Wednesday, January 3, 2007 Issue 152 Volume 7 Number 1  
This issue sponsored by Search Engine Optimization from Network Solutions.
Our Featured Country
You do not have to speak to a computer!
US Passport Rules are Changing
Find News on a World Map
Trade Compliance Manager

Hello International Traders!

John McDonnell here, with your latest issue of Really Useful Sites for International Trade Professionals.

Happy New Year to all the readers of FITA's Really Useful Sites for International Trade Professionals. All of us at FITA wish you much success and prosperity in 2007!

Chile has a growing economy, good trade numbers, and a stable future, so that makes it worth researching -- and I've got a site in this issue that will give you the facts about Chile. Do automated phone answering systems drive you crazy? I have a site that tells you how to reach a live person at hundreds of major companies. On January 23 Western Hemisphere residents will need a passport to travel between countries. I have a site that tells US, Canadian and Mexican citizens how to get their passport. Finally, I have a cool site that lets you find news stories by clicking on a map of the world.

And don't forget -- if you'd like more information about international trade, go to FITA's Really Useful Links ( ), which has a link library of more than 8,000 sites related to international trade.

Our Featured Country

For more than a decade Chile has been one of South America's success stories, and that trend is expected to continue into the near future. The country has an open, market-oriented economy (with a strong emphasis on foreign trade), a stable government, and solid financial institutions. It imported over US $30 billion of goods in 2005, making it 49th in the world for imports.

If this sounds like a country you'd like to research further, go to Austrade's Chile profile. This Australian Trade Commission site has lots of information about Chile, as you might expect, since Chile is Australia's second largest merchandise export market in South America. Here you'll find political and economic overviews, trade statistics, industry reports, advice on business etiquette, tariffs & regulations, public health requirements, trade documentation, visa requirements, travel tips, currency conversion, foreign investment policy, useful Web sites, and much more.

You'll also find plenty of good research at the Chile Mini Portal ( ), a feature of the FITA Web site. The Chile Mini Portal has an overview of the country, with facts about the language, currency, climate, etc., plus more specific information about the economy, Chilean markets, taxes, labor market indicators, tips on doing business in Chile, and a search engine to help you find market research on the Internet.

Click on "Useful Links" and you'll find a variety of sources for market research, trade leads, business directories, logistics, government contacts, travel, financing, and lots more.

The Chile Mini Portal is one of many research gateways at the FITA site. To find Mini Portals for other regions or countries, just click on "Country Profiles" from within a Mini Portal, or at the FITA home page ( ).

FITA's Global Trade Book Store has some excellent books about doing business in Chile. Check out Doing Business in the New Latin America: A Guide to Cultures, Practices, and Opportunities and Culture Shock! Chile: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette.

The Chile-US Chamber of Commerce is a FITA member association. Their site offers more resources about doing business with Chile. And click here to search the FITA Member Directory for links to FITA member associations' websites.


You do not have to speak to a computer!

After waiting nearly an hour on the phone today to speak to a human being on a customer service line, I'm especially glad to profile this next site. Gethuman 500 Database ( ) has a list of companies and their 800 number customer service lines, with tips on how to maneuver around the automated phone system to get a live human being on the other end. Many company phone systems have codes (such as 0, or #) that will help you connect with a person instead of staying in the automated system. Besides these useful tips, Gethuman 500 Database has user ratings for the speed and helpfulness of the customer service departments at the companies (it's amazing how low most of the ratings are). You can contribute your own ratings by clicking on the name of the company. We can only hope that the companies will pay attention to these ratings and try to make their customer service lines more customer friendly.


Drive More Traffic to your Website

You invest time and money into developing your Web site, but then nobody really visits or you’re not getting any new customers. This experience is common - just because you have a website does not mean it's working to further your business goals. 

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of making your Web site rank high in the search engines - like Google - and therefore attract more of the targeted visitors you’re after.  The principles of SEO include:

  • Attract visitors who are looking for your services
  • Drive incremental sales
  • Have a positive impact on your business goals

Read on for further details about SEO.

The impact of SEO cannot be underestimated – after finishing a SEO service for, the owner reported “[B]y getting us great placement, making a better search engine friendly site, and helping us to look more professional . . .  we took our business from less than $100k a year to almost $400k in one year.”

Take the next steps to making your Web site work better for your business. Find detailed information about how by reading about SEO Strategies.  And as a Really Useful Sites Subscriber, receive $50 off of a SEV service – a service that will get you started down the road to great search engine placement.


US Passport Rules are Changing

On January 23, 2007, the U.S. government is making a major change that will affect many travelers. Starting on that date, all travelers will be required to have passports -- including U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. by air from throughout the Western Hemisphere. This means that Canadians, Americans, and others who were previously exempt from having to carry a passport to enter or re-enter the U.S. will now have to show one. You can find out all the details at Get A Passport Now ( ). If you don't have a passport but you have a trip coming up soon, you'll probably want to click on the helpful links with advice for U.S., Canadian, and Mexican citizens on how to obtain passports quickly from those countries. There is also information on new laws that will affect travel by sea, or over land borders to or from the U.S. Finally, there is a handy passport office locator for U.S. citizens.


Find News on a World Map

People keep coming up with creative ways to use maps on the Web, and here's one that's fun and useful. News Map ( ) uses Google Maps and Yahoo News to make an interactive news map where you can get stories by geographic location. Just click on a country on the map, and you'll get links to news stories about that country. You can select a region from the top menu, and you can zoom in closer and get stories about a state (currently enabled for the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia) or a large city.


Trade Compliance Manager

In the FITA Career Headquarters job seekers can now apply for jobs online and post their resume--free of charge--in an exclusive database that will be searched by hundreds of industry employers seeking employees with international degrees and/or related work experience. Featured job this week is for a Trade Compliance Manager for ITT Aerospace/Communications, a world leader in developing wireless networking systems for tactical communications in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click here to browse more than 700 other positions! Employers - Click here to advertise your job openings on FITA's Career HQ.


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