Really Useful Sites for International Trade Professionals

Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Issue 37

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.

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.

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I had an Internet account in 1993, so I knew about it before a lot of other people, but I never cashed in on my knowledge by inventing a search engine, an online auction site, or some other way to make money -- so I guess I'm not a visionary. All is not lost, however. I can still be a visionary in international trade, by going to Emerging Markets Directory at This site provides background information on emerging markets, which are defined as countries that are making an effort to change and improve their economies to get to the level of the world's more advanced nations. Here you'll find a glossary of emerging market terminology, links to stock markets in these countries, links to companies with knowledge of emerging markets, and news of conferences. With any luck, you'll spot a country that's on the rise.


In 1995 Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay united to form Mercosur, a customs union bringing together 200 million people with a combined annual gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$900 billion. I found something called the IDRC Mercosur Economic Research Network's Web site at that has a lot of Mercosur research data, and it's very useful for anyone who wants to establish trading relationships in these countries. Scroll down to Mercosur Trade and Business Information, click on one of the countries listed, and you'll find detailed reports, forecasts, statistics, news, and information. For instance, I learned that although Argentina is one of the world's top food exporters, it is importing increasing amounts of prepackaged convenience foods (especially snack foods) and processed fruit and vegetable products. If I were a manufacturer of cupcakes, I'd check out the Argentine market.

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 Latin America. Or simply type "Latin America" in the search box at


As business becomes more global, many of us have realized that manners and etiquette -- knowing how to behave in various business settings -- are at least as important as price and product quality. For some useful pointers on this, visit Business Etiquette at, a site with articles that show you how to behave in business situations. It's well worth a look, if you want to learn how to negotiate any business situation with style and grace.

And here's a similar site.

I've never traveled to Tajikistan, but I'll know how to behave if I ever do. I'll know, for instance, that it's good manners to take off my shoes (but not socks) if I enter someone's house, and never to turn bread upside down. I learned this at the Bag-Lady at, which is a valuable reference tool for people doing business internationally. Simply click on "Countries A-Z" at the home page, then select a country, click on the type of information you want (social profile, business profile, demographics, etc.), and click on "Build profile" at the bottom of the page. In seconds you'll get detailed information about the country you selected.


When my kids get ready to start looking at college (and when I'm ready to bankrupt myself paying for it) I'll go to Embark at This site describes itself as "a resource for millions worldwide to research, prepare, apply online, finance and get ready for higher education". You can do a search for a school, then read a profile of it, visit its Web site, even apply to it online. There are resources for international students, graduate schools, and much more here.

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Published by Federation of International Trade Associations
Copyright 2002 The Federation of International Trade Associations. All rights reserved.