Exporting— Exploring Foreign Frontiers

Take advantage of U.S. government agency resources to assist your exporting efforts

The FABRICATOR August 2002
August 29, 2002
By: Kate Bachman

The U.S. export assistance network of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce offers U.S. companies help with exporting issues. The network provides marketing research, financial assistance, leads and contacts, legal assistance, trade advocacy, and trade events screening.

You want to determine the potential for exporting your products to Jakarta. You know you could increase international sales if you could finance the leasing of a facility in Shanghai. You wish you knew more about the Spanish company that placed an order from you. If only you had some solid leads set up when you arrive in Hong Kong.

Several tax-supported U.S. government agencies assist U.S. companies specifically with export issues. The U.S. Export Assistance Centers network of the U. S. Department of Commerce offers several federal and local export programs and services under one roof. Through these centers, you can get assistance from The U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Export-Import Bank, Small Business Administration, and other government agencies.

Market Research

Some research is broad and generalized, produced on location in leading overseas markets and compiled in the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). It is available in the form of structured reports or as webcasts on www.buyusa.com, www.stat-usa.gov, and www.usatrade.gov.

International Market Insights contain information on dynamic, fast-growing sectors of particular countries that represent potential opportunity for U.S. businesses. These reports discuss recent market developments, multilateral development bank projects, and upcoming major projects.

Industry Sector Analyses are intended to help U.S. companies find potential markets in their specific industries. The reports cover market size, economic outlook, competition, and end-user statistics.

Country Commercial Guides provide overviews for doing business in more than 120 countries with information on market conditions, best export prospects, financing, and distributors. Briefings on business protocol and cultural customs and taboos are included. The guides also identify legal and regulatory issues.

Webcasts from the Economic Bulletin Board offer insights on how to do business in specific countries. Time-sensitive market information and the latest statistical releases from a variety of federal agencies are posted daily.

Commercial Service International Contacts provide contact and product information on more than 70,000 foreign firms interested in U.S. products.

Country Directories of International Contacts provide the names and contact information of importers, agents, and trade associations on a country-by-country basis.

You can obtain more customized research from the following sources to pinpoint your export prospects:

Customized Market Analyses assess the foreign market potential for a specific company's product or service. They give information on sales potential, competitors, distribution channels, and pricing. The analyses also delve into factors influencing potential customers and licensing or joint-venture partnership opportunities.

Company Profiles report on the background of prospective trading partners. They list the type of organization, year established, size, territory covered, principal owners, sales, and product lines. They also include information on general reputation, financial status, trade references, and a recommendation from on-site commercial officers about a company's suitability and reliability as a trading partner.

Sales Leads and Contacts

The market specialists at U.S. Export Assistance Centers help U.S. companies take the next step in generating leads and making contacts.

Matchmaker Trade Delegations match U.S. firms with prospective agents, distributors, and partners abroad. Face-to-face meetings are set up with qualified business prospects in two to four potential export markets. The program includes screening; in-depth market and finance briefing; and event logistics handling, including arrangements for an interpreter. The program also offers country briefings and follow-up counseling.

Gold Key Service is a custom-tailored service that provides orientation briefings, market research, and one-on-one appointments with preselected and qualified potential business partners in a targeted export market.

Trade Opportunity Program provides trade leads from foreign companies seeking to purchase or represent U.S. products or services.

Prescreened leads are gathered by commercial specialists in U.S. embassies and consulates. These leads are published daily online on the Economic Bulletin Board (EBB) and in leading commercial newspapers. Exporters respond directly to the contacts listed.

Virtual Matchmakers is an interactive video conference focusing on a specific industry. It connects exporters with groups of prescreened international business prospects.

International Partner Search is a customized search for qualified foreign agents, distributors, and representatives. Commercial officers abroad identify up to six foreign prospects that have examined an exporter's promotional materials and expressed interest in representing its products.

Market Strategy Consultation with U.S. Export Assistance Center trade specialists helps companies assess and develop export strategies.

This consultation involves determining the best markets for specific products and services and evaluating international competitors.

Trade Finance Assistance and Export Transaction Tools assist exporters with locating export financing, loan guarantees, and export insurance. In addition, commercial officers, or "insiders," at all five of the multilateral development banks (the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank) can support exporters with bidding on bank-funded projects and negotiations.


The Advocacy Center and the U.S. Embassy coordinate advocacy strategies on behalf of U.S. companies to settle disputes, offset unfair competition created by government decision-makers, untie bureaucratic red tape, and assist with contract negotiations.

Other Trade Assistance

The Trade Fair Certification program supports major international tradeshows, providing high-profile promotion of U.S. products. Those considered to be the best opportunities for U.S. companies are certified. Certification is intended to encourage private organizers to recruit U.S. exhibitors and to provide promotion and on-site assistance. In addition, The Commercial Service sets up international business centers at tradeshows and staffs them with trade professionals and interpreters to help firms establish international contacts without international travel.

Paying Proposition

Tax-supported doesn't necessarily mean free. Many of these services are fee-based. Similar services are available from private sources as well. However, The Commercial Service mission statement "to support U.S. commercial interests...and help companies increase sales and market share around the world" is a credible one. After all, your export successes are the government's tax revenues.

For more information, contact your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center (about 100 domestic offices), call 800-872-8723, or visit www.buyusa.com, www.stat-usa.gov, www.usatrade.gov, and www.export.gov. For NTDB and EBB subscription information, call 800-STAT-USA.

Kate Bachman

Kate Bachman

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-381-1302

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The FABRICATOR is North America's leading magazine for the metal forming and fabricating industry. The magazine delivers the news, technical articles, and case histories that enable fabricators to do their jobs more efficiently. The FABRICATOR has served the industry since 1971.

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