In China with a delegation of US manufacturers led by National Association of Manufacturers president Jerry Jasinowski, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas unveiled new tools to help US companies expand exports to China’s growing market - the China Business Information Center, American Trade Centers and the Global Supply Chain Initiative. According to US Commerce Department trade statistics, through June of this year, US exports to China are up 36% over the same period last year, making China one of the fastest-growing US export markets, and the sixth-largest US export market overall. Last year, China’s worldwide imports increased by more than 40%.

“Free and fair trade helps create jobs at home by opening foreign markets to American exports, but one of the biggest hurdles US small and medium-size companies (SMEs) face in trying to export to China is a lack of information,” said Aldonas. “Eighty-six percent of all US firms exporting to China are small and medium-size enterprises, and these new resources are part of the Bush administration’s commitment to helping smaller firms expand exports and create new jobs for Americans.”

The China Business Information Center (BIC) is the first comprehensive US federal government resource aimed at helping American businesses take advantage of China’s rapid integration into the global economy. The BIC offers clients access to counseling with trade specialists in the United States, referrals to USFCS officers in China, and helps channel trade leads to clients through US Export Assistance Centers. The BIC consists of an 800 number that the public can use to speak with a China specialist; a website with China-focused information and export tools; and a series of outreach events planned throughout the United States.

The China Business Information Center at is located within the Commerce Department’s US Foreign and Commercial Service (USFCS) and features practical information that the American exporter can use to achieve tangible commercial results including: country and industry-specific information, exporting steps and tips, current market research, timely export leads, upcoming trade events, and vital regulatory information enabling US exporters to undertake the following activities:

’ Promote products and services to qualified Chinese buyers, distributors and agents;

’ Understand Chinese laws, regulations and customs;

’ Collect world-class market research;

’ Develop new or additional business relationships in China;

’ Initiate the basic steps to enter the Chinese market; and

’ Resolve trade disputes.

The American Trade Centers program increases the Commerce Department’s ability to help US companies tap into export markets in second-tier but very large commercial centers in China, such as Wuhan, Nanjing, Dalian, Chongqing, and Xiamen. The program devotes increased resources, including personnel, to promoting US business exports to China, where the Commercial Service already has the largest staff of any US Commercial Section in the world. The American Trade Centers program will link US firms with regional and local authorities and the Chinese business community in these commercial hubs, helping US firms take advantage of opportunities to compete for major infrastructure projects and sell directly to Chinese importers by providing targeted market research, counseling, introductions, and representation at trade shows.

The Global Supply Chain Initiative is aimed to help US small businesses identify global supply chains that will take American manufactured goods overseas. As part of this initiative, the Commercial Service will conduct a series of sector specific trade missions involving tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers to major manufacturing centers around the world. The first will be an auto parts trade mission this spring to China. In addition, Commercial Service officers in key manufacturing cities will reach out to large non-US multinational companies to identify the companies’ needs and inform