality protection takes 60-90 days to take effect, and is valid for a period of 2 years. You can re-apply 60-90 days before the end of the 2 year period.
This is fairly simple, but not foolproof. If your suppliers misspell your name on a customs entry, I have seen the misspelling show up, even if the information should have been blocked.
An advanced technique that is foolproof
Another way is to route your shipments through a trusted third party. For example, I have a trader friend that I move a number of my shipments through (he is the exporter of record). This means the customs trail stops cold with him- and he will not sell my competitors.
To use this method, you must have a high level of trust with your partner- and there may be some added cost to have them act as an intermediary. This one masters-level stuff- don’t try it unless you really know what you are doing!
Did I miss anything?
Let me know in the comments. Whether you are a newbie with unanswered questions, or a seasoned China hand, I love all input and feedback.
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