Magazine article International Trade Forum

Markets Briefs: An Effective Information Tool

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Markets Briefs: An Effective Information Tool

Article excerpt


Short reports outlining specific market opportunities for selected products can often be one of the most effective ways to provide exporters with practical trade information. Such "market briefs" have the advantages of making information available relatively quickly, as they can be prepared in a short time, and of being easy to use, since only the most essential information is presented, in a concise manner.

For the organization preparing the market briefs - whether a trade promotion agency, chamber of commerce or other business institution - they are an effective means of offering relevant services to the foreign trade community because they require minimal extra resources, can be issued on a more timely basis than longer market studies and are focused on specific target groups of clients.


Market briefs deal with a single product (or occasionally with a group of homogeneous products) and a single market. They contain information of direct practical interest to exporters taking decisions on overseas trading operations. They have two objectives: to highlight specific market opportunities and describe the steps for taking advantage of them. They are usually no more than two or three pages long as they cover only the essential features of the market.

Since market briefs are intended to facilitate access to specific markets, their content should provide information on the practical points required by exporters, which can be grouped under the following headings for the product in question:

1. Product description.

2. Production.

3. Imports.

4. Exports.

5. Apparent consumption.

6. Main origins of imports.

7. Market characteristics.

8. Prices.

9. Market access.

10. Distribution channels.

11. Commercial practices.

12. Packaging.

13. Sales promotion.

14. Market outlook.

15. Useful addresses: importers, trade fairs, the media, sources of information and so on.

(It may not always be possible to provide information under all the headings listed above, but an attempt should be made.)

The information that should be provided under these headings is described briefly below:

Product description: The product description defines the scope of the brief. The products dealt with should be specific items, rather than broad categories - for example, "pepper" rather than "spices," or "shirmp" rather than "seafood." The tariff heading of the product in question, together with the official designation of it, should be given in the description.

Production: Detailed recent production statistics are not always available for individual products. Whether the product is produced locally or not, and whether production is increasing or declining (with supporting statistics if possible), should at least be given. Providing names of the main local producers is also useful.

Imports: A small table showing the trend of import volume and value of the product, over a period of three to five years, should be included if possible. (Such trends are useful to an exporter since, for example, a new supplier might find it difficult to break into a market in which imports are declining.)

The statistical data available for this section of the market brief, as well as for the three following ones, may not be sufficiently detailed, as tariff categories cover a group of products, rather than individual ones, and trends may vary considerably for different items in the group. For this reason, the figures should, if necessary, be supplemented by a short explanation of this limitation.

Exports: The existence of exports is generally an indication of substantial and competitive local production. However, figures shown under this heading might instead reflect re-exports in the absence of any local production, and this should be mentioned if relevant. …

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