Enquiries and Offers
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Enquiries and Offers. UNIT. Learning Objectives  Asking for and giving information about the products Mastering the ways of making enquiries and offers  Understanding cultural differences in international business negotiations  Writing enquiries and offers. 8.

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Enquiries and Offers


  • Learning Objectives

  • Asking for and giving information

  • about the products

  • Mastering the ways ofmaking

    enquiries and offers

  •  Understanding cultural differences in

  • international business negotiations

  •  Writing enquiries and offers





◆ Warm-up Practice

◆Listening Task

◆ Speaking Task

◆ Reading Task

◆ Writing Task

◆ Follow-up Practice


We need to discuss some questions about what we are going to learn in this unit.

Sure, that’ll help us understand better about what we are asked to do.

Warming-up Practice

1 discussion

1. Discussion

1) What are the basic procedures to be followed if a contract is to be signed in any business transaction? Now complete the following links with what may be involved in a business negotiation and then give your reasons.

Business negotiation in international trade

Business Negotiation in International Trade

Before a transaction can be made, the two parties involved have to reach an agreementover the goods to be bought or sold as well as the terms and conditions of the deal. A contract is concluded when such an agreement is reached. In a typical transaction, this occurs when an offer made by one party is finally and unconditionally accepted by the other party.

The conclusion of export trade begins with the constructionof a contract between an importer and exporter. In the contract the following terms and conditions must be stipulated: name of commodity, quality, quantity,packing, price( unit price & total value),time of shipment( place of shipment and destination),payment termsand rights and obligations of each side.All the terms and conditions must be specified clearly in order to avoid any dispute in the implementation of the contract.

The basic procedures to be followed if a contract is to be signed in any business transaction can be classified into the following five links:





Conclude a contract


2)When quoting a price in international trade, you must use a price term. Now match the price terms theunder the INCOTERMS 2000 with their Chinese equivalents and then tell which price terms are commonly used and what are the rights and obligations under such price terms.

a. EXW (EX Works) 1. 船边交货

b. FAS (Free Alongside Ship) 2. 运费付至

c. FCA (Free Carrier) 3. 目的港船上交货

d. FOB (Free On Board ) 4. 未完税交货

e. CFR (Cost and Freight) 5. 工厂交货

f. CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) 6. 货交承运人

g. CPT (Carriage Paid To) 7. 运费、保险费付至

h. CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To) 8. 装运港船上交货

i. DAF (Delivered At Frontier) 9. 成本加运费

j. DES (Delivered Ex Ship) 10. 目的港码头交货

m. DEQ (Delivered Ex Quay) 11. 完税后交货

n. DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) 12. 边境交货

o. DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) 13. 成本、保险费加运费


a. 5 / b. 1/ c. 6 / d. 8 / e. 9 / f. 13 / g. 2/ h. 7 / i. 12 / j. 3 / m. 10 / n. 4 /o. 11



An enquiry is a request for trade terms of certain commodity. Enquiries may be made by letter, telegram, telex, fax or even by telephone or through face-to face talk. Since the 1990’s enquiries made by E-mail have been on the increase. When making an enquiry, keep it brief, specific, clear and to the point; say what needs to be said and ask what to be asked and then stop. For instance, the buyer may want general information, a catalogue or a price list, a sample, a quotation, and so on. Sometimes, the buyer should mention the size of his order as large order may obtain more favorable quotation.

An enquiry received must be answered fully and promptly. If it is from a new customer, say the sellers are glade to receive it and express the hope of a long and friendly business relationship so as to create good impression on the buyer. In a word, the reply to an enquiry should be prompt and courteous and cover all the information asked for.



An offer means submitting or furnishing details including prices, conditions and other related items needed for a contract. Or, according to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods, "a proposal for concluding a contract addressed to one or more specific persons constitutes an offer if it is sufficiently definite and indicates the intention of the offerer to be bound in case of acceptance."


Listening Task

In this part you are going to listen to a dialogue and a passage. Try to finish the exercises while listening.

Are you ready?


8.1.1 Listen to the dialogue and answer the following questions.

  • What is Mr Wood’s line of business?


    2) Why did Mr Wood come to inquire about carpets?

    Under the request of one of his clients.

    3) How did Ms Zhang describe her products?

    Their carpets were handmade of pure Chinese wool. They were resilient

    and had fine workmanship. They had a ready market in many European countries.

    4) On what condition would Mr Wood place his order with Ms Zhang?

    If the carpets were of the specifications and colours he wanted, he would place an order.

    5) What did Ms Zhang mean when she said they also took special orders?

    That’s to say, they could make carpets according to their customer’s requirements.

    6) What price terms did Mr Wood prefer?

    CIF prices.

    7) Was the business concluded on the spot?

    No. Ms Zhang would check the requirements carefully before she made a commitment.


  • By whom can an offer be made?

  • An offer can be made either by a seller or buyer.

  • 2) What are the two main kinds of offer?

  • Offer with engagement or firm offer and offer without engagement or non-firm offer.

  • 3) What is a counter offer?

  • An amended offer made by the offeree in response to a received offer. A counter offer is actually a new offer.

  • 4) What is the difference between “firm offer” and “non-firm offer”?

  • A firm offer keeps binding on the part of the offeror until it expires, whereas a non-firm offer is subject to change without prior notification.

  • 5) What is a “bid”?

  • A bid is an offer made by a buyer.

8.1.2 Listen to the passage and answer the following questions.


Speaking Task

In this part you are going to read two dialoguesin pairs and then you will be asked to answer some questions about what you have read.

8 2 1 dialogue read the dialogs and then answer the following questions

8.2.1 Dialogue Read the dialogs and then answer the following questions.

1) Why did Mr Yao ask Mr Barry to tell him the quantity before he quoted the price?

Because the price varies according to the quantity.

2) How much will 1000 sets of bicycles cost based on Mr Yao’s

US $50 000

3) What was the offer made by Mr Yao?

US$ 50 per set CIF New York with a commission of 5 percent.

4) What were the terms of payment Mr Yao required?

Letter of credit at sight.

5) When was the earliest possible time of shipment?

Within one month after receipt of letter of credit.

6) How long will Mr Yao keep his offer open?

For two days.

8 2 2 dialogue

8.2.2 Dialogue

1. What was the purpose of Mr Field’s visit to Mr Chen’s company?

He was prepared to place the textile goods of the company in his market.

2. Which articles was Mr Field interested in?

Article A40 and B30.

3. Why did Mr Chen recommend Article A50?

Because Article A40 won’t be available until November. Article 50 is similar to

A40 and ever superior to it.

4. What did Mr Field say about Article 50?

Article 50 hasn’t been introduced into his market before. So, it is quite new to

his buying public and they are not sure of its quality.

5. What was the price of Article A50?

40 cents per yard CIF London.

6. Why did Mr Chen give a 2 % commission to Mr Field?

As an encouragement of business.


Reading Task



1. What do cross cultural negotiations involve?

2. Do you think it is important for international business people to take cross cultural negotiation training? Why or why not?


Fill in the table describing the behavioral differences between an American and a Chinese negotiator.



  • What are the three interconnected aspects to be considered before entering into a cross cultural negotiation?

  • The basis of the relationship, information at negotiations, negotiation styles.

  • 2. Try to Identify some other cultural differences in negotiation styles by consulting a negotiation book or some senior cross cultural negotiators.

  • (Open)


Writing Task

In this part you are going to learn how to write letters of enquiry and offer.



Enquiries are often written in response to an advertisement that we have seen in the paper, a magazine, a commercial on television or on the Internet when we are interested in purchasing a product, but would like more information before making a decision. Most letters of inquiry, especially from longtime or regular customers may be very short and simple in content. But there are some other inquiries which are in great details including the main terms and conditions of a sale required by the buyer so as to enable the seller to make proper offers.

For a first inquiry — a letter sent to a supplier with whom you have not previously done business,usually, the following information should be included: ● A brief mention of how you obtained your potential supplier’s name;

● Some indication of the demand in your area for the goods which the supplier deals in;

● Details of what you would like your prospective supplier to send you. Normally you will be interested in a catalogue, price list, a sample, a quotation, and so on.

Sample enquiry

Sample Enquiry

Dear Sirs,

We have heard from the British Embassy in Paris that you are producing for export hand-made shoes and gloves in natural materials.

There is a steady demand in France for high-quality goods of this type. Sales are not high, but a good price can be obtained for fashionable designs.

Will you please send us your catalogue and full details of your export prices and terms of payment, together with samples of leathers used in your articles and if possible, specimens of some of the articles themselves?

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Sample offer

Sample Offer

Dear Sirs,

We are in receipt of your letter of March 21 and, as requested, are airmailing you, under separate cover, one catalogue and two sample books for our Printed Shirting. We hope they will reach you in due course and will help you in making your selection.

In order to start a concrete transaction between us, we take pleasure in making you a special offer, subject to our final confirmation, as follows:

Art.No. 81000 Printed Shirting

Design No. 72435-2A

Specifications: 30x36x72x60 35/6”x42 yds

Quantity: 18,000 yds

Packing: In bales or in wooden cases, at seller’s option

Price: USD … per yard CIF3 Hamburg

Shipment: To be made in three equal monthly installments, beginning from May, 2006.

Payment: By confirmed, irrevocable L/C payable by draft at sight to be opened 30

days before the time of shipment.

We trust the above will be acceptable to you and await with keen interest your trial order.

Yours faithfully,

Language points for an initial inquiry


●The start: Dear Sir or Madam / Dear Sirs / Gentlemen/To Whom It May Concern - (very formal as you do not know the person to whom you are writing)

● Giving reference: With reference to your advertisement in.../ Regarding your advertisement in ... / We have seen your advertisement in …(For more expressions, see Language Focus in Unit 7.)

● Requesting a catalogue, brochure, etc.: Will/Would/Could you please send us...? / Please send us…/ I should be pleased if you would send us…

● Requesting further information: I would also like to know .../ Could you tell me whether ...?

● The complimentary close: Yours truly / Yours faithfully - (very formal as you do not know the person to whom you are writing)

● Signature: The addresser’s signature, his/her typed name and his/her title .

Language points for answering an initial inquiry


● The start: Dear Mr/ Ms / Mrs/ Miss ( Use Ms for women unless asked to use Mrs or Miss)

● Thanking the potential customer for his/her interest: Thank you for your letter of ... enquiring (asking for information) about .../ We would like to thank you for your letter of ... enquiring (asking for information) about ...

● Providing requested materials: We are pleased to enclose.../ Enclosed you will find... /We enclose ...

● Providing additional information: We would also like to inform you .../ Regarding your question about .../ In answer to your question (enquiry) about ...

● Closing a letter hoping for future business: We look forward to ... hearing from you / receiving your order / welcoming you as our client (customer).

● The complimentary close: Yours sincerely (remember use 'Yours faithfully' when you don't know the name of the person you are writing and 'Yours sincerely' when you do.)

Writing practice read the following advertisement

Writing PracticeRead the following advertisement:

Morris Docherty & Company Limited

200 Regent Street, Oxford OX43 19TN


For Cars and Motorcycles

We are manufacturers and can supply a good range of lamps from stock (rectangular, round and high intensity types), with mounts and wiring. Write for further information to the Manager.


Compose two letters based on the following situations:

1)You are one of the leading importers of motor-car accessories in your area. After you have read the above advertisement, you write a letter to the company enquiring about their products. You should think about these points in your enquiry:


● Make sure you know who to write to.

● Refer to the advertisement.

● Ask for information about the goods.

● Explain your own business.

● Explain what sort of order you may place.

● Ask if you can receive a catalogue, price list, a sample, a quotation, and so on.

● Ask for such terms as payment and delivery.

● Mention any other useful points.


2) Now suppose you are the manager of the above company. You reply to this enquiry. You should think about these points in your reply:


● Decide who you write to

● Refer to the enquirer’s letter.

● Give the information the enquirer needs about the goods.

● Explain your payment terms and delivery dates

● Explain your discount.

● Give any further helpful information.


Follow-up Practice

We will practice what we have learnt in this unit.

Yes, let’s do it!

Practice makes perfect

1 questions and answers what would you say

1. Questions and AnswersWhat would you say?

1) A: May I know what particular items you are interested in?

B: ____________________________________________

2) A: Could you give me some idea about your prices?

B: ____________________________________________

3) A: Could you recommend some articles to me?

B: ____________________________________________

4) A: Would you please quote your price for this product?

B: ____________________________________________

5) A: Do you quote CIF or FOB?

B: ____________________________________________

6) A: Is your offer a firm one or one without engagement?

B: ____________________________________________

7) A: How long does your offer remain valid?

B: _____________________________________________

8) A: I’d like to know whether you can offer me 500 more cases of black tea.

B: _____________________________________________

9) A: How long does it usually take you to make delivery?

B: _____________________________________________

10) A: Could you tell me the earliest possible time of shipment?

B: _____________________________________________

2 description describe what the two parties do in their enquiry and offer

2. Description Describe what the two parties do in their enquiry and offer.

Buyer’s action

Seller’s action














3. Presentation PracticeMake a short presentation on one of the following topics. Try to find as much information as you can from different sources available for your talk.

  • Ways to successful negotiations

  • How to become a good business negotiator

  • Relevant topics of your own choice

4 translation practice

4. Translation Practice

1) 如果你方报价具有竞争性,交货期可接受的话,我们愿意向你方订货。

We shall be very glad to place our order with you if your quotation is competitive and delivery date acceptable.

2) 价格随数量不同而有所不同。所以请告知你方需要的数量,以便我方报价。

The price varies according to the quantity. So please tell us what quantity you require so that we can work out the offer.

3) 我们要订的数量主要取决于你方的价格。

The size of our order depends greatly on your price.

4) 我想请你们报到纽约的最低到岸价。

I’d like to have your lowest quotations, CIF New York.

5) 很荣幸告诉你方,你们的自行车在我国很畅销,而且市场需求很大。所以我们向你方询价。

We are pleased to inform you that your bicycles have a ready market in our country and there is a steady demand for your product in our market. So we’d like to make an inquiry.


6) 去年我们纺织品出口创记录,今年我们努力进一步提高质量和设计以适应国际市场的需要。

Our exports of textiles last year reached a record high and this year we are trying hard to further improve the quality and design to suit the international market.

7) 由于我方这些产品的存货有限,请立即订货,切勿拖延。

As our stocks of these goods are limited, we would advise you to place your order without delay.

8) 我方一般不给佣金。但是如果订货数量大,我们可以考虑。

As a rule we do not allow any commission. But if the order is a sizable one, we’ll consider it.

9) 着眼于我们将来的贸易往来,我们这一次破例让步。我们给你3%的佣金,不能再高了。

With an eye to our future business, we’ll stretch a point this time. We’ll allow you a 3 % commission. That’s the top rate.

10) 我们相信通过你我双方的合作,我们将很快做成大笔的生意。

We believe through the cooperation between us, large transactions will be brought to speedy conclusion.

5 role play

5. Role Play

1. Mr Taylor, an American businessman, makes an inquiry for Chinese carpets and asks for a commission of 5%. Mr Wan, a representative from a Chinese company, makes him an offer but refuses a 5% commission.

2. Mr Charles, an importer from Britain, is discussing business with Mr Dong for the dehydrated mushroom. He asks for an offer of 40 tons for prompt shipment, but only half quantity is available. He also asks for a 5% reduction in price. Mr Dong refuses to consider any reduction but gives a 2 % commission.

3. Mr Simpson is interested in Chinese cotton piece goods. He is having a talk with Mr Yuan, inquiring for this article. He is not satisfied with the designs and asks Mr Yuan to produce patterns provided by him. Mr Yuan agrees to make him an offer provided he increases the quantity for each design to 2 000 yards.

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