SMALL COMPANIES lacking the manpower or resources to build international sales and unable toget financing to back exports may turn such chores over to an export management company.

"We literally operate as the export department for a small electrical wire manufacturer," said Steven Feist, president of Global Focus Inc., an East Falmouth, Mass.-based export management company.Mr. Feist said Global Focus is finding distributors and negotiating overseas sales for Spectrum Wire Corp., East Longmeadow, Mass.

"This involves developing efficient logistics and supporting the business with effective international marketing tools and service," he said.

One key to export success is making sure that foreign distributors are financially sound and can pay for goods on a timely basis, he added.

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EVERY U.S. MULTINATIONAL COMPANY should be concerned about sweeping new tax regulations proposed by the Internal Revenue Service on cross-border transactions, said Marianne Burge, director of the international tax services group at Price Waterhouse, a worldwide accounting and consulting organization.

The new regulations govern the "transfer prices" of both U.S. companies and the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies under Section 482 of the Internal Revenue Code.

A transfer price is the price that one entity (a foreign parent company, for example) charges a related party (such as a U.S. subsidiary) for goods or services.

When companies adjust their transfer prices, their profits, in effect, are redirected to other countries.

"Since corporate taxes are calculated on profit, transfer prices have become one of the hottest issues for businesses with cross-border transactions," Ms. Burge said.

The proposed new regulations are very complex, she added. "The IRS wants to make sure that transfer prices between related parties are reasonably close to prices that two unrelated parties would agree to," she said.

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ZAMBIA PAID ITS ARREARS to the World Bank last week with the help of a ''bridge loan" from Citibank, Canada and some Nordic countries.

The $50 million payment will allow the African nation to get a new loan of $71 million from the World Bank.

Now Zambia is trying to find a way to settle $1 billion in arrears with the International Monetary Fund.

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THE KOREAN INVESTMENT FUND said its proposed initial public offering of 5 million shares of common stock is expected to be priced and offered at $12 a share on Thursday.

The fund's shares, to be sold internationally as well as in the United States, have been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The fund's investment objective is long-term capital appreciation through investment primarily in Korean equity securities.

The investment adviser and administrator of the fund is Alliance Capital Management L.P.

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PRENTICE HALL LEGAL AND FINANCIAL SERVICES, New York, and Intertect Inc., Houston, formed Asset/Lien Search Service to locate recoverable assets of individuals and businesses.

Edmund J. Pankau, chief executive of Intertect, a national investigative agency, said the service is being used by small businesses "who hear of pie- in-the-sky deals in Kuwait or Hong Kong and want to know if they are for real. Are they worth chasing?"

He said the service also is being used by several branches of the U.S. government to locate hidden assets, to document assets and liabilities of borrowers and to detect fraud.

"Many businesses are increasing their programs to verify the financial status of delinquent borrowers and to determine if they still have assets to collect," Mr. Pankau said.

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ACTIVE INTERNATIONAL, Pearl River, N.Y., a worldwide trading organization, said it added a sixth operating company, Active Asset Recovery Inc., to focus on real estate problem-solving on a global basis.

Alan Elkin, chief executive of Active International, said the new company will offer trade credits to help owners and lenders to recover the value of their holdings.

He said AAR will "acquire real estate, do sale-leasebacks and other transactions via cash and trade credits in a sophisticated form of multilateral trading."