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  Thursday, March 1st , 2012         Issue 282         Volume 12 Number 5 Sponsor this Newsletter
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Dear International Traders,

This week in Really Useful Resources you will:

• Learn about doing business in Indonesia
• Find out the truth about international trade eMarketplaces

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A key investment destination for US companies

As the fourth most populous country in the world, with a strong domestic market that is growing by 1.5 million consumers per year, Indonesia is becoming a preferred destination for U.S. companies. As proof of this growing interest in the Indonesian market, a delegation of 35 executives of U.S. companies, including Ford Motor Company, Procter & Gamble, Monsanto, IBM, Freeport, Caterpillar and Seagate, visited Jakarta earlier last month February to meet with key business and government leaders.

Business in Indonesia
Jakarta, business district

In 2010-2011, the United States was the third-largest market for Indonesian products, with 9.1% market share of total exports, and its fourth largest supplier, accounting for nearly 7% of its imports. During 2011, the United States imported nearly $19 billion worth of goods and services from Indonesia.

With a well-diversified economy and well-resourced sectors such as agriculture, mining and energy, Indonesia has a large number of areas where there are real opportunities for business: finance, manufacturing, IT and the food industry. In recent years, the transportation industries have attracted the most FDI (31% of the total in 2010), followed by mining (13.7%), the energy sector (8.8%) and real estate (6.5%). The United States is the third-largest investor in Indonesia, after Singapore and the United Kingdom. In 2011, U.S. firms injected $1.5 billion into the country, representing 7.8% of total FDI received by Indonesia.

To learn more about trade relations between the United States and Indonesia:
• The American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce
• Trade in Goods with Indonesia on the Census Bureau's Website
• The American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia
Background Note on Indonesia on the US Department of State's Website

To assist you in your business in Indonesia:
The US Commercial Service in Indonesia
The Embassy of the United States in Jakarta
The Indonesian Professionals Association
The Indonesian American Business Council
The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board Official Website
Indonesian Ministry of Trade
Doing Business in Indonesia 2012

For information about other countries:
• Find reports and resources for 185 countries, FITA Country Miniportals
• The mini portals of

Online International Trade Marketplaces

Since the advent of the public internet in the 1980s (before the invention of the World Wide Web), international traders have been posting “trade leads,” or messages about their products for sale and products that they need to buy. The earliest such systems were developed independently by the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) and a service of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) called the World Trade Point Federation. Both the WTCA trade lead system and the Trade Point system no longer exist. But to this day the service they introduced has expanded to thousands of “eMarketplaces” based throughout the world. Among the most famous are, Global Sources and TradeKey. The FITA website has an extensive list of these marketplaces at

As international trade professionals well understand, successful import/export transactions can only succeed when both parties trust each other. The biggest drawback to electronic marketplaces is the reliability of the offers and demands that are posted on the websites. There are many people who may be posting scams or are not able to fulfill whatever they post. And to this day there are limited ways of performing due diligence by only relying on the eMarketplaces. Some of these websites have set up “Trust” procedures on their website. However even some of those due diligence services proved to be vulnerable to fraud, in some cases from within the marketplace companies themselves.

Still, however, eMarketplaces are invaluable tools for anybody in the world who wants to see what products are offered from which countries, what price levels are and who manufactures which items. And they can be good sources for finding suppliers and buyers as long as good standards of due diligence are established.

With the intent of helping international trade professionals navigate the intricacies of doing honest and effective international trade online, the trade promotion agencies of Canada, Norway and Spain run eMarket Services, a website that is a complete resource for using eMarketplaces. Among the free resources on the website are:

• Handbook on E-markets and Online Directories, which helps you understand the different functionalities of these platforms.
How to Increase Sales on eMarketplaces, a report that show how to effectively using eMarketplaces for sales.
The Directory of Electronic Marketplaces
The eMarket Checklist, a checklist to find the eMarketplaces that are most suitable for your company
• A section on “Building Confidence”, which give tips for building trust and protection

Another recent and new example of an eMarketplace is what we would call a “hybrid.” That is, these marketplaces, although internet-based, still rely on old-fashioned personal relationships as well as social media technologies to ensure that transactions are transparent and honest. One such marketplace is iComtrader. Built by James Vena, an international trader with 20+ years working for and running successful trading companies, it relies on the personal relationships of the people in a worldwide network of offices. Other new “social media” marketplaces include Globial and Tradesparq. However at this point neither of these seems to have generated much traffic or interesting content. Our advice? Be careful and good luck!

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