International market research can command hefty prices, unless it's government data -- then it's yours for the asking. One little-known source of refined data on overseas markets is the U.S. International Trade Commission. Because the commission reports on industry for trade representatives and Congress, its data are of a higher caliber than most government data available. Recent topics include Japanese forklifts, shock absorbers from Brazil, and ball bearings from nine countries.

For a bibliography of this eclectic mix of a few hundred reports, indexed by country and product, contact: Secretary's Office, Publications, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E St. S.W., Room 112A, Washington DC 20436.