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“Survey Says…Foreign Market Research is Tops”

April 19, 2016

Morgan Barr is an International Economist in ITA’s Office of Trade Policy & Analysis.

What do companies need to increase their export sales? In a recent client survey, the International Trade Administration (ITA) confirmed that it is often assistance in gathering market or competitive intelligence. Most companies use in-depth industry research on foreign markets to identify which markets to target, and forecasting future business opportunities using data is especially valuable. However, many companies lack an organized approach to finding this research. The overarching finding on market intelligence can be summarized by an interviewee who expressed that, “Market research is key, however, we don’t have the ability to do it ourselves.”

ITA has a variety of resources to help companies conduct market research on potential export markets for their goods and services—providing everything from tariffs under Free Trade Agreements, detailed trade data, and country guides to industry-specific market research. Together, these resources can provide important market information for U.S. exporters looking for new markets and new opportunities. Learning more about market opportunities is also a critical step in preparing to exhibit at trade shows such as the upcoming Hannover Messe.

Data

Trade statistics to identify new markets can be found in ITA’s Trade Policy Information System, which has an easy search function that quickly provides major U.S. export and import markets by product in an easy-to-read graphical format. Also, Trade Stats Express displays the latest annual U.S. merchandise trade statistics at the national and state levels in maps, graphs, and tables tailored to the user’s needs.

The FTA Tariff Tool provides tariff information on specific products under various U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs). It shows the tariff applied on the date the FTA entered into force and how it is phased out or reduced over time under the agreement. It now contains data on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Top Markets and Industry Information

Top Markets Reports, written by experts from ITA’s Industry and Analysis team, are industry-specific reports, covering both goods and services industries. Each report ranks future export opportunities within a particular industry based on a sector-specific methodology and includes country case studies for identified top markets.

Just in time for Hannover Messe Trade Show, ITA released seven updated Top Markets Reports related to the themes of the show, in order to provide the latest assessment of export opportunities for U.S. companies.

Country Information

Country Commercial Guides are an excellent starting point for everything you need to know about exporting and doing business in more than 125 overseas markets. They are written by U.S. Embassy trade experts and provide critical information on everything from entry strategies for a particular market, to leading sectors for U.S. exports and investment, to customs procedures.

Market Intelligence Search

The above resources are just the beginning. In the near future, we plan to release new lines of market research reporting on www.export.gov that will replace the website’s Market Research Library. Companies will then be able to tap into hundreds of new industry-specific articles, global market insights, and other trade education materials previously unavailable. Other valuable tools, such as a New to Market Tool for identifying export prospects, are not far behind, as we move forward with initiatives to provide more digital services and information to our customers.

Where do you go from there? More than 60 percent of survey respondents sought ITA’s assistance for their overall marketing and planning needs, which also includes identifying and arranging appointments with foreign partners, distributors and buyers, as well as developing a strategy to begin or expand exporting. Along with our self-help market research resources, ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service has offices across the United States that can work together with you to develop an entire export strategy.

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