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Zepol, Part 1: Fast, Faster, Fastest… Freakin’ Crazy Fast Search Engine

In this first of four articles on Zepol, I will dispense of the usual company background, forego superfluous narrative that indirectly ties my extensive knowledge and experience in Trade Intelligence to the subject as well as and any other attempt to subtlety impress and go straight to today’s main point.   Zepol’s TI interface is fast.  It is really, really fast.  It is incredibly, spectacularly, spine tingly fast.

As is my M.O., during the product demo provided by Zepol President Paul Rasmussen, we dispensed with the canned presentation and went off the beaten path to look up Scooters with foreign suppliers and corresponding U.S. importers of under 50cc moped style motorcycles.  The default search scope is set to hunting within the last 30 days of Manifest records.  In a second or two we got the results.  O.K., not too bad, pretty fast.  However, I wanted to see how the search engine would perform when really put to the test.

I asked Paul to extend the search from the very first manifest record, back in January 2003 to the very last record in September 2011… that’s around 100,000,000 bills of lading!  Keep in mind we’re searching through multiple textual fields (“Products” and “Marks & Numbers”) for each BOL using text terms: “Moped”, “scooter” and “50cc”.  We’re not talking about numerical fields with a singular numerical criterion.

BAM!  3-4 SECONDS later we’ve privy to over 6,000 shipments – with corresponding detail if needed – on the representative international trade transactions involving imported mopeds.  WOW.

I refrained from inquiring about the specific alchemy that created the magic.  What combination of server arrays, multi-core processors, RAM, query optimization and full text indexing was employed to do this? Paul credits co-founder Jeff Wilson and his tech team.

A couple of illustrations come to mind that may communicate this amazing data feat better.

I went with my eldest son to the Brickyard 400.  I remember pressing our faces next to the racetrack fence as scores of NASCAR speedsters zipped by at 200 mph.  The visceral memory of sheer speed and power is unforgettable.

In the final scene of the movie Secretariat, the remarkable story of the 1973 triple crown winning race horse, said underdog (rather under-horse) soundly beats the favored “alpha dog” (alpha-horse) by an astounding 31 lengths (still holds the record for speed and margin of victory).

Other notable examples could include Bruce Lee’s unmatched speed performing various martial arts maneuvers, Superman’s counter clockwise planetary orbits to save Lois Lane, and the Enterprise when it hits the warp speed button.

Now maybe you get the picture of just how fast Zepol’s search engine goes.  Zoom, Zoom!

Datamyne, Part 4: A Trade Analyst’s Dream Machine & WTD Editorial Note

Last year we ran several articles on the TI Provider Datamyne, Lisa Wallerstein the VP Product Development /Marketing and the announcement of their new interface, Datamyne 2.0.  In this last week’s series of articles, I focused on the specifics of their TI product following an in-depth demo and review.

I must admit that recently, while making my rounds with each top-tier TI provider and getting a deeper look at their products, my viewpoint is changing.

What I am discovering is that there is no one best product and TI provider out there.  Each has its own particular approach, technologies, interface, data sources, value added services, and pricing model that make it the best solution for certain niche or target markets.

After reviewing Datamyne’s interface, I can confidently state that it represents perhaps the best analytical user interface by which to “slice and dice” the U.S. Customs data that I have seen thus far.  It’s a trade analyst’s dream machine.

If you’re looking for a robust TI product that is straightforward and relatively easy to use by which to perform heavy-duty analytics on the U.S. Customs Data, you definitely need to check out Datamyne.

WTD Editorial Note: I’d also like to address an important issue that has come up on several occasions.  I have been accused by some of being overly biased toward PIERS.  In a number of articles and in handfuls of instances it has been noted that I have stated that PIERS products are the best.  By and large, I think the accusation has been well founded.

To be honest, one of the reasons for my bias is that the TI products we developed at CenTradeX (IMHO) were vastly superior (in aspects of innovation, UI access, data integration, graphic delivery and performance) in comparison to any other TI product. PIERS acquired these assets last year.  Furthermore, the team of superb technologists I worked closely with for many years also migrated to PIERS.  Therefore my high esteem has been transferred or credited to PIERS posthumously, so to speak.

Secondly though, having dealt closely with the new management team at UBM Global Trade /PIERS for many months during the due diligence process and afterwards (being somewhat privy to their “thought engineering” and witnessing the changes they are implementing) I have gained tremendous respect for them.  Further, they have several proprietary databases that are “untouchable” by competitors.  They have roots in history and experience that go back over 100 years.  They have worked with Customs data along with the nuances of refinement and standardization for many decades.

So, with regards to my previously perceived biases, I hereby recant my previous position that there is ONE best company and ONE consummate Trade Intelligence platform.  Vive la différence!

Datamyne, Part 3: Micro to Macro and Back in 60 Seconds or Less

One of the coolest things about Datamyne’s data mining interface is the drag and drop feature for adding or subtracting fields of data to the display and export processes.  Similar to creating and viewing Pivot tables in Excel, the UI provides users the ability to dimensionalize their perspective of the data and flip it one way then another.  Again, perfect for analysts who require more complex manipulation of the data.

My personal preference when working with or presenting trade data is first of all to get a big picture view, then logically drill down to finer detail and greater specificity.  This ability is absent in most TI products on the market.  Datamyne’s interface provides that functionality superbly.  It allows you to get both the macro view and the micro view as well.

One of the biggest difficulties I labored with in developing trade intelligence platforms is the tension between making data easy to access and to understand on the one side and providing the detail and specificity on the other.  Although Datamyne’s data mining utility is well crafted, it is still rather complex and fairly intimidating at first glance.  It’s about as easy as something complex can be.  Heck, all the buttons and control options on most video games confuse me.

Another important feature is that once users create and perfect their queries, they can save and retrieve them for future use.  In addition, they can set-up alerts that will automatically email them when certain criteria are triggered, such as when new shipments occur or new suppliers or competitors for their designated product enter the scene.

Not surprisingly, Datamyne’s customers are larger companies with complex supply chains who need to perform custom analyses.  To accommodate this market niche, Datamyne provides more extensive customer support and training.  They are the full service solution in comparison with many of the self-service e-commerce type conveyers of U.S. Customs data that have recently proliferated the marketplace.

Other competitive strengths that were mentioned to me include:

  • The best overall value with prices starting as low as $199 per month for access to the raw unfiltered, non standardized U.S. Customs manifest data.
  • Latin American Coverage:  Datamyne has its roots, data center and most employees south of the border (Uruguay). They offer transactional data for many South American and Central American countries.
  • Statistical data gathered and disseminated for almost 50 countries, updated monthly.
  • Versatile and (relatively) easy to use user interface.

All in all, it represents a very good data mining utility for trade analysts to employ to slice and dice and serve up U.S. Customs data.

Datamyne Data Mining Utility provides capacity to quickly get the big picture as well as drill down on a specific Bill of Lading

Datamyne’s way too cool Drag and Drop feature that allows trade analysts to create pivot table like views of the data

Datamyne, Part 2: Queries: the Tiny SQL Fairies that Fetch Data

The front end or UI (user interface) that sits atop of Datamyne data has the look and feel of an analytical tool.  Even the naming conventions bear witness to their particular approach and designated audience.  All three initial windows into the soul of the machine have the label “queries” attached.

Users begin their search by either engaging with “Rankings & Queries”, “My Saved Queries” or “My Most Recent Queries”.  Obviously, first timers’ starting point is the first item.  It all begins fairly simply by selecting a country (market), database (transactional, statistical) and a year. Then, you choose between “rankings” and “queries”.  It’s all pretty straight forward thus far.

If you select “rankings”, you’ll get back an overview of the data arranged by commodity or geography.  If you select “queries” you’ve just bought the “E Ticket” to Data Disneyland or perhaps more like entering a geek construct of Data Lego Land.

The individual building “blocks” are composed of chunks of U.S. Customs manifest data –foreign shipper, U.S. importer, addresses, TEUs, commodity, product description, ports, weight, etc — several dozen fields of information for each individual bill of lading (shipment) multiplied by millions of BOLs each year.  That’s a lot of blocks.

Queries are formal inquiries constructed in SQL programming language posed by users in order to properly extract, filter and display these data blocks in ways that will solve a problem or answer a question.  Good questions get good answers.  Datamyne’s UI allows users to easily engage in the process of creating, editing and revising their query.

Proper question or query formation is more an art than a science as anyone who has tried to find anything via Google or another search engine can attest.  You have to refine and re-refine your search terms in order to filter out unwanted junk and get to the treasures buried in the dirt.  That’s the mining of data mining.

One of the excellent features about Datamyne’s data mining utility is that all the manipulation and revision happens on one page.  You don’t have to jump from here to there or follow links to a different page or start all over again if you want to alter your search criteria.

I was impressed by the relative speed by which the query results were returned.  Perhaps not lightning (instantaneous –POW) speed but certainly thunderous (one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three) speed.  That’s a lot of data to sift through, arrange and display.

DataMyne Home Screen. A Query Smorgasbord. Create a New Query. Fetch Saved Queries. Retrieve Recent Queries.

After Sending out their Query Fairy, Users can dynamically interact with it to refine search results

Datamyne, Part 1: Data Standardization and Product Code Attribution

As I have said many times, Trade Intelligence is composed of many facets: data, technologies, application and people.  It’s people that really boost the IQ.  Notwithstanding, on some level it starts and ends with the data.  If you’ve got bad or ugly data to start with… whatever you build ain’t gonna look pretty.  No decision will be well founded.

It is reported that Datamyne’s standardization process of the U.S. Customs data results in linking 85% of the manifest records (that are not suppressed or invisible) to U.S. consignees (importers).  Believe me, that’s no simple task.

As part of the deal Datamyne can filter out NVOCCs and logistics folks. There is nothing more irritating when you’re doing a search through Customs records, looking for importers of a particular product let’s say, than to have your results display 10 iterations of the same importer along with “junk” or fake consignees, which are obviously not importers.

Future iterations of their product promise to link expanded D&B company information to U.S. importers, further enhancing the value.  They believe they will be able to match about 60% of the non-suppressed records to the D&B database.  It’s all about “connecting the dots”!

U.S. Customs data is fetched daily via FTP.  Datamyne processes and makes a “raw” version (without standardization of names or product coding) available online within 72 hours.  They’re intending to compress that time down to a 24-hour turn-around very soon.  Their standardized, coded version is updated twice per month around three weeks in arrears.

More about data.  Datamyne also attributes a Harmonized Code product classification to over 80% of the manifest documents.  Although usually only to the two or four digit hierarchy, this is a fairly remarkable and difficult undertaking.  With the exception of PIERS, no other TI provider does it.  Although they’ve yet to fully exploit the many benefits of these linkages and the many profound synergies that can be created between statistical, and company data sources, they are clearly laying a firm foundation.

Although cloistered in separate silos, Datamyne maintains statistical data (updated monthly) on almost 50 countries within Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Furthermore, they maintain transactional manifest shipping data (similar to U.S. Customs data) on many Central and South American countries.  Unfortunately for Anglos, this data is only available in Spanish.  However, the availability and expertise with Latin American data remains one of their unique competitive strengths.  Datamyne’s origins, data center and most employees are rooted in Uruguay.

Datamyne has a slick “Drag and Drop” feature that allows users to chose which data elements they want to search on, display and export.

WISER: World Institute for Strategic Economic Research- Statistical Data Source, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

The WISERTrade Database Cheat Sheets

WISERTrade Databases include data on the following:

  • U.S. State Exports and Imports by HS, NAICS, SIC, Port (which is nice when looking for long term information, beyond HS code)
  • U.S. Imports and Exports by District and Port
  • 27 EU Countries Imports/Exports by HS
  • Detailed Reporting on the Following:
    • Canadian Province Imports/Exports by HS
    • Chinese Province Imports/Exports by HS
    • Taiwanese Imports/Exports by HS
    • Japanese Imports/Exports by HS
    • 184 UN Countries Imports by HS
    • Kompass database of 2.8 million companies

State Imports and Exports:

Data is organized according to two main subsets: extent of data (e.g. from annually from 1996) and by categories such as country (exporting to/importing from), value, weights by method of transportation, etc. Here’s the Cheat Sheet:

State Exports and Imports by 6-Digit HS Commodity:

By: Data Available from:
Country Value Weights by Method of Transportation
  • Exports:
    • Annual: from 1996
    • Monthly: from January 2006 to present
    • Imports: annual from 2008 to 2009

State Exports and Imports by 3 or 4 Digit NAICS Industry:

By: Data Available from:
Country Origin of Movement Exporter Location Series Value and Weights by Method of Transportation
  • Annual Data from:
    • 3 Digit: 1997
    • 4 Digit: 2002
    • Quarterly Data from:
      • 3 Digit: Quarter I 1997
      • 4 Digit: Quarter 1 2002
      • Monthly from 2006 to present (EXPORTS)
      • Annual from 2008-2009 (IMPORTS)

State Exports by 2-Digit  SIC

By: Data Available from:
Country Origin of Movement Exporter Location Series Value and Weights by Method of Transportation Annual and Quarterly Data from: 1988-2000 (No longer being updated by US Census)

State Imports by Port

By: Data Available from:
Exit by Country Value and Weights by Method of Transportation Annual: 1997Quarterly: Quarter 1 2001 to Present

U.S. Exports and Imports:

U.S. Exports and Imports of commodities are organized into two categories: by 10-digit HS code and by Port.

U.S. Exports/Imports by 10-Digit HS Code

By: Data Available from:
Customs district of exit/entry Country Total Value Units Unit Value Value and Weights by Method of Transportation Annual: 1998 to PresentMonthly: January 2006 to Present

U.S. Exports/Imports by Port

By: Data Available from:
6-Digit HS CodeCountry Annual: 2003 to PresentMonthly: January 2006 to Present

World Exports and Imports:

World Imports and Exports: WISERTrade provides detailed information on the following countries using the codes upwards of 8-digits, except for the broad United Nations (184 countries) category. Data for the world imports and exports is divided among various subsets, the two categories that each country shares are partner country and value in U.S. dollars.

European Union Imports/Exports

By: Data Available from:
8-Digit HS Commodity Value in Euros Weight Units Unit Value Annual: 1998 to PresentMonthly: January 2006 to Present

Canadian Imports/Exports

By: Data Available from:
8 and 10 Digit HS Commodity Province of Origin/Exit U.S. State of origin/destination Value in Canadian dollars Units Unit ValueMethod of TransportationDomestic/Foreign Total (Exports) Annual: 2002 to PresentMonthly: 2006 to Present

Japanese Imports/Exports

By: Data Available from:
9-Digit HS Commodity Value in Yen Annual: 1998 to PresentMonthly: 2006 to Present

Chinese Imports/Exports

By: Data Available from:
8-Digit HS Commodity Province of Origin/Destination Units Unit Value Method of Transportation Annual: 2002 to PresentMonthly: 2006 to Present

United Nations (184 Countries) Imports

By: Data Available from:
6-Digit Commodity Annual: 2005 to Present

Taiwanese Imports/Exports

By: Data Available from:
11-Digit HS Commodity Port of Exit/Entry Units Unit Value Method of Transportation Annual: 2003 to PresentMonthly: 2006 to Present

WISER: World Institute for Strategic Economic Research- Statistical Data Source, Part 1

WISER: Tailored for the User

Formed in July 2004, the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, WISER, sought to continue the work of its predecessor, MISER—Massachussetts Institute for Strategic Economic Research in the field of international trade data.

Another website that offers trade statistics, right? There are quite a few of them out there, so which ones are worth the effort and your dollars? Hopefully this review will help you figure out if WISER is a good fit for your needs.

WISER (MISER) was one of the first Business and Industry Data Centers to focus especially on foreign trade statistics and through various developments has become one of the leading providers of U.S. and state level trade statistics.

WISER boasts an extensive international trade database, consisting of the following categories:

  • Four U.S. State Level Export Series
  • U.S. Exports and Imports by Customs Districts and by Individual Port
  • EU Trade Statistics
  • Candadian Trade Statistics
  • Japanese Trade Statistics

Other WISERTrade benefits include:

  • Instant access to all data updates
  • Data coverage over long time series (primarily HS coding—less than 20 years, SIC—from 1988, and SITC—from 1997)
  • Standard and custom U.S. and world regions
  • Customized Industry/Commodity Lists
  • Drilldowns
  • Dashboard Graphics (charts, graphs, tables, etc.)
  • PDF, MS-Word, spreadsheet and text outputs
  • Mapping

WISER data is derived from only official sources, according to customer service representative Jack, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, government customs agencies, and United Nations database. Data from WISER is from “legitimate sources, no third parties here.” Dating back to 1988 until present day, many of the reports offer both annual and monthly data and can be exported into various dashboard graphics (charts, graphs, tables).

Though only available currently in English, Jack, the WISER customer service representative was very honest in stating where WISER falls on the totem pole of foreign statistic databases. UNComtrade’s data is on WISERTrade, however Global Trade Institute may come in different languages and be more complete, but not without a price passed on to you. Jack noted that subscribers are not allowed to download batches of data, but only limited amounts. However, as Jack described, there are options that allow you to batch your order at a price complete with computer software allowing you to extract the data.

Offered in a variety of formats, WISERTrade grants immediate access to comprehensive and timely U.S. trade databases. WiserTrade offers standard and customized statistical reports  and data files sent by fax or e-mail.

Okay, all of this information is great, but tell me the bottom line, right? How much do licenses cost? Well, it really depends on how many countries you need, as there are different licenses for different users. It is really tailored to the user, the amount you need, whether you want a monthly or quarterly subscription, or perhaps on an as-needed basis. Contact WISER for more information specific to your needs. Here are a couple numbers: consultant licenses range from $3,000 to $5,000 based on how many countries, and for personal use for projects or research is about $1,000.

Still not sold? Well, you can try it out for yourself and fiddle around with the system itself, just shoot customer service an e-mail and ask for an online demo, but you have to request it.

“WISERTrade is an invaluable resource for businesses, trade service providers, libraries, universities and other trade data users, providing the most extensive U.S. and World trade database available online.”

GTIS Global Trade Information Services: “The World’s Data at Your Fingertips” Part 2

Continued from part 1.

“The Whizmachine” Global Trade Atlas

Ok, so you got  a broad picture about what GTIS is, what Global Trade Atlas is, and who’s using it, but you want the details!!! Okay, well here we go…

Global Trade Atlas is an online trade data system that “offers a unique perspective for viewing the world’s merchandise and trade statistics allowing users to view world trade flows for products using the latest import/export data from official sources of more than 80 countries. Russell, from the GTIS customer service team stated that one of the “ways we hope to develop is by updating database functionalities, and hopefully adding new countries. However, for now we only get our data directly from customs agencies and the official government.” GTA primarily uses the Harmonized Code (2-digit, 4-digit, 6-digit, and further detailed as provided by country) allowing users to determine the specificity of their searches. When asked why there are no provisions for other codes, such as NAICS, SIC, SITC, etc., Russell explained that, “the Harmonized code is the most detailed of the codes, and some of them are no longer being used. We have the capabilities for translating some of these codes, but we are primarily HS code.” By default, however the “history” of this data cannot really extend beyond about twenty years, so for longer term data, you may need to look elsewhere.

Upon the features of the World Trade Atlas, Global Trade Atlas has also added the “Extra Data Field Module,” which allows users to sift through data by reporting country by region or state, mode of transport, port or customs district, or re-exports and domestic exports. The data displays value, quantity and average unit price, import or export market share, and percentage change.

Okay, all good things, but what if I’m looking for a specific commodity for multiple countries, or a certain product group, or maybe all the trade of one or more particular countries, can GTA help me? YES! GTA users can choose to subscribe to all of the above and then determine whether they want to be updated monthly, quarterly, or annually.

You can use Global Trade Atlas to:

  • Track imports and exports of a product on a global scale on one screen
  • Identify new markets and competing products
  • Analyze trends in the market by viewing historical data
  • Find the existing market share of each product by country

Other features of Global Trade Atlas include:

  • Ability to download any screen or selected selection directly into Microsoft Excel or Word
  • Use the interface in multiple languages
  • Find the HS product via keyword or number
  • Derive import/export data for countries not available in the GTA

Bottom line, right? Well, subscription fees are based upon your needs and these three factors

  • Number of reporting countries
  • Number of 6-digit commodity codes
  • Frequency of data updates per year

Unfortunately, I was not able to obtain actual numbers since each of these criteria are important in determining the subscription cost. Contact GTIS Customer Service for specific pricing. Subscriptions are for a full calendar (12 months) year and if you want to experiment with the program before purchasing you may ask for a trial…but you have to ask!

GTIS continues to look for new ways to promote a better understanding of global economic development, with its innovative software, a professional staff with strong international trade backgrounds, and experienced professionals in the trade field with the latest technology.

GTIS Global Trade Information Services: “The World’s Data at Your Fingertips” Part 1

There’s Eurostat, International Trade Administration, WISER, and UNComtrade among other sources for foreign statistics. Well, here is one more, GTIS, the Global Trade Information Services.

Established in 1993 on the east coast, GTIS was “established to promote a better understanding of global economic development.” Through their understanding in the increasing importance of world trade and the development of computer technology, GTIS has produced their own software solution for trade data and analysis. Currently serving clients in over 250 cities and 50 countries worldwide, GTIS is recognized as a leading supplier of international merchandise trade data.” The Financial Times exclaims that it is, “ the world’s data at your fingertips.”

World Trade Atlas was the first software developed by GTIS revolutionizing the way trade data was used. The World Trade Atlas (WTA) allows quick and easy browsing through each country’s data to determine the competitiveness of the world market for certain commodities or products. WTA produces tables that trade analysts would need to spend months building. Export Today sings its praises, “Elegant, quick and easy…I searched a mountain of trade data in seconds.”

Succeeding the World Trade Atlas, is the Global Trade Atlas, GTIS’s newest software that was built off of WTA’s best features, while also accommodating the extra data fields (e.g. U.S. State, Port and Customs District data). GTA allows users to see the bigger picture instead of a country by country basis. A bonus feature of GTA is the ability to create a model for a commodity and show all exports or all imports worldwide on one screen. “Trade analysts can determine more accurately market shares of world trade data for a particular commodity.” Though GTIS only obtains data from reliable sources, such as government or customs agencies, users can estimate import or export trade of a country with unreliable data by using reliable trade data of other countries. For example, if a user was looking for information on Nigerian imports and exports and the data was deemed unreliable, the user could estimate what the trade statistics were by viewing other countries who had reported importing or exporting to Nigeria. Database Magazine, says that “World Trade Atlas provides a different and better approach to retrieving trade data.”

The team at GTIS’s Global Trade Atlas work out all the details so that clients can focus more on analyzing the data and less about the logistics concerning it. GTIS is constantly working to create a system that is not only up to date and comprehensive, but also easy to navigate, which is a huge plus considering how much data can be gained from one simple request. Publishing monthly official government trade statistics for more than 80 countries, representing close to 100 percent of world trade, GTIS has earned a reputation of reliability, efficiency, and service (something I can personally attest to).

Do you fall in any of these categories? If you do, your competitors may be already using GTA:

  • Multinational companies
  • Research organizations
  • Consulting firms
  • Industry associations
  • Government agencies
  • Financial institutions

Check back tomorrow for Part 2.

International Trade Administration; Part 3: Sponsored Programs & Activities

In addition to providing information about trade, data and analysis, ITA also supports a variety of programs, summarized here.

Advisory Committees: A public-private partnership managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where business professionals can partake in formulating U.S. trade policy. The Industry Trade Advisory Committees are the primary link between industry and the U.S. government. The government relies on trade advisors to identify barriers, provide advice on key objectives and bargaining positions on trade negotiations and other trade related policy matters.

Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force (AIRTF): AIRTF was established by the Department of Commerce to provide information and counseling to companies interested in doing business in Afghanistan. AIRTF works closely with other commerce office, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, other U.S. government agencies, Afghan government agencies, and international organizations to coordinate activities in support of Afghan economic development. The focus is to development the private sector through the improvement of a market conducive to trade, investment and private sector growth. AIRTF offers information on business opportunities, market information, tenders, and trade missions (the next one is in February, register by January 3, 2012).

America’s Competitiveness Forum: provides an opportunity for business to business and business to government discussions yielding practical actions that can improve competitiveness and economic prosperity in the Americas.

Good Governance: a program promoting rule of law for business. Good Governance uses country-tailored approaches to support local efforts by private sector organizations working to combat corruption. Good Governance works to ensure that U.S. firms have equal opportunity to complete in a transparent business environment.

InvestAmerica (SelectUSA): U.S. government wide effort to encourage, facilitate, and accelerate business investment in the U.S. by domestic and foreign firms.

Iraq Investment and Reconstruction Task Force: established by the Department of Commerce, this program also has the same intentions and process as the AIRTF (see above). Iraqi Trade Delegations will be present for various conferences and shows in early 2012 in Las Vegas (Nevada), Istanbul (Turkey), Chicago (Illinois), and Houston (Texas).

Market Development Cooperator Program: awards include financial and technical assistance from the ITA to support projects that enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. industries. These awards establish partnerships between ITA and non-profit industry groups.

SABIT (Special American Business Internship Training Program): creates a forum for business development and technical assistance. It helps American organizations create new relationships and strengthen existing ties with Eurasian partners and customers from each of the former Soviet republics.

Safe Harbor: intended for organizations (within the EU or U.S.) that store customer data; it was designed to prevent accidental information disclosure or loss.

Stopfakes: resource about protecting intellectual property rights.

Strategic Partnership Program: enables increased export opportunities through joint outreach and education to small and medium sized U.S. businesses. Its mission is to expand the U.S. export base through innovative public-private sector partnerships.

Sustainable Business (Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative): launched by Commerce’s Manufacturing and Services. Goals include identifying U.S. industry’s most pressing sustainable manufacturing challenges, and coordinating public and private sector efforts to address these challenges.

International Trade Administration, Part 2: Competition, Numbers, and Analysis

Competitiveness: ITA advances policies and strategies that stimulate innovation and advancement, enhance economic growth, and support the U.S. manufacturing and services industry. They represent U.S. industry’s commercial interests in trade negotiations, bilateral and multilateral discussions, and in policymaking.

Competitiveness Resources from ITA

Industry Analysis is provided by the office of Manufacturing and Services. Industry analysis provides information and analysis regarding issues that affect U.S. industry competitiveness. Their services range from evaluating the possible effects of U.S. government regulations and domestic policies on industries to providing trade and industry data supporting the development of national economic policies.


In terms of Statistics, there are a few options. Users have the ability to select from State Imports, which is also broken into three categories (1) Global Patterns of State’s Imports (e.g. imports to California from each country) (2) State by State Imports from a Selected Market (e.g. imports to France to each state) (3) Import Product Profile from a Selected Market (e.g. products to Minnesota from Iceland).

The Statistics section of ITA also has links to Trade Policy Information System, but it is only available within the Federal government, or through a Federal agency account or grant or contract from a Federal agency. Trade Policy Information System data has been used to develop trade policy, trade implementation, and trade district analysis, the publication reports, and export promotion planning. Under the Statistics section, there are several PDFs available concerning Top Trade Partners, U.S. Trade Overview Presentation, Services Trade 2010, and Free trade Agreement Trade Tables.

Under the Trade Stats Express function, there are two broad categories that are additionally broken down. The first option is National Trade Data (U.S. merchandise exports and imports, trade balances) which is further categorized into (1) Global Patterns of U.S. Merchandise Trade (e.g. U.S. steel imports and exports for all countries) and (2) Product Profiles of U.S. Merchandise Trade with a Selected Market (e.g. all products traded between the U.S. and Mexico), where trade partners can be refined to reflect individual countries, geographic regions, or trading and economic regions. The second is State Exports which is broken into similar categories as State Imports mentioned above.

All data searches and queries have the date range of 1989 to 2010 and a quarterly data of up to five years. Additional data options are dollar or percentage changes. Map displays 2005 to 2010, and the NAICS, HS, or SITC classifications can be used, but users may also search by product list, code, or search, giving every user plenty of options.

INDUSTRY SPECIFICS: can be gathered through the provided links:

Promoting Prosperity for a Better World: International Trade Administration

“The defining purpose of the [International Trade Administration] is helping to create economic opportunities for American workers and businesses. By promoting trade and investment we are promoting prosperity for a better world.”

The International Trade Administration (ITA) works to improve the global business environment and helps U.S. organizations compete at home and abroad. The site itself is really a mass of information, providing information for importers and exporters alike and thus the ultimate resource for international trade.


  • Promote U.S. trade and investment: the ITA helps U.S. companies navigate foreign markets, by educating companies about how to tailor their activities to the specific market (financing, marketing, assembly, logistics, etc.)
  • Strengthen U.S. industry competitiveness: ITA advances policies and strategies that stimulate innovation and advancement, enhance economic growth, and support the U.S. manufacturing and services industry. They represent U.S. industry’s commercial interests in trade negotiations, bilateral and multilateral discussions, and in policymaking.
  • Ensure fair trade: ITA ensures fair trade by working to remove costly barriers to product and service exports through:
    • Market Access and Compliance (MAC): works to liberalize trade (see below).
    • Trade Compliance Center: tracks specific cases whether U.S. firms are experiencing barriers to entry or not receiving the full potential of negotiated agreements.
    • Import Administration: lead unit on enforcing trade laws and agreements (see below).

The ITA website itself is composed of a number of other ITA managed websites, creating a directory according to topic. For example, under the “Services” tab there are a number of topics, Market Research falls under, whereas “AD (Antidumping)/CVD (Countervailing Duty) Counseling” is categorized under “Import Administration.”


  • U.S. Commercial Service: promote U.S. exports (especially small and medium sized companies), provides commercial diplomacy support for U.S. business interests around the world.
  • Manufacturing and Services: helps shape industry specific trade policy.
  • Market Access and Compliance: helps create trade opportunities through the removal of market access barriers and works to achieve full compliance by foreign nations with U.S. trade agreements.
  • Import Administration: enforces U.S. trade laws and agreements by preventing unfairly traded imports and safeguarding the competitive strength of U.S. businesses.


  • About Trade (including: foreign trade zones, sustainability, market access, standards, etc.)
  • Exporting (including: national export initiative, trade agreements, general export assistance, etc.)
  • Compliance (including: import monitoring program, trade compliance center, etc.)
  • Enforcement (including: laws and regulations, trade compliance filing, trade remedies, etc.)
  • Events (including: conferences, trade events, webinars, domestic trade shows, etc.)




World Trade Center Spotlight: Barcelona, Spain

I love Barcelona.  I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful city during the World Trade Center General Assembly of 2009.  I was able to see the architecture of Antoni Gaudi and several of the 68 municipal parks.  Whether strolling down La Rambla in the evening, eating fine cuisine at the 4 Gats, walking the beach of the Mediterrean Sea or exploring, this city is definitely on my list to return to again and again.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and a prominent economic center, rich cultural area and major tourist destination. It is the 4th largest most visited city  and 4th best business city Europe. It is “one of the world’s major global cities.”  The Port of Barelona is over 2000 years ago and is Europe’s 9th largest container port.  (538,700 TEU in the first quarter of 2011.)  Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and according to  the Ajuntament de Barcelona, leads the cities of Spain in exports and new business creation. Of all the new companies, 14% are in the Barcelona province.  Its business creation index of 6.7% is higher than New York, London, Berlin or Dubai.

World Trade Center Barcelona


Management:  Gestio i Serveis Trade Center (GIS).

Mission:  The World Trade Center Barcelona ia a point of reference for business on an international scale, and of course the ideal place to locate your company or hold an event.

Background:  The largest owner of the WTC Barcelona is the Port of Barcelona (52.8%). The WTC Barcelona was built in 2000.

Trade Focus: Leading industries in Barcelona are: textiles (Barcelona is becoming a major fashion center), chemicals, pharmaseuticals, motors, electronics, printing, logistics, publishing, telecommunications and information technological services. The largest areas of trading are: East & Southeast Asia as well as North Africa and Turkey.

Imports: China is the main import area of orgin.  South Korea, India and Morocco made up 57 % of the total import volume at Port Barcelona in the first quarter of 2011.

Exports: Barcelona tops the export table in Spain and accounts for 20% of all exports. Total volume of exports between 2007 and 2010 was 130,090 million (Euro).  Major exports include: machinery, motor vechicles, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and medicines.

Services: WTC Barcelona is an amazing building with 40,000 m2 office space located in the Port Vell.  It is on the seafront and so has great views.  It is an ideal place to locate your company or business event. The Club WTC Barcelona Roof Terrace Meet & Eat boasts of a place to meet business people from around the world.  It also features a commercial area and a Grand Luxe 5-star hotel.  “It provides full integrated service management, from telecommunications to maintenance, security and interpreting services.”

Contact Information:

World Trade Center Barcelona
Moll de Barcelona s/n
Edifici est, ler plata
Barcelona, 08039

     This city is a must visit!!

CITD- Centers of International Trade Development -Trade Links

Maurice Kogan, at the CITD has assembled one of the very best collections of helpful links and resources on international trade available on the web. Check out the resources at their website, called theirTrade Information Database” or you can click on one of the links listed below.  Each of the links takes you, in turn, to a “jump page” with the appropriate sub-categories (links) conveniently organized.

Export Readiness Tools: How to information and tools to prepare and train for international trade:

Trade Reference Tools: Quick look-ups to commonly needed international commodity codes definitions and conversions:

Trade & Economic Statistics: Worldwide trade and economic data needed to track international trade flows by country, to assess economic conditions and to access and segment markets.

Foreign Market Research: Extensive industry country and topical market research to help pinpoint best export markets assess particular markets, adapt to local cultures and customs, and develop effective market entry strategies:

Trade Contacts & Leads:  Trade directories and specific trade leads to identify prospective suppliers buyers and distributors:

Trade/Investment Regulations: U.S. and worldwide laws and regulations affecting market access and compliance:

Trade Documentation: Requirements, procedures and forms needed for documentary compliance:

Trade Promotion: Directories of trade shows and other events for face-to-face contact with potential buyers:

Finance & Insurance: Trade finance/insurance guidance, programs, sources of assistance, and on-line application:

Transport & Logistics: Requirements, tools and services to manage logistics and deliver the goods:

International Trade News: Current developments on topics industries and regions of interest to international traders:

Trade Resources Directory: California U.S. Government international private sector and academic sources of assistance:

You may also want to check out the WTD article we did on Mr. Kogon earlier this year.

World Trade Center Spotlight: Denver, CO

I have only stayed in Denver once, but it is a city I would love to live in. For someone like me who loves the outdoors and sports, this city is perfect.  There are so many places to drive to and things to do around Denver: ski resorts, the Beer Triangle including Coors Brewery, Boulder, gold rush towns, Rocky Mountain State Park, Estes Park, Rafting on the Colorado River, and so much more.

Denver is nicknamed the Mile High City because it is located in the spectacular state of Colorado at exactly one mile above sea level. It has 300 sunny days a year– more than Miami or San Diego. Denver is the largest city located almost halfway between the West Coast and Chicago, so it is a major location for storage and goods distribution. Denver’s location also allows for telecommunication to both North American coasts, South America, Europe and Asia in the same business day. This is ironic since Denver is one of the few cities that was not built on a road, railroad, or navigable body of water.  It was built where the first flakes of gold were found. Denver is also one of the few cities that has 8 professional sports teams.

World Trade Center Denver

Over 275 companies and individuals are members of the WTC Denver. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping companies import, export and establish overseas operations.  The WTC Denver also maintains the Colorado International Trade Database which lists Colorado exporters and importers and over 1000 manufacturers and service providers.  The Denver World Trade Center is located in the financial district adjacent to 17th Street which is known as the “Wall Street of the West”.


Mission: The World Trade Center Denver will provide sustained value to its constituents and the community by being the private sector focal point for international business in Denver and throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Officers: Karen Gerwitz, Executive Director as of August of 2010.  Ms. Gerwitz brought 20 years of experience in international business and communications to the position. Justin Szymik, Director, Educational Services.

Background: Formed in 1989. The founding partnership consisted of Metro, BCE Development, Denver Chamber of Commerce, Colorado International Trade Office, and the Rocky Mountain District Export Council.

Exports: Colorado’s exports increased 14% last year but still lag behind the national average of 21%. Businesses are being encouraged to tap into the export market (from Breaking Import Export News.) From the International Trade Administration: Colorado’s export shipments of merchandise in 2010 totaled $6.7 billion.  In 2009, the metropolitan area of Denver-Aurora was responsible for 53.1% of Colorado exports of $4.3 billion.  A total of 4,755 companies exported from Colorado in 2008 and 88% were small and medium size companies. The state’s largest export category is computers and and electronic products ($1.8 million) then processed foods ($976 million), chemicals manufactures ($873 million), and machinery manufactures ($701 million).

Export Destinations: 25% of Colorado’s exports went to Canada in 2010 ($1.7 billion) Other export destinations were: Mexico ($590 million), China ($559 million), the Netherlands ($331 million) and Germany ($321 million).

Services:  WTC Denver is an active and certified member of the WTCA. There are 4 key service areas: Information, Education., Advocacy, and Connection.  Services offered include: Certificates of Orgin, Certificates of Free Sale, WISER Trade Statistic Reports, Colorado International Trade Database serarches, training programs, meeting rooms, and roundtables. The International Trade Education and Training programs are impressive. One can earn a Certificate in International Trade by completing 3 required courses and 9 elective courses. The website is full of information, services, news, and many events consisting of educational classes.

Contact Information:

World Trade Center Denver
1625 Broadway, Suite 680
Denver, Colorado 80202  USA

Rocky Mountain State Park & Coors Brewery

World Trade Center Spotlight: Baltimore, Maryland

I am a Marylander.  I grew up in Baltimore, spent my summers on the Eastern Shore and lived near Annapolis for 11 years before moving to Tennessee. Maryland is a wonderful state with geographic variety such as mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Coast. It is often called the “Land of Pleasant Living”. I was raised on steamed hard shell crabs, silver queen corn and striped bass fish (rockfish).  Annapolis, the state capital, is a wonderful place to visit. We used to watch the Blue Angel’s Air Show at the United States Naval Academy, sail, sit at the harbor watching the boats and take the historic tours (the town was first settled in 1649). I remember the Baltimore harbor before its revitalization, now called the Inner Harbor, it is a fabulous place to see now! I love Maryland and its city Baltimore and continue to visit my family and friends there as much as I can.

Maryland is also known for: John Hopkins Hospital (the largest employer in the Baltimore area), over 350 biotech firms, and the second highest concentration of doctoral scientists and engineers in the U.S.  Its close proximity to Washington D.C. has made it a center for defense/aerospace industry and satellite government headquarters.

World Trade Center Institute


Officers: Deborah Kielty

Mission:  WTCI strives to drive the growth of Maryland’s flourishing global business community as Maryland’s Premier Global Business Partner.

Background:  Established in 1989 and licensed by the WTCA in 1991.  Financed jointly by area businesses and the State of Maryland. More than 2,500 Maryland firms benefit from WTCI.

Trade Focus:The Port of Baltimore (8th largest in the nation) plays a vital role in Maryland’s Economy.  It serves over 50 ocean carriers making nearly 1,800 annual visits.  Thirty-three million tons of cargo moved through the port in 2010.

Exports: Coal, corn, soybeans, lignite, coal coke, petroeum, and fuel oils.

Top Export Destinations: Canada is the largest destination by far.  Next are the Netherlands, China, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Egypt, and Japan.

Imports:   Iron ore, petroleum, sugar, and fertilizers.  It is also one of the top auto ports in the U.S.

Services:  Many services are available for members of the WTCI including International Signature events, Internations Business Series, International Network Connections, and business services such as: Global Intelligence Briefs, International Traveler’s Packages, and an International Visitor’s Management. The WTCI also provides business connections, embassy contacts and personal introductions.  WTCI also has an International Visitors Program that arranges professional exchange programs.


9/23  Estonian Trade Mission

9/26-10/5 Russian Professions- Investing & Doing Business in Russia

Contact Information:

World Trade Center Institute
401 East Pratt St. Suite 232
Baltimore, MD 21202

 A Maryland Crab Feast….Yum!

World Trade Center Spotlight: Ramallah, Palestine

Although the website is not current and my good friend Bassem Nijem is no longer the General Manager, I wanted to highlight this World Trade Center.  Why?  Because I had the honor to visit it personally in October 2009.  Robert Thompson and myself visited many of the Palestinian businesses (West Bank) there in a trade mission.

We were able to see for ourselves the quality manufacturing plants and products: olive oil, soap, ceremics, chemicals, textiles,cosmetics, cabinets, granite and more.  I was very impressed with the quality and perserverence of these business men.  (They face huge trade challenges because of Israeli restrictions.)

Not only did Bassem plan tours for us to see businesses, but also a memorable visit through the Holy Land.  It is a trip I will never forget not only for the wonderful people I met, but for the beauty and richness of the land and culture.


Officers:  Bassem Nijem, Former General Manager; Ghazi Abu Nahl, Group Chairman for NEST Investments Ltd.

Mission:  To promote international trade and strengthen economic ties between Palestinian businesses and foreign enterprises. To conduct customized Educational Programs covering crucial topics to enhance the practical skills of the business community.  To be the most effective commercial data provider in the region for local & worldwide sourcing. To serve the Palestinian Community through its worldwide links & contacts. To remain a unique establishment with strong brand recognition internationally.

Background: Founded in 1995.  Owned by NEST Investments Ltd. based in Cyprus.  NEST with General Manger Ghazi Abu Nahl owns 15 WTCs in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

Trade Focus:  WTCP is an effective Trade Leads provider.  There are many sectors listed on the website as well as lists of products/countries under the columns of “Offers to Buy” and “Offers to Sell”.

Export Merchandise:  Stone, olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, January 2011 exports totalled $66.8 million (13% increase from December 2010).

Import Merchandise: Food, consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum, chemicals (January 2011 imports totalled 421.7% (4.4% increase from 12/2010).

Top Export Destinations:  Israel (93% of exports)

Services: Customized programs covering topics such as International Trade, Microsoft applications, financial education, managerial skills and language.   Reliable trade information is provided on specific foreign markets, products, services and industry information as well as lists of Palestinian manufacturers. Secretarial services are also provided for local and incoming business entrepreneurs. WTCP also hosts outbound and inbound missions.

Contact Information:

World Trade Center Palestine
P.O. Box 3872 – Al Bireh – Palestine
Location: Al-Birdh – Ramallah / Jerusalem St.
Trust Insurance Bldg – 3 rd. Floor
One of the most amazing cities in the world.

One of the many quality businesses we visited in Palestine.

World Trade Center Spotlight: San Diego

I love San Diego.  It has it all.  Gorgeous beaches, idyllic weather (the U.S. Weather Bureau describes it as the “closest thing to perfect”), great museums, world famous zoo, Sea World and much more.  It is a fabulous place to visit, and I have been there several times, but not as much as I would like!  What a great place to live especially if you are in international trade.


Newsletter:  The Trader

Officers:  Bella Heule, President/CEO; Hugh Constant, Executive Vice President; Reynaldo G. Lontok, Chief Financial Officer/COO

Mission: Provide comprehensive international trade services and key global contacts to facilitate and expand trade for regional and worldwide clients.

Background:  Established in 1994, WTCSD was one of the first World Trade Centers internationally to be certified by the WTCA, receiving a best practices designation for their trade missions.  WTCSD is a private-public partnership with the City of San Diego, the Unified Port District, and Regional Airport.

Trade Focus:  San Diego, California occupies a strategic location in the United States.  It is on the border of Mexico and on the Pacific Rim.  This makes San Diego a multi-cultural city and thus excellent for international business opportunites.  Because San Diego and Tijuana create the largest metropolitan artea on the U.S./Mexico border, it is an ideal area for taking advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Many companies with manufacturing plants in Mexico have their administration and/or operation facilities in San Diego.  This concept is known as Maquiladoras or Twin Plants. The border crossing San Ysidro Port of Entry is the busiest international border crossing in the world.

San Diego is authorized by the U.S. to operate as a Foreign Trade Zone.  In 2009 the Port of San Diego handled over $1 million “short tons of total trade”.  Over $900,000 was foreign trade.  The terminal at Tenth Avenue has facilities for refrigerated and frozen storage so it can handle imports and exports of perishables, for example 33 million bananas every month. (We eat a lot of bananas here in the States.)

In September 2010, WTCSD was awarded a multi-year grant of $425,000 from the International Trade Administation to help finance their work in encouraging U.S. technology to solve the water issues in the Middle East, North Africa and India.

Economy: San Diego’s economic entities are: military, defense, tourism, international trade, and research/manufacturing. San Diego also hosts the largest naval fleet in the world, and the U.S. Navy is its top employer.

Services: WTCSD has 4 core areas of service that provide businesses with links for international opportunites and bring value to San Diego’s international trade community: relationships, global marketing, international public affairs and trade knowledge.

Trade services also including market research, trade counseling, trade referrals, matchmaking, and trade service requests. Trade information packets are available covering over 30 countries.  The packets include a 50 page overview of each country’s market and a 200-page report on information a business would need to know.

Another service: Asia Desk “provides trade services, hosts inbound business and trade delegations form Asia, and organizes outbound trade missions, information seminars, training programs and networking events.”


  • 7/26  Water Opportunies for U.S. Companies with Alberta
  • 8/9  Cross Cultural Business Communication Workshop: Russia
  • 9/8 Peace Prosperity & Diversity Though Trade: a 9/11 Commemoration
  • 10/4 Tools for Trade: Post 9/11 Trade Compliance Update

Contact Information:

World Trade Center San Diego
2989 Pacific Hwy
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 615.0868

Offloading cargo (bananas?) at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal

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.

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

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.

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

Panjiva: Bridging the Continental Divides Between Buyers and Sellers?

Panjiva is one of the new(er) Trade Intelligence Providers that have come on the scene in the last couple years. Founders Josh Green (Harvard Management guy) and James Psota (MIT Tech geek) launched their brainchild in 2009 juiced by angel and venture capital funding from Gerson Lehrman Group and Battery Ventures, respectively.

The company name is a derivative of “Pangaea” – a term referring to when (presumably) all of the world’s continents were joined together as a single super-continent. “The Panjiva team likes to think that we’re bringing the continents—or at least the people on them—closer together.”

Unlike other Trade Intelligence Providers, Panjiva currently focuses on one primary niche: Global Sourcing.  Their “intelligence platform” is designed to help domestic buyers connect with foreign sellers.

Specifically, as stated in their web promotion:

For Buyers:

  • Quickly develop short-lists of potential suppliers.
  • Conduct background checks on potential suppliers.
  • Keep tabs on competitors’ sourcing activities.
  • Keep tabs on existing suppliers.

And for Suppliers:

  • Get bigger customers.
  • Get more customers.

Their packaging looks slick with an intelligently designed web site, good press, and apt use of social media with blog, twitter, promotional video and web marketing. They’ve developed an affiliate program with a couple of impressive partners. Panjiva offers three convenient payment options: by the year for $999, by the month for $99 or by the click for $10 (why not $9.99?).  Perhaps, customers could also buy by the byte?

Word out on the streets is they are a very aggressive company and sometimes come across with a tad bit of arrogance. Heck, why not? They come well armed academically, technologically and financially, and seem to have successfully wiggled their way into a significant market niche within the trade intelligence space.

Waterborne data

Notwithstanding, for all the hoopla, Panjiva just slices and dices the very same data that is being offered by many a Trade Intelligence Provider – the daily DHS/ U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Shipping Manifest (bill of lading) feeds/CDs about which I have written (and will continue to write) many a post on this forum. This data is made publicly available through the freedom of information act by CDP (Customs and Border Protection) for $100 per day via monthly subscription or by special request.

Originally, Panjiva used to augment and enhance the bread-and-butter data received from Customs with additional value-added databases licensed from PIERS such as foreign supplier profiles, shipment/product valuations and waterborne export transactions. That was until the newly installed PIERS management team realized that they were feeding a tiger cub and sporting a voracious appetite at hunt on their turf for the tasty foreign sourcing market segment.

Now, Panjiva must rely upon their (Harvard) brains and (MIT) technology alone to survive within an increasingly predatory environment where there is massive proliferation of competing trade intelligence (?) providers offering search and reporting utilities against the same data for as little as 99 cents a day.

Import Genius: On the Nature of Genius and Intelligence within Trade Intelligence

The last of the “Big Five” Trade Intelligence Suppliers, that we’ll take a cursory look at within the pack of those that fetch, rework and dole out U.S. Customs Waterborne import data, is Import Genius.

UBM Global Trade/PIERS is the undeniable alpha dog of the pack.  Datamyme, Zepol, Panjiva and Import Genius are all hungry, younger but now veteran TI providers who have successfully carved out market niches for themselves, although the fight for who will dominate the foreign sourcing space is ongoing.  Then there are another dozen newcomers, foreign and domestic, that jealously circle, hunting for market opportunities and usually competing on price alone.

Import Genius is one of the "Big Five" TI providers

Like their peers, Import Genius has a well designed website, makes good use of social media and offers a plethora of slick promotional materials. (PIERS, ironically, is the notable exception in those regards. A shortcoming I am sure won’t last long.)  Import Genius’ blog “Making Waves” is getting rather dated though, with the last entry at the time of this writing being 120 days old.  They offer several ways to taste their product through video, screenshots or interactive presentation.  They’ve generated a lot of press, to be sure. Of particular note, is the Spotlight Review by  You can also find them on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Import Genius Ingenious Logo

Import Genius, headquartered in Scottsdale and founded by brothers Ryan and David Petersen along with Michael Kanko, came on the scene in 2008 about the same time as their smart Cambridge cousin, Panjiva, hit the streets.  Unlike Panjiva, however, the Petersen clan had to bootstrap their start-up themselves. Like Panjiva and the rest of the “Big Five”, they offer their own brand of search, analytics and reporting utilities sitting atop of the usual U.S. Customs data.  In this regard, Import Genius doesn’t seem offer anything spectacular or noteworthy.

PIERS is currently the ONLY TI provider that integrates other trade related databases, statistical company profiles and export transactions successfully into the mix.  Particularly since PIERS’ acquisition of the innovative CenTradeX TI applications in 2010, they have significantly distanced themselves from any competitors in regards to sophistication and dimensionality.

Until Import Genius and the rest of the pack invests the financial, technical, intellectual and creative resources to expand and integrate other trade databases and develop comprehensive solutions for the world trade industry, PIERS will continue as the dominant player with all other contenders ultimately competing on price alone.  This is chiefly due to the fact that the underlying U.S. Customs data (that ALL the referenced companies base their products upon) is cheap and available, and off-the-shelf business intelligence software is becoming more robust and easier to deploy.

There yet remains vast undeveloped frontiers and opportunities to explore and claim in service to the multi-trillion dollar World Trade Industry for those with the GENIUS, resources and fortitude to pursue innovation within the field of Trade Intelligence.

TI Provider TradeInfo 365 Provides Transactional Trade Data for 10 Countries

In my recent net sweep of Trade Intelligence providers who offer U.S. Customs Waterborne Import Manifest (Bill of Lading) data, I seem to have missed what appears to be a pretty large fish,

Not surprising, several China based TI competitors have recently joined the ranks in an attempt to challenge PIERS, Datamyne, Zepol, Panjiva, Import Genius and the dozen or so newbies.  Unlike most, TI365 offers a whole lot more than just a simple off-the-shelf search and reporting utility sitting atop of U.S. Customs data.

TradeInfo365 integrates over 8,000,000 entries every month from 10 countries including both imports and exports. Unfortunately only four are in English: U.S., UK, Pakistan & Korea. Four others are in Spanish: Argentina, Chile, Peru & Columbia. Still, it is refreshing to see a TI provider go that extra mile in putting together a more comprehensive data collection.

What was of particular interest is that TI365 also offers China Trade Data.  They offer not only statistics but also transactional data on imports, importers, exports and exporters.  They also have credit information on some of these companies as well.  Check out their website for samples and details.

All said, seems to be a company worth checking out.  Not coincidentally, their pricing strategy is identical to several state side TI Providers with subscriptions ranging from $99 to $399 per month. However, their subscription plan includes access to all 10 countries’ data, which is of particular benefit to those who can read English, Spanish, Ukrainian and Russian.  Unfortunately, the China data is sold separately.

They fall short of the trader specificity within the data collection that we (at CenTradeX) accumulated which logged virtually every import or export transaction for 6 years including detailed company contact information and value of shipment.  But, to my knowledge, there are presently no sources that can distribute such information in bulk legally.

Notwithstanding, cashing in on Trade Intelligence is a matter of sleuthing.  Like any detective you collect clues from as many sources as possible in order to build a convincing case.  If you depend upon one source, such as U.S. Customs data, you are likely to miss the whole story.  The genius is in building dimensionality by connecting the dots.  The more connections that are made the more defined the picture becomes.

The stakes are high: surviving and thriving in the $12 trillion dollar international trade market.  Information is one of the keys to success.

ECRM is to the Sourcing World what Speed Dating & EHarmony is to the dating world.

Over the last 10 years, ECRM has developed a winning combination of technology, systems and people that match retailers with suppliers in a very dynamic, efficient way.  To liken them to a “trade show” is to compare the bar scene to a senior prom.

I met Charlie Bowles, founder/CEO during one of our WTCA (World Trade Center Association) conferences.  ECRM had worked with several Centers putting together matchmaking events for their member companies.  Mr. Bowles is one of those straight shooting, no-nonsense, street-smart visionary entrepreneurs who is a lot of fun to work with. You never have to wonder where you stand or what’s going on.

ECRM logo

ECRM & CenTradeX worked on a joint project to develop a database, vetting system and search/reporting engine on several industry “verticals” in their Marketgate online matchmaking interface. Toys, school supplies and packaging materials were the initial areas of build-out.

As part of the development process, we attended one of 50 plus three-day matchmaking events to witness their magic firsthand. ECRM contracts with luxury resort hotels to do a complete take over.  They book the entire facility.  Several floors of hotel rooms are transformed into mini-mart exhibit centers displaying respective sellers wares.

Dozens of bona fide buyers for a particular product group (for example: toys would bring in Mattel, Walmart, Toys-R-us, and the likes) are provided top-shelf accommodations FREE all expenses paid.  Sellers (suppliers) in turn pay an average of $10,000 for guaranteed, prequalified, technology enhanced “speed dates” with the prospective buyers taking in 30 to 40 individual face-to-face meetings with buyers during a single event.

Buyers attract Sellers, like bees to nectar or boys to beer.

Some have likened ECRM’s business model to nightclubs that provide free liquor to the ladies so as to attract swarms of paying male drinkers.

Prior to the event, a comprehensive evaluation of each seller and their merchandise is entered into the ECRM system.  Each participant, both buyer and seller, receives a tablet PC preloaded with all the necessary vitals and meeting schedule.

We witnessed the magic firsthand. Buyers strolling through a sellers display area and within minutes selecting items, deciding quantities, agreeing on terms and confirming delivery schedule. Everything was promptly scanned into the system, thereby creating confirmation and necessary documentation.

Within a 10- 15 minute span, a forthcoming year’s worth of merchandise was transacted, not just the endless chitchat and vendor banter characteristic of most trade shows.

We interviewed people involved in all aspects of the process: hotel staff, ECRM hospitality folks, tech engineers, management and marketing personnel as well as the suppliers and buyers themselves. For the most part, ECRM had worked out an excellent mix of data, technologies, systems, marketing and people.

ECRM got their initial boost from doing business with Walmart.  Thus far their success has been primarily limited to the retail products one would find at Walgreens or CVS.  They have struggled to find traction both in other industries (automotive, electronics, furniture) and outside the U.S. in foreign markets.

Musical Maestro Undergoes Midlife Renaissance to Become the Minister of International Trade Webworks

The World Trade Information business, like most professions, is as much about art as it is about science. It requires intuition and vision in addition to operation manuals and financial statements.

Barney Lehrer was a Juilliard-trained professional cellist, who performed all around the world, before making World Trade his vocation.  In 1990, relatively late in his life (but in the infancy of the internet), he left a successful musical career to get his MBA from the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management.  Thereafter, following a short stint with a trading company in New York, he joined FITA (Federation of International Trade Associations) to develop their website.

In the Wild, Wild West of the World Wide Web back in those early pioneer days, there weren’t a lot of guidebooks and gurus to tell you how it was supposed to be done.  Therefore, Mr. Lehrer invented it as he went, and became a self–taught maestro in the many facets of website development. Now, some twenty years later, FITA ( is a recognized staple for trade information.  Approximately 100,000 visitors frequent his web site every month:

  • Searching for advise on how to start an import -export business.
  • Looking for a job in the international trade industry.
  • Hunting for merchandise trade leads, where/who to buy from or sell to.
  • Fetching background information on a particular industry or country.

The FITA website and newsletter (Really Useful Sites) was sold to the Paris based company, Export Enterprises, three years ago.  Since the sale, Mr. Lehrer not only continues to shepherd the FITA as Vice-President, but also has been charged with directing content development and U.S. operations for EE’s new enterprise,, launched November 2010.

Global Trade Net

Barney Lehrer is a man of vision.  In our recent interview, he remarked that the next important trend in international trade information would be in and about social media; hence the focus of  Creating transparency and interactivity within the global trading community is not easy.  But the need is there.

Vetting prospective service providers, foreign manufacturers or potential buyers is vital.  Can technology really help bridge the trust and accountability gaps?  Apparently, many companies have tried and failed to establish methods to adequately validate potential foreign suppliers.  Alibaba’s recent “Trust Pass” scandal further testifies to the difficulties involved.

Thus Barney Lehrer undertakes, through, to begin the bridge building task. attempts to provide users background information on specific industries in specific countries through 15,000 reports obtained from their various global government partnerships. Then, through their network of 12,000 service providers, tries to bring trading parties separated by miles, languages and customs a little closer to THE DEAL.

Still in its infancy, investors and sponsors are called upon to provide the necessary financial undergirding.  It is hoped that upon reaching critical mass, the “pay-per-lead” revenues (resulting from the matchmaking process) will sustain and prosper the enterprise.  In the end, the best way to establish trust and validate a potential supplier, as Mr. Lehrer attests, is “to get a plane and meet face to face.”

Notwithstanding, the Maestro will certainly bring his best to the task of bringing all the players together within in an effort to provide greater harmony, synchronization and facilitation within the arena of global trade.  To that end, we wish him well.