According to the International Trade Administration, 95 percent of the world’s consumers are outside of the U.S. and over half of U.S. exporters only sell to one foreign market. For U.S. businesses seeking to either begin exporting or grow their existing market share abroad, this agency, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers an array of market research products and services to help them succeed. An offering for those currently exporting is the Market Diversification Tool which generates ideas about promising new export markets.
Before accessing the free tool, users must read and acknowledge a disclaimer which mentions it is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute business consulting or legal advice. The ITA then requires users to enter some basic information into the tool, namely their business’s zip code, six-digit Harmonized Schedule numbers of the product(s) being exported, where they’re currently exporting these products, and their target market(s). After this information is submitted, an algorithm kicks in and a ranked list of export market results is shown. The algorithm utilizes nearly a dozen unique factors in its calculations, ranging from import costs to whether a country is landlocked, and their weightings can be rebalanced by the user in the ‘Result Ranking’ section of the tool if desired. Changing the weightings could change the export market results shown.
Exporters can take many different steps with the robust information provided by the tool. One option is to contact a local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) which is staffed with representatives from the U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Small Business Administration, and EXIM who work collaboratively to provide assistance. Should an exporter eventually decide to sell to new markets, EXIM offers several Export Credit Insurance products that cover multiple foreign buyers. Those who are already at this stage are encouraged to schedule a consultation with an EXIM trade finance specialist for more details.
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