According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 alone, US companies engaged in nearly $4.2 trillion in international commerce. This included the export of more than $1.8 trillion in goods and raw materials to foreign markets around the world, and more than $2.3 trillion in imports from the many international trade partners doing business with American companies.
In addition to the import and export of material goods including agricultural commodities, mineral fuels and manufactured goods, international trade includes all cross-border service-related business conducted by multinational corporations and joint ventures, including financial institutions, law firms and consulting firms. These service exports to foreign markets added another $562 billion to US export totals in 2010.
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The International Trade Administration’s 2011 US Trade Overview report showed that there are now more than a quarter million US companies doing business in international markets. These US companies comprise the largest export sector of goods and services in the world. This report also revealed that international trade supported 10.3 million American jobs, accounting for nearly seven percent of all US employment.
Global managers, international accountants, foreign market research analysts, trade compliance specialists, international business consultants, bankers, logisticians and supply chain managers are among the many professionals whose work so greatly influences the American economy, and the economies of hundreds of other nations around the world. These international business professionals are involved in every conceivable aspect of global business, including:
- Exporting/importing – Developing international business relationships to facilitate the sale of domestic goods, including setting up international manufacturing and marketing facilities
- Contractual agreements – Overseeing international turn-key operations and licensing to foreign firms, including patents, trade secrets, trademarks and brand names
- Raising capital – Working with foreign investors interested in acquiring interest in a domestic company, or working to acquire interest in a foreign company
- Wholly owned manufacturing – Developing a long-term interest in a foreign company, setting up production facilities in foreign markets and overseeing quality and production abroad
- Contract manufacturing – Overseeing the manufacturing and assembly of products in a foreign country
- Mergers and acquisitions – Seeking new foreign markets, distribution networks, new technology and patent rights for either merger or acquisition purposes
- Strategic alliances – Developing a strategic alliance with foreign competitors to improve access to new innovations and so as to better respond to changes in technology
- Counter trading – Developing barter-based import and export agreements with foreign companies
- Joint ventures – Setting up joint ventures to access new technology, to gain entry into a foreign market and to gain access to distribution channels and manufacturing facilities