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1. Examine Complementary Markets

Where are you shipping now? It’s likely that similar conditions exist in other markets, indicating that your product or service could be successful there too. For example:

  • Most of the 58 percent of companies that ship to only one market, ship to either Canada or Mexico, taking advantage of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) privileges.
  • For those companies, considering expansion to the other NAFTA partner or to the countries which recently entered into the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) might make a lot of sense.
  • If you export to the United Kingdom, expanding to Ireland or the Nordic countries will probably require little effort since regulatory requirements and business culture are very similar.

A useful source of market intelligence is the U.S. Commercial Service’s market and industry research written by our in-country trade professionals.

2. Track Global Demand of Your Product

Since you already ship to one country and have your product’s HS classification, you can leverage two powerful data sources to paint a clearer picture of the demand—and competition—for your product:

  • Trade Stats Express
    This U.S. Department of Commerce tool enables you to look at the global trade patterns for your specific product and focus on key markets for your export expansion.
  • USA Trade Online
    For a nominal subscription fee, you can use this U.S. Census Bureau tool to analyze current and cumulative U.S. export and import data on more than 18,000 export commodities and 24,000 import commodities worldwide to create customized reports and charts detailing foreign trade variants including port level detail, state exports, balance of trade, method of transportation, and market level ranking.

3. Talk with your Peer Group

One of the best ways to expand to new markets is to learn from other companies that fit your profile. Either through your industry trade association, local chamber of commerce or your supplier network, you will find other companies that are willing to share their experiences in export expansion and to identify the opportunities and risks. Your express shipment company or freight forwarders are also good resources for discussing export expansion. Additionally, local U.S. Commercial Service offices can help you connect with available local business assistance. 56 District Export Councils (DECs) nationwide are organizations comprised of leaders from their local business community. These DECs complement the U.S. Commercial Service’s export promotion efforts through counseling businesses on the exporting process and conducting trade education and community outreach. Find your local DEC.

4. Contact Your Local Trade Specialist

No matter where you are in the United States, there is a U.S. Commercial Service office near you staffed by trade professionals who can assist in finding new markets. These specialists will work with you and their counterparts in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to explore your product’s market potential, distribution channels, and regulatory requirements in potential markets. They will keep working with you to find partners and successfully complete your export sales into those new markets. Find your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

Connect to a World of Opportunity

Expanding to a second or third market is something most companies should be able to do in short order. There are trade professionals waiting to help you. If you’re ready to grow your business, contact the U.S. Commercial Service today.