How to find Buyers (Part III) : Trade Points - Great Source of Information on Foreign Trade

Trade points help facilitate overseas business transaction by bringing together all service providers related to export import trade. The focus is on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). While Industry Associations focus on domestic market and lobbying with government, trade points focus on helping SMEs take greater participation in international business.

What is a Trade Point ?

A trade point is a meeting place for various entities related to foreign trade - buyers, sellers, inspection agencies, customs, foreign trade institutes, freight forwarders, transport companies, banks and insurance firms etc. Its mission is to foster greater participation in international trade in particular of small and medium-sized enterprises, by reducing transaction costs, by contributing to the simplification and harmonization of trade procedures worldwide, and giving traders access to advanced technologies and information networks.

Origin of Trade Points

Origin of Trade Points is an initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) participate in International trade. According to this program - Trade Points are :

  • business facilitation centers, physically or virtually aggregating agents involved in foreign trade transactions (eg. in customs clearance, transportation, banking, insurance, etc);
  • sources of information on foreign trade;
  • gateways to global trade nets and to trade opportunities, operating in a network through the World Wide Web

Evolution of Trade Points

The GTPnet or Global Trade Points Network has established more than 160 centres worldwide. Though the initiatives were really path breaking - most of the good work was undone by an overemphasis on govt machinery rather than free market initiative to create a vibrant information sharing network. Good news is that there is now visible indication of greater non-govt initiatives with more and more private trade points emerging. These trade points are helping traders in their respective countries in a significant way to reach global markets.

Trade Points as Source of Information

Trade points, could be great source of information on foreign trade, specially information pertaining to a foreign market. Following is a list of trade points (both UN sponsored and private ones) who could be great source of information. This is only a partial list for demonstration - please use following link to list of 160 UN sponsored trade points for a comprehensive listing.

World Trade Point Federation

List of Selected Trade Points

Trade Point Information Exchange program

We at have initiated a program to share information with more than 300 Trade Points, Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, Trade Promotion Orgns etc. throughout the world. We publish a weekly newsletter called 'SUCHNA' for foreign trade organizations. SUCHNA contains trade inquiries from Indian importers. Overseas trade organizations receiving SUCHNA send us BUY/DEMAND inquiries received from their members for distribution among Indian exporters. This has proved to be extremely helpful as Indian importers receive excellent quotations from actual manufacturers and exporters and our exporter members receive genuine buy/demand inquiries from overseas importers.

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 2, Issue 34 January 31' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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