Trade data can help companies identify the best countries to target their exporting efforts. Companies can gauge the size of the market for their product as well as develop a price strategy to become competitive.
The official U.S. import and export statistics reflect government and non-government shipments of merchandise between foreign countries and the U.S. Customs Territory (i.e. the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico), U.S. Foreign Trade Zones, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, without regard to whether or not a commercial transaction is involved.
The first step to accessing export and import statistics is to classify the product with one of the following commodity classification codes:
- Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)
- Schedule B Number
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
- Standard International Trade Classification (SITC)
Each of these classification systems allow assign 6-10 digit codes for specific items, which them allow agencies to collect and analyze data for each coded item. For help with any of the terms or concepts, take a look at Basics of Trade Data.