A computer information service at the University of Utah is providing academicians around the world with information on Pacific Rim nations and could help local businesses break into exporting in the region.
Dr. Kent Morrison, director of IMPART or Intermountian-Pacific Rim Trade Project, said the service is designed to help researchers and businesses become more aware of Pacific Rim markets. The economics of East and Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand are becoming pacesetters of global economic growth and American trade, Morrison said."The Pacific Rim is going to continue to grow. That is where the action is going to be in the next 50 to 60 years," Morrison said.
At the heart of the IMPART project is a data base that scholars can access for information on everything from last year's birthrate in China to the U.S.'s trade deficit with Brunei. Already scholars from New Zealand to Connecticut are logging on to the system.
The data base is a joint venture of State Department of Economic Development, U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Education. Both the U.'s College of Business, and College of Social and Behavioral Science are participating in the project. It is supported by several organizations including the Utah District Export Council and Utah Trade Association.
Morrison said the service is already becoming recognized as a clearinghouse of up-to-date information on the Pacific Rim. Information coming from many Pacific Rim countries is often out-dated or inaccessible because it is written in Asian languages. Student translators, who are readily available because of the large number of former LDS missionaries at the U., can quickly translate current reports into usable tables and charts.
There are currently about 50,000 files in 21 basic cate gories in the data base.
"We have simply facilitated access to information in
statistical and textual form. Some of this information is very hard to come by even in larger institutions," Morrison said.
"We are beginning a sophisticated swap meet of information from educators, students and researchers."
The IMPART data center also compiles market research and analyzes statistics for businesses from the data base. Businesses cannot directly access the data base because it is limited to scholarly or educational use, but the center's service is available for a fee and is particularly appealing to small businesses that could not afford the services of market research consulting firm.
For example, the university could find out how a "Mom and Pop" Utah producer of acne cream could find a market in Japan. The service also helps small operations find lawyers, translators and other specialized services to get over barriers to marketing their products.
"We know relatively little about global markets," Morrison said. The U.S. trade deficit and changing political and economic climate in the Pacific Rim make trading in those countries both appealing and necessary for business survival.
The IMPART data bank will soon provide a computerized version of the Utah Export Directory that contains local exporters and their products. IMPART also plans educational programs including export education seminars, courses in business Japanese, Chinese and Korean, a seminar about United State-Pacific Rim relations.
For more information contact Morrison at 581-6341.