IMPORT-EXPORT WEB RESOURCES

IMPORT-EXPORT WEB RESOURCES

Here is a sampling of some of the better import/export resources on the Internet.

CEOExpress (www.ceoexpress.com) has links to leading U.S. newspapers and business magazines, and highlights articles related to international business. It also provides links to international newspapers, agencies, financial institutions, trade resources and airlines. It's a great, one-stop site for current international business news.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has a trade resources page (www.usitc.gov/tr/tr.htm) that provides links to a wealth of data on global trade. There are six categories of information; industry, region or country, legal, data and trade assistance and economic development. There are many categories of trade-related links; under ''electronics and advanced technologies,'' for example, you can access the U.S. Patents Electronics Group and a comprehensive list of free computer-related publications. Stat-USA (www.stat-usa.gov/), a Commerce Department website, offers tons of international trade information. Features include Globus, which has trade leads and procurement documents from numerous federal agencies, and the National Trade Data Bank, a fee-based service with up-to-date global marketing reports and im-port and export statistics. The International Trade Library is a part of Stat-USA; it has over 40,000 trade-related documents from numerous federal agencies that are searchable by country or product and are available in full text.

The University of California at Berkeley has one of the best sites for information on the European Union. The European Union Internet Resources site (http://-www.lib.berkeley.edu/GSSI/eu.html) provides links to European newspapers and journals and EU agencies. The site also offers legislative information, market research conducted by the EU's external consultants, current data on the euro and EU e-commerce sites. The International Trade Law Monitor (http://itl.irv.uit.-no/trade_law) is one of the best of many international law resources on the web. The site, a winner of numerous online awards, is a collaboration between the law school faculty at the University of Norway and The Institute of International Commercial law at Pace University. Under ''subject areas'' are links to sites covering areas of international trade law such as contracts, customs, payments, insolvency, investment, carriage of goods and insurance.

Many U.S. government sites are essential for importers and exporters. Government itself may be cumbersome but many of the websites are nimble and efficient. Essential sites include the U.S. Customs Service (www.customs.ustreas.gov/), the Bureau of Export Administration (www.bxa.doc.gov/), the Department of Commerce (www.doc.gov/), the U.S. Trade Representative (www.ustr.gov/) and USATrade (www.usatrade.gov/), a site run by the International Trade Administration that provides links to U.S. government resources for importing and exporting. The Emerging Markets Directory (http://www.emdirectory.com) is a tightly focused site with numerous links to business, government, academic and media sites related to emerging markets in Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. This site delivers what it promises, which is information of the aforementioned emerging markets from every important angle.

Most good websites are narrowly focused, and that's why global business directories are seldom helpful. I tested 10 global directories by entering in the name of a company, American Saw and Manufacturing, located off the beaten track in western Massachusetts. With around 800 employees, American Saw is tiny by global standards but the company has won numerous state exporting awards, is renowned for the quality of its cutting tools and by all rights should appear in any global business search.

Most of the directories listed only major global corporations. At others, a search is a major hassle. Some global directories, like Global BIZ Directory.Com, returned over 2,000 links related to saws and cutting tools. Global Business Web (http://www.gbw.net/), provided two links to American Saw after an easy search. But the two links were numbers 4 and 5, respectively, out of 8 results. The most relevant link was to the site of an artist of ''American'' heritage who ''saw'' the powerful and varied Gullah people when visiting her parent's birthplace in Edisto, S.C.

The best international trade site? My choice is the official site of the Federation of International Trade Associa-tions (www.fita.org). The FITA index of web resources is an easy, scroll-down menu that includes categories such as trade shows and trade fairs, export and import software, government procurement, training and consulting, B2B e-commerce, payment systems, credit reporting, transportation directories, industrial standards, U.S. Government resources, international law, trade barriers and more. From here, you can go most anywhere.