If you strictly conduct business domestically, chances are, you're missing big opportunities. For instance, perhaps you can cut costs and/or increase profits by selling and sourcing your goods or services to or from other countries. If cross-border trade is foreign to you, start by educating yourself on the topic.
How best to begin? Twitter has become one of the easiest ways to keep up with the latest intelligence on any given subject. So, we've assembled a list of 10 Twitter accounts maintained by trade experts, who provide a regular stream of insightful and practical information. These thought leaders offer a mix of news, policy and success stories, all of which help business owners learn more about importing and exporting.
1. Stephen King: @KingEconomist
Stephen King—not to be confused with the horror writer of the same name—is chief economist at HSBC and author of "When the Money Runs Out" (2013) and "Losing Control: The Emerging Threats to Western Prosperity" (2011), which detail the global economic importance of many emerging markets and the major economic shifts taking place. King's tweets combine his witty personality with an economist’s view of the world, offering insight into the policies and realities of various trade partners. For instance, he recently shared observations about Dubai's economic vitality while visiting on a book tour. Follow him to keep up with his expert opinions on the latest economic forecasts and ideas about where the money is going.
2. Penny Pritzker: @PennyPritzker
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Penny Pritzker is focused on boosting U.S. trade relationships and helping businesses of all sizes grow through cross-border dealings. Her Twitter feed offers opportunities for followers to get involved in the cause. For instance, in a recent tweet, Pritzker asked business leaders to apply to accompany her on an upcoming trade mission to Korea and Japan. Her tweets also detail her ongoing travel and work to promote trade and American business, and include plenty of links to articles about how international trade is helping businesses compete and grow. For instance, she recently tweeted from the Made in Rural America conference in Memphis, Tennessee, offering links to information about how this initiative is helping rural businesses increase profits and add jobs through exporting.
3. US-China Business Council: @USCBC
Based in Washington, the US-China Business Council is a nonprofit organization representing U.S. companies of all sizes that do business in China. The group is focused on expanding business relationships between the United States and China to benefit its members and the U.S. economy—and to do that, it provides information, advice and advocacy to its members. The organization's Twitter feed is an avenue for sharing that expert information and advice with others who aren't necessarily members. For instance, followers will get a regular stream of relevant economic news about what's going on in China, as well as information about relations between the United States and China. Recently, USCBC shared with its followers that 128 new smartphone models were released in China during the month of June, and that BMW plans to increase its production in China from three models to six. Follow this account to stay informed about all things related to U.S.-Chinese relations.
4. Charlie Robertson: @RenCapMan
Charlie Robertson is the global chief economist and head of macro-strategy at Renaissance Capital, a leading investment bank with offices around the world focused on emerging markets. His tweets cover global interests but offer particular insight into emerging markets. For instance, recent tweets have focused on the soon-to-open equities market in Saudi Arabia and how that market will affect the currency and economies of other countries. Follow him to keep up with the latest economic news and commentary featuring Africa and other important emerging markets, and to learn how those markets may be worth your attention.
5. International Trade Administration: @TradeGov
The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the U.S. government agency focused on promoting exports, industry competitiveness, and communicating trade and investment information. Its Twitter feed offers a great deal of information and resources for business owners. For instance, the agency recently used Twitter to announce a free webinar offered for businesspeople interested in learning how to export products with new tools available from the U.S. Department of Commerce. ITA also uses its Twitter feed to share stories of small businesses that are succeeding through cross-border trade, and to share links to its blog posts, which often contain helpful information for small businesses, such as how to make the most of attending a trade show and how to use data to build your export strategy.
6. Dean Baker: @DeanBaker13
Dean Baker is the co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), which focuses on promoting democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues affecting the public. In addition to conducting professional research, CEPR’s mission is to educate the public about exactly what is at stake in major policy debates. Baker’s Twitter feed is an extension of this mission. For instance, his recent tweets include discussion of trade deals in the works—the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership—and how they will affect Americans and American businesses.
7. Austan Goolsbee: @Austan_Goolsbee
An economics professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and former Chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee also heads the Economic Advisory practice of 32 Advisors, a business advisory firm focused on serving companies that conduct business across borders. Goolsbee’s Twitter feed balances personal commentary with insightful information about world markets and policies that influence commerce and trade. For instance, Goolsbee’s recent tweets include news about the Chinese economy (more than one in five homes in China's urban areas are currently empty, according to The Wall Street Journal) and the changing values of international currencies. Because he regularly consults with businesses on trade issues, business leaders following him gain insights that can be helpful in making decisions about global commerce.
8. U.S. Federal Reserve: @federalreserve
Now led by Janet Yellen, the first-ever female Chair of the Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve System (also known as the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. The Fed is not only focused on achieving maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates, it also conducts the nation's monetary policy, supervises and regulates banking institutions, maintains the stability of the financial system, and provides financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government and foreign governments. Its Twitter feed is a good one for U.S. businesses to follow to stay current on domestic economic policies and the economic environment, as well as gain insights into how global economies might be affecting domestic decisions. Recently, the Fed has tweeted about changes in consumer credit rates and the assets and liabilities of U.S.-based banks.
9. CME Group: @CMEGroup
CME Group operates 11 offices around the world, offering futures and options trading for companies and institutions that need to manage risk or want to profit by accepting risk. The company handles 3 billion contracts worth approximately $1 quadrillion annually (on average), and its exchanges offer a wide range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes. Company insiders post on the Twitter feed, which features global economic and financial news. Recent tweets feature updates on the markets for livestock, oil, gold and equities, as well as commentary about how food prices may be affected by weather patterns and climate changes. Follow this account to stay updated on the latest economic news worldwide, and to receive clever commentary and analysis about headline stories.
10. Adam Posen: @AdamPosen
Adam Posen is president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a private, nonprofit institution focused on studying and discussing international economic policy. The purpose of his work is to identify and analyze important issues that affect global business, and to develop practical new approaches for dealing with those issues. Posen, who is also a former member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, spends much of his time advising central banks and governments on economic issues. He has the knowledge to help business owners determine which countries and governments may be promising trade partners. He often retweets the most salient thoughts from his extensive network of financial and economic peers and experts, and he also shares his own opinions, such as how the North American Free Trade Agreement is still good for the U.S. economy and how economic news from India, Great Britain and other countries affects their viability as potential trade partners.