The origin of these legally acquired raw data are publicly available sources. Any other interested party could also acquire these raw data from all relevant institutions and theoretically, consolidate it to the same processed knowledge as in the case of Smart Inform LTD achieved by years of painstaking work, comprehensive programming and magnificent dedication of professional employees.
Countries all over the world, some since the sixties, grant fully legal access to various forms of world trade data, based on the Freedom of Information Act. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_information). The motivation to publish these data can be diverse, reaching from strengthening the own national economy (exporting companies can promote their products and performance as on a physical trade fair, being identified as a potential supplier, as for importing companies where global suppliers are better able to identify their product requirements, improving the position of the domestic company benefiting from competing suppliers.) till identifying illegal business practices and corruption e.g. counterfeit, import/export of prohibited or restricted goods and duty fraud.
Disclosure of corporate information is not practiced equally in all countries, in Germany for example, the annual balance sheets and profit and loss accounts of tens of thousands of companies are disclosed (www.bundesanzeiger.de) and open for the public. In other countries however, the disclosure of financial information is completely unknown and would be regarded as unthinkable, according to public opinion, financial information of often private companies should be confidential (listed companies are already subject to other publication requirements). In Germany however, yearly disclosure of financial information is a legal obligation and punished with high penalties if not made on time.
In other countries however, it is common sense to publish or grant access to trade data from companies, in order to improve world trade with maximum transparency.
Examples of benefits of transparency in world trade: Compliance with laws and treaties, e.g. anti-dumping regulations which are registered in a structured manner by the World Trade Organization (WTO): https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/adp_e/adp_e.htm Eradicating cartels and encouraging competition by e.g. national and international antitrust authorities (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_regulator):
Antitrust laws are the laws that apply to virtually all industries and to every level of business, including manufacturing, transportation, distribution and marketing. They prohibit a variety of practices that restrain trade. Examples of illegal practices are price-fixing conspiracies, corporate mergers likely to reduce the competitive vigor of particular markets, and predatory acts designed to achieve or maintain monopoly power. These kind of laws or authorities are common in almost every country with an open market economy.
Antitrust authorities in many countries share their experiences in organizations such as the European Competition Authority, the European Competition Network, the International Competition Network or the OECD.
In Germany for example, the Bundeskartellamt (federal antitrust agency) is responsible for a functioning and competitive regulatory principle. This is explicitly based on the antitrust law GWB (see https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gwb/), preventing unlawful or prohibited competition practices restraining free trade.
Protection of trademarks e.g. fighting organized crime of product counterfeiting by the World Customs Organization (WCO): http://www.wcoipm.org
The positive arguments for transparency in world trade are obvious and are very well summarized by the basic intentions of the WTO, WCO and UN Comtrade:
- World Trade Organization (WTO):
- World Customs Organization WCO:
- UN Comtrade: