Really Useful Sites For International Trade Professionals

Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Issue 29

Here's your latest issue of Really Useful Sites for International Trade Professionals. This free bi-weekly newsletter reviews useful Web sites from the Web Resources database at FITA's International Trade/ Import-Export Portal at, an excellent source for trade leads, news, events, and a link library of 7,000+ sites related to international trade.

>Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others.

My name is John McDonnell, and for years I've been writing about useful Web sites for businesspeople, in various publications. Now I've focused on international trade, using my Web research skills to find sites that are useful for international businesspeople, and some sites that are just plain fun for anyone.

Here they are:

Although people talk about "browsing" the Web, most of us don't have time to browse when we get online; we want to find what we're looking for as fast as possible. That's a shame, though, because the Web was made for browsing. There is so much useful information online that it's fun to just poke around and see what surprises you can turn up. Here's a great site for doing that. It's called What Can You Do On The World Wide Web? at, and it's a collection of links to sites that you'll find compelling. Want to buy a theater ticket? Calculate how tall your child is going to be? Ask a doctor a medical question? Find a restaurant? Learn how to write a business plan? Schedule a wake up call? Take a tutorial on how to show your wife some romance? (I flunked that one.) You'll find answers to all those questions and many more at this fascinating site.

When I help my kids with their geography homework I realize that dozens of countries I learned about in school aren't there anymore. Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, East Germany -- my kids don't know they ever existed. Well, I found a place where you can still read about these countries. At the U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies at page you can just scroll down the list and find information about hundreds of countries worldwide. The site keeps information on countries like Yugoslavia for "historical value to researchers", but there's also lots of information about existing countries. Click on a country name, and you'll find detailed information about its history, demographics, economy, political life, transportation & communications networks, and much more.

Are your prospects part of the international trade community? If so, here's an opportunity to showcase your service or product to 50,000 subscribers of Really Useful Sites for the International Trade Professional. FITA now offers limited sponsorship opportunities to selected organizations. For information, please contact Barney Lehrer, Director of eCommerce Development at or 1-800-969-FITA extension 4.

Let's say you're thinking of selling a vitamin product in Belgium. You'd need to find out if there's a demand for your type of product in Belgium, plus the governmental regulations for foreign companies selling there, and you'd probably have other questions too. One good way to get answers is to go to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Showcase Europe at site. Here you'll find market research for all the countries of Europe. You can search by country or by industry, and there's also a calendar of trade shows and other events. This site is for both U.S. companies who want to export to Europe, and European companies who want to import U.S. products.

There are lots more links to these countries at the FITA site. Go to FITA's International Trade Web Resources at, click on Regional Resources and Multi-Lateral Trading Areas in the left column or "Search by Country or Region" in the right column, and then scroll down to Europe. Or simply type "Europe" in the search box at


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Continuing the theme of Web browsing, I found a site where you can spend hours just following links. It's called Arts & Letters Daily at, and although it may look like a site for pointy-headed intellectuals, it's got something for everyone. There are links to thought-provoking stories from world magazines, newspapers, and journals, plus links to online news sources, columnists of note, book reviews, online music sites, reference sources, fun sites (bad writing contests, etc.), and more. Each item on this site has been selected with care, and you're guaranteed to find some stimulating reading here.

For archived issues of Really Useful Sites for the International Trade Professional, click here.

For a free list of links to useful sites in a wide variety of categories (both business and personal), visit my Web site, at

Published by Federation of International Trade Associations
Copyright © 2002 The Federation of International Trade Associations. All rights reserved.
Are there topics you'd like to see covered in FITA'S Really Useful Sites? Send suggestions, ideas, or comments to editor John McDonnell at =================================================================
This newsletter is distributed by the Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) for the benefit of the worldwide international trade community. If you have a question regarding this service, please contact FITA by email at