What countries are the hungriest for U.S. exports? The Department of Commerce has selected 10 particularly ripe areas, which should be hot markets for at least the next several years. Known as Big Emerging Markets (BEMs), these areas are expected to double their share of world imports by 2010, making them attractive outlets for products made in the United States.
What are these red-hot markets? The Chinese Economic Area (comprised of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Turkey and South Africa. According to Department of Commerce figures, the collective gross domestic product (GDP) of the BEMs is 25 percent of that of the industrialized world, but by 2010, it is expected to comprise half that of the industrialized world.
Not sold yet? By 2000, the BEMs will be a bigger market than the European Union (EU). By 2010, they will represent a bigger market than the EU and Japan combined. Already, U.S. exports to the BEMs comprise almost one-fourth of total U.S. exports.
What makes a BEM a BEM? According to Jim Desler, public affairs director for the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, population has a lot to do with it. "The Chinese Economic Area comes to mind instantly," says Desler. "In 20 or 30 years, it will be the biggest economy in the world." That's one reason India made the list, too. Huge populations equal huge markets for entrepreneurial exporters.
But that's not the only factor. This month, we take a closer look at four of the BEMs and the products each area is hot to get its hands on. (For a detailed look at the other six BEMs, check out next month's "Global Vision.")