A `One Stop' Hotline For Exporters

In regard to "An export service of great import" (Personal Business, Sept. 28), you neglected to mention a new and innovative service offered by the Commerce Dept. to help small businesses in their exporting efforts.

In May, 1990, President Bush created the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to better focus federal trade promotion programs. Comprised of 19 agencies, the TPCC aims to fully integrate federal trade promotion resources.

Moreover, the TPCC created the Trade Information Center located in the Commerce Dept., which serves as a "one-stop shop" center for information on exporter assistance programs available from the federal government. You pointed out in your article that an exporter can "get caught up in endless calls trying to locate information." To solve this problem, the Trade Information Center serves as the first point of contact for potential exporters needing assistance. Callers can reach the center at its toll-free number, 800 872-8723 (800 USA-TRADE), weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. In its first year, the center received more than 30,000 calls from businesses across the U.S.

The center's trade specialists advise exporters on how to locate and use government programs and guide them through the export process. The staff is ready to answer questions ranging from how to respond to an international order to locating the top foreign markets for a particular product. The Trade Information Center also maintains state files with information on export assistance offered by local economic development agencies, world trade centers, chambers of commerce, Small Business Development Centers, and other groups involved in export promotion.

Much of the information provided by the trade specialists originates from the Commerce Dept.'s National Trade Data Bank (NTDB), a CD-ROM that is published monthly containing over 90,000 trade-related documents. Many of the reports from the NTDB are used by the export hotline.

Thomas A. Cox


Trade Information Center


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