Archive for October, 2012

U.S. – Panama Free Trade Agreement Goes Into Effect October 31st

October 25, 2012

Legislation was signed to implement free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea this time last year, a bipartisan effort aimed at using foreign trade to drive America’s economic growth (as stated in an earlier PIERS blog). Panama needed to amend its tariff schedule and property regulations before the pact could take place; United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk announced that the United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement will become effective October 31, 2012.

More than 86% of U.S. consumer and industrial exports (averaging tariffs of 7%) will enter Panama duty-free beginning Oct. 31 and nearly half of U.S. agricultural products, including high-quality beef, bacon, soybeans, wheat, barley and nearly all fruit and vegetables (averaging tariffs of 15%), will become duty-free. Most remaining tariffs will be phased out over 15 years.

The advantage for U.S. exporters:

  • Businesses can drop their price relative to your non-U.S. competitors. That gives you a competitive advantage.
  • Increased margins, the 7 – 12% that went to paying the tariff now goes to your business
  • Simplified paperwork, business will now just have to document content of origin.
  • Clauses in the FTA will make the public procurement process in Panama more transparent and will give the U.S. Government increased leverage to ensure that you are competing on a level playing field.
  • Panama is a service-driven economy with almost no industrial sector; U.S. exporters will not face increased competition from Panamanian companies due to the FTA.

How do you plan to keep an eye on new trade developments in Panama? PIERS offers comprehensive coverage of U.S. waterborne exports to Panama.  Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.


The End Zone

October 23, 2012

Football is very unique to American culture…if baseball is our nation’s pastime then football is certainly our passion!

As in England, where the sport first developed, early football in the United States was relatively disorganized and quite violent. Different towns and schools played by their own sets of rules; they all involved two sides of a dozen or more men on foot rather than horseback—hence the sport’s name—attempting to drive the ball toward goals at opposite ends of the field. With the rising popularity of interscholastic competition during the second half of the nineteenth century, football gradually became the formalized sport that we all love today.

Looking to keep track of a specific commodity? PIERS products give you a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading it. Analyze commodity growth trends, leading producers, source suppliers and more! Click here to register for a free demo.

PIERS & Informex Offer Exclusive Report on U.S. Chemical Exports Available for FREE Download

October 17, 2012

PIERS, the Standard in Trade Intelligence, has partnered with Informex, the global chemical marketplace, to create a one of a kind report available for free download that examines top markets for U.S. chemical exports based on the volume of waterborne shipments.

The report titled Market Opportunities for U.S. Chemical Exports: An Examination of Growth Across Major Markets examines top markets for U.S. chemical exports classified under chapters 28 & 29 of the harmonized tariff schedule.  In each of these markets, the report provides a macro-assessment of selected commodities that have shown significant growth between 2007 and 2011 and are traded in relatively high volume. The report was designed to give chemical manufacturers, distributors, end users, and those servicing the chemical supply chain, a high-level of view of top markets based on aggregate data for U.S. chemical exports.

Top Markets for U.S. Waterborne Chemical Exports in MTONs, Excluding NAFTA

Top Markets for U.S. Waterborne Chemical Exports in MTONs, Excluding NAFTA

“As the industry experts and only information provider that tracks U.S. exports, PIERS is uniquely positioned to offer this sort of analysis.  Not only does the report identify which commodities are showing the highest sustained growth year-over-year, but the analysis of each of these commodities allows you to better understand at a macro-level what it is that’s likely to be driving these trends,” said Wael Jarous, Senior Vice President, PIERS – UBM Global Trade.

“We are thrilled to partner with industry experts, PIERS, to offer the fine, specialty and custom chemical industry this unique information and insight that will enhance international business development and success,” added  Jim Buckley, Brand Director, Informex

Markets covered in the report include Brazil, India, China, South Korea, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Some key findings include:

  • U.S. exports of Nucleic Acids (HS Code 2934) to Brazil grew 491% from 2007 to 2011
  • U.S. exports of Halogenated Derivatives of Hydrocarbons (HS Code 2903) to China grew 129.7% from 2007 to 2011
  • U.S. exports of Titanium Oxides (HS Code 2823) to India grew 579.5% from 2007 to 2011
  • U.S. exports of Oxides of Boron; Boric Acids (HS Code 2810) to South Korea grew 63.1% from 2007 to 2011
  • U.S. exports of Cyclic Hydrocarbons (HS Code 2902) to Belgium grew 115.8% from 2007 to 2011
  • U.S. exports of Boron and Borates (HS Code 2810) to the Netherlands grew 405.2% from 2007 to 2011

Download your complimentary copy of Market Opportunities for U.S. Chemical Exports: An Examination of Growth Across Major Markets, to learn what markets are growing for U.S. chemical exports.

Quotes in Motion

October 16, 2012


“The sea is the same as it has been since before men ever went on it in boats. – Ernest Hemingway

Port Norfolk
(taken by a PIERS employee via Instagram)

ILA Strike Watch

October 11, 2012

Contract negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance have been extended through Dec. 29. The extension averted the threat of a strike at the original Sept. 30 expiration. The ILA-USMX coastwide master contract affects approximately 15,000 longshore workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The master contract covers containerized and roll-on, roll-off cargo in 14 port areas.

The ILA has not had a coast-wide strike since 1977. However,  cargo interests were concerned about this year’s negotiations, the first under ILA President Harold Daggett. The 2002 lockout of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union during the ILWU’s contract negotiations caused many shippers to diversify their supply chains to include East and Gulf coast routings. When ILA negotiations broke down during the summer, there were signs that some cargo might shift back to the West Coast. As the Sept. 30 expiration approached, some shippers implemented contingency plans by accelerating shipments or diverting some cargoes to the West Coast or Canadian ports.

We were interested in seeing how much cargo would be affected should the ILA strike happen. Using the PIERS database of U.S. import and export activity, we were able to track waterborne trade activity at each port in 2011. The numbers were staggering; ports such as New York and Savannah handle well over 1,000,000 TEUs each year…in both directions. The Top 10 ILA East and Gulf Coast ports totaled – 13,546,689 TEUs of imports and exports that passed through these seaports in 2011. That’s 1,100 New Panamax sized ships! Visit the for continued up-to-date coverage of the ILA-USMX negotiations.

If there’s a disruption to your supply chain, do you have the intelligence you need to act quickly? PIERS can help! Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.

U.S. Containerized Imports Up 0.6% in August

October 9, 2012

U.S. containerized imports decelerated sharply in August after jumping by 10.5 % year over year in July reports the JOC, a PIERS sister company. Utilizing PIERS waterborne data, total U.S. containerized imports edged up 0.6% in August 2012, compared to August 2011, to a total of 1.54 million TEUs. Imports declined 2.1 % in August versus July. Year to date, through August, overall U.S. containerized imports were up 3.2%.

Leading the gains were auto parts, up 16% versus August, 2011; decorations, up 12%; still wines, up 17%; and paper & paperboard, up 6%. Leading the losses were footwear, down 30 %; auto tires, down 14%; and computers, down 15%, all compared to August 2011.

A full analysis of these findings is available online at, or for a more a granular look at U.S. waterborne shipments including company names, commodity, carrier, country of origin/destination and more, visit to register for a free demo.

Vrooom! Chinese Auto Exports on the Rise

October 5, 2012

Chinese exports of cars and trucks reached 849,500 vehicles last year, up 50% from 2010, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Such exports are expected to grow at a similar annual pace over the next few years. Most of the export vehicles are priced well below $15,000, with some selling for as low as $6,000.

The transporting of autos around the world from many car manufacturers is done via Ro-Ro cargo (non-containerized, breakbulk cargo) along with construction mining equipment, agricultural equipment and large industrial equipment. With China growing as the second largest car export country, more investors are turning their eyes to the Ro-Ro shipping market. “Made in China” cars don’t face stiff consumer scrutiny in fast-growing emerging markets such as Africa, Asia and Latin America, therefore profitability on exports is better for selling cars in the domestic market. The Chinese prefer luxury of affordability, choosing luxury, non-Chinese manufactured cars over domestically manufactured automobiles.

Historically, the transport of vehicles between Europe and Asia was largely from East to West as European consumers and dealers ordered models from Japan and South Korea. However, there has been a significant upsurge in upwardly-mobile Chinese consumers’ demand for European-built cars and this has led to a fairly swift change in maritime trade patterns. The RoRo shipping industry has benefited from this demand; China is now such an important market for the European manufacturers.

With frequent access to PIERS data, you can track and analyze the U.S. supply chain and understand the movement of goods by identifying import and export activity by origin, destination, commodity, etc. Analyze the global supply chain and understand the movement of goods, click here to register for a free demo.

Acrylic Acid: From Diapers to Paint

October 2, 2012

After an abnormal chemical reaction, a fire broke out at Nippon Shokubai Co.’s plant in Japan. An acrylic acid storage residue tank exploded around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, the fire later spread to another acrylic acid tank and a toluene tank. The plant produces about 20% of the world’s SAP and 10% of global output of acrylic acid. 

Nippon Shokubai Co., LTD in Japan

The monomer of poly (PAA, CAS number 9003-1-04) is acrylic acid; a high volume chemical that feeds into a broad range of products.  Used to make highly water-absorbent resins, one of the main applications is in the manufacturing of super-absorbent polymers that can soak up large amounts of liquid – mainly disposable diapers. A super-absorbent polyacrylic acid (SAP) was patented in 1966 by Gene Harper of Dow Chemical and Carlyle Harmon of Johnson & Johnson; it was first used in diapers in 1982. Nippon Shokubai is one of the world’s biggest makers of acrylic acid, the main ingredient of a resin called SAP.

Polyacrylic acid is found in a wide variety of household and personal care products:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mascara
  • Aftershave
  • Toothpaste
  • Hair-styling products (gels, dyes, sprays)
  • Moisturizer
  • Pet shampoo
  • Metal polish

PIERS can deliver the intelligence that you need! Looking to keep track of a specific commodity? PIERS solutions give you a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading it. Analyze commodity growth trends, leading producers, source suppliers and more! Click here to register for a free demo.


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