What are the respective roles of an agent, importer and distributor?

Commission or indent agents sell on behalf of exporters and receive a commission on the sales made. Agents seek out potential customers and may be used to facilitate and promote your products in their respective markets. They may be paid a salary, a retainer, a commission or a combination of all three, but unlike importers/distributors, they do not take legal possession of any goods.

Importers/distributors solely import goods for resale to other companies in the distribution chain. They pay the exporters and take legal possession of the imported goods. Under the terms of their agreement with exporters, they are usually obliged to carry stocks and provide after sales service where necessary.