Co-Authored by Sharath Patil
There are many factors that U.S. exporters and importers should be conscious of in their operations – including trade and customs laws, foreign market opportunities, changes in commodity prices, and currency fluctuations – just to name a few. However, one vital consideration that exporters and importers alike often overlook is trade flows. A firm’s ability to analyze and keep a pulse on trade data pertaining to that company’s product category can provide that exporter or importer with a clear vision of what’s actually happening. This perspective can empower a firm to optimize its operations and gain an edge against competitors. For example, U.S. importers who regularly track and analyze trade data can gain an understanding of how tariff and non-tariff barriers affect imports. Similarly, U.S. exporters can track and analyze trade data to glean vital intelligence about opportunities in foreign markets. In doing so, U.S. exporters can gain an understanding of which markets their U.S. competitors are selling to and which countries demand is quickly increasing. Analyzing trade data is the first step to developing a sound import or export market strategy. However, doing so once is not enough. Importers and exporters should have a regular practice of tracking trade flow developments and restructuring operations based on what the data reveals. Such a nimble posture can truly empower businesses trading internationally.