The Top Ten Ways Professionals Can Use Trade Data (Part 1)

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Cori Rogers, Marketing Associate at Zepol Corp.

Trade data is import and export trade information that is taken from dozens of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Customs, and assists businesses in a multitude of ways. Zepol Corporation takes complicated U.S. Government trade data and puts it into an easy-to-use online interface. The interface includes three subscription-based tools: TradeIQ™, TradeView™, and ComplianceIQ™. Zepol helps those dealing with the opportunities and perils of global trade. With much deliberation, we have come up with the top ten ways professionals can use this trade data to their advantage.

10. Develop Smarter Trade Reports
Consultants, marketers, product developers, and other research professionals use trade data from U.S. Customs and the U.S. Census Bureau to find vast amounts of information on specified trade topics. One consultant company used U.S. Census data to view U.S. import and export trends of ice skates. The firm developed a supply and demand report based on values and total weight trends of the product over the past five years. The report allowed their client to determine what a feasible investment for ice skates was and what they could expect, in terms of demand, from that marketplace.

9. Help Ease Trade Flow in Cities/Regions
World Trade Centers (WTCs) and International Trade Commissioners (ITCs) make trade information work for them in order to increase trade flow in a more efficient way. The data helps them do their jobs better and faster. WTCs use trade intelligence to help importers in their cities/regions find suppliers overseas and discover optimal trade routes.

ITCs use the information to help their countries' exporters find buyers for their products. For example, an International Trade Commissioner from Thailand could use U.S. Customs data to find a rice buyer in Miami, Florida for a Thai rice business. Being able to see quantitative results allows ITCs to quickly qualify prospective importers for particular products.

8. Be a Trade Psychic: Analyze the Latest Trends in U.S. Trade & Predict Future Trends
Trade Intelligence tools provide a foolproof way to trend any product that's imported to or exported from, the United States. Import trends provide futuristic insights on everything from a particular industry's status to the state of the U.S. economy. Products like fasteners (i.e. nuts, bolts, nails) give a glimpse into the manufacturing and construction industries. By viewing the ups and downs of fastener imports, you can predict seasonal trends, shifts in exporting countries (like the current rise in fastener imports from Germany), and even economic growth or a lull in the future.

7. Protect Your Brand
You may not be aware that a certain pen manufacturer that produces pens with silver tubes and black caps has a patent for the design; hence no other pen can look the same. You must now be wondering how anyone could enforce such a thing. With trade intelligence, a protective company can monitor imports with a specific appearance, which is found in the Bill of Lading's product description. Companies can easily see how other importers describe the products they import, offering insights into any potential patent infringements. This ensures that their brand is safe and uniquely theirs, with little effort.

6. Feel Awesome when Audited: Importers Stay Compliant
When dozens of import compliance sources are combined into one place, it's easy to adhere to the latest U.S. government regulations and keep track of records. Compliance data tools can help your company ensure that you're paying the correct duty rate for products, monitor changes, and even know if there's an antidumping case relevant to your product.

Recently, importers of bottom-mount refrigerators coming from South Korea and Mexico were under an antidumping investigation. The companies who were aware of the investigation early on had the best chance of responding proactively and discovering if their suppliers were subject to the dumping. Staying aware of recent investigations helped those companies avoid immense fees and also have the opportunity to defend themselves, gather documents, and even appeal the ruling to the ITA. (See the ITA fact sheet here.)

Stay tuned for the next part of this series, where we'll explore items 5-1 of how professionals can use trade data to their advantage.

- Cori Rogers, Marketing Associate, Zepol Corp.

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