« AnteriorContinuar »
Chapter X-PRACTICAL GOVERNMENTAL AID TO
Coordinated in the world-wide movement tending toward the minimizing of "economic nationalism”, and recognizing the need of buying from, as well as selling to, the foreign markets in order to maintain balance in the international scheme of economy, the Government of the United States has entered upon a policy of effecting reciprocity in trade with other nations. A distinct change of attitude toward reciprocal tariff agreements came into existence with the inauguration of President Roosevelt, and shortly thereafter this was expressed in an act of Congress giving authority to the President to negotiate trade agreements with foreign nations in order to encourage an exchange of commodities. Carried to its logical conclusion, this means ultimately that those nations will produce those goods for which they are best adapted, not merely for themselves, but for the rest of the world, while depending on other nations for those goods not economically produced at home without subsidy, protective tariff, or other artificial inducement.
ASSISTANCE TO AMERICAN IMPORTERS The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce has given practical application to this new policy by providing certain definite services to American importers, either directly or indirectly. Thus, through the Foreign Commerce Service, sources of domestic credit information are provided foreign exporters in order to facilitate trading with American importers and manufacturers. Information furnished by these sources enables the foreign exporter to select his American customers with care and expediency, and serves to eliminate from consideration those potential buyers who in their dealings with other foreign sellers have been unable to carry out purchase agreements, thereby detracting from the good name and consequent goodwill só necessary to the consummation of continued business and commerce.
CLASSIFIED INDEX OF AMERICAN IMPORTERS Secondly, while the Bureau does not attempt to furnish the names of American concerns classified as potential importers or buyers of foreign goods, it does maintain an Index of Importers to whom inquiries can be sent. It also has an active list of trade assoriations and other organizations of American business houses which in turn, can furnish names of such buyers to foreign exporters, and disseminate to their members the inquiries of foren firms skrg outlets in the United States.
SURVEYS AND ANALYSES OF DOMESTIC MARKET
One of the most effective services provided by the Bureau for American importers is that of the Marketing Research Division in furnishing surveys of the domestic market, both for American manufacturers and American importers. These studies analyze the major factors which affect the distribution of commodities within the several areas of the United States. To this end, basic activities such as agriculture, forestry, mining, fisheries, manufactures, and recreational
resources are studied as sources of national income. Density in distribution of population, occupations, habits, and traditions of the domestic areas are surveyed in an attempt to evaluate their relation to the market for commodities, both domestically produced and imported.
Îhe increase in distribution costs indicates the proximity of the time when industries must have more accurate measures of demand for their products. For years the exports and imports of the Nation have been the object of analysis, but only of late has interest been manifested in attempts to evaluate the movement of commodities between States. Exporters to countries lying beyond the borders of the United States have long been interested in figures showing the irnports of commodities into the various countries, since they have found that a large and increasing volume of imports of any given commodities in foreign markets is a certain indication that there is a live demand for such products which merits the closest attention of their foreign sales organization. Now domestic market analysis is aiding both American and foreign producers to develop the United States market. Information on the location of domestic markets is collected and presented for the use of manufacturers and importers on a nation-wide basis. Selling the consumer market is quite a different task from selling those raw materials, semifinished or finished products which constitute a large share of the demand of the so-called industrial market. Accordingly, similar studies of a statistical nature showing the county location of every manufacturing establishment in the country have been compiled.
VARYING CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKETS IN UNITED STATES
Just as no American exporter would think of planning a single campaign to cover the entire Continent of Europe in utter disregard of the pronounced differences in living habits and tastes among the various countries, so the United States must be treated, not as a unit market, but with due regard to the wide variety of industries and occupations, and the different kinds of people, though these differences are less pronounced than in Europe. It is necessary to know what the several markets are within the United States, how the existing machinery of distribution serves them, and something of the mechanism which stimulates and supplies the consumer's requirements. Such knowledge is necessary for cooperation with the production function in creating effective demand for the goods to be imported and sold and in the coordination of effort required to assure the production, sale, and delivery at the time and place desired of goods which are satisfactory to the consumer, at prices which will insure the development of maximum demand at least expense, with reasonable profit. Indexes that will serve as a yardstick to measure the markets are among those developed by the domestic commerce services of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.
REPORTS ON FOREIGN PRODUCERS
It is a function of the Commercial Intelligence Division to furnish lists of foreign manufacturers, producers, and exporters to American importers for use in determining sources of supply for products possible of sale and exploitation in our market. World Trade Directory reports exist on many foreign producers and exporters, and new reports are secured upon the request of any American importer, at a 25cent fee, upon foreign houses located almost anywhere in the world. There have always been demands for sources of supply with respect to goods not produced in the United States, particularly raw materials, so that much information of this sort is already available in the United States. Likewise, numerous import houses in this country have long-established connections in oversea markets already offering to potential consumers existing channels of supply without having to effect direct relations with foreign firms. Names of these concerns appear in published directories, and may also be obtained from the several associations of firms engaging in import and export trade.
STATISTICAL AID TO IMPORTERS United States import statistics provide a valuable means of acquainting importers with the location of sources of supply with respect to a large number of commodities. The quantities shown for various commodities indicate the supply available for consumption in the United States, and the amounts that enter into competition with domestic products. The Monthly Summary of Foreign Commerce of the United States ($1 a year, from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C.) contains tables showing totals of various imported commodities. Much consulted by all foreign traders is the publication entitled "Foreign Commerce and Navigation of the United States," issued annually by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce and available from the Superintendent of Documents. Table No. 4 in the latter publication lists imported commodities of major importance by country of shipment. Table No. 9 contains more detailed commodity classification of imported articles entered for consumption, with rates of duty and calculated duties assessed thereon. Table No. 13, appearing every other year up to and including 1931, shows trade of the United States with the world by principal commodities. There are issued by the Bureau monthly mimeographed statistical statements each of which covers, in detail, imported items of major importance to respective industries, by countries of shipment; and for a number of the statements, the customs districts through which the goods are entered. A catalog containing a complete list of these statements and their cost may be obtained without charge from the Bureau in Washington or from any of its district or cooperative offices.
Average import values indicate market prices in foreign countries from which shipped at the time of exportation to the United States. By adding such items as ocean freight, commission, insurance, duties,
etc., and making allowance for the rate of conversion of exchange as of the time of the transactions, and dividing by quantity figures given, there can be obtained a fairly accurate estimate of the probable competition of merchandise on an average price basis per unit.
TRADE OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPORTERS
There are a number of trade associations and trade-promotion agencies in the United States that disseminate to their foreign-trade members the names of foreign concerns seeking American outlets. The Foreign Trade Opportunity service of the Bureau also includes this type of inquiry; foreign producers and exporters may call upon the American Foreign Service officers in their respective countries, making known the products that they wish to sell and the terms of sale. These inquiries are then forwarded to the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce and referred to the proper Industrial Divisions, which in turn disseminate the desires of the foreign concern to appropriate American importers.
CLASSIFIED INDEX OF IMPORTERS
While the Bureau does not attempt to compile and disseminate lists of American importers, it is establishing a classified list of American importers which will be used for the purpose of distributing information directly to them. Whenever appropriate, inquirers will also be referred to other sources, such as foreign diplomatic and consular officers and foreign chambers of commerce in this country, American chambers of commerce abroad, or other agencies that are particularly interested in the United States as a market for products of other countries.
IMPORT SERVICE DEVELOPING
The practical assistance which the Bureau may render importers is still being developed. As more and more countries, however, conclude reciprocal trade agreements with the United States, new markets for foreign products in the United States are bound to develop. These products may include things which have never been imported before and are not necessarily competitive with goods produced in the United States. They may include products filling the demands of different levels of purchasing power, not reached by domestic products. To find out what these products are, who produces them abroad, how they are sold, and what demand for them is likely to exist in the United States, is the general field of the Bureau's import service. In this way the Bureau can serve the best interests of all the people, consumers and producers, and, by encouraging a sound exchange of goods, help build up á foreign commerce that will endure.