How do I locate trade leads for my exporting business? How do I locate potential distributors in overseas markets?

The U.S. Department of Commerce offers many programs to assist exporters with trade leads:

Country Commercial Guides (CCG) include important government and trade association contacts in a given country. CCGs are available free-of-charge through the Market Research webpage by selecting "Market Research Library” from within the text of the webpage, then select the desired country in the <country> field and “country commercial guide” in the <report type> field of the search engine. To begin searching click on “go.”

International Partner Search is a customized search performed on behalf of U.S. companies to help them find potential agents, distributors, licensees, and strategic partners. U.S. commercial officers abroad conduct the search based on requirements specified by the requesting firm. Fees depend upon the scope of work. Orders for this service can be placed through local U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC). USEACs are listed on the website by clicking on “Find a Local U.S. Office” under "Contact Us" or by calling 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) and speaking with a Trade Information Center (TIC) international trade specialist.

Gold Key Service provides U.S. companies planning to visit a foreign country with assistance with market strategies, orientation briefings, introductions to prescreened potential partners, interpreters for meetings, and effective follow-up planning. Fees depend upon the scope of work. A custom-tailored program for videoconferencing, the Video Gold Key Service, is also available. For details, visit the U.S. Commercial Service on the Internet at Gold Key Service.

International Buyer Program (IBP) of the U.S. Commercial Service brings thousands of qualified international buyers and prospective distributors and trade partners to the United States each year to meet with U.S. companies at 28 major trade-only exhibitions. Without having to leave the country, U.s. exhibitors obtain worldwide promotion of their products and services and networking and matchmaking programs by country and industry experts. For more information, call Global Trade Programs at 202-482-0146 or visit

The U.S. Department of Commerce also organizes a variety of overseas events to promote U.S. businesses and their products:

Trade Missions usually focus on one industry or service sector and provide participants with detailed marketing information, advanced planning and publicity, logistical support, and pre-arranged appointments with potential buyers, government officials, and others. For more information on upcoming trade missions, visit the Department of Commerce’s trade missions website at

Product Literature and Sample Displays are industry-focused exhibits at trade shows where Department of Commerce industry or trade specialists or U.S. embassy officials display U.S. company literature and samples to interested business prospects. Sales leads are sent directly to participating companies. At International Catalog Exhibitions, state development agencies collaborate with the Commerce Department to showcase product literature from companies in their state and send trade leads to participating U.S. firms. For more information on Product Literature and Sample Displays, contact the TIC at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E). For more information on the International Catalog Exhibition program, contact Export Promotion Services at (202) 482-4663.

Orientation Visits: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) brings foreign project sponsors to the United States to observe the design, manufacture, demonstration, and operation of U.S. products and services that can potentially help them achieve their development goals. USTDA uses pre-qualified contractors to assist in the preparation and management of these customized visits. The Orientations are usually co-funded by U.S. industry. Contact TDA by telephone at (703) 875-4357 or visit the TDA website on the Internet at for more information.

U.S. Export Pavilions: The U.S. Export Pavilion is a multi-U.S. government agency trade show exhibit that promotes the benefit of exporting and of using U.S. government export assistance. Participating agencies include the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Service, the Export-Import Bank, and the Small Business Administration. In addition to these U.S. government agencies, the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America also participates by helping companies find a customs broker or freight forwarder in their area. Together, these participants focus on export education and on helping U.S. companies to: research export markets; find international buyers; comply with export regulations; finance international buyers; and ship products overseas. For further information, contact the Marketing and Communications Office of the U.S. Commercial Service at 202-482-0581.

Additional information about DOC trade events and services related to these are available on the ITA Internet website at

For information on other trade shows, not specifically sponsored by the Department of Commerce, please visit the following Internet websites:

Trade Show Central ( provides information on upcoming domestic industry shows.

Trade Show News Network ( helps locate and compare information about trade shows, exhibitors, industry suppliers, and convention facilities.

Allworld Exhibitions (

Additional Private Sources of Trade Contacts:

The Journal of Commerce (JoC) is a private daily newspaper that publishes news and analysis on international trade. Contact the JoC by telephone at 1-800-222-0356 or visit the JoC website on the Internet at for more information.

The Export Hotline ( offers market information, a directory of buyers, suppliers, and manufacturers, and other resources. Contact International Strategies at 1-800-USA-XPORT for additional information.

The World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) Internet website ( is a trade information hub for posting and reviewing trade opportunities and communicating easily with newly found business prospects. Its strength comes from the combined power of nearly 300 WTCs producing trade leads and other vital information. More information on this and other WTCA services can be obtained by calling 1-800-937-8886.

For information on trade and business in countries of the former Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Note: This document does not include all private sector sources of trade information nor does it represent an endorsement of any particular service or source by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center:

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)

Fax: (202) 482-4473