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    Business Opportunities on the Internet


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2000

    ITC frequently receives this question from firms and trade development institutions around the world.

    Q. Does ITC publish and/or circulate business opportunities or company announcements?

    A. Business opportunities are business-to-business messages, in which companies and/or government organizations offer or request products, services, joint ventures, technical assistance and transaction-related information. At present, ITC does not publish or circulate business opportunities. The reason is very simple. There are hundreds of services through which business opportunities can be circulated either free of charge or on a commercial basis (subscription and/or commission). Here are some suggestions on where to post business opportunities.

    Federation of International Trade Associations

    A good starting point is to visit the site of the Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA), comprising more than 300 international trade associations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. FITA maintains a searchable database of more than 2,500 world trade web resources, annotated and indexed, including a long list of trade lead sites (http://www.fita.org/webindex.html). Trade leads are organized by search engines, e-mail and listserv systems, FITA trade lead systems, geographically specific trade leads, industry specific trade leads and lists of links to trade lead systems. FITA also has links to investment-related sites.

    United Nations Electronic Trade Opportunities System

    The United Nations Electronic Trade Opportunities

    System (ETO) (http://www.untpdc.org) is a global, free service provided by the United Nations Trade Point Development Centre. Launched by UNCTAD in 1995, the ETO system is a pioneer in featuring Internet-based business opportunities. It is possibly the biggest system of this type, having processed more than one billion trade leads since its inception. The site is now being reorganized (http://www.gtpnet-e.com), and soon electronic trade opportunities will only be accepted for posting through the global network of Trade Points (http:/www.untpdc.org/untpdc/gtpnet/tpcont.html). This will certainly reduce the number of trade leads circulating through the system, but will improve the quality of the information.

    More trade opportunities

    Two interesting Internet sites featuring electronic trade opportunities, free of charge, are:

    • Stat-USA, a service of the US Department of Commerce (http://www.stat-usa.govtradtest.nsf)

    • Global Board of Trade (http://www.gbot.net).

    Examples of Internet sites that provide matchmaking services on a commercial basis are:

    • Trade Tracker, a site of the Trade Point Melbourne (http://www.tpmel.com.au)

    • FITA Custom ETO Trade Lead Matching, a site of the Federation of International Trade Associations (http://www.intl-trade.com/fita.html)

    • Import-Export Bulletin Board (http://www.iebb.com/)

    • TradeWinds (http://www.intl-trade.com/custom.html)

    ITC's web site, a link to trade opportunities

    ITC's web site has information on many sites that contain business opportunities. ITC organizes links to business opportunity sites by region. To obtain the list of links to sites accepting postings of business opportunities, click on Infobases while visiting the main page of ITC's web site. Then, click on Index to Trade Information on the Internet. The next step is to click on Trade and Business Opportunities.

    For more information, contact ITC's Business Intelligence Support Service at bill@intracen.org