Branded Program Master Class: Importer Match Expense

An importer match expense is a way to use the Branded Program to support the marketing efforts of your importer or distributor.

By Katie LaBarge, Branded Program Associate, Food Export – Midwest  

The Branded Program can be a great support to your export business by providing 50% reimbursement on international marketing expenses. To be reimbursed, we require documentation to meet the program regulations. In this blog series, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the more in-depth types of claims and documentation, which will help you take full advantage of the program. You’ll also find examples and links to further information. 

In this installment we explore the topic of importer match expenses. 

What is an Importer Match Expense? 

An importer match expense is a way to use the Branded Program to support the marketing efforts of your importer or distributor. It is common for suppliers to give their importers a marketing budget to help grow business and gain market share for their products. By using the Branded Program, you can begin or continue this type of arrangement without having to pay for this marketing budget. 

How Importer Match Claims Work 

  1. The first step to importer match claims is to find out what activities your importer is planning for the year. You will include these plans, as well as the name of your importer, in the Country Marketing Plan in your Branded Program Application.  

    Work with importers/distributors in multiple markets? No problem! Add Country Marketing Plans for all these markets with your importers’ planned activities and spending.  

  2. Once your application has been approved and you return your signed contract and 6% administrative fee, your importer can execute the activities listed in your application.

    They will need to document and take photos of each activity, and make sure each event/activity includes a USA origin statement.

  3. On a pre-determined timeline (monthly, quarterly, etc.), either you or your importer will submit the documents to Food Export as reimbursement claims. For each expense/activity, we require the following documentation:

    • Invoice 

    • Proof of Payment 

    • Proof of Activity (photo(s) of the activity or event) 

    • US Origin Statement – needs to be visible in each activity/event

      Food Export will review the claims and follow up with any questions or issues. When the documentation is complete, we will let you know the claim is ready for approval and how much the reimbursement will be.

      • Since Food Export can only reimburse US suppliers, you will need to reimburse 50% of your importer’s expenses before we reimburse you. We will reimburse you the same amount you pay your importer once we receive proof of your payment to them.

        US suppliers typically reimburse their importer in one of the following ways:
        – Wire the amount to the importer
        – Offer a credit to the importer off their next order 

            An example of this reimbursement process might look like this:
            Company A works with an importer in Mexico that pays $5,000 for in-store displays.
            Company A reimbursed the importer 50%, or $2,500, and then gets reimbursed
            $2,500 by Food Export.  

      Are you a good fit for importer match? 

      Importer match expenses are a great way for suppliers with an importer to maximize their budgets. Offering a marketing budget can also incentivize your importer to do more marketing of your product. 


      Want to learn more? Check out this previous blog post where we go into detail about marketing support for your importer. 

      As always, if you have any questions about importer match claims or working with your importer, you can contact your Branded Program team, we are here to help!