The Dept. of Commerce is making a concerted effort to help manufacturing companies export good. In the U.S. Export Pavilion at Manufacturing Week, seven agencies explained their roles, which range from disseminating timely data on what's imported and exported to regional assistance in target countries.
One possible starting point for companies that want to increase their exports is to examine data for products in their field. That's collected by an agency normally thought of only once a decade when the census comes out.
"We process 5 million records each month, providing timely data a month after it's collected," says Richard Preuss, senior foreign trade advisor at the Bureau of the Census. This information lets companies see how many units of their product were shipped in a given time and where those units went. Pricing and other trend information are also available.
Recent legislation requires all export filings to be done electronically, so government workers are helping companies make the transition from paper. Another service is that the international offices can help companies find customers, providing lists and helping visitors maneuver through the operation. These local offices can also provide information on local customs regulation and other country-specific data. Additionally, the U.S. Export-import Bank can help finance international sales, while the Small Business Administration provides export training seminars and other services.
Along with government agencies, the pavilion included the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America Inc., which can help companies move their goods overseas.
Trade shows are increasingly being seen as an effective avenue for the
Department to increase awareness of its programs. "This has been a terrific show
for us," Preuss says.