US. DOC Offers Export Assistance

Provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Administration.

March 11, 2004
By: Kate Bachman

Editor's Note: This article—a companion piece to Goin' Global, which appeared in the March 2004 issue of The FABRICATOR® magazine and is reprinted on—lists some of the export assistance available from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Market Research

Country Commercial Guides provide overviews for doing business in more than 120 countries with information on market conditions, best export prospects, financing, and distributors.

Customized Market Analyses—Market research made to order. A CMA report assesses the market for a specific product or service in a foreign market. The research provides information on sales potential, competitors, distribution channels, pricing of comparable products, potential buyers, marketing venues, quotas, duties and regulations, and licensing or joint venture interest.

Economic Bulletin Board (EBB)—online trade leads, time-sensitive market information, and the latest statistical releases from a variety of federal agencies. To subscribe, call 1-800-STAT-USA.

Flexible Research provides timely, customized, reliable answers to your inquiries about a market and its receptivity to your products and services.

Industry Sector Analyses offer succinct international market information on specific industries that can help determine market potential, market size, and competitors for your product and services.

International Company Profiles portrays the reliability of prospective trading partners. Information provided includes the type of organization, year established, size, general reputation, territory covered, sales, product lines, principal owners, financial information, and trade references, with recommendation from on-site commercial officers as to suitability as a trading partner.

International Market Insights report on current conditions in specific country markets and identify upcoming opportunities for generating sales.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB)—The NTDB contains more than 190,000 trade-related documents, including market research reports, trade leads, trade contacts, statistical information, country reports, and more. It is available at federal depository libraries, can be purchased on CD-ROM, or can be accessed at

Webcasts from the Economic Bulletin Board present market opportunities and insights on how to do business in specific countries. They are available on


International Partner Search

Customized overseas search for qualified agents, distributors, and representatives for U.S. firms. Commercial officers abroad identify up to six foreign prospects that have examined the U.S. firms' product literature and expressed interest in representing the U.S. firm's products. The cost for this service is $600 per product/country.

Gold Key Service—custom-tailored service that combines orientation briefings, market research, appointments with potential partners, interpreter service for meetings, and assistance in developing follow-up strategies.

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.

Multi-state and Catalog Exhibitions—showcase U.S. company product literature in fast-growing markets within a geographic region. U.S. Department of Commerce staff and representative from state development agencies present product literature to hundreds of interested business prospects abroad and send the trade leads directly to participants.

Business Facilitation Service

Single Company Promotion

Cost — Varies depending on the requirements of the company.

Delivery — 4-6 weeks advance notice required.

Description — Organization of promotional events to launch U.S. products in the bish market. This service can include a conference, presentation, seminar, etc., and is tailored to the specific needs of the company. Locate your local U.S. Export Assistance Center at to initiate this service.

Trade Fair Certification—supports major international industry trade shows providing high-profile promotion of U.S. products.

Trade Opportunity Program—Timely sales leads from international firms seeking to buy or represent U.S. products or services. TOP leads are printed daily in leading commercial newspapers and distributed electronically via the DOC Economic Bulletin Board.

Virtual Matchmakers and Gold Key Services are interactive video conferences focusing on a specific industry. It connects exporters with groups of prescreened international business prospects.

Other Trade Assistance

Advocacy. 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.

Market Strategy Consultation with U.S. Export Assistance Center trade specialists help 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.

Kate Bachman

Kate Bachman

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