Successfully Sharing Foreign Trade Data

By: Kristen Nespoli

History in the Making
In July 1987, the United States and Canada decided to try something unique and exchange data. Canada would use U.S. imports from Canada as their export data, and the U.S. would use Canadian imports from the U.S. as their export data.

While the statistical agencies were the agents behind the exchange, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canadian Border Services Agency also had to be on board since they were the administrators of the trade data. Because of the complexity and magnitude behind the Data Exchange, it wasn’t implemented until the January 1990 statistics – yes, three years later.Effects of Sharing Data

Increased Reliability of Export Data
The Data Exchange significantly reduced the amount of non-reported exports on each side of the border. Before the Data Exchange, export statistics were derived mostly from paper documents. This, inevitably generated ongoing reporting and collection problems. Occasionally we relied on the good aim of truckers who would toss the documents into a box at the border. It was estimated the understatement of U.S. exports to Canada had reached over 20 percent. These errors affected the published trade balances and consequently the data users who relied on accurate statistics.

Reduced Burden of Exporters of Both Countries
For 2012, U.S. exports to Canada totaled $291.8 billion and Canadian exports to the United States totaled $329.9 billion – that is a lot of information to file! It is estimated that in 2012, U.S. exporters saved 574,644 hours of work worth $10.3 million by not having to fill out export documentation that did not require licenses(Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment Statistics ).

Changes to Operations in Statistical and Customs’ Agencies
Statistical agencies had to establish new procedures to use import data to serve as export data, including converting values using exchange rates.

Another change involved managing information for enforcement and administrative purposes. In order to satisfy confidentiality requirements of both countries, both countries agreed that the exchanged data could only be used for statistical purposes.

Challenges…what challenges?
As with all relationships, there can be some rough patches. When the U.S. Government shut down for an extended period in the mid 1990’s, both the United States and Canada had to delay their monthly releases. Statistics Canada could not receive our data, and their exports to the United States represented well over half of their total export trade.

Challenges also may arise when verifying data. Because each agency must verify each others’ data, if analysts on either side respond late, there can be an impact on data quality and publishing deadlines.

When the U.S. moved daylight savings time a month earlier in 2007, it caused a problem. Both countries had to agree to release their statistics on the same day at the same time to protect the security of the economic indicators. After many negotiations, the Canadian government made a similar change to the daylight savings time period, and the problem was resolved.

The Census Bureau and Statistics Canada have paved the way to maximize the use of trade data through an enduring partnership for over 20 years -one that serves as a model to the rest world!

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May Automotive Trade Sets Records

By John Sperry

In May, the Nation’s international trade deficit increased for the second consecutive month to $45.0 billion from $40.1 billion in April (revised), as imports increased and exports declined.  Imports increased $4.4 billion to $232.1 billion, primarily driven by $1.0 billion increases in both industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods.  Meanwhile, exports declined $0.5 billion to $187.1 billion primarily due to decreases in consumer goods ($1.2 billion) and industrial supplies and materials ($0.9 billion).

Automotive Trade Sets Records

Automotive vehicles, parts, and engines were highlighted this month setting both record high imports ($26.0 billion) and exports ($13.1 billion).   The graph below tracks import and export levels for automotive vehicles, parts, and engines from May 2006 to May 2013.  As seen below, both imports and exports have more than doubled since achieving decade lows in January 2009 for exports ($5.4 billion) and in May 2009 for imports ($10.2 billion).  For historical automotive vehicles, parts, and engines data use the following links for exports and imports.

 

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Caution: HOT Commodity!

By: Stephen Jackson

What do people need most to get work done? COFFEE!

I personally love coffee. No matter what the time of day or where it comes from, there’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee! A cup of coffee is the perfect excuse to bring together old friends, encourage you to tackle that pile of work or simply just to stay awake.

No matter how people use coffee, it adds up to BIG money in international trade. Guess it’s not just me who has found a special relationship with coffee–it’s a worldwide love affair!

Just How HOT Is Coffee?

Let’s look at the numbers to see just how much this commodity is traded. Using statistics from USATradeOnline, I pulled the trade data available for coffee (Schedule B Heading: 0901 for coffee, coffee husks, substitutes with coffee) for the geographic regions and the world total from 2003 to 2012.

Just as expected, coffee is a HOT commodity (can’t help myself). But seriously, since 2003, coffee imports have increased reaching a high level in 2011 of $7.65 billion; that’s a 330% increase from $1.77 billion in 2003! Not only is the U.S. spending more on coffee, we have also increased our coffee export value since 2003 by 261% from $296 million to $1.07 billion in 2012.

Where Does the Coffee Come From?

Good question! Because the trade data we collect is so detailed, we can see which geographic regions supply the most coffee to the U.S. Although the number one spot goes to Latin America (South and Central America) – as you probably guessed already- the second spot seems to be more up for grabs. Asia and North America have swapped the second position in the trade totals for coffee since 2003 with Asia most often occupying the runner-up position. The smallest amount of coffee trade (imports and exports) comes from the same geographic region, Australia and Oceania.

Exports from the U.S. have increased dramatically as mentioned earlier. While the largest segment of coffee exports in volume goes to North America, the largest percentage change is seen with the Africa geographical region. From 2003 to 2012, this region increased coffee exports by more than 1400%! The largest change occurred from 2011 to 2012 when exports grew from $321 thousand to $1.59 million.

More Data

Okay so now that you’ve seen the numbers from the USATradeOnline data, let me show you a little more proof of just how big business coffee is . Using the American Fact Finder and looking at data provided from the 2002 and 2007 Economic Censuses, we can see growth in terms of number of establishments, sales, annual payroll and number of paid employees for the coffee industry in the U.S. The growth mimics what we see in the trade data. Economic Census Data for coffee shops (NAICS 7222135) in 2002 and in 2007 show:

Do you think your business can be competitive in the coffee market? Check out our data on USATradeOnline and American Fact Finder or research the trade information yourself at Export.gov and to see where your next market might be.

Coffee…it really is a HOT Commodity!

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Find Buyers and Make Contacts Abroad: How the U.S. Commercial Service Can Help

By: Omari Wooden

The fourth Go Global webinar was held yesterday, focusing on: “Finding Buyers and Making Contacts: Part I”.

You can access the webinar here.

The U.S. Commercial Service has over 1,400+ trade professionals in 109 domestic offices and 128 U.S. Embassies and Consulates to help you connect with high quality foreign buyers through customized trade counseling, business matchmaking, and market intelligence. You can also participate in trade events as a cost-effective, high-impact way to find new customers. Events include trade missions accompanied by foreign buyer delegations and major foreign trade shows.

If you want to start exporting, but not sure where to start, you should tune in to the Go Global Webinar Series. The Census Bureau partnered with other government agencies to bring to you the resources available to help you succeed.

Each webinar is led by financial, regulatory, and trade experts and focuses on different topics – from picking your market, accessing trade data, learning about available financing options, just to name a few. Best of all, they are free!

You can’t afford to miss out.

Sign up for upcoming webinars at: http://go.usa.gov./T37A

Registration closes 24 hours before each webinar.

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Use Data To Pick Your Next Market

By: Omari Wooden

If you want to start exporting, but not sure where to start, you should tune in to the Go Global Webinar Series. The Census Bureau partnered with other government agencies to bring to you the resources available to help you succeed.

The third webinar in a series of eleven was held last Thursday, focusing on: “Picking Your Market/Trade Research”.

You can access the webinar here.

Find out where your products can excel overseas. Our detailed and timely trade statistics provide you all the data to find potential markets for your product. Learn about USATrade Online, which stores information on over 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities.

If you are considering expanding into the global marketplace, this series of webinars is just what you need to see. Each webinar is led by financial, regulatory, and trade experts and focuses on different topics – from picking your market, accessing trade data, learning about available financing options, just to name a few. Best of all, they are free!

You can’t afford to miss out.

Sign up for upcoming webinars at: http://go.usa.gov./T37A

Registration closes 24 hours before each webinar.

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Deficit Increases in April

By:  John Sperry

In April, the Nation’s international trade deficit increased to $40.3 billion from $37.1 billion in March, as imports increased more than exports.  Imports increased $5.4 billion to $227.7 billion contributed by the $3.0 billion increase in consumer goods and $1.3 billion increase in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines.  Meanwhile, exports increased $2.2 billion to $187.4 billion primarily due to record high exports in consumer goods ($16.8 billion) and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($12.8 billion).

Expanding the Scope of Annual Revisions

If you have not already read about our updated revision policy for goods on a Census Basis, you may be surprised to find that today’s releases of the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services:  for April 2013 and Annual Revision’s for 2012, have revised trade statistics for the prior three years (2010-2012) in our not seasonally adjusted series.  The update marks a significant improvement from our prior revision policy by expanding the scope of goods revisions from one to three years.  Therefore, there is potential for substantial impact on specific commodity level and other detailed Census products.

In April’s Graph of the Month, pictured below, we see how 2012’s Annual Revisions impact selected exports of goods by End-Use Categories.  Notably, the revisions increased 2012 nonmonetary gold exports by $291 million and decreased 2011 nonmonetary gold exports by $160 million. Though revisions to these three End-Use Categories from the graph did not change more than 1% of their respected annual export trade in 2011 and 2012, there are Harmonized System (HS) commodities revised in excess of 20% of their annual export value.   For instance, in 2010 Copper Wire (7408116000) increased 29.2% from $742.1 million to $959.1 million; and in 2011 Crude Petroleum (2709002090) increased 22.9% from $1,677.8 million to $2,061.8 million.

Our commodity data were not the only things affected by our updated revision policy.  We also revised how we present our data to reflect the additional two years of revisions.  Our revisions impacted multiple exhibits and data products.  In particular, exhibits 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 15a, 16, and 17 in the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: Annual Revision for 2012.  See how our modified policy changed these exhibits by viewing them here.

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The Mystery Behind the Password

By: VeCoya Greene

We asked – and you answered!

You told us that you’re frustrated by the password requirements for AESDirect, based on your responses from our most recent customer service survey.

Our goal is not to make your life more difficult; in fact, we want to protect you and the information you file to the AES. The password requirements work to achieve two goals—protecting export data from unauthorized access and protecting the privacy of our filers.

Why are the password requirements so complicated?

The rules for creating or changing your password are mandated by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and enforced by the U. S. Department of Commerce, of which the Census Bureau is a part.

The IT security team designed the password requirements to prevent security breaches in AESDirect filer accounts.

Why do I have to change my password so often?

According to the ‘Required Security Controls for Census Bureau Information Systems’, certain rules must be followed to ensure password safety. One of those requirements is to change passwords at least once every 60 calendar days.

The Census Bureau’s security policy states that

“…the AESDirect System must adhere to security requirements established by FISMA as part of Title III of the E-Government Act of 2002. Through the enforcement of these security mandates, parameters are established based on predetermined frequencies and durations in order to strengthen the security posture of the system. All users accessing a government system are agreeing to the terms and conditions of that system.”

These security requirements strengthen the security of AES for all users!

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Are You Prepared to Export?

By: Omari Wooden

If you want to start exporting, but not sure where to start, you should tune in to the Go Global Webinar Series. The Census Bureau partnered with other government agencies to bring to you the resources available to help you succeed.

The second webinar in a series of eleven was held yesterday, focusing on: “Preparing Your Business For Export”.

Access Archived Webinar Here

In this webinar, experts from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) talked about help available to expand business abroad. SBA and SBDCs have expertise in trade and business counseling and can help you develop an export business plan.  SBA also offers you a free interactive Export Business Planner. The Planner helps you identify target markets, understand financial options, and calculate sales forecasts. Together, you and an SBDC counselor can use the Planner to build your Export Business and Marketing Plan.

If you are considering expanding into the global marketplace, this series of webinars is just what you need to see. Each webinar is led by financial, regulatory, and trade experts and focuses on different topics – from picking your market, accessing trade data, learning about available financing options, just to name a few. Best of all, they are free!

You can’t afford to miss out.

Sign up for upcoming webinars at: http://go.usa.gov./T37A

Registration closes 24 hours before each webinar.

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Missed Our Latest Webinar?

By: Omari Wooden & Rosanna Torres

We have partnered with other government agencies to bring to you the Go Global Webinar Series.

If you are considering expanding into the global marketplace, this series of webinars is just what you need to see. Each webinar is led by financial, regulatory, and trade experts and focuses on different topics – from picking your market, accessing trade data, learning about available financing options, just to name a few. Best of all, they are free!

You can’t afford to miss out.

Yesterday we held the 1st webinar of the series entitled “Where to get started.”

In this webinar, Doug Barry from the International Trade Administration shared the benefits of exporting and opportunities for growth. He also discussed many of the trade resources found on export.gov such as the book “A Basic Guide to Exporting“, exporting success stories, training and guidance for businesses looking to expand abroad.

If you missed it, click here to watch a recorded version of this webinar.

Remember you can sign up for other upcoming webinars at: http://go.usa.gov./T37A

Registration closes 24 hours before each webinar.

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