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Demystifying Proof of Product. Special Report on Proof of Product for Traders. Professor Peter Gillies, MA, LLB, PhD Landerer Professor of Business Law School of Economics and Financial Studies Macquarie University Professor Gabriël Moens, JD, LLM, PhD Professor of Law and Director Australian Institute of Foreign and Comparative Law TC Beirne School of Law The University of Queensland László Parázsó MSc, MBA, LLM, PhD Doctor of Business Administration European Business School London Regent’s Business School Central European University Law School
With special debt for clarifying many such issues to David Giovanni Andrew Papa, CEO of FTN Exporting and one of the world’s most knowledagble physical commodity traders, in particular in areas pertaining to intermediaries and agency. The purpose of this report is simple, and short. To familiarize you, dear reader, with some critical concepts that will shed light on the matter of “proof proof of product”, and put it to rest - for good. These issues have popped up (no pun intended) in the course of private coaching and consulting provided to certain agents who were unsure what to do with request from potential clients who found an offer very attractive, but who wanted, before starting “pouring resources into it” (essentially, just passing it on to their end buyer) greater assurances. They wanted to ascertain that the Intermediary seller, the Trading Company who issued the offer, has a written confirmation from a refinery that such product would be produced and allocated to them. But they also wanted written assurance of this from the refinery in question. Often similar requests will be seen, for example a buyer might want “verifiable pop from seller’s banks for verification” or “This is why my buyer is careful.. He asks for POP and certificate of origin authorizing to sell our side..” or a similar variant. What does this all mean for you? A catch 22. On the one hand the buyer states what they claim to be a reasonable request – “we need some assurance, we don’t want to deal with time wasters, how do we know what you are selling is real? But on the other hand, basically what their buyer is asking for is information that can and usually will lead to circumvention. This is not to accuse the buyer’s agents directly of attempting circumvention, but either his buyer wanted reassurance that he's not dealing with utter jokers – there is a contingency in FTN’s procedures that addresses this - or he wants to circumvent the seller entirely and directly purchase from the supplier, which obviously cannot be allowed to occur. In Short: the buyer’s agent was politely advised that our group has our own specific procedures regarding what some called “Proof of Product”, these procedures allowing our principal (in this case FTN Exporting) to demonstrate what is termed PPI: Policy Proof of (Product) Interest. PPI is an old marine insurance term, Policy Proof of
Interest establishes an insurable interest in the mater being insured, here goods, where the actual real interest held by the party is somewhat vague. The Policy itself becomes documentary proof of a party’s interest in the goods being insured, in effect. A party may have some real, actual, but difficult o define interest in a body of goods – for example the party may not be the actual title holder of the goods but may have an assurance to purchase that specific consignment, or the goods are consigned to her for a further consignee down the line. These are actual interests and if the goods are destroyed the parties undertake losses on these goods based on the nature of their interests. In effect a PPI policy protected documentary interests of a party in the goods being insured on the stated face of their assurance of interests held. The overall doctrine of application is extended and ingenuously used by David Papa as a means of demonstrating an intermediary’s interests vested in goods being sold. If you are interested in more on this I refer you to David Papa’s “International Trade and the Successful Intermediary” published by Gowar Imprints, or his privately distributed “FYBR” products and courses. In any case, here buyers want a fair verification of a seller’s legal authority and ability to re-sell the specific products. Such verifications may include such matters as allocation numbers, and contact information for plant, refinery personnel to be contacted in verifying such matters. This verification is not truly “POP” e.g. Proof of Product – POP is an idiotic term and highly misunderstood in application and essence. Misconceptions that exist include: -Myth: Banks can provide Proof of Product. Well no, they cannot. Banks deal in finance, not in contracts or in underlying obligations in contracts. This is explicitly delineated in several international edicts. Frequently brokers ask for, or offer “POP to bank” in other words sending POP documents to the buyer’s bank, or having their bank advise POP documents. The operative psychology being this way of thinking, is the assumption that Banks have some official, though ill defined, capacity to vet and examine deals, or to provide confidential information, as couriers, and so on. Only in James Bond movies. Not in real life.
-Myth: Proof of Product Exists. Well no, technically speaking, it does not. Often people have little idea what they are talking about in such matters. You might see the phrase “partial POP” pop up here and there, in the banker of confused intermediaries. Look at the matter logically, how can proof of product be partial? Further, what sort of documents establish “partial POP” and what sort of documents establish “full POP”? One intermediary approached us with goods he wanted to sell, offering us “Soft POP” – well what exactly does he mean by soft POP? How can POP be soft or hard, Proof of product, one presumes, is proof of product – the idea of such proof being soft or hard does not enter the picture. One wonders, what’s the history of the usage of terms like “Soft POP” If Soda Pop is generated with hard water, then one can be sure that it is not Soft Pop, Coca Cola can certainly never be Soft Pop due to its phosphoric acid content, seriously – what in the dickens are people talking about? Do they even know, or do the words just tumble out in some inchoate order? Terms like “Partial POP versus Full POP” are made up terms, without currency whatsoever in the real world of physical commodity trading. On a purely logical basis, how in the world can you give someone "partial proof of product?" This business is about documents and procedures, pure and simple. Such documents must be excellently and clearly produced, underlying and supporting strictly adhered to procedures. Definitions therein must be clear and understood, and either spread by established custom or by international edict. Typical of procedures some brokers resort to: “POP: Must include tank receipts. Buyer will not issue a financial instrument before verifying tank receipts. Payment by MT103/23 against tank receipts.” Another misguided example: “Buyer’s Banker confirms contract and sends POP via SWIFT with Full Bank Responsibility, Buyer responds with DLC.” Beyond the typo, for they meant Seller’s Banker not Buyer’s (we think) there is the ambiguity, what in the world does “with Full Bank Responsibility” mean? Banks are never, ever, ever responsible for the underlying products or contractual commitments of their clients. Ayone who says otherwise is misinformed. Banks deal in finance and financial documents, period.
As for paying by MT – SWIFT MY code are end user transparent. No one really refers to payment by MT codes, unless they are bankers, sitting around in a Telex room. SWIFT MT codes are for banks not traders. The only people in the world running around throwing around MT codes as if to make a transaction sound more impressive are ill informed intermediaries and brokers. More to the case, what do tank receipts really establish? Other than giving away immediately an intermediary’s undisclosed principal without any quid pro quo on the side of the buyer? Anyone fool hardy enough to do this should at least insist on some sort of Performance Guarantee from the buyer ensuring that if such documents prove authentic the buyer has a certain number of days to lodge payment lest forfeiting the performance guarantee. None of this is “rocket science” – the same inquiry above stipulated “Seller provides buyer with authorization to dip test 100% of the tanks during the SPOT/contract duration” in reality these people have no idea whatsoever what they are doing or what they are talking about. Deals with such people should be avoided, not only do they often want to circumvent you but they are incompetent while doing so, to moot. You must dictate to them reliable and secure terms to follow, diplomatically but with an assured air. You must not allow yourself to deviate from the doctrine and general procedural approach advocated by David Papa in his works. This doctrine is based on over a century of normative trade practice and law. They represent a distillation of the essential fundamentals of normative trade between corporate and bank entities. You have a choice – trade right, or do not trade at all. In reality there is no standard full or partial, hard or soft, POP document in the trade. In reality there is no way to provide Proof of Product because of the nature of trade.
If someone purchases an oil contract on the NY Merc, and (for some reason) actually decides to take physical possession of the product (which happens), does he ask the commodity broker selling him the contract for "proof of product"? No, he would be laughed at. There are legitimate due diligence procedures that legitimate traders take recourse to, some of this I cover in my “Trade Fraud, Financial Fraud, and the Joker Broker.” Intermediaries acting as independent traders can avail of certain procedures to protect their position for a time while still allowing their proposed trading partner to accomplish a degree of due diligence, this will be covered further below, but such transactions will have mechanisms set in place to ensure performance or, and if one party fails to perform as they are bound, and properly ensure a venue for arbitration of any contractual failings on the part of the parties involved. Terms like "full pop" and "partial pop" are what some look at with contempt as “joker broker nonsense” mostly peddled either by scam artists or those sincere, but misinformed, intermediaries who end up trading with them. It is better to put some things plainly, at least. One individual, when asked “what is partial pop” had only this to reply: “With Full POP there is a bigger bang than with partial POP – isn’t that obvious?” We need say no more on this.. but we shall, anyway. Does one seriously think that the 5000 MT of bunker fuel oil one is buying will come from the exact tanks that the supposed tank receipt establishing their proof implies? No, of course not, tens of thousands of gallons of fuel will be emptied and re-filled in sundry tanks at a tank farm, at the terminal in question the actual fuel one purchases may come from this tank or that tank, or the supplier may actually fulfill the order from an entirely different depot. What an Intermediary Trading as a Buyer/Seller has are assurances of allocations of specific product from a corporate entity that may fulfill its obligation to that Trader from various sources, whilst that trader in turn fulfill its obligations from other sources.
What a Trader, an intermediary Buyer/Seller can provide is verifiable policy proof of interest in such products, by various documentary means. The best time to do this is after a formal contractual commitment is in place binding both buyer and seller to performance. It is idiotic for a buyer to request such obviously valuable confidential information pertaining to a seller’s “sources and means” without tendering something of commensurate value, quid pro quo. Prior to a binding contract commitment all one has is the buyer’s words and, frankly, hot air. Ideally such disclosures should occur after the buyer advises that they are RWA, Ready Willing and Able (for more on this matter see Davide Papa’s ITSI or FYBR) this, we expect to be established either by advising a Documentary Credit for payment, or a preadvised L/C. Since the seller is offering in transparency to fully provide verifiable documentary evidence its allocations and its legal ostensible authority to resell such products, the mechanism in which this is done has to enforce mutual compliance, and mutual safety. Such mechanisms should be advised in brief on the offer, but in enough clear detail to enable performance after Offer acceptance. They may be detailed in greater detail on actual contracts. All that a Seller can do is provide guarantees and verifiable documents evidencing goods as advised on the contract. As advised on the contract is the operative phrase. It is simple, and yet countless end buyers effectively “snow” intermediaries who lack the confidence to state their position in a reasoned well informed way. -Every buyer on the planet realizes that a Documentary Credit, DLC, is worthless without delivery. -In other words a documentary credit can only be applied for collection upon by presentation of documents clearly indicating delivery has taken place, and whose presentation is formally and explicitly stipulated on the credit itself. -A Trader’s stated nature of business is to buy goods from sundry hard and difficult to source suppliers, and then resell such goods to its own hard and difficult to source End buyers. Such Traders are essentially intermediaries, no matter how small or how large. Mitsui is an intermediary, Mitsubishi is an intermediary,
-A Trader does not waste its own time sourcing, securing, and plying highly wanted and attractive goods, at good prices, if not for written assurance from a supplier that the allocation would be sold to the Buyer/Seller, for the Buyer/Seller’s resale at will to buyers of its choice. An intermediary’s failure to obtain written assurance of products they which to sell is legally fraud. Advising sale of goods for which one does not have written confirmation of availability and ostensible authority to resell is fraud. Since all serious buyers know well that a Documentary Credit is worthless without the seller's performance and delivery, the buyer is safe to advise an L/C. Since they will not lose their money if the Seller turns out to be fake, though they will have lost time and possibly bank issuance fees. It is almost impossible to today’s world to really pull off Letter of Credit fraud, the few incidents that pop up (like the Hong Kong case discussed in my newsletter) are actually proof of egregious incompetence on the part of banks and were structured in a way in which intermediaries could not have been involved. So the buyer is at all times safe - no delivery, no performance, no payment. A buyer who is nervous about advising a full L/C however can advise a pre-advised DL/C, made operative on presentation of such documentary verification of the Seller’s interest in the product. In FTN Exporting’s case often this will be in the form of a certificate advised in blank on the contract, and then advised with full details of allocation verification and refinery or supplier contact personnel and information as PPI/ policy proof of product interest, FTN will give the buyer a time period to verify this information, and collection on the operative DLC will be allowed. A buyer objecting to such a procedure is being disingenuous and displaying bad faith. Since such a procedure is clearly evidenced on a Quid Pro Quo basis and ensures mutual compliance of all parties. A Seller who advocates good safe trading and procedures obviously has little to gain by fraud, in particular when it is much easier to simply secure access to real goods in the first place, and when peddling fraudulent offers for which the Seller has no written assurances of allocation is known to be illegal, fraudulent, and would damage such a seller’s reputation irrevocably, Information regarding a Trader’s sources and allocations are valuable trade secrets that can be willingly provided to a buyer in transparency, but only on a quid pro quo basis.
Since the Intermediary here is advising its own valuable trade secrets for the buyer’s comfort, this is in effect a risky expenditure of its resources, the intermediary must make certain that it is dealing with a serious and honorable buyer who is truly ready willing and able to commence a deal, and not someone simply “fishing around.” Interested readers are referred to David Papa’s works for more on the “PPI certificate”. What is to be advised here is that calling such documentary and verifiable proof of your interests in the products you independently sourced from your supplier, after your buyer advises a DLC or a pre-advised DLC, should not be called “Proof of Product” because this term is ambiguous, there is no proof of product only proof of your interests in the product and your ability to sell or consign such interests you hold in the product. Again, I must reiterate this, because the point is important. A serious buyer realizes that the Documentary letter of Credit is all but a worthless scrap of paper without his Seller’s affecting delivery, if such a buyer is a bit more experienced and savvy he will further realize that he can use an inexpensive option, advising a pre-advised DLC to be made operative only upon the Seller’s providing specific details. If these details are fraudulently advised by the Intermediary seller, this implies that the goods themselves were falsely offered, at which the buyer’s L/C can legitimately be canceled and the Seller himself could face serious legal charges pertaining to fraud. Much confusion exists about pre-advised Credits, some intermediaries ignorantly believe that they do not exist – such are fully allowed both under UCP600 and previously under UCP500, it is right there in the text. Such procedures have been used and tested in the past, David Papa himself has discussed such several times both in his free advice column at All Experts, and in his works from TWIY: The World is Yours, to FYBR: Follow the Yellow Brock Road, to his latest ITSI: International Trade and the Successful Intermediary. The Selling intermediary is free, at its discretion, to accept pre-advice of such a payment instrument, for your safety it should be issued as Confirmed, from a bank acceptable to you, subject to UCP600. As an Intermediary “Buyer/Seller” –you are an independent physical commodity Trader. You are not a mandated or exclusive agent to a supplier or a group of suppliers, rather you are an independent trading entity who purchases such goods at will, on your own account, taking legal title and all responsibilities – this is a massive and complex legal undertaking - most of such goods are reserved as allocations. Many of such goods are in high demand worldwide.
Such a Trader will often only have a certain time frame in which to perform and purchase such goods from its supplier. If unsafe practices arise, in matters of contract, then often such allocated goods will simply not be purchased. It is important to understand all of this: Option to purchase such goods is held by the Trader, which does not take physical possession and storage of such goods at that time. Such a Trader, yourself or your principal if you are working as a sourcing agent, will rather purchase title to such goods as they are in storage by the producer, and sell such title to these goods to the Trader’s own end buyers. In CIF delivery the Trader will often be responsible for chartering its own vessel, arrange ship loading and pumping, and taking care of carriage and insurance to the buyer’s port, where the buyer takes physical delivery. In FOB title and delivery legally transfers to the Trader’s buyer once the Trader has all goods loaded on board “over ship rails” – here a clean delivery is made. Delivery occurs once the goods are loaded over ship’s rails, countless intermediaries do not understand this point. Delivery is not possession. Legally delivery occurs once the goods are loaded in the proper condition and the requisite delivery documents are issued. The buyer obtains title to the goods once they are loaded over ship’s rails though in CFR or CIF deals the Intermediary bears additional risks while securing carriage and possibly insurance to the buyer’s port. In the same case of an end buyer who buys directly from a supplier, she will obtain title to the goods first, pay for them, charter a vessel carrying such goods, such goods arrive at the End Buyer’ port 30 or so days later, and the Buyer will present all of the documents evidencing her title to the goods and obtain physical possession of the goods from the carrier, at his own port. With an intermediary trader, such a one sells its actual legal ownership and interests in the product to the end buyer, who then takes delivery of the goods per the legal and customary practices outlined under whatever Incoterms are in play, say FAS, or FOB, or CIF etc. Reasonably, if an end buyer approaches a supplier in possession of the goods, and requests such goods, charters a ship, but has not yet taken legal title to the goods, and another end buyer approaches the same supplier in the meantime, any supplier may simply, easily, sell such goods to the other end buyer.
When this occurs, it leaves the first end buyer “in the lurch” who needs such goods but now the supplier’s stock is dwindled and cannot mobilize a loading of such goods until the future, leaving a disappointed and disgusted buyer. So too with you. In the end buyer’s case her competitor purchased goods that she needed, while these goods may actually be very hard to come by in times of peak demand. As buyer/seller of commodities an Intermediary secures under a binding contract, this Intermediary is not a protected commission agent – the Intermediary can decide to either buy such goods as secured or to not buy such goods. Almost all suppliers on the face of the earth will sell goods it has on hand to the first person who is willing and able to buy and take immediate possession of the goods, even if such goods are promised to another party. In the Intermediary’s case the situation is further complicated – the Intermediary may have has entered into binding contractual arrangements both with a supplier, about delivery of certain goods now in storage, and with an end buyer. Whatever happens when his end buyer circumvents him, and approaches his supplier directly, legally the Intermediary is still in a situation in which he has to perform for both the supplier and the buyer. But his own buyer swept his capacity to do so from under his feet. This puts the intermediary at massive legal risk. It is key to understand this, circumvention entails massive legal risks to the Intermediary, who is now placed in breach of his own legal contractual conditions with the supplier and also possibly in breach of contract with his own end buyer, even though his end buyer put him in this situation by circumventing him. This is an unacceptable and sticky legal risk and situation – if the intermediary has agents of his own, this also endangers the agents as well. As buyers and sellers of commodities in its own right a Trader will have no legal protection of the principals with whom it deals. But that Trader is bound, with personal consequences for its own failure to perform, to the very principal entities being dealt with, irrespective of whether or not performance failure results from mis-action on the part of one or both of these very same principals. Read this again carefully, and see the trap, the legal noose.
These are matters of binding legal contractual situations in which one party may have been unethically handled but is still legally liable to perform to the very entities that unethically handled it, without having that capacity to perform anymore. The Trader arranges to buy in large allocations and resells in smaller lots, at will, to multiple end buyers. As the Trader arranges the purchase of such large allocations and breaks them down into smaller lots to sell, the supplier who sells part of this allocation secured by the Trader, to an end buyer who decides to step around that Trader, endangers also that Trader’s commitments to other end buyers as well if that supplier lacks the stocks to fulfill the rest of the Trader’s needs. Moreover, since the Trader is disclosing verification details after accepting a buyer’s pre-advised DLC, and the act of authentically advising such verification of the Trader’s interests makes the DLC operative and in his account, there is now a live active Letter of Credit in the Seller’s account. Such can only be collected upon delivery, which entails the Seller’s performance, but here it cannot occur because the end Buyer basically gobbled up the goods directly, from the supplier, who now expects payment from the intermediary as well. This, in turn, will not occur because the intermediary is not going to release payment to the supplier after all of this. The Supplier therefore is now in breach of contract, the end Buyer is now in breach of contract, the Intermediary Trader is now in breach of contract. This clearly is a mess. And it is avoidable. These are not theoretical objections, they happen constantly - a cursory study of international trade law cases would yield many examples of similar incidents. Thus the need for simple but strict rules and procedures forcing all parties to perform honorably and reliably, ensuring fair and honorable performance of the Intermediary Trader, the Supplier, and the end Buyer, alike. This is simple and strict, unless otherwise at the Intermediary Seller’s discretion for some unusual reason, disclosure of their supplier must never be made prior to a binding contractual commitment. A real end buyer will have a very good idea of the Trader’s deal is legitimate by reading his well defined offer. The procedures themselves dictate this and dictate a safe path to follow while also providing on the face evidence of the authenticity of the Intermediary’s position.
For all of these reasons, as a Trader you can only provide evidence of your interests in specific products once the proper procedures are in place. This will enable a truly serious buyer to verify that you are in a legal position to sell such goods, but also ensure your end Buyer’s contractual performance as well as your own contractual performance. No confidential disclosures whatsoever should be allowed to prevail until a the buyer is in a contractual situation and they are ready, willing, and able to proceed. They have no right to such disclosures prior to this point. It is indeed a seller's right to test a buyer's financial capacity – after all, payment always comes first. Instead of the nonsense, joker broker, pseudo mechanisms of "bank probes" and "bank comfort letters" and suchlike nonsense, you must understand the nature of trade finance, credit, of how lines of credit, of how letters of credit are issued, and understand that, at the end of the day, for intermediaries: “Proof of Funds is a myth” Sure, the notion of proof of funds pops up here and there, mostly in commercial Real Estate transactions, but in this business it doesn’t occur. For example, a firm buying wheat from Cargill accepts the offer, preparations for loading is made at their terminals, Cargill expects payment via DL/C within a certain number of days. Period, if you waste their time you will be in serious legal difficulty. Nowhere is there a long drawn out process of POP and then POF and then FCO and then so on, and so forth, to the most silly nth degree. All that really matters at the end of the day is that a buyer is willing and able to advise payment, at the right time, at the right place, after a binding contract is signed, within the right number of days specified for the buyer to arrange her affairs sufficiently to issue a payment instrument. Thus there is only one true test of your buyer’s capacity – by way of a very simple and yet very effective protocol – that operates like a machine after the contract is signed in hand, and the deal swings to closure. Once a buyer accepts an offer, a contract is issued, negotiated, and signed, the buyer simply has to advise issuance of an appropriate financial instrument within a certain number of days.
Pretty simple, is it not? A seller really has no right to probe into an entity’s confidential finance structures and arrangements prior to any mutually obligating contractual commitments being in place. But once such contractual commitments are in place, both parties are in a relationship of mutual obligation, responsibility, performance, and commercial gains. The only effective thing that can be done, at that point, is to mutually perform, like clockwork, as required. Each party will then know the terms and condition under which they have agreed to proceed, and to be a part of. To be bound by. The process of getting able to apply such terms and conditions on the financial instrument that the Buying party is going to issue carries with itself somewhat of an “irrevocable “ protocol. For these reasons a Seller should not ask for buyer ‘”POF: Proof of funds” (so called) – certainly without issuing an offer first. Secondly the only meaningful proof of the Buyer’s funds can be advised by her very acceptance of your offer and contract, as a binding and irrevocable legal undertaking. Then, truly, issuing a financial instrument based on its contractual obligations. This is the only true "proof of funds" that matter from your end buyer. Nothing else matters and everything else is a waste of time. On the same hand, an ill informed intermediary or end buyer should not request an offer, and then ask for “POP: Proof of Product” – since there is no binding contractual relationship between all parties, yet. Just as it is nonsense for the seller to say "show me the money first" before a contractual relationship even exists, so too it is nonsense for the buyer's agent or the buyer itself to do the equivalent “Show me the product”. It is important to realize that a good and savvy Intermediary may find itself approached by many clients who often seek our much wanted products. The vast majority of such approaches will be time wasters, usually by brokers without a real end buyer secured, hoping to shop around for a buyer once they have a good offer in hand. Nine times out of 10 this is done in an ill informed manner, where a nervous broker will alter terms to convey what he thinks is safety, while not understanding the underlying processes at work.
Often, therefore, mysterious “POP” stipulations will actually be coming from such ill informed Brokers, not their end Buyers. Seriously, nine times out of ten, the only people who ask for "proof of funds" or "proof of product" are the buyer's agents, not the end buyer itself. Often it is the intermediaries who seek to appease their end buyers who actually request these sort of things, out of a sincere desire not to waste their client's time, but in a misunderstanding of the binding contractual engagements being considered. My experience is that most of such “hoop jumping” is instigated by brokers and agents who are simply afraid to present to their clients a spurious offer. There remains the second motivation which is, of course, often bad faith and simple circumvention - pure and simple. Since it is not possible to view into peoples’ hearts and minds, one must judge on actions. It’s to be noted that the same brokers who run around asking for POP would refuse to produce POP or POF when asked in another deal. A real end buyer will understand the binding legal ramifications of a contractual engagement. Any Intermediary that is a registered business entity can be easily found, if it fails to perform it opens itself up to massive risk of litigation An informed intermediary will only utilize standard corporate and banking procedures, according to the doctrine of “strict compliance” for all parties’ mutual protection and gain. POP/Proof of Product, is a useless undertaking adds to the useless proliferation of forms and documents, leading to the “battle of the forms” and should not be taken recourse to. This is all a matter of ambiguity, ambiguity is an actual real legal situation. I hope that you have enjoyed this document, and found it informative, if you are interested in information on due diligence, verifying your trade and investment partners, brokers, and other intermediaries, in knowing how to spot a bad fraudulent deal from a good one, ten check out my “Trade Fraud, Investment Fraud, and the Joker Broker” today – available at http://www.importexportscam.com/ - you may also want to sign up to my Newsletter on such topics.
Additional Resources: If you are interested in knowing truly how to trade, in how international Commodity deals work and in how you can participate as an independent intermediary, then there is no other resource on the planet better than the works of Davide Andrew Papa, his “ITSI: International Trade and the Successful Intermediary”, is available at amazon.com, and his privately distributed modular Step by Step course FYBR III, IV, and V are directly available from him. See David Papa’s site at http://www.itsi.itgo.com/ - note, I do not receive commissions from such referrals and my referral is a matter of belief in the solid high quality and depth of insight of David Papa’s works. Supplemental to this, it is critical that you thoroughly read the works of the late Professor Clive Schmittoff – in particular “The Export Trade” the 9th edition is the most complete. Please note that this work is revised and updated to better help the reader, and to present the material in a better manner.