Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Issue 224 Volume 9 Number 21  
This issue sponsored by the Houston General Trading Group TELL A FRIEND
Our Featured Country
The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Network of African News
Resources for Going Global
Hello International Traders!

This week in Really Useful Sites: explore opportunities in Panama, find government investment promotion agencies worldwide on the website of the WAIPA, find U.S. customs duties applying for your products on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule online and visit Africanews to find business opportunities on this continent.

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

Panama is a small Central American country of 3.3 millions inhabitants. Panama is a corridor joining North America to both Latin America and, through the Panama Canal, the Americas’ Atlantic coasts to the Americas’ Pacific coasts, the Pacific and Asia. Panama is ranked by the World Bank as an upper middle income country, close to Croatia, Lebanon and Chile.

The Panama Canal is the largest economic entity in the country as well as one of the most important trade transport routes in the world. The Panama Canal Authority’s official website offers extensive resources for using and doing business with the Canal.

Service industries (banks, insurance, ports and tourism) are Panama’s other main sources of revenue. The Colon Free Zone, located 45 minutes from Panama City by car, is the World's second-largest free zone and duty free shopping area (after Hong-Kong).

The major trading partners of Panama are the USA, the European Union, Central America & the Caribbean and Japan. The international slow-down has had an impact on the economy of the country. But the IMF’s forecast remains encouraging. For 2009 and 2010, the GDP growth rate is predicted to be maintained at about 3 to 4%.

The website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (in Spanish only) offers a complete overview of Panamanian economics and trade. Other good resources are Business in Panama and the Panama blog and don't forget the website of the U.S. Commercial Service in Panama. These sites offer extensive information about the markets and business culture there. If that's not enough, you'll also find plenty of good research at the Panama Mini Portal, a feature of the FITA Web site. The Panama Mini Portal has an overview of Panama, with facts about the language, currency, climate, etc., plus more specific information about the economy, markets, taxes, labor market indicators, and tips on doing business in Panama.

In 2007 the U.S. and Panama signed a free trade agreement. Panama approved the agreement in 2007. President Obama has asked the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to address some outstanding issues surrounding the agreement before sending it to the Senate for ratification. Keep up to date on progress with the agreement on the US Trade Representative website.

The Panama 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.


The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies

The World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA) acts as a forum for government investment promotion agencies to provide networking opportunities and facilitate the exchange of best practices in capacity-building and investment promotion. Subscribe to the Newsletter of the Association to get tips and advice and learn about the latest developments in foreign investment. WAIPA’s members list gives you direct access to most investment promotion agencies worldwide. Their websites are useful for market information and industry profiles in many countries, even if you don’t want to invest!


HOUSTON, TEXAS EXPORTER……Offers tools/hardware/laboratory catalogue items at a discount

Houston General Trading Group, with corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas, is a worldwide supplier of industrial and oilfield products. A partial listing of parts: Pipe, valves, flanges, fittings, tool/hardware supplies, laboratory supplies, safety products, construction equipment, cranes, draw works, generators, gaskets, mud pumps, pump parts, separators, tanks, tongs, webbing and slings, winches, work over rigs, actuators, alloys, anodes, bearings, blowers, boots, cable trays, clamps, protective clothing, regulators, mechanical seals, strainers, tubing, wire, wire cloth.

SPECIAL PRICING ON: 41 each 500 bbl lined frac tanks

A unique service we provide is offering all items in the following catalogues at a DISCOUNT:

  • McMaster-Carr Supply Company
  • Grainger
  • Lab Safety Supply Company
  • Cole-Palmer Company

5535 Memorial Drive, Building F
Houston, TX 77007 USA
T: 713.492.2211    F: 713.583.8800


The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

The International Trade Commission of the United States is a government agency that, in addition to investigating the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on U.S. industries and adjudicating alleged intellectual property rights violations, also maintains the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. The Tariff Information Center provides all the information you need about tariffs for imports into the U.S. To find the customs duty that corresponds to your product, use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule online. Browse by chapter or by keywords.


Network of African News

When going global you often find that less developed countries offer hidden business opportunities. For example, two websites offer excellent resources and up-to-date business news from Africa. Visit the business pages of the website Africa News, which compiles daily economic news from all over the continent. And Times Publications, which publishes the magazine Corporate Africa, reports on African economies and daily news on economic issues in Africa and other regions of the world.


Resources for Going Global

The U.S. Commercial Service, a division of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, sponsors and participates in many events and webinars that help U.S. exporters sell overseas and help overseas buyers learn about U.S. exports. The Commercial Service has a searchable database of these events worldwide at Below are some upcoming events:
  • Webinar Series: "A Basic Guide to Exporting", a series of seminars through December. Based on the popular Department of Commerce Book "A Basic Guide to Exporting,”
  • Exports Live!, 8 CITY SEMINAR TOUR 4 cities left!: Learn how local businesses successfully grew their sales with government solutions. This unique trade event is specially designed for small and medium-sized businesses wanting to start or grow their international sales
  • Webinar Series: Trade Winds 2010: “The Americas,” a series of webinars through March 2010 about doing business in the Americas. Identify the strongest markets for export for your products in North, Central and South America.
  • Green Build Road Show 5 cities, Pittsburgh: November 2, 2009, Denver: November 4, 2009, San Jose: November 6, 2009, San Francisco: November 9, 2009, Phoenix: November 10–13, 2009 - An exceptional opportunity to help you engage effectively in $900 billion European market.
  • ExporTech – “Doing Business in the Americas,” December 3-4, Atlantic City, NJ and December 7-8 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. A two-day, intensive education program designed to jump start your export growth in Latin America and other foreign markets.
  • Medical Trade Mission to India, March 8-13, 2010. A special trade mission for manufacturers of medical products/equipments, laboratory and diagnostics products and healthcare and related service providers.

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