Commerce Site Aims at Boosting Global Trade

WASHINGTON (03/31/2000) - The U.S. Department of Commerce formally launched a Web site featuring multimedia services today in hopes that it will facilitate growth in the exports of small and medium-sized businesses.

Only about 1 percent of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses currently export their products, but U.S. Department of Commerce officials aim to improve that figure in the near term by using the Internet and electronic commerce, department officials said here today.

The site, found at http://www.usatrade.gov, offers small businesses who have never exported their goods or their services a place on the Web where they can find research generated by the Department of Commerce's Commercial Service group on the markets of more than 90 countries, Commerce Secretary William Daley said as he unveiled the site at a luncheon marking the 20th anniversary of the Commercial Service today.

Businesses who register at the site also gain access to leads from overseas businesses looking for specific goods or services, and a virtual trade show, "E-Expo USA," where U.S. businesses can market their products at a virtual trade show booth.

The site's Webcasting and videoconferencing multimedia functions add innovative interactive features and videotaped material to the site, said Samuel Troy, director of the Commercial Service. The Webcasts are stored at the Web site for access any time of day and comprise a library of video programs, including critical information for U.S. exporters such as tips on doing business in the growing markets of China and Brazil.

The site's videoconferencing services, provided by a variety of vendors, offer small and medium-sized businesses an opportunity to sit down face-to-face with potential business partners even if they are not in the same room.

Commercial Service is calling upon Atlanta-based company Globalspeak Inc. for the Webcasting services, while Computer Associates International Inc. built the new Web site.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Web site is at http://www.doc.gov/.

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