globalEDGE Blog

China’s manufacturing and factory sector hit an 11-month low in March, alarming investors worldwide. This indicator is yet another under-performing expectation that will likely have a negative effect on China’s gloomy first quarter. Ultimately these results are detrimental to the Chinese Government's 7% GDP growth target and will likely lead to new stimulus measures during a period of slow economic grw.

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Last Friday, the United Nations announced that the world may be facing a major shortage of water supplies in about fifteen years. Available water for consumption and other uses may be reduced by 40% as a result of factors such as urbanization, high living standards, heavy industry usage, and booming population growth. The report calls for drastic measures to keep freshwater as a readily available resource for the future, as some regions of the world are already starting to run out of water and aquifers are becoming exploited beyond a sustainable level. This will mean cutting down on heavy water consumption and use, a move which will affect people and industries worldwide.

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The Nile River is a major influence on the economies it encompasses, and in the past it has been controversial how the energy, space, and water is allocated amongst the countries it passes through. Ethiopia is constructing a massive dam costing billions of dollars on the Blue Nile, which will distort the previous allocation of water agreed by the countries surrounding the river. Most of the disagreement in the initial stages of project development stemmed from this allocation dispute, but the presidents of Egypt and Sudan, as well as the Ethiopian Prime Minister, all recently signed a contract pledging to better share the water and resources of the Nile. On Monday, Egypt agreed to a preliminary deal with Ethiopia on the construction of the dam.

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Brazil and Mexico have renewed vehicle quotas for four years, postponing the creation of a free trade agreement to at least 2019. The two largest Latin American economies originally had free trade of vehicles for a brief period in 2011 and 2012, but transitioned to a quota system after Brazil complained of economic issues that were hurting the nation’s competitiveness abroad, especially in the auto industry. The new deal penned earlier this month permits $1.56 billion of duty-free vehicle imports for the first year of the agreement. This amount will increase by 3% every year until 2019 when the nations will return to free trade, barring any extension or renewal of the quota system.

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With the March 31st application deadline quickly approaching for countries interested in joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Australia is rethinking its prior decision not to apply. The investment bank, led by China, recently added the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany as members, even though the United States has issued warnings about the bank. The decision by these four major European countries to join the bank against United States wishes has led Australia to reconsider its position on AIIB, and look to possibly invest up to $3 billion in the AIIB.

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globalEDGE is a fantastic resource for discovering new information about the changing Caribbean business climate. Our CARICOM trade bloc section provides more details about the Caribbean Community. Upon visiting this section, you will find a brief history of the trade bloc as well as statistics and related agreements. Also, globalEDGE has compiled a list of external resources for those interested in exploring the Caribbean business area in greater depth. Some examples are listed below.

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With diverse ecosystems, the ocean is a key source of marine life and resources. Because the Caribbean region is surrounded by ocean, exporting marine resources could potentially be a key driver in the region's economy. However, because of overexploitation and poor management, many Caribbean countries have not made full use of their marine resources, which has limited their ability to expand economically.

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It has been 5 years since Haiti was struck with one of the worst earthquakes in recent times. The country has been trying to bounce back from the devastation and finally the government is saying Haiti is open for business. Foreign investment is a major focus right now for Haiti, as its aid from around the world is starting to dry up. Many international investors are expressing great interest in Haiti, specifically in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and beverage industries.

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With the proposed re-establishment of normal diplomatic relations and the potential easing of economic sanctions between the United States and Cuba, trade relations between the two nations have begun to thaw. Cuba offers a new market of avid consumers, and an economy that could potentially be a key contributor to the Caribbean region. Even though the embargo may potentially be lifted, there are several challenges that remain to be overcome for Cuba and U.S. to be successful as trade partners.

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In this high-tech century, news about hackers breaking into corporate information systems is not surprising anymore. Rather, it has become a common administrative issue for businesses and requires special attention from the board of directors, since cyber-security breaches can result in significant business losses if not handled properly. This blog post will review the recent findings from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey and provide the approaches that company leaders can follow to reduce cyber risks.

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