Archive for March, 2013

Export-Import Bank 101: Facilitating International Trade

March 28, 2013

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official U.S. export credit agency providing financing to American businesses at no cost to taxpayers. Established in 1934, Ex-Im Bank supports jobs through the financing of U.S. exports by providing loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. Nearly $35.8 billion in total authorizations were made in 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record; this total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales – also an Ex-Im record.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Global access is top priority; assisting in the production and exporting of goods and services for legitimate sales in a new market or for increasing sales in an existing one. With the President’s push to double exports by 2105 (as mentioned in a previous PIERS blog); small businesses need to expand overseas and break into foreign markets. Most companies are export-ready but find it difficult to secure private loans and guarantees. Commercial banks have reduced funds allocated for export transactions in recent years; Ex-Im Bank ensures payment by overseas customers and fund production.

Currently worldwide renewable environmental projects are the focus for Ex-Im Bank, as it tries to satisfy a Congress-mandated goal of 10% of total financing directed to the sector. Most recently, the agency has assisted with:

  • solar panels exports to India (creating 200 jobs in CA)
  • wind turbines exports to Honduras (creating 200 jobs in 6 states)
  • aircraft exports to Indonesia (sustaining jobs in WA, SC, OR and UT)
  • aircraft exports to Israel (sustaining more than 1,300 jobs WA, SC, OR and UT)

PIERS will be attending the Export-Import Bank of the United States 2013 Annual Conference in Washington D.C. on April 4th and 5th, make sure to visit us at booth 128.

Unable to attend the conference and you are a bank that offers financing to importers and exporters? Our Trade Finance database provides access to over 500,000 D&B company profiles of active importers and exporters.  Register here to receive 10 free trade finance leads.


JOC Insights by Mario Moreno: Furniture Exports Expand

March 26, 2013

U.S. exports of furniture rose for the 18th straight month through November on a year-over-year basis as demand from major markets continued and the U.S. dollar remained competitive. Exports advanced 8.1% year-over-year in November 2012 over November 2011 and totaled $879.6 million (deflated to January 2009 prices) in the month. Through November, exports were up by 12% and totaled $9.5 billion.

U.S. Furniture Exports 2010-2012

Canada is by far the largest market for U.S. furniture (H.S. code 94) exports, accounting for a 51.5% share in 2012 through November, up 0.3% from 2010. Exports to that market year-to-date were up 10 percent, a similar growth seen in 2011.Mexico is the second-largest market, accounting for a 51.5% share year-to-date, up notoriously by nearly 3 percentage points from 2010. Exports to that market were up 27% year-to-date, higher than the 20% growth seen in 2011. Other markets gaining share in the last three years were Germany, Australia and Venezuela.

The fifth-largest market, China, has seen its market share marginally decline in recent years as the economy decelerated but has maintained a double-digit growth demand for U.S. furniture. Wealthy Chinese believe in the quality and design of U.S.-made products, which explains why some U.S. furniture companies are strengthening business relationships in China. Ethan Allen’s CEO said in a recent WSJ interview that the company’s partner Markhor Furniture in China will increase the number of stores that carry Ethan Allen products to at least 100 within a year, up from 77. Demand from the United Kingdom has strengthened markedly in 2012 but not enough to gain market share.

More of Moreno’s trade and economic analysis can be obtained by subscribing to JOC Insights or by following him on Twitter @MarioMoreno_JoC.

PIERS is the only source for transaction-level U.S. export data. To learn more about PIERS export data, visit

Now Welcoming…the Spanish Avocado

March 21, 2013

Avocados are everywhere; in commercials, discussed on health conscious websites, they are even popping up in fast food restaurants as burger garnishing. No longer just a seasonal fruit, avocados are available in the U.S. all year thanks to global trade. Although the U.S. is a major producer of avocados from California and Florida crops, it is also a major importer from countries such as Chile, the Dominican Republic and Peru.

Well recognized for quality, Spanish Hass avocados are known as one of the best avocados in Europe. Until recently though, Spanish Hass avocados were not permitted into the U.S. for fear of introducing new plant pests, particularly the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Numerous studies conducted by American scientists concluded that the Hass cultivar, grown in Spain’s mainland, is not a carrier of the insect. Avocado batches not of the Hass variety will have to be treated for Mediterranean Fruit Fly control before they ship to the U.S. and shipments will need a Phytosanitary Certificate, with an additional declaration indicating that the avocados have been inspected and found pest-free under the requirements.


During a briefing on the EU-US trade negotiations between the European Commission and the U.S. in February (as mentioned in a previous PIERS blog), were discussions regarding the changes in regulations to allow the exporting of Spanish avocados to the U.S. After over ten years of bureaucratic wrangling, it looks like America is finally about to allow the import of avocados from Spain, excluding the Balaeric Islands and Canary Islands where the Mediterranean Fruit Fly flourishes.

PIERS offers instant access to details on U.S. import shipments. Our international trade data combined with market specific intelligence can help provide a global picture of a commodity and the companies trading. Register online for a demo.

Europe’s Increasing Bilateral Relations

March 19, 2013

Taken as a single geographic entity, Europe has the largest economy – generating nearly a fifth of global output, the highest average per capita incomes and a major exporting powerhouse. Its latest economic outlook paints a disheartening picture with stagnant growth, rising unemployment and public dissatisfaction threatening to undermine the cohesion of the European Union itself. The 17-nation bloc’s economy sank further into recession in the last three months of 2012 and will shrink 0.3% in 2013, remaining in its second recession since 2009, for a year longer than originally foreseen.

EU 2

Trade has never been more important for the European Union’s economy! It’s a way to achieve growth without depleting public finances as open economies tend to grow faster than closed ones. To boost the EU’s capacity to benefit from trade, the European Commission has developed an ambitious bilateral trade agenda that fosters innovation and efficiency. Liberalizing E.U.’s world trade will foster sustainable economic, social and environmental development, creating jobs and union growth in the process.

Traditionally barriers to trade were addressed mainly through reductions in tariffs, however to create open markets in the 21st century goes beyond tariff reduction to the barriers that lie behind borders. Technical and regulatory obstacles are just as important; non-tariff barriers have sensitive cultural and social issues create additional obstacles to fair trade. Over the next two years, 90% of world demand will be generated outside the E.U.; therefore it is a key priority to open up more market opportunities for European businesses by negotiating new Free Trade Agreements with key countries. This is why the European Commission proposed an ambitious new generation of deeper, bilateral free trade agreements with key partners:

  • Canada
  • Gulf CO-operation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates)
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • Singapore
  • Ukraine
  • United States

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How do you plan to keep an eye on trading changes between the U.S. and the E.U. if a Fair Trade Agreement is negotiated? PIERS offers comprehensive coverage of U.S. waterborne imports from Europe and is the only company that gathers complete, detailed U.S. export information at the ports…every day.

Register for a free demo and a solutions expert will show you how PIERS trade intelligence can assist your business.

Shamrock & Ale

March 14, 2013

It’s that time of the year again. By now, you should be getting ready to dust off your “Kiss Me,  I’m Irish” t-shirt and prepping the corned beef to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Parades, events, festivities and beer…lots of beer.



Even if your Irish heritage is a bit “contrived”, no one asks questions as long as you’re wearing green. Any Irish lad or lassie will tell you that this truly is a celebration for all, just grab a beer!

PIERS Offers Exclusive Research Into China’s Impact on the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Nations – Available for Free Download

March 12, 2013

PIERS, the Standard in Trade Intelligence, is pleased to offer a one of a kind report available for FREE download. The report examines China’s waning strength in labor-intensive exports like furniture, apparel and footwear, and its impact on other developing countries.

Understand how rising wages and labor shortages are prompting factory owners in China to relocate facilities inland or in many cases flee to other developing countries where wages are lower or competitive, and supply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers is abundant. To isolate developing countries most exposed to this trend, this report identifies  13 countries for which manufacturing represents more than 15% of their GDP and wages are lower than in China or globally competitive.

China’s Impact on the Manufacturing Exports of Other Developing Nations

The results suggest that China’s waning strength in labor-intensive exports is benefiting some developing economies more than others, while a few appear to not be benefiting at all. Countries examined in this report include: Vietnam, Mexico, India, Thailand, Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Poland, Philippines and Cambodia.

Key findings include:

  • Favorable trade conditions and geographic proximity with Central American countries have led to growth rates of U.S. apparel imports that significantly outpaced that of China, in part because shortened transit time is particularly important to shippers of apparel.
  • Lower wages and favorable exchange rates in recent years have given Vietnam an advantage over China in the footwear and apparel sector, leading to an increase in market share of U.S. imports in both of these sectors.
  • While Poland represents a relatively small share of the global furniture market, significant currency depreciation  against the U.S. dollar has resulted in a compound annual growth rate of U.S. furniture imports of 19.6% from 2001 through 2011.

Get a better understanding of how these trends effect the global supply chain and download your FREE report today!

March Food of the Month: Clams

March 7, 2013

Growing domestic incomes and changing lifestyles of the average consumer is fueling demand for many high value seafood commodities in Asia, creating abundant opportunities for U.S. exporters. Hong Kong remains one of the world’s largest per capita consumers of seafood and China remains the global seafood powerhouse as the largest consumer, importer, exporter and producer of seafood. According to PIERS data, the U.S. sends 40% of the clams produced to Hong Kong and 15% to China.



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.

Mexico: Near-Shore Advantage

March 5, 2013

ImageThe winds of manufacturing continue to shift, as companies seek manufacturing sites that offer the best of all worlds: low labor costs, high quality, good infrastructure, access to markets, reduced shipping time and costs and educated, skilled work forces. In the past China excelled at providing low manufacturing and material costs, but always fell short when it came to speed to market (freight and delivery), taxes and customs duties. Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. and Latin American markets reduces freight expense and minimizes supply chain disruptions; ensuring goods make it to the market faster.

Until recently, Mexico’s economy was based on low-paying, labor-intensive industries like textiles. Now Mexico is growing in industries, like autos, aerospace, and technology with the increase in the country’s educated workforce. Manufacturing in Mexico continues to display signs of positive growth; the country posted an increase in their Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the final month of 2012.

The U.S. is Mexico’s largest trading partner, accounting for approximately 80% of their exports. Mexico’s maquiladora program makes it possible for companies to bring in components and materials duty-free, which can in turn be exported for sale to the U.S. and Canada; even Chinese companies are moving to Mexico to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) commercial and fiscal benefits. Although the U.S. and Mexican economies have started to recover, it is still sluggish as the growth rate in Mexico is projected to slow down this year but remain at 3.5%.


US Census Data

Find new buyers for goods and services in Mexico-U.S. supply chains and new sources of supply in Mexico with PIERS Mexico Cross-border Trade Information. Contact us today to have a PIERS solutions expert show you more.

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