If you’re looking for a new product to import, you may want consider bananas! Believe it or not, bananas are the most popular fruit in the world. You may think the skin is only meant for the wastebasket but it actually has a variety of uses, from natural shoe polishing to soothing a bug bite! If you’re still skeptical check out BananaLink for all the details. These interesting tidbits might just make you go bananas about bananas.  Now that you’re convinced to get on the banana boat, it’s time to get to work and find a supplier. Most bananas are imported from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador or the Philippines. However, over 150 countries grow bananas. When choosing your supplier, be conscious of where you want to import from if you’re interested in getting them from a specific region. If you’re importing any type of fruit, read over these guidelines to make sure you’re in compliance with FDA standards.  If you’re already in the importing business, or even if you’re just getting started, a site like ImportGenius.com can help you find numerous suppliers of any product. You can look at other importing companies and see suppliers they’re working with. Importers use this to check up on their competitors. You can even view the supply chain to see all of the companies a particular supplier ships to. Of course, you can also track imports of products to see what the hot commodities are. This is a great tool that gives you insight into which manufacturers will be reliable business partners. A simple search for a product or shipper will show you all records for U.S. imports since 2006, and you can narrow down the date range.  A quick search of the Import Genius database shows that banana imports peaked in August and November of 2012. Overall, the database has over 43,000 results for banana imports, and nearly 8,500 shipments came in during 2012. A search for the popular brand ‘DOLE’ shows ‘CASTLE COOKE WORLDWIDE LIMITED’ and ‘ZHEJIANG CHUNAN FOREIGN TRADE’ are both foreign suppliers for the popular banana brand.  Industry trends within the data will point to verifiable and trustworthy companies. The application also provides you with contact information, so you’ll easily be in touch with a supplier to narrow down your list of suppliers and begin negotiations.  Trade shows  featuring  industry suppliers also take place on a fairly regular basis. Try EventsEye for a list of upcoming shows. If you’re able to attend you can meet with suppliers at these venues. Import Genius then helps with research if you have some suppliers in mind. Many major importers prefer to travel to the supplier and meet the people you’ll be working with. New studies point to the fact that the weekends are the best times to purchase a ‘discounted’ ticket!  When you speak with your supplier you will place your order and set up payment terms. If you have chosen a trustworthy supplier you should feel comfortable issuing them a down payment as this is a very common method of payment. You’ll pay about 20-30% upfront and then pay the remaining balance when your bananas are ready for shipping. You can also work with your bank and have them issue a letter of credit to the supplier. This letter states you’ll pay the total once the supplier has met the terms and conditions of the agreement. This process requires paperwork so make sure to give yourself time for it.  Next on your agenda is planning for the goods to get to port. Several documents are required for customs clearance. A good customs broker can handle this for you. They can also assist you in arranging both your freight and drayage companies. This will ensure the goods get all the way from the foreign supplier into your warehouse. You can check out reviews for brokers and find one to work with at USCustomsBrokers.org. When importing, don’t be too quick to skimp on your time and money when it comes to working with dependable people. If you make the right decisions, your suppliers and broker will be worth your investment!