Archive for the ‘Export Data’ Category

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Data Snapshot: How Much Do Small- and Medium-sized Businesses Contribute to U.S. Exports?

January 22, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Jane Callen, Economics and Statistics Administration.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that “21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas.  Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages…”

Following on the President’s remarks, we thought it would be valuable to take a quick “data snapshot” of the most recent annual report on exporting companies published by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2014 report shows that small-and-medium-sized companies continue to contribute a larger share of our exports than in the past. As the below graph shows, in 2013 (the most recent year for which we have data), these companies accounted for approximately 35 percent of total goods export value — continuing a steady growth trend of the past decade.

Exports of American products overseas are important to the economic health of the U.S., and these data highlight the significant ongoing role of small-and-medium-sized companies. Stay tuned to this space for regular data “snapshots” of what is happening in the world around us, as seen through our statistical lens.

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How Trade Stats Can Help US Businesses Expand Abroad

January 9, 2015

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Dale Kelly, Chief of the International Trade Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau

International markets provide an opportunity for U.S. businesses to increase sales and overall competitiveness, but knowing how to get started and learning about foreign markets can be daunting The U.S. Census Bureau can help.

Although known most widely as the home of the decennial Census of U.S. households, the Census Bureau also is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing monthly trade statistics on all goods imported and exported from the United States. Every month, the Census Bureau releases information on the import and export of commodities such as soybeans, corn, rice, chemicals, steel, aircraft, and lumber. Together with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which collects similar data on services imports and exports, the Census Bureau releases the  “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report. This report provides detailed information on import and export of merchandise by commodity and end-use category as well as by the multitude of countries and areas with which the U.S. conducts international trade. All of these reports are available at the Census Bureau’s foreign trade web page.

How can this information help U.S. businesses? The Census Bureau provides detailed information on more than 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities. Easily accessible online, this information assists U.S. businesses in making informed decision by tracking the global marketplace for their product and identifying possible opportunities to expand to new markets.

In addition to data, the Census Bureau provides resources and tools to help businesses export. The Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division conducts outreach and training around the country. Training includes webinars, seminars, workshops, and blog posts on using trade data, understanding foreign trade regulations and utilizing the Automated Export System, which allows the electronic filing of export information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These same data are the source of the Census Bureau’s merchandise export and import statistics. The next two-day training on the Automated Export System begins on January 21 in Houston, Texas.  Trade is a vital part of our economy, and the Census Bureau plays an important role in providing detailed timely information to U.S. businesses to make informed decisions.

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New Search Tool Driven by API Helps U.S. Companies Comply with Export Laws

November 20, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog. screenshot from consolidated screening list tool

Starting today, U.S. companies can use a simple tool to search the federal government’s Consolidated Screening List (CSL).

The CSL is a streamlined collection of nine different “screening lists” from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury that contains names of individuals and companies with whom a U.S. company may not be allowed to do business due to U.S. export regulations, sanctions, or other restrictions.

If a company or individual appears on the list, U.S. firms must do further research into the individual or company in accordance with the administering agency’s rules before doing business with them. It is extremely important for U.S. businesses to consult the CSL before doing business with a foreign entity to ensure it is not flagged on any of the agency lists.

The U.S. agencies that maintain these lists have targeted these entities for various national security and foreign policy reasons, including illegally exporting arms, violating U.S. sanctions, and trafficking narcotics. By consolidating these lists into one collection, the CSL helps support President Obama’s Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, which is designed to enhance U.S. national security.

In addition to using the simple search tool, the CSL is now available to developers through the International Trade Administration (ITA) Developer Portal (http://developer.trade.gov).

The Consolidated Screening List API (Application Programming Interface) enables computers to freely access the CSL in an open, machine-readable format. By making the CSL available as an API, developers and designers can create new tools, websites or mobile apps to access the CSL and display the results, allowing private sector innovation to help disseminate this critical information in ways most helpful to business users.

For example, a freight forwarder could integrate this API into its processes and it could automatically check to see if any recipients are on any of these lists, thereby strengthening national security.

During the process of creating the API, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and Bureau of Industry and Security worked with the Departments of the Treasury and State to form an authoritative, up-to-date, and easily searchable list with over 8,000 company and individual names and their aliases.

These improvements provide options to the downloadable CSL files currently on export.gov/ecr.

In early January, ITA also will release a more comprehensive search tool. This new API, along with Monday’s announcement of a new Deputy Chief Data Officer and Data Advisory Council, is another step in fulfilling Commerce’s “Open for Business Agenda” data priority to open up datasets that keep businesses more competitive, inform decisions that help make government smarter, and better inform citizens about their own communities.

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Introducing ITA’s Trade Developer Portal

July 14, 2014

Kimberly Becht is the Deputy Program Manager for Web Presence in the International Trade Administration.

ITA's Trade Developer Portal provides APIs for office locations, market research, trade events, trade leads and trade news.

ITA’s Trade Developer Portal.

In support of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative and the Commerce Department’s strategic plan, the International Trade Administration (ITA) has taken a major step in making its data open and accessible to the public through its Trade Developer Portal.

Announced today by Secretary Pritzker, the portal is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow software developers to create web and mobile applications using information produced by ITA and other trade promotion agencies.

Making its data public to software developers is one more way ITA is helping U.S. businesses export and enabling foreign investment in American companies through the use of cutting edge technologies.

The Trade Developer Portal helps fulfill the Department’s top priority of making federal data open and available to third party developers in order to foster economic growth.

Currently, the developer portal includes:

  • access to information about trade events;
  • market research;
  • trade leads;
  • locations of domestic and international export assistance centers; and
  • trade news and articles.
Our developer portal can help developers show country-specific pages based on U.S. government data.

Our developer portal can help developers create country-specific pages displaying U.S. government trade data.

Over the next few months, we plan to add APIs around business opportunities, tariff information for goods and services covered under Free Trade Agreements, and frequent questions asked by exporters. We are continuously adding and enriching data sets with the long-term goal of sharing all publicly disseminated information produced by ITA and other trade promotion agencies.

Through the portal, we will engage developers by showcasing applications, providing access to our data owners, and soliciting input to help us improve the quality of public data. The picture on the left is just one example of what can be done using the information currently available in our Trade Developer Portal.

If you have any questions about the portal or need assistance using our APIs, please let us know.  We are excited to partner with you in the next phase of the open data revolution!

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New Data Show Jobs Impact of Export Destinations

July 8, 2014

Isabel Sackner-Bernstein is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying Strategic Communication at Elon University.

Chart schows that NAFTA supports 25 percent of US export related jobs. Asia and Pacific supports 28%, EU supports 22%, Latin America without Mexico supports 10%. Middle East and Africa 6%, other destinations 9%.What is an export to Canada actually worth?

We know that Canada has always been an important trade partner with the United States, and we know that total exports to Canada were more than $360 billion in 2013, but new data released from the International Trade Administration (ITA) now give more insight into the value of U.S. exports by destination than just dollar amounts.

What are exports to Canada worth? How about nearly 1.7 million U.S. jobs?

New data from ITA show exports to Canada supporting more jobs than any other U.S. export market, with Mexico as a close second at about 1.1 million. Other top destinations were China, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The exports to these countries alone supported nearly 4.8 million U.S. jobs last year, which is almost as much as the entire populations of Chicago and Houston combined.

Here are some more quick facts we learned from this new data that you can impress your friends with:

  • U.S. exports set a record for a fourth consecutive year in 2013, reaching $2.3 trillion;
  • Exports to the Asia-Pacific region supported 3.2 million jobs, or 28 percent of all export-related jobs;
  • Canada was the top destination for U.S. exports in 2013, and nearly 1.7 million U.S. jobs were supported by these exports, and;
  • Although they beat us in the World Cup, goods exports to Belgium supported nearly 140,000 U.S. jobs.

Want to learn more? Check out the full report online.

So now that you’re the most well-informed member of your friend group, spread the word about how exporting is growing our economy. Talk to your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to find out how to make your business go global.

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Trade Data, for the Regular People

July 3, 2014

Isabel Sackner-Bernstein is an intern in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs. She is studying Strategic Communication at Elon University.A man is drawing lines connecting countries on a map of the world.

Today is an exciting day for data fanatics all across the United States. The Department of Commerce has released the international trade data for May 2014 and there are plenty of records to celebrate.

It’s been four straight years of record exports for the United States, and this data indicates we are on the right track to continuing this trend.

There are definitely some interesting points behind this month’s data. We learned:

  • May exports of goods were $135.7 billion, the highest month on record;
  • May exports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines were $13.5 billion, also the highest on record; and
  • May exports to Canada were $27.4 billion, which were also highest on record.

These facts aren’t just for the economists. All this data is available to the general public via ITA’s TradeStats Express, and from a beginner’s stand point, this site is extremely user-friendly.

It breaks down the data into two categories, National Trade Data and State Export Data.

And there are tons of options for tailoring the information to your needs.

Say you want to find out California’s top export product.

You simply head to the TradeStats website, click on State Export Data, then click Export Product Profile to a Selected Market, fill in your information – and voila: California’s top export product is computer and electronic products.

Or, say you want to know the top U.S. export to Mongolia. Click on National Trade Data on the TradeStats website, then on Product Profiles of U.S. Merchandise Trade with a Selected Market. Choose Mongolia as your trade partner country, and there you go: transportation equipment is the United States top export to Mongolia.

The options are endless. So stop reading this and start reading TradeStats.

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4 Ways Understanding Data Can Inform Your Export Strategy

June 18, 2014

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Kenneth R. Mouradian is the Director of the International Trade Administration’s Orlando U.S. Export Assistance Center.

Relying on export data can make your international business ventures more profitable.

Understanding the facts behind export data can make your international business ventures more profitable.

Numbers can be misleading, especially when they’re used as a proxy for quality thought in decision making.

Now, let’s be clear, here. When I say that numbers can be misleading, I’m assuming that you’re looking at an X and a Y axis with data points and no text except that which is necessary to label the graph. Alternatively, you’re looking at 10 numbers: five years and five corresponding dollar amounts or volumes. That’s where a lot of U.S. exporters begin their market research; and, if that’s where their research ends, that’s a problem.

Potential exporters need to look behind the data points on the graph by asking some important questions:

  • What happened before the trend?
  • What happened after the trend?
  • What caused the trend?
  • Can you compete (i.e., price, quality, terms of sale, features, post-sales support)?

Here’s a hypothetical: Imagine for a moment that you sell building products and the data indicate a 5-year growth trend in Timbuktoo for exactly what you sell. Assume, too, that the data are two years out of date and that you don’t follow soccer. Little did you know that Timbuktoo hosted the World Cup two years ago and that, if you had more recent data, you’d see a drop in demand for building products once the stadium, exercise buildings, dormitories, and tourism infrastructure had been completed.

I should also mention that all the best relationships were probably formed well before construction started. Should you spend much time exploring the Timbuktoo market? Based on what little we know about your company and Timbuktoo from this example, there’s nothing exceptional about Timbuktoo but you wouldn’t know that from statistics alone.

So, what’s a company with limited resources supposed to do to identify potential export markets? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use raw data only as a starting point. TradeStates Express and the UN Comtrade Database are two great online sites where you can find raw data and begin your researching process.
  • Use reports to improve understanding. General reports and information about export opportunities can be found at the Market Research Library.
  • Consult “people in the know” to challenge assumptions. ITA offers business counseling and can provide the inside scoop for companies looking to export. U.S. and foreign trade shows are also a great resource for businesses who want to learn more about the exporting opportunities available to them. The District Export Council can also be a source of information and counsel to those who need.
  • Visit the Market. The U.S. Department of Commerce, World Trade Centers, state and local Economic Development Organizations, and chambers of commerce organize trade missions and can facilitate your visit to the market to make contacts for future deals. Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to get more information.

In addition to your local U.S. Export Assistance Center, more info about government-wide services and resources for exporting are available at www.export.gov.

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