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Check this trade-intelligence Web service before flying to Kazakhstan

Thinking of going global but don't know where to start? Here's a Web site that can help:

Developed by the trade consultancy International Strategies Inc. in Boston, the site offers a mixture of country, regional, and trade-issue reports. also provides industry reports, detailing import and export conditions on specific products in various countries. What's more, you'll find a sort of exporters' Yellow Pages called Exportel, listing 12,000 company names from 90 countries.

You're free to browse the reports online, but there's a charge to print them. It costs a minimum of $35 for 10 reports. You pay $25 for each additional 10.

Want to know, say, which countries import the most glassware? Click "Trade Stats" on the home page (or from other pages within the site). Under "Market Wizard," go to "World Imports by Product" and then "Manufactured Goods." Click "glassware," and you'll learn that the U.S., Germany, Italy, and Britain lead the pack. You can compare imports in dollars from 1991 to 1995. If Italy is your target market, you can find it under the Countries section on most pages. There are 13 reports on such topics as the best prospects for exports there, key contacts at Italian trade associations, and biz travel tips. You'll also unearth more than 40 other briefs on Italian manufacturing and industry.

When you're through researching, click on the "Trade Show" icon to find out if there's an expo in the coming months to show your wares. The site offers contact information on events around the globe. covers 80 countries, the European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Most of the site's material is written in-house by a team of five researchers. Other data are gathered from such sources as the Commerce Dept. and the World Trade Organization. "We focus on the countries with the most active trading environment and where the biggest trading opportunities are," says Abby Shapiro, CEO of International Strategies. currently boasts 55,000 registered users, 70% of which are within the U.S. and 30% from other countries. "One of the big barriers for companies is not just information, it is money. If you want to go to a trade show in Hong Kong, it is a huge commitment," says Shapiro. A few mouse clicks on this site should certainly help you make better use of those marketing dollars.

By Jeremy Quittner in New York



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