Archive | July, 2011

Trade News: From Farm to Food to Foolishness to Food-less-ness

From USDA/ERS:   State Export Data: Annual estimates of U.S. exports by State and commodity groups based on each state’s share of U.S. agricultural production.  Good link to dozens of Excel tables providing an overview of state exports and agricultural trade.

Also from ERS: Why Have Food Commodity Prices Risen Again?  A report that describes the factors that have contributed to the large and rapid increase in agricultural prices during the past year. The report focuses particularly on food commodity prices which have risen 60 percent since June 2010.  Download the entire report.

Geographic Differences in the Relative Price of Healthy Foods. Although healthy foods can be affordable, if less healthy foods are cheaper, individuals may have an economic incentive to consume a less healthful diet.  Using a Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database, researchers explore whether a select set of healthy foods (whole grains, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, whole fruit, skim and 1% milk, fruit juice, and bottled water) are more expensive than less healthy alternatives. They also find considerable geographic variation in the relative price of healthy foods.

The Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children’s Weights.  One factor that may be important in explaining rising childhood obesity is food prices. This report explores the effect of food prices on children’s Body Mass Index (BMI).  On average, higher prices for soda, 100 percent juices, starchy vegetables, and sweet snacks are associated with lower BMIs among children. In addition, lower prices for dark green vegetables and lowfat milk are associated with reduced BMI.  Download the entire report.

FOOD INC: This 2010 Oscar-nominated film lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Below is the video trailer for this highly acclaimed film.  An in-depth review and additional information may be found at this PBS link.  

Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.  We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli — the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

IMHO. Among the essential, inalienable rights bestowed upon humankind, purely because they exist should be the right to eat nutritionally viable foodstuffs.  

For those interested in the state of foodlessness in the world and some organizations that help, here are a couple of links to check out:

WFP | United Nations World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide

World Hunger Facts World Vision  Stop Hunger Now  Bread for the World

I’ve worked with the U.N. and World Vision. They’re doing good work, as are many.

Trade News: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Food Access Key as Horn of Africa Crisis Worsens, Say Agencies: The UN has officially declared a famine in parts of Somalia, as the food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues to worsen. Aid agencies are warning that allowing food to move freely in the region is key to preventing the humanitarian situation from deteriorating further. “There is food in the region, but it’s not moving around” Ruth Kelly, Economic Policy Advisor at the aid agency Oxfam, told Bridges. “This is partly because of high transport costs and the sheer remoteness of the areas affected, but also because some local markets are not working.”

Commodities and Sustainable Development: The world is producing more food than ever before. However, after decades of declining numbers of hungry in the world, the number of people who go hungry is increasing. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of hungry people globally increased by 18 million to a total of 798 million, most of them landless. The World Food Program provides food to about 90 million people every year, but the remainder simply are beyond the reach of the international community. Some of the poorest people on the planet spend upwards of 75 percent of their income on food but still go hungry. Producing more food will not necessarily feed more people. Market access is hampered by infrastructure and other problems. Click the link above to read more about this interesting and sobering article. 

Food Aid Impacts:  The United Nations World Food Programme is facing an ‘unacceptable’ choice of either providing 40 percent less food per recipient or reaching out to 40 percent fewer people due to a budget gap of US$500 million for 2008. The shortfall was mainly caused by a 40-percent rise in commodity prices since 2007. Citing a 41-percent increase in the cost of running its Food for Peace programme over the last six months, the US Agency for International Development is scaling back emergency food aid which potentially affects up to eight million people.

Facts and Figures:  Purchasing parity data shows that 26 percent of the population in developing countries lived below the poverty line of US$1.25 a day in 2005, down from 52 percent of in 1981. In middle-income countries, 2.6 billion people lived on less than US$2 a day in 2005, although the poverty rate had fallen.  What is it like now, 6 years later!?

World Bank Report Casts Wary Eye on Asian Development: The gap between rich and poor in East Asia is growing according to a World Bank report, despite unprecedented prosperity. “Inequality is back on the agenda,” the report’s author, economist Michael Walton, said at a press conference last week. Walton remarked that for the entire East Asian region there is “concern that certain groups are being left out” of economic growth, most prominently in Thailand and China. Mongolia has the highest poverty rate with 81.4 percent of the population living in poverty. Vietnam and Laos follow, with slightly over 40 percent of their populations living on less than one dollar per day.

Extraordinary (Top Secret) Report on TI Providers Published by the EU, Part 2

Continued from Part 1. The following are additional excerpts from the “Catalogue of WEB Data Services on Global Trade” written by C. Versino, M. Tsukanova, G.G.M. Cojazzi, circa 2010 on behalf of European Commission Joint Research Centre Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen.  A copy of the complete 90 page survey may be download from our Google docs site. 

INFODRIVE: Service by InfoDriveIndia, primarily on customs data for Indian trade. Large coverage in terms of number of customs ports. Also re-seller of customs data for: US imports, UK imports, China imports and exports. Pay service.

PIERS: Import and export information on cargoes moving through ports in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. Pay service.

STATISTIKA VED: Russian service providing transactional data on import and export from Russia, Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan, Belorussia and Moldova. Records available only in Russian. Pay service.

TIPS: Indian import and export customs data. Pay service.

THE DATAMYNE:  Transactions and statistical monthly data with multi-national coverage. They missed the link, but its here. 

TRADEIQ/TRADEVIEW: TradeIQ: US import transactional data, searchable by Bill of Lading data. TradeView: import/export statistical data.

TRADE MAP: Statistical trade data for 220 countries and territories on Harmonized System products. Trade data is also available at the tariff line level for more than 120 countries and on a quarterly and monthly basis for about 50 countries. Pay service.

UN COMTRADE: Statistical trade data with worldwide coverage. Maintained by United Nations in cooperation with the OECD. Free access service.

URUNET: Customs data for South-American countries. Pay service.

USA TRADE ONLINE: Created by STAT-USA and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division, it provides monthly and cumulative U.S. export and import data using several product nomenclatures. Pay service.

Other trade data services:

IMPORT GENIUS – Searchable transactional database covering all ocean container imports entering the United States.

ITC – Provided by the United States International Trade Commission, US import & export data.

SINOIMEX – According to a country of interest, this website provides statistical/transactional data on a country’s imports/exports as well as detailed data on a country’s importers/ exporters.

TRADE DATA ONLINE – Statistics Canada and the U.S. Census Bureau service on Canada and US import and export.

WITS. Statistical data on trade with worldwide coverage. World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) was developed by the World Bank, UNCTAD and UNSD. It gives access to trade and tariffs data compilations. It is based on various databases: COMTRADE, TRAINS, IDB and CTS.

“This document is a catalogue of WEB services providing data on global trade. It updates to March 2010 the first edition published in 2007. Each service is described in the catalogue according to a form specifying data fields, geographical coverage, temporal span, search criteria and reporting facilities on data records. The information has been derived from WEB sites, email contacts with service providers, trial runs, and interviews with users.”

Extraordinary (Top Secret) Report on TI Providers Published by the EU, Part 1

In the WTD article: International Trade Data Considered Confidential, Top Secret or Dangerous, I wrote that, “During a presentation on trade data and application to a European convention of trade associations in Koln (Cologne) Germany, I exhibited the specific trading patterns and shipment details of several of their top exporters.  Amidst currents of grumbling and disquiet throughout the audience, one spokesperson finally stood up and screamed, “How are you allowed to obtain and publish such information [about our companies and] who will stop you!?”

Interestingly enough, the EU published a comprehensive and well written survey of many of the top Trade Intelligence Providers in an effort to deal with this issue.

The following are excerpts from the “Catalogue of WEB Data Services on Global Trade” written by C. Versino, M. Tsukanova, G.G.M. Cojazzi, circa 2010 on behalf of European Commission Joint Research Centre Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen. The mission of the JRC-IPSC is to provide research results and to support EU policy-makers in their effort towards global security and towards protection of European citizens from accidents, deliberate attacks, fraud and illegal actions against EU policies.  A copy of the complete 90 page survey may be download from our Google docs site.  

“This document is a catalogue of WEB services providing data on global trade. It updates to March2010 the first edition published in 2007. Each service is described in the catalogue according to a form specifying data fields, geographical coverage, temporal span, search criteria and reporting facilities on data records. The information has been derived from WEB sites, email contacts with service providers, trial runs, and interviews with users.”

Specifically, the sources examined are:

ANONYMOUS:  WEB application on a cargo data-warehouse. Contains import/ export container records from about 40 countries. Data sources can be queried from a single interface point. The data are searchable in English. Pay service.

COMEXT: Statistical datasets focused on European Union trade covering intra – and extra – community trade. Maintained by the European Commission Statistical Office (EUROSTAT). Free access service.

CTI & CSS: China Customs Imp & Exp Trade Database (CTI) provides shipment data from and to China. China Customs Statistics (CCS) offers China import and export statistical information. CTI & CCS are online services provided by the same company. Pay service.

EXIMKEY: Indian import & export customs data. Free access service covering a limited number of customs sea/air ports in a time frame of 24 months.

GTA & WTA: Statistical trade data for about 70 countries reported monthly. Value, quantity, unit price, reporting country, and trading partner country on both exports and imports classified in HS and country-specific subdivisions of HS. Some countries provide information included in additional data fields, such as: importer/exporter information, port/customs district data, reexport/domestic export data. Excellent interface to navigate the data. Pay service.

This Article will be continued in Extraordinary (Top Secret) Report on TI Providers Published by the EU, Part 2.

WTD Editorial: Who Will Win the Prospect? PIERS, Datamyne or Zepol?

Recently I received a very intriguing inquiry from a “Prospect” shopping among the various vendors for best Trade Intelligence Application.  For obvious reasons I will omit the specific identity.  However, for background purposes, it is a publicly traded company employing over 50,000 people in 30 countries with annual revenues of almost $150 billion.

“I’ve been trying to research which trade intelligence software is better for our xxxxxxxx division. While I have done demos for Zepol, Piers, and Datamyne I am still unsure as to which one will give us the most accurate weekly data. I know you sold your company to Piers and you might obviously be somewhat favorable of Piers, but which do you honestly think presents the clearest and accurate data?We would like to get a report with the commodity, date, load/discharge port, vessel, consignee. The Zepol reports are all disorganized (because they don’t standardize the commodity/HS code descriptions). Tell me which one you think would be the best for reports.”

You have definitely named the top contenders in your list.  There are over a dozen cheaper providers of the data you’re looking for that I would avoid with the notable exceptions of Panjiva and Import Genius.  Zepol and Datamyne are good, reputable, seasoned companies that have certainly earned the right to be at any negotiating table.  I am personally acquainted with executives at all three companies referred to in your email and can vouch for the professionalism and integrity with which they generally conduct their affairs.  

As you noted, I am somewhat biased and favorable toward PIERS for several reasons, some pertinent to your question, some not. Notwithstanding, you mentioned that your primary concern was accuracy: “the most accurate weekly data” and “the clearest and accurate data”.   In that regard, I believe that PIERS is indisputably and unarguably the winner.  Let me detail: 

  1. They’ve been at the game the longest.  The Journal of Commerce is the oldest publication in the U.S. “Delivering Global Trade and Logistics Intelligence” – since 1827.
  2. PIERS has had many decades working with and refining the many idiosyncrasies and shortcomings inherent within the U.S. Customs Waterborne data.  
  3. During the last several years (since the installation of their new management team) they have made many dramatic improvements to their IT infrastructure and TI applications.
  4. Their acquisition of our innovative (CenTradeX) TI applications and accompanying tech guys put them way ahead of their competitors regarding access, integration and delivery.
  5. The majority of Governmental Organizations, Ports, Carriers and Fortune 500 Companies depend upon them for reliable, accurate timely information. 
  6. They are the ONLY TI provider that offers a TRULY integrated solution; i.e. the dynamic synthesis of multiple data sources which ‘dimensional-ize” the data (thereby increased veracity).

The negatives with PIERS are that you will most assuredly pay more, won’t get as much flexibility regarding terms/conditions and may or may not receive as much personal attention or customer service as with Zepol and Datamyne.

World Trade Center Spotlight: Edmonton

As a resident of Nashville, TN I am proud to introduce our sister city: Edmonton. Edmonton is Canada’s Festival City with over 30 festivals each year including the Edmonton International Fringe Festival which brings in close to 500,000 people and the Heritage Festival which celebrates more than 60 cultures. For golfers, Edmonton has over 70 courses and in the summer the golf days are 17 hours long. Edmonton is the furthest capital city in North America and has the largest mall in North America. It is a staging point for the second largest oil sands (Athabasca) in the world located in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories. Also a major centre for the oil and gas industry, Edmonton is a strong technology, research, economic and education centre. I have never been to Edmonton, my sister city, however, I have been to both Banff and Jasper National Parks and they are magnificent.


Officers: Martin Salloum, President & CEO; Wendy Edwards, VP, Finance & Admin/ CFO; Robin Bobocel, VP Public Affairs.

Mission:  WTC Edmonton is your business ” home away from home,” a comfortable, one-stop service centre connecting you with global opportunities in trade, travel and investment”.

Background:  Located on the 6th floor of the World Trade Centre Edmonton since 2004, it is the international divison of the Edmonton Chamber.  It is the only World Trade Center facility in the prairie provinces.  All who are members of the Edmonton Chamber are automatically members of WTCE.

Trade Focus:

WTCE has established official partnerships with 19 northern Chamber of Commerces in Alberta.  These Chambers have preferred access to the services and facilities in Edmonton. Any international businesses that want information or contacts with these communities can access them on the WTCE website.

Exports in Alberta trended downwards in 2010 although the domestic economy strenthened. This is in part due to the weakened U.S. economy. Alberta companies exported just over 6.09 billion in November 2010.

Export Merchandise for Alberta: Mining & energy, agriculture, machinery, industrial products.

Export Destinations for Alberta:  United States is by far the largest export destination. Others include Mexico, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. You can check out the 2009 Alberta International Trade Review for more detail.

Services:  WTCE organizes trade information, trade education, exhibitions and trade missions. The WTCE buidling has many services for its members: high-tech meeting rooms, private offices, computer work stations, banquet facilities, and more.  There is a Consular Corps division of people who represent their country and promote its trade, products and tourism.  Contact information is available on the WTCE website for policy and trade related questions.

Members of WTCE have the opportunity to enroll in quality trade training courses (a partnership with FITT: Forum for International Trade Training) with the end result of certification as an International Trade Professional (CITP).


7/20 Business and Aboriginal Communities: Partnerships for Success

9/21 FITT-The Professional Path to Global Markets

Contact Information:

World Trade Centre Edmonton
#600-9990 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB, T5J 1P7
(780) 409.2131

Banff National Park

Trade News: BRIC Countries Still Experiencing Growing Pains

CHINA: From European Trade Commission: EU welcomes WTO report on China’s export restrictions on raw materials.  The WTO ruled against China’s export restrictions of certain raw materials backing a case jointly brought by EU, US and Mexico. The WTO Panel has found that China’s export restrictions were not justified on environmental grounds and should be removed.  China applies export restrictions on key raw materials such as bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorous and zinc. Some of these resources cannot be found outside China.

Export restrictions can create serious disadvantages for foreign producers by artificially increasing China’s export prices and driving up world prices. At the same time, such restrictions artificially lower China’s domestic prices for the raw materials due to significant increases in domestic supply. This gives China’s domestic downstream industry significant competitive advantages and puts pressure on foreign producers to move their operations and technologies to China.

Follow-up Article: WTO Panel Rules against China’s Export Restrictions on Raw Materials

RUSSIA: From ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development): Russia Finds US Support in WTO Accession Efforts, Though Obstacles Remain: The push is on for finalizing negotiations for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization by the end of this year. As an integral part of its reset strategy for relations with Russia, US President Barack Obama’s administration is making a concerted diplomatic effort to help Russia finalize its 17-year track to the WTO. The EU, along with Russia’s BRIC partners (Brazil, China, India) and South Africa, is also strongly pushing for the move.  As Russia’s largest trade partner, the EU also supports Russian accession, despite their recent trade dispute over fresh vegetables. Georgia is one of the remaining obstacles to Russian membership at the WTO.

INDIA: The US-India Economic Partnership – a 21st Century Partnership Built on Innovation and Collaboration. President  Obama has observed that “The relationship between the United States and India– bound by our shared interests and values — will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”  The United States is the largest source of foreign investment in India. In 2009, total U.S. FDI in India was $18.6 billion, up 12 percent from 2008.

The stunning growth of the Indian economy is well known.  India has embraced global trade and competition, cutting its top applied tariff rates on industrial goods from more than 100% before liberalization to about 10-12% currently. Today, annual growth rates in excess of eight percent have become commonplace.

Notwithstanding, the article below presents a less than sanguine outlook.  

From MSU Global Edge Blog: India’s Growth Flounders as Corruption Concerns Increase. India, the world’s tenth largest economy according to the International Monetary Fund, is seeing troubling signs in the short-term outlook. Recently, India has seen a slowing growth rate in GDP, increase in inflation to 9.1%, and a decrease in local investment. Many economists attribute these worrisome signs to the corruption and scandals plaguing the growing nation.  This corruption problem coupled with the fact that outside nations have reduced investment in India in recent months has put the economy on a downward sloping path.

Trade News: China Currency Litigation & Rising Consumer Market

From The China Sourcing Blog: China-Australia Trade: As Much About Machinery as Resources:  The China-Australia trade relationship is well-known for the flow of natural resources from Australia to China. Yet in the other direction, China has in the last decade become the leading supplier to Australia of machinery and electronic equipment.

In 2010 Sino-Australian total trade of goods amounted to USD 87.57 billion. China’s total exports of goods to Australia in 2010 was worth USD 35.26 billion.  In 2010, machinery and electronic equipment accounted for 39% of the total (see Figure 2), and China went from supplying 4% of Australia’s imports of these items in 2000 to 21% in 2010.

From PIERS blog: No Longer “Made in China?”  There appears to be a shift away from the Chinese production of men’s and women’s clothing and footwear. According to PIERS/JOC economist Mario Moreno, container shipments from China to the U.S. of apparel and footwear have dropped, indicating a shift toward offshore sourcing of these products. Moreno believes the decline is due to many firms moving their footwear and apparel manufacturing facilities out of China to Southeast Asia, the India Subcontinent and Central America.

The shift reflects ongoing changes in China’s labor market—wages are increasing and the working population sees more employment options. This shows that the Chinese economy is changing from its export engine toward a pro-consumption model. The strengthening of China’s currency is also a factor in reducing already tight profit margins for manufacturers of low-value goods.

From the International Economic Law and Policy Blog: Currency Undervaluation at the CIT. Aluminum product makers filed a lawsuit to force the U.S. Commerce Department to levy tariffs on Chinese imports, countering the effect of a currency the companies deem to be undervalued.  In several decisions, the Commerce Department in the Obama and Bush administrations rejected requests by U.S. companies for so-called countervailing duties on imports from China to compensate for the weak currency. A low-priced currency makes a nation’s exports cheaper.

Also from the above:  The GOP Candidates on China’s Currency. The IMF is predicting that China’s economy is going to surpass our own in the year 2016. First of all, what does that mean to us? What does that mean to the average American? How do we feel that?

And secondly, why is China able to surpass us?  How do we turn that around? China is our bank. We owe them, you know, so much money that it’s almost breathtaking. They hold more of our debt than any other nation. So what do we actually do to sort of turn that around so that they don’t take our jobs, and so that our dollars aren’t going there to get their cheaper goods?  Interesting questions are addressed in this article which are worth considering.  

Trade Report: Connecting the “Invisible Dots” between U.S. Importer and Foreign Supplier

AIM Group is a small seemingly obscure company located in an office complex in Nashville, TN.   They are a good bunch of folks that I had the pleasure of meeting a couple years ago.  They keep a low profile.  It’s hard to even find a website for them: even with a Google search. About all you can find out about them in public record is that they are a Stationery and Office Supplies Merchant Wholesaler, the names of the executives and their address and phone number.

Like many trading offices, a certain anonymity is preferred.  Basically, they are middle men, with established China manufacturing connections, catering to the lucrative Southeast Bible Belt Christian marketplace.  They lubricate the logistical wheels of the import process: identifying, buying, shipping and supplying Christian retailers with toys, books and religious memorabilia.

What they, and companies like them, are unaware of is that despite their attempts at anonymity upon which a good part of their margins depend, (keeping the connections to their foreign manufactures and logistic providers obscure), it is all an open book to those who have the tools and know where to look.

Virtually, every waterborne import shipment into the U.S. is a matter of public record through the Freedom of Information act.  The representative charts and information below are all available on any U.S. importer.  Even in the case of Walmart, the largest importer in the world, who has made every attempt to suppress information about who their suppliers are, tens of thousands of shipments a month slip by the filters applied by U.S. Customs to accommodate their urgent and reoccurring requests to conceal such.

Details on the 100 plus import shipments, including specifics on the products, estimated shipment values, foreign suppliers, addresses, weights, units as well shipping and routing information are all contained on the publicly available manifests.  Look for yourself.  Download and check out this sample Excel file.

For example, one of the many listed foreign suppliers is Kwong Fat in Hong Kong.  Easy. Tze Leung Wong is listed as Managing Director with about 30 employees.  Address, phone and Duns information are immediately available as well as their shipment history to AIM Group and their other U.S. importing customers.  Note they exported over 400 shipments to the U.S. over the last 12 months.

Besides the AIM Group, other U.S. Customers include Blue Mountain Arts, Simon and Schuster, Barnes and Noble, National Geographic, Barrons, Borders, Penguin, etc.  Such information is an excellent method of vetting potential foreign suppliers (by their shipment history and current customers), and potentially eliminating the middlemen and trimming margins.

You can see details on their last 400 shipments into the U.S. by downloading this sample Excel file.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Trade Report: U.S. Medical Equipment Exports; U.S. Sellers & Foreign Buyers, the new WIKI trade portal launched last November by the folks through a deal with the U.S. Commerce department, receives and displays “Best Market Reports” prepared by their foreign correspondents deployed in various countries.  A rather thorough, though somewhat dated 90 page report on the Medical Equipment Industry can be read and downloaded from their site.  Best Market Report Medical Equipment.

First, to get an overview, let’s look at overall U.S. exports by region and country.  As the chart on the left shows, Europe is the top destination, receiving 48% of shipments to Asia’s 24%.  However, the illustration on the right indicates that Japan is the leading export destination for U.S. Medical Equipment, with 11% of the total, followed closely behind by the Netherlands.  Click the images below to link to a full sized representation.

Notwithstanding, the top growing markets that show good potential for further expansion include BRIC countries China and Brazil. China imports of U.S. medical equipment grew by almost 24% between 2009 and 2010.  Brazil’s imports, though not as large as China’s, showed a 38% rise in the same time period.

There are always winners and losers in any competition.  While U.S. exporters have made gains in certain markets, they have lost ground in others due to many factors.  The chart below shows those markets in which U.S. exports of medical equipment suffered losses. Notably Belgium saw the most significant attrition, although Greece (understandably) and Romania had the largest percentage losses.  Just as increased exports can mean job gains.  Export losses can translate into longer lines at the unemployment office.

What does it take to compete successfully in the global marketplace?  Obviously many things.  It takes more than a good sales force. One wise manufacturer once told me that his secret was buying right.  He remarked that if he bought right, the selling would take care of itself.  Most U.S. exporters depend upon sourcing overseas for component parts that they use in their products.

The lists below (click on to display full sized images) reveal a few of the top U.S. importers of Medical Equipment and Suppliers along with their foreign counterparts (Suppliers) on whom, they often depend upon for components.

For sure, it is never a simple matter to piece together the complete tapestry of international trade and the import – export, seller – buyer, supplier – manufacturer relationships involved. As with anything worthwhile, a good bit of effort is required. Good accurate information is essential. Dependable, experienced consultation is helpful. In the end, Trade Intelligence is more art than science. The stakes are high in the Trillion Dollar International Trade arena.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Trade Report: Baxter Healthcare Tennessee – Importer Profiling Through Data

Their Corporate Website declares that Baxter is, “A leader in healthcare for 80 years”. Baxter assists healthcare professionals and their patients with treatment of complex medical conditions.  Baxter is a global medical products and services company with expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Baxter has approximately 47,600 employees worldwide.

Baxter is a publicly traded company whose stock has significantly risen recently going from $40 to over $60 within 1 year.  To those who could have accurately predicted such favorable results, a pot of gold would have been the result.  Even though there is no crystal ball, trade intelligence may be part of the key to unlock and predict valuable insights into a company’s future performance. How?  By monitoring and evaluating their import and export activities.  Let’s see what we can discover.

Baxter Healthcare is listed as THE top import within Tennessee.  In addition, Baxter has 24 branches throughout the United States that are involved in international trading.  The Tennessee branch alone is shown to import almost 1,200 containers within the last 12 months. Comprehensive and detailed information is available on each and every shipment by each and every branch.  First a summary of the Tennessee branch:

$1.4 billion in imports mostly from Puerto Rico.  Why is this important and how could it benefit a financial services professional? What if there was a natural disaster such as what recently happened in Japan or a political issue that arose in a supplier’s country? Obviously, this would impact the U.S. based company who depends upon such supplies.  This type of data could be used to more precisely monitor and evaluate the nature of the impact on the inventories and potential future performance of the U.S. manufacturer/retailer.

No Trade Intelligence provider thus far has established a viable dashboard for fund managers.  However, it has been the subject of much in-depth discussion you can be sure. Several of the TI Providers – PIERS, Datamyne and Zepol have established “alerts” which can automatically notify users of new shipments or changes in sourcing patterns.

It is not an exact science, there are only bits and pieces.  The point is, if you put enough bits and pieces together and apply painstaking detective work and technology, patterns begin to emerge and a more complete picture can be drawn.  The applications are numerous.  One of which may be an intelligent solution developed for the financial services industry.

As a sample, please feel free to download and review details of 1,200 import transactions performed by the Tennessee branch of Baxter Healthcare over the last 12 months.

Ti Provider, Import Genius, also recently offered up some information on Baxter. Click to see.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Trade Report: Metro Nashville International Trade Profile – What the Data Reveals

It is a little more challenging to get an accurate picture of trade activity for a particular city or metropolitan area.  U.S. Census distributes some information on Metro trade statistics. Other data is distilled from dis-aggregating transactional U.S. Customs data, normalizing the name and identity of the particular importer or exporter on each of their corresponding shipments and thus recording and summing it all up.

The results are far from perfect.  For one, U.S. Custom data only looks at Waterborne shipments.  Thus air, rail and truck shipments are excluded from calculation.  Secondly, approximately 1/7 of the manifests have the respective U.S. importer and foreign suppliers names suppressed and are thus invisible.

Even more difficult are the tasks of categorizing the shipment under its proper product classification and establishing an accurate valuation.  All that having been said, there is still much valuable information to be extracted from the available trade data, as the following charts will demonstrate.

Nashville exports for the first half of 2010 exceeded $4.5 billion.  $2 billion to APEC and $1.5 billion to its NAFTA partners.  The EU and Middle East demonstrated negligible activity. This type of data is available from the International Trade Administration. 

By using the method described above, individual waterborne shipments can be assigned to the respective exporter along with an estimated value of their shipment.  Tennessee has 609 exporters listed.  Notice though that many times the NVOCC has been improperly identified as the exporter of record, and thus V Alexander, Mallory Alexander, and WorldBridge Logistics have been listed in the top 15 TN exporters.  Further research however, uncovers that many of these (NVOCC) shipments originate from Memphis and deal with TN cotton exports.  Tennessee is historically known as a world source for cotton, whiskey and tobacco.

Also of note below is Eastman Chemical, one of Tennessee’s longest top exporters. It is located in the rather remote eastern part of the state with an estimated $3.6 billion in exports over the last 12 months.

Import transactions are easier to track.  For one thing there are over a dozen Trade Intelligence Providers obtaining and disseminating the publicly available U.S. Customs data. On the export side, there is only one company, PIERS, who collects and disseminates transactional export data.  This is due to the fact that at the current time Export data has to be gathered by individual (PIERS) representatives stationed at each of the port offices, which is a rather cumbersome and expensive endeavor that no competitor has thus far dared to repeat.

Interestingly, Medical Equipment Exports top the list of Tennessee Exports. Correspondingly, Baxter Healthcare Corporation is listed as Tennessee’s top importer. Superficially, one might deduce that Baxter is purchasing component parts prior to export of some product or device. However, as a cursory review of the 1,200 import shipments made during the last year reveal, Baxter simply brought up supplies from its subsidiary in Catano, Puerto Rico.

For those interested in reviewing a sample of this type of transactional shipment information, available via the U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Manifest (bill of lading) data, you are welcome to download the referenced sample of 1,200 Baxter Healthcare shipments listed on an Excel Spreadsheet.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Trade Report: Tennessee Export Profile – Medical Equipment Leads

According to last quarter’s MTSU Business and Economic Research Center “Global Commerce” report: “The combination of economic recovery, a falling dollar, and record commodity prices have produced surging exports thus far in 2011. Tennessee exports for the first quarter of the year rose just over $1.5 billion from a year ago to $7.354 billion.  The state’s rate of export growth over this period, 25.4%, was 13th best among the American states, substantially ahead of the national figure (18.4%).”

As the chart below illustrates, NAFTA members Canada and Mexico are Tennessee’s leading trading partners, totaling almost 40% of total exports.  China and Japan rank 3rd and 4th respectively.

The state’s leading export was again the medical instrument sector. Exports of these products grew just under 16% to $570 million for the quarter. The gains were global, including Europe, Australia, and both East and Southeast Asia. Other medical-related sectors also had strong quarters. Orthopedics and artificial joint exports grew to $232 million, a greater than 50% increase from 2010, thanks to large increases in Japan, the Netherlands, and Australia, among other nations.

In the Medical equipment sector, Europe is Tennessee’s top export destination. Yet the Asian countries of China and Japan show the highest growth.  Readers may note, however, that the data (obtained from PIERS StatsPlus Interface) is dated 2008-2009.

U.S. Census report for State Exports for TENNESSEE shows that exports for HS code 901890 (Medical, Surgical, Dental and Vet equipment) have been growing rapidly over the last few years rising from $1.1 billion in 2007 to $1.6 billion in 2010.

The following chart indicates that the aforementioned  “child” HS category under the “parent” 9018 product group represents 76% of the total exports within the grouping.  Further research utilizing the statistical data from Census could also reveal the average price per unit for any of the product categories by dividing the respective values by the number of units. Thus, syringes’ (901831) price per unit results would be much different than ultrasonic devices (901812).  Product groups are transported by different methods depending upon urgency and fragility.  A greater percentage of syringes are shipped by container (ship) and truck (ground) versus air than other categories.

Tennessee ranks third among U.S. states as exporters of medical equipment. Only California and Massachusetts boast greater export activity within the sector. Texas and Illinois are also contenders.  Additional research can uncover the actual traders beneath the trade figures listed.  Beneath the statistics are real stories of companies, trade deals, jobs, employees… fortunes made and fortunes lost.

The charts utilized in this article come from PIERS Prospects and PIERS StatsPlus Trade Intelligence applications. Clicking on any of the above images will display the full sized chart in a separate window.  Readers are encouraged to share the information at will with appropriate referential sourcing of PIERS and

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Trade News: Exports Creating New Jobs; Resources & Tools Offered

From WTC- Utah: Export-Related Jobs Surge in 2010.  U.S. exports supported an estimated 9.2 million jobs in 2010, up from 8.7 million in 2009, according to a report issued July 6, 2011 by the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. For every billion dollars of exports, over 5,000 jobs are supported.  New data also shows employment supported by manufactured exports plays a significant role in many states. Twenty-one states each counted over 100,000 jobs supported by manufactured exports in 2009, with two states registering more than a half-million: California at 616,500 jobs and Texas at 538,500 jobs.

From U.S. Department of Commerce: Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Releases 2011 National Export Strategy: Powering the National Export Initiative to Congress.  U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, on behalf of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, today released to Congress the 2011 National Export Strategy: Powering the National Export Initiative (PDF). The report reinforces the importance of U.S. exports of goods and services, which in 2010 totaled $1.84 trillion, an increase of nearly 17% over 2009 levels, and supported more than 9 million jobs in the United States.

From Global Reach: Foreign Trade Regulations: College Teachers Return to School to Learn About Exporting.  Community college business instructors from 21 states received copies of the Basic Guide to Exporting, published by the International Trade Administration. The instructors attended a faculty development institute at the International Business Center, Michigan State University.   Several of the instructors said they would add immediately an export plan writing module to their existing business planning unit. Others said they would use the case studies in the book to demonstrate how a small company with a good business idea, product or service can make it big in the global market.

Global Edge (Michigan State University) offers many international trade resources.  Notable among the batch is an online course in Exporting created by the Department of Commerce. These modules were developed from the 2008 edition of A Basic Guide to Exporting and each module represents one of the book’s seventeen chapters. This series provides aspiring and seasoned exporters with a wealth of resources and tools that may benefit even the most experienced international business connoisseur.

CITD (California Centers for International Trade Development) also has many valuable resources for would be and experienced exporters.  Check out their Export Starter Kit which includes Exporting Basics, Export Internet Search Wizard, Export Readiness Assessment and Export FAQs.  The Director of the Encino CITD, Veteran Trade Professional Maurice Kogon has developed a comprehensive Video series, L.A. Export Series, a series of 10 pod casts which are free for viewing and download at

Last, but certainly not least, is the U.S. Government sponsored website,, part of the National Export Initiative. offers many government sponsored tools for exporters including Trade Data, Market Research, Trade Leads, Trade Events and help with financing, logistics, marketing and regulatory matters.  The real muscle behind is the personal service offered through their network of national offices and international Commercial Service correspondent offices.  You may want to bookmark their Blog.

Trade News: From the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Commerce

From U.S. Department of Commerce: Census Bureau Announces Half of U.S. Respondent Businesses Were Home-Based.  The survey found that more than half (51.6 percent) of all businesses that responded to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) were operated primarily from someone’s home in 2007. In addition, only 6.9 percent of these home-based businesses had $250,000 or more in receipts, while 57.1 percent of home-based businesses brought in less than $25,000.  The Spirit of Entrepreneurship is a flame of hope economically speaking.  

From U.S. Census Bureau: Census Bureau Reports U.S. Employer Firms Show Declines in Number of Establishments and Employees. In 2009, businesses with paid employees numbered 7.4 million, a decline of 168,000 establishments from 2008, marking the second consecutive year of decline, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Further, between 2008 and 2009, employment dropped 5.3 percent, a decrease of more than 6 million employees, for a total of 114,509,626.  In 2008, the number of establishments decreased by about 104,000.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  She and we need to get busy producing more entrepreneurial children. 

U.S. Projected to Remain World’s Third Most Populous Country Through 2050, Census Bureau Reports.  Through 2050, the United States is projected to remain in third place behind India and China among the world’s most populous countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These findings are derived from the population estimates and projections for 228 countries and areas released today through the Census Bureau’s International.

Census Bureau Reports 64 Percent Increase in Number of Children Living with a Grandparent Over Last Two Decades.   In 2009, 7.8 million children lived with at least one grandparent, a 64 percent increase since 1991 when 4.7 million children lived with a grandparent, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.  These statistics come from the household relationship module published in the report Living Arrangements of Children: 2009. Good for the old and good for the young. 

Back to School: 2011-2012: The following highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation’s students and teachers.

  • Back-to-School Shopping: $7.4 billion- The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2010.
  • Students: 77 million- The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2009 — from nursery school to college.
  • Forty-three- The percentage of elementary through high school students who belonged to a minority population as of October 2009.
  • Languages: 11.2 million- Number of school-age children (5 to 17) who spoke a language other than English at home in 2009; 8 million of these children spoke Spanish at home.

One of our greatest strengths as a country, in the U.S., is our diversity.  

From DOC: Resources for Manufacturers – A Month in Review. highlighted programs, resources and efforts made to help American manufacturers grow faster and become more competitive. Why? Because the manufacturing sector has been a main driver of the economic recovery over the past two years, with over 230,000 jobs added since the beginning of 2010.  Check out this post for a list of pertinent articles.

World Trade Center Spotlight: Philadelphia

Since I grew up in Baltimore, MD, Philadelphia, PA was my northern neighbor.  We always called it “Philly” with affection. As a student in school, we made countless field trips to Philadelphia. Why? Because of its rich history in the birth of our nation, the United States of America, and because of its fabulous museums.  During fourth grade, I remember climbing through the life-size heart in the Franklin Institute. Philadelphia is also known for its many outstanding universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Drexel University from where my neice recently graduated.  What I never knew growing up, however, was that Philly is a huge center for trade.


eNewsletter: World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia World Links

Officers: Linda Mysliwy Conlin, President. Ms. Conlin has over 25 years of experince in international trade including: the U.S. Department of Commerce, New Jersey’s Commerce & Economic Growth, U.S. Travel & Tourism, and U.S. Department of State. Bruce R. Pansius, Chief Financial Officer;  Andrea Townrow, Executive Vice President; Dino Ramos, Senior Vice President.

Mission: To provide a world-class portfolio of services that enhances international trade growth and leads the Greater Philadelphia region to economic prosperity.

Background: The World Trade Center Greater Philadelphia was launched October 16, 2002. Since then the WTCGP has helped generate over $571 million in incremental export sales, generating over 7,400 new jobs.

Trade Focus: Philly was an important trading center as early as 1701 when it officially became a city. With the fourth highest GDP in the U.S., ($312 million according to PricewaterhouseCoopers), Philly has extensive businesses including manufacturing, oil refining, health care, biotechnology, tourism, food processing, financial services and more.

Export Merchandise: Top export merchandise includes: chemicals, machinery, primary metals, computer and electronic products and transportation equipment.

Top Export Destinations (2010)

Philly exported $34.8 billion in goods and services in 2010.  This was an increase of 22.5 % over 2009.

Export Markets include:

  • $10.2 billion to Canada
  • $2.7 billion to Mexico
  • $1.7 billion to Japan
  • $1.4 billion to Germany
From WTCGP’s 2010 Annual Report:
  • Over 300 companies received counseling services.
  • 23 educational events and seminars.
  • 1,334 professionals particpated in programs
  • 500 company appointments with the Pennsylvania Authorized International Trade Representatives.
  • Generated incremental export sales of $147 million.

There is also available an International Trade Guide (a tutorial for reaching new customers around the world):


9/22  PA International Week & Showcase:
Pennsylvania Authorized Trade Representatives will visit Philadelphia to meet with local companies and discuss export opportunities in their respective international markets such as: Arab Gulf, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia, Slovakia, South Africa, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Yemen.
10/3 Trade  Mission to Peru and Brazil

10/5 CEO’s China Operations Club

Contact Information:
Pennsylvania Office
Two Penn Center
1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Suite 305
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The Declaration of Independence was signed in this building in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

WTD Editorial: Starting Up a New Company to Sell U.S. Customs Data

We’ve written a handful of WTD articles on new TI (Trade Intelligence) Suppliers coming on the scene with off-the-shelf BI (Business Intelligence) tools sitting atop U.S. Customs Waterborne Data:

Recently, yet another would-be TI Provider (from China) contacted me asking guidance. The following are excerpts (with notes) from our email correspondence (my responses in italics).

“I just wanted to check if you receive my message and have interests in sell AMS data to me. I’m in China and I’m also interested what kind of data your are selling.  In China, TI products are mainly used by manufacturers to find foreign customers. All major providers have customs data. I’m also curious how large is the TI market in the US? Do you still offer any TI products? May I ask besides WTD blog, do you engaged in any other TI products which is still available in market? Is PIERS based on your processed data?

With regard to the AMS (U.S. Customs) Data, you may apply directly to CDP (U.S. Customs) which is now under DHS (Department of Homeland Security).  They only used to distribute it via DVD by overnight FedEx shipment each day (with Sat. Sun. Mon. data overnighted on Tuesday).  Now they make it available via FTP. It is $100 per day. You are billed every month, thus around $3,000 for each installment. They may not sell it directly to an offshore (foreign company).

A word of caution. The $100 per day data disc you get from U.S. Customs is very raw and virtually unusable. We spent 10 years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the most advanced processing system (which we call our A.I. Engine) that exists on the planet, and years developing various refinement processes.

PIERS bought several of the applications that sat upon our technology last year.  Since the PIERS purchase in May 2010, we have not bought or processed new data. Nor do we offer retail products. In time, we hope to find a partner, investor or buyer who will find value in the underlying technologies and databases we maintain. 

Two of the lead PIERS products that were purchased from us last year are Prospects and StatsPlus. These applications use data (including AMS /U.S. Customs) in uniquely innovative and integrative ways. 

I never told him how large the T.I. Market is in the U.S.  I really don’t know.  I know it should be larger than it is. I know it’s growing. I suspect that the growth is not keeping pace with the new companies that are sprouting up in China and elsewhere.

WTD Editorial: The Differences Between WTD Versus Other Trade Sites

In preparation of the launch of in May, 2011, I asked for feedback on the concept and architecture from a handful of people I respected in the industry.  Perhaps most notable of the group was and is Maurice Kogon who has over a half century as a International Trade Professional and 30 years as a director in the DOC/ITA.  Refer to WTD article: Maurice Kogon, Director at Center for International Trade Development 

I sent him a two page synopsis and link to the WTD concept site with the request, “I consider you THE elder statesman in matters of these matters and very much would like your input and direction as I attempt to develop something worthwhile.”   The following are excerpts from our email exchange with notes.

“Your new venture sounds very interesting, and I look forward to learning more about it and possibly contributing. A somewhat similar-sounding venture (Global TradeNet) was launched recently through FITA. It was conceived as a Wiki for international trade, inviting contributions from Charter members (e.g., NASBITE) and others. I have contributed some items. I am curious about how yours will differ from theirs.

The site is indeed interesting.  The FOCUS of will be much, much narrower.  WTD will concentrate on World Trade Data and the corresponding information technologies and business applications.   

We will attempt to address such topics as:

  • What types of data & information are available?  
  • A deeper and better understanding of the data itself.  
  • What it can give you and what it can’t.  
  • The technologies available to manipulate and report on said data.  
  • And finally hearing from various users on the specific business applications for the data, how is it being used to make informed business decisions?  

World Trade is composed of $trillions of dollars of transactions and movements of products and services.  Those that work in the field, whether buyers or sellers, those in logistics or sales as well as people in education, regulation, security, consulting or real estate development use and depend on various types and kinds of trade data to make informed decisions.  The WTD forum will focus upon understanding and exploring issues related to Trade Data for the betterment of the world trade community at large.  

Another provocative intention of mine is to have all the databases and technology I developed (including the waterborne manifests) available free to the public in an open source environment.  Now that I have hopped over into the non-profit environment, I hope to dedicate my energies toward innovation and community development, which was really always at the core of my business purposes anyway.  

Note: For more information on and and their US VP, Barney Lehrer, you may refer to WTD articles: WTD Front Door Series: FITA the Federation of International Trade Assoc. and Musical Maestro Undergoes Midlife Renaissance to Become the Minister of International Trade Webworks

Trade News: Emerging Markets In The New Global Economy & New Opportunities For Exporting

From the ICTSD: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development: World Bank Launches Trade Strategy.  The new Trade Strategy outlined four pillars around which the Bank plans to structure its trade-related activities in light of this new trade environment. These priorities include: trade competitiveness and diversification, trade facilitation and trade finance to cut transport costs, support for market access, international trade co-operation for better integrated regional and global markets and managing external shocks.  Download the entire (PDF version) of the World Bank Study

From the World Bank: A new report Global Development Horizons 2011: Multipolarity – The New Global Economy is available for purchase. Transition to a new world order with more diffuse distribution of economic power is under way. This first edition of a new World Bank flagship report, Global Development Horizons 2011, focuses on three major international economic trends: the shift in the balance of global growth from developed to emerging economies, the rise of emerging-market firms as a force in global business, and the evolution of the international monetary system toward a multicurrency regime.

Emerging and developing countries accounted for 46 percent of international trade flows in 2010 up from 30 percent in 1995. Cross-border mergers and acquisitions originated by firms based in emerging markets represent nearly one-third of global M&A transactions. The risk of investing in emerging economies has declined dramatically, while emerging economies’ financial assets and wealth have expanded. Emerging and developing countries now hold three-fourth of all official foreign exchange reserves.

These trends are dramatically shaping the economic and commercial environment that you, as an international trade professsional, must navigate within.  Reading the news is stargazing.  Distilling and applying trade intelligence is Celestial Navigation.

New Markets Bring New Exporting Opportunities

From the European Commission on Trade: DO YOU WANT TO EXPORT WORLDWIDE? EU MARKET ACCESS STRATEGY. Beyond traditional import tariffs, European exporters often face difficulties regarding discriminatory or disproportionate regulations or standards. Removing these barriers is part of the EU’s strategy to boost exports and promote growth and jobs in Europe.  To make this happen, two instruments have been created under the Market Access Strategy: the Market Access Partnership and the Market Access Database. This is a good primer for the European Based Exporter.

From US DOC: Growing Exports with the New Market Exporter Initiative.  The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Department of Commerce are working together to achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2014. The New Market Exporter Initiative (NMEI) will make it easier for manufacturers to identify new markets, find new customers for their products and grow their business.

Trade News: Global Economic Recovery; Rising Water Lifts all Ships But Storms Loom

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce. Gross Domestic Product: First Quarter 2011 (Third Estimate); Corporate Profits: First Quarter 2011 (Revised Estimate) Domestic profits of financial corporations decreased $66.3 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to an increase of $57.7 billion in the fourth.  Domestic profits of nonfinancial corporations increased $60.7 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $10.1 billion in the fourth.  In the first quarter, real gross value added of nonfinancial corporations increased, and profits per unit of real value added increased.  The increase in unit profits reflected an increase in unit prices and a decrease in the unit labor costs. Unit non-labor costs were unchanged.  The rest-of-the-world component of profits increased $54.4 billion in the first quarter, in contrast to a decrease of $9.4 billion in the fourth.  These are good signs of recovery to be sure.  Notwithstanding, increased corporate profits are not being translated into increased wages.  No surprises there.   

From OECD: International trade statistics: trends in first quarter 2011 Merchandise trade continued to grow strongly across major economies in the first quarter of 2011. Total imports of G7 and BRICS countries grew by 11% in the first quarter compared to 8.2% in the previous quarter. Total exports grew by 8.5%, compared to 8.2% in the previous quarter. China’s trade surplus continued to fall in the first quarter of 2011 as import growth (8.4%) outpaced export growth (3.0%).  At US$18 billion, China’s trade surplus in the first quarter of 2011 was less than half that recorded in the fourth quarter of 2010, and significantly lower than the US$91.2 billion surplus recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008.  In the United States, the trade deficit increased to US$188 billion as import growth (11.5%) outpaced export growth (6.4%).  Download the PDF.

What does this mean?  A couple of things stand out. First of all, International Trade is continuing to rebound from the lows it experienced in the backwash of the Global meltdown. As the water continues to get higher, to the tune of several trillions of dollars of additional imports/exports, many boats will rise accordingly.  Secondly, every world merchant lusts for a share of the enormous China consumer market. Data indicates that the Great Dragon is reawakening and has a voracious appetite.  Good market opportunities await those who have prepared and patiently endured the economic storms.  

Recovery Doesn't Lift All Boats Equally

The official statement, from the White House, on the status of U.S. Economic Recovery, including a couple of items that may be pertinent to fortifying small business, creating jobs and expanding international trade:

Does Utah have the Midas Touch? Gold Exports & Reserves

It is amazing, but the total amount of gold in the world is a surprisingly small quantity.  The annual worldwide production of gold averages around 50 million troy ounces per year, a cube of gold that would be 4.3 meters (14 feet).  Thus, all of the gold produced worldwide in one year could just about fit in the average person’s living room! This cube would weigh 1,555,210 kilograms (3,110,420 pounds) and be worth around $50 -$60 billion dollars at the currently inflated prices.  Not much in the scheme of things.

China is the largest producer of gold, followed by Australia and South Africa.  The United States ranks fourth followed by Russia.  However, it’s a neck-and-neck race behind China.

In the article: Did U.S. Export Over 175 Million Ounces of Gold?  The author speculates that some of the U.S. exports of gold could be the repatriation of foreign central bank gold that had been stored with the New York Federal Reserve. If foreign central banks are pulling their gold reserves out of storage in the U.S., that signals lost faith in U.S. financial strength which would be very bad news indeed.

Gold Exports by Utah

Utah is the number one U.S. exporting state of gold followed by Nevada and Massachusetts.  By far, Utah’s largest trading partner for gold is Great Britain which receives more gold imports from Utah than all other countries combined.  In fact, Utah’s gold exports make up about half of all its exports period, and may be one of the primary reasons why its exports have doubled in the last five years ahead of any other state.

Other States Also Export Gold

Why?  What’s their secret?  Are they just lucky or smart or have special connections? Well, whether the article that postulates that foreign U.S. gold reserves are covertly being with drawn or not, the simple fact is that during uncertain times people flock to gold.  And gold reserves are a sign of the financial strength of a government.  The U.S. used to be #1, but at this point, the EU has superseded that position.

Great Britain’s increasing hunger for gold is a therefore understandable as are the plethora of e-mail advertisements, TV commercials and street promotions offering to buy used gold.

Remember the Golden Rule.  He who has the gold, rules.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

Utah Only State to Double Exports Over the Last Five Years

With both Governor Gary Herbert and President Barack Obama calling for a doubling of exports in the next five years, it is especially significant that Utah was the only state where exports doubled in the past five years. In 2010 Utah shipped $13.57 billion in merchandise exports to international markets. According to the U.S. International Trade Administration and U.S. Bureau of the Census, direct export supported jobs linked to manufacturing in Utah account for an estimated 93,000 jobs for Utah families.

Although by population, Utah is a small state, it performs like a large state in many ways. According to the Kauffman Foundation in their 2010 New State Economy Index, Utah was in the top ten states for “Export Focus for Manufacturing and Services.” Utah as a state ranked #6 overall in the 2010 ranking report taking over the #1 spot as most improved export state.

Utah Global Markets

Between 2006 and 2010 Utah’s targeted industry clusters and international trade has been significant. Looking at a few key indicators, Utah averaged the following growth in export commodities over the 5-year period:

• Electric Machinery which includes integrated and printed circuits grew at 63%.
• Aerospace grew at 18%.
• Industrial Machinery including computers grew 12 %.

Click for a Current list of top 25 Utah Exports (by 6 digit HS Code and Trading Partner) along with percent change 2009 to 2010.

Selected State of Utah International Trade Organizations:

  • GOED Intl. Trade & Diplomacy Office: The International Trade and Diplomacy Office (ITDO) assists companies in developing markets for their products and services in other countries. ITDO helps Utah companies understand the benefits of expanding into international markets and provides assistance securing international business connections. It also helps companies as they master the process of exporting goods and services. Contact Craig Peterson, Program Director (801) 538-8778.
  • World Trade Center: As a partner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the World Trade Center Utah (WTCU) has been delivering on its bold mission for Utah: to guide Utah companies into profitable global markets. The WTCU daily brings together private and public sectors by offering, often in conjunction with its talented partner agencies, a variety of indispensable resources and services. Contact Lew W. Cramer, President & Chief Executive Officer (801) 532-8080.

Utah offers aggressive relocation programs to corporations looking to do so. Corporate Incentives Utah. Financial incentives are provided by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development for business relocation and expansion. Incentives may be offered as either grants or tax credits. Contact: Christina Oliver, Director of Corporate Recruitment and Incentives (801) 538-8792.

**Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and World Trade Daily and do not in any way represent those of UBM Global Trade or PIERS. Some of the trade reports utilized in this article were derived from the PIERS Prospects & StatsPlus applications and are used by permission.

World Trade Center Spotlight: WTC Utah

I recently had the pleasure of driving through Utah and exploring some of its incredibly beautiful landscape.  Utah is such a majestic and diverse state!  I loved walking on the Bonneville Salt Flats, shopping and eating in Moab, gazing on snowcovered mountains and hiking through Arches National Park.  There is still much I want to see there and I can’t wait to go back.  Maybe I will just move there, open an export business and enjoy the beauty of Utah.

The WTCU is quite an active trade center as evidenced by their events for the first half of July: the Oban Japanese Festival on July 9, 2011, the US-China 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City on the 14th and Business Opportunities in the Arab World on the 15th.  With such strategic partners as the Salt Lake Chamber and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, international events, interactive website help and a weekly Global Utah Newsletter, this World Trade Center is an awesome resource for Utah businesses. UTCU is definitely “a first stop trade information hub where a business can receive the information and resources needed to go global”  


WTC Utah News:

Officers: Lew Cramer, President & CEO; Elizabeth Goryunova, Executive Vice President & COO; Shelia Steiner, Vice President Business Development.

Mission: The mission of the World Trade Center Utah is to assist companies into profitable global markets.

Lew Cramer, Director Utah World Trade Center

Background: WTCU opened for business on 9/11/2006. Since that time it has helped over 1,000 companies “go global”.  Lew Cramer brought his experience in international trade to the postion of President and CEO.   Previous experience includes: founding an international consulting firm in Washington, DC., working with U S WEST International in developing telecommunications projects in over thirty countries, serving under Reagan as a WhiteHouse Fellow with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and directing the activities of 1400 commercial officers at over 150 embassies worldwide and in 65 offices throughout the United States in the Bush I administration. Mr.Cramer was also the Director General of the U.S.Commercial Service, practiced corporate law in Los Angeles and the SanFrancisco Bay area, and taught at the business schools of the University of Southern California and Georgetown University.

WTCU received accreditation in Trade Information, Trade Education, Business Services and Technology form the World Trade Center Association at their 2008 General Assembly in Dubai.

Trade Focus: In Utah, one out of every five manufacturing jobs depends on exports. Increased exports have created over 20-thousand jobs in the past three years. Over 2,000 Utah companies export goods and 85 % of those companies were small or medium sized businesses.

  • Number of Utah Companies Exporting: 2,887
  • Number of Utah Jobs from Exporting: 94,060

Export merchandise:

  •  54.4% Primary Metal MFG
  • 14.6% Computer and Electronic Products
  • 5.2% Chemicals
  • 4.8% Transportation Equipment
  • 21.1% All others

Top Export Destinations (2010)

1. United Kingdom $4,163,990,330
2. Greater China $2,083,716,197
3. Canada $1,264,863,789
4. India $1,124,798,481
5. Switzerland $718,631,508
6. Singapore $524,493,889
7. Mexico $456,407,886
8. Japan $406,157,621
9. Belgium $290,273,833
10. South Korea $273,099,888

Services:  WTCU has the ability to offer Utah businesses Assessment, Education and Connections on line. Utah businesses can begin to expand internationally by filling out an assessment on the WTCU website.  WTCU will then provide training and educational  opportunities and connect the businesses to relevant global partners, services providers, government agencies and contacts.

WTCU offers an Export Expert Series as well as Imports Club Sessions and monthly roundtables in the latest trends in the global markets.


July 14-16, 2011  U.S. & China Trade, Culture & Education Conference.

For other upcoming events focusing on Japan, the Arab World, Australia and Canada and more, please check the WTCU website.

Contact Information:

World Trade Center – Utah
175 East 400 South Suite 609 Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 532.8080
Bonneville Salt Flats. Utah

Trade News: Covering Our Collective Ass and Protecting Our Vital National Assets

From International Trade Law News: Representative Berman Introduces Bill to Update U.S. Export Control System: Technology Security and Antiboycott Act. This is the first of several bills to update the U.S. dual-use export control system. Such a bill is needed because the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA), the last major export control bill enacted by Congress, lapsed in August 2001 and the Export Administration Regulations have remained in effect as a result of successive presidents invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).  This Bill would repeal the EAA and replace the authority in that law with a new statutory scheme that reflects the numerous technological advances and global changes that have occurred since 1979. PDF Link for 88 page bill.

It is incredulous that we (the people) have been so apathetic as to depend upon legislation enacted in 1979 for the security of our advanced technology!  However, it’s comforting to know that other “advanced” technologies from the 60’s and 70’s like keypunch machines, 8 track tapes, black & white TVs and 45 record players have been securely protected with severe criminal penalties established for inappropriate sale.   

From the Datamyne Blog: China’s Alarming Record. More FDA inspections and access to results are called for.  A new report from Food and Water Watch reprises a lengthy list of Chinese import disasters, from melamine-contaminated pet food in 2007 to antibiotic-laced honey in 2010. The point of the Decade of Dangerous Imports is that China is exporting its food safety problems along with a growing share of the US food supply.

From the China Sourcing Blog. Could China be on the Verge of a Huge Power Shortage? The world’s fastest-growing major economy may be on the verge of a severe power crisis: a power shortage of 30 million kilowatts this summer. Some commentators have said that it’s the worst power shortage in China since 2004, while others have gone so far as to say it’s the worst in China’s history.  Need more  “juice” to keep the Dragon growing and going.

Foreign Direct Investment is a double edged sword

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis: Foreign Direct Investors’ Outlays to Acquire or Establish U.S. Businesses Increased in 2008. In 2008, as in previous years, most outlays by foreign direct investors were to acquire existing businesses. These outlays were $242.8 billion, compared with $17.6 billion to establish new U.S. businesses. Outlays made by, or through, existing U.S. businesses were $213.3 billion, much greater than the outlays of $47.1 billion made directly by foreign investors.

In 2008, U.S. businesses that were newly acquired or established by foreign direct investors had 368,500 employees, compared with 496,600 employees in 2007. Employment at newly acquired or established firms was largest in manufacturing (146,600) followed by finance (except depository institutions) and insurance (95,700). The total assets of newly acquired or established businesses were $895.7 billion, up from $411.8 billion in 2007.

Additional information, including tables, charts and additional referential material may be found at the BEA website.

July 4th Celebration of Independence: Will Financial Freedom Last?

There are many forms of independence.  Financial independence is one of the most important ones.  No, this isn’t a promotion for life insurance or an invitation to join an MLM company.  It is though a reminder on this particular Independence Day that trade deficits and budget deficits represent gross and growing financial disparities that inarguably create dependency and bondage.  Sorry.  No magic bullets or pharmaceuticals will cure chronic indebtedness.  It is sometimes transferable to the next presidency or even to the next generation.

There is no way around the simple fact that if you spend more than you make, you go into debt.  Debt has attached interest that accumulates relentlessly.  If a country buys or consumes (imports) more than it sells (exports) continuously over time, its national treasury will eventually become depleted.

Developing and dependent countries are forced to sell off their natural resources, import necessary goods and services, surrender undue access (and control) to their consumer market and even forfeit key corporate business organizations to foreign investors, just to keep their economy afloat.  Prospering economies find ways to reverse those fundamentals.

The moral of the story: International Trade is vital to national and individual prosperity and basic financial freedoms.  Trade Intelligence can help provide understanding and create opportunities that will ensure such independence.   Happy Independence Day!

On a lighter note, a little bit of history on the day and a video of the largest fireworks display in history.  In 2009, New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded.  The Guinness World Record for the largest firework display was achieved on Madeira Island, Portugal on 31 December 2006 by Macedo´s Pirotecnia.

You can also check out the World largest firework (in size -48 inches shell)

Or  the record for the most firecrackers set off at one time- 10,500,000 Firecrackers!!

History: Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.  A matter of divorce versus legal separation, I guess. 

In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

Trade News: Food Versus Fuel? To Drive to Eat Versus the Hunger to Compete

From USDA/ERS – Food CPI and Expenditures: CPI for Food Forecasts: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food is probably the most widely used indicator of changes in retail food prices. ERS regularly updates food price forecasts for the short-term period. In 2011, the CPI for all food is projected to increase 3 to 4 percent. ERS’s food price outlook is available for May 2011.  Bad news for consumers as the cost of basic food stuffs are expected to increase 3% to 8% during 2011.  Meats show the largest rises while fresh fruits the smallest.  Good time to become a vegetarian.

Food is Fuel. For cars & people

In a related Article from the ICTSD: OECD, FAO: No End for High Food Prices in Upcoming Decade:  High global food prices and volatile commodity markets are expected to persist over the next decade according to a joint report from the organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Continued high food prices could be disastrous for populations in developing countries. Price volatility could also be mitigated if governments provide better information on commodity markets. “If we’re trying to avoid volatility, information is absolutely of the essence,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría observed.  Thus the importance of Trade Intelligence. 

The need & price for food & fuel are rising

A recent publication on Biofuel policies, The Impact of US Biofuel Policies on Agricultural Price Levels and Volatility is available for review at the ICTSD website.  A PDF version of the entire report is also available.  “Changes in developed country biofuel policy are some of the key recommendations of an intergovernmental organization report to the G20, a group of leading economies. This paper provides in-depth analysis on the relationship between biofuel policy in the US and food price volatility.”  Some say it all comes down to providing more food or more fuel.

Also from ICTSD post is a LEAKED document addressing the above crisis. Draft Ministerial Declaration: Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture.  From a meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers on June 22-23, 2011.   Because of the nature of this material, all portions of the text have been encoded to prevent copying.  However you can view or download a PDF version of the entire draft by going to this ICTSD link.

From the Wall Street Journal: G-20 to Press U.S. to End Aid for Biofuels Industry: Trading Partners Take Issue With Washington’s Use of Policy to Promote Industry; EU Wants Tax Credit Scrapped. The biofuels industry turns corn, wheat, rapeseed, sugar cane and other crops into fuel. Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 72-37 to eliminate a 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for blended biofuel and regular fuel and a 54-cents-per-gallon import tariff on imported ethanol.  If you can’t view the complete article at the WSJ site, you can view the article at the ITCSD Website.

World Trade Daily – Month In Review for June – Part 2

Although, in June, we developed many articles around the suppliers, applications, shortcomings and potential dangers inherent within the U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Data, we also focused several stories on Statistical information:

Robert Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, World Trade Daily

For those who want to know more about me, my professional background and how the World Trade Daily forum came about, you can check out the rather lengthy series of articles I wrote for your edification and enjoyment.

Well, that’s enough about me.  How about you?  Several articles address how to get the most out of the site, understanding the categories and how you can participate in World Trade Daily.

World Trade Daily – Month In Review for June – Part 1.

In June, we focused a lot of attention on one particular data source, namely the U.S. Customs data.   The reason for this is that, unlike general statistical or company information which is great for strategic or market analysis, this data is transactional and comprehensive (containing details on every U.S. waterborne import shipment). It is gaining a lot of attention in the marketplace and thereby creating a plethora of competitors to the once PIERS monopoly.

Innovative data mining, reporting technologies and TI applications are offering new methods to dig out hidden treasures contained the data.

World Trade Daily

In June, we published several articles on Trade Intelligence Providers, domestic and foreign, which offer such data.

We also created a short list of the dozen or so other providers that offer access to U.S. Customs data in our article entitled, Trade Intelligence or TI: IT all depends upon how you define “IT” and “TI”.

If you want to dig deeper into the U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Manifest Shipping Data particularly to know the shortcomings inherent in the data and what to look out for, you might want to check out this three part series: (The articles were published June 28 thru 30.)

  • Part 1. The ABCs of U.S. Customs Data- Issues & Shortcomings.
  • Part 2.  The ABCs of U.S. Customs Data- Issues & Shortcomings.
  • Part 3.  The ABCs of U.S. Customs Data- Issues & Shortcomings.

We also developed several articles which testify to what many consider “confidential or top secret” information contained in trade data like U.S. Customs and the like.