Extras – Some Quick Tips on Becoming a Marketing Genius in Eastern European Business Development

Robyn Rebollo is Law Librarian for McGuire, Woods, Battle and Boothe L.L.P.

A s more corporate law firms continue to expand globally, we are witnessing an increase in information professionals who use their skills and expertise for marketing research and development. Who better than to contact an experienced researcher to locate information on globally tough competitors and prospective clients? Information professionals can also help their firms locate information on late breaking news, economic outlooks, legislative changes, and business opportunities abroad. You will find some of the best resources for locating marketing information on the internet; more specifically government supported Web sites that are designed to provide information for doing business in developing countries.

I would like to offer some site suggestions for law firms that have implemented offices in the Russian Federation and Newly Independent States. The BISNIS online internet service at http://www.mac.doc.gov/bisnis/bisnis.html, is your gateway to a smorgasbord of resources. Sponsored by the Department of Commerce’s Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS), the site contains everything from country and industry reports to daily exchange rates. One of the best features of this site is the frequently updated information. Let’s say an attorney specializing in economic reform needs to find out recent information about Russia’s economic outlook. The BISNIS site provides users with a direct link to reports from U.S. Embassies on commercial developments throughout the Newly Independent States. The US Embassies also produce economic trend studies, market surveys, procurement opportunity studies, and industry specific analysis. All of these materials are collected by BISNIS on a continual basis. Another great area of the BISNIS site is the Customs Corner. Here users will find information on import charges and customs procedures in the Newly Independent State countries. Having this type of information readily available can be an asset, especially when your firm represents corporations that wish to broaden their businesses to Russia and the Newly Independent states. If you are the type of researcher who doesn’t always remember to check a site for recently released information, not to worry! Users can subscribe to the BISNIS Bulletin. The BISNIS Bulletin is an electronic and hard copy newsletter service that is distributed by regular mail and email. By filling out a simple registration form, users can receive the following publications:

  1. BISNIS BULLETIN — Monthly issue in hard copy providing the latest on NIS market developments, trade agreements, and trade events.
  2. BISNIS SEARCH FOR PARTNERS — Monthly issue in hard copy listing NIS investment leads.
  3. BISNIS BRIEFS — Biweekly email broadcast featuring trade leads (Trades and Tenders), investment leads (Search for Partners), conference announcements and general information on Russia.
  4. EMAIL REPORTS — Country and industry specific email broadcasts (industry reports are specific to a particular NIS country while country reports cover all industries in that country). Frequency varies according to the amount of information available.

When you receive BISNIS publications on a periodical basis, there is bound to be a particular report that will spark an interest in your attorneys practicing law abroad. Forwarding these types of resources identifies a researcher as being someone who is on top of new developments and events. In addition to the features listed above, the BISNIS site also provides some excellent links to other US Government Agencies with NIS Content, Russia-Specific Information Sites, and Information on the Non-Russian States of the NIS.

A nother government agency that offers useful information on Russia and NIS countries is the USAID’s Europe & NIS web pages. Web site address is http://www.info.usaid.gov/regions/eni. Similar to BISNIS, the site offers links to information on Development Assistance to the Newly Independent States of the Former USSR, United States Merchandise Trade with Eastern Europe and the NIS, the Support for Eastern European Democracy (SEED Program), and much more. The site also contains links to specific countries, which are represented on a map of Eastern Europe. Each country page provides the following: a country profile, congressional presentation for 1998, economic growth resources, environment resources, urban development & housing information center, and privatization information. The USAID’s Office of Procurement Solicitat (http://www.info.usaid.gov/procurement_bus_opp/procurement/solicitation) offers government contracts information to interested businesses that are seeking to work abroad. Users can even receive an email notification when new solicitations are posted. Many Request for Proposals (RFPs) and Request for Applications (RFAs) listed are for business opportunities in Moscow and other NIS countries.

A non-government site worth noting is the American Chamber Commerce in Russia, located at http://www.amcham.ru. The American Chamber of Commerce in Russia is a fairly young (3 years old) organization that represents Western business interests in the Russian Federation. Their web site contains some great resources, specifically the AmCham News, a quarterly publication that focuses on recent events and work of the Chamber. The AmCham News also produces interesting articles relating to doing business abroad. Their latest issue had an article titled Legal Update: Limited Liability Law, which covered the current laws regulating limited liability companies. Also included on the site is information on AmCham industry-specific committees, with Chapters in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They have committees for the following business sectors: aerospace, consumer goods & agriculture, capital markets, energy, customs, human resources, investment, small business, real estate, information technology, healthcare, telecommunications, taxation, transportation, standards & certification, and security. Well-known law firms and companies head many of these committees with roots in the United States.

The last site I will discuss is the Securities Market and Privatization in the Republic of Kazakhstan web site at http://www.kazecon.kz. The site is co-sponsored by the Government Agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the USAID Kazakhstan Securities Market Development Project. It offers weekly media and securities market update information. The site also contains a comprehensive legal section, where users can locate recent Kazakhstan laws in both English in Russian. It evens offers information on upcoming investment sales and company profiles on selective Kazakhstan businesses. When registering with the kazecon web site, users will be informed of new developments and coming attractions by email. There is no fee attached for registering.

Posted in: Extras, Law Firm Marketing