globalEDGE Blog Archive April 2010

With plans for double digit economic growth each year, India must work quickly to get their infrastructure in shape. Prime minister Manmohan Singh recently stated that he was going to double infrastructure spending from 500 billion dollars to 1 trillion in their five-year plan. Right now the country's poor infrastructure is holding back India's economic development. All-in-all India's highways minglister Kamal Nath set a goal of 20km of roads a day starting in June. That's almost 7,000 km of roads a year! That's an ambitious target but may be something this country needs.

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The largest world fair in history will take place in Shanghai, China starting May 1 to October 31. Its theme is "Better City - Better Life". More than 190 countries will be present setting pavillions portraying their culture and technology.

The event is six months long and is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors. Therefore, it is an excellent networking opportunity. Nations that are already parters with China will be there in order to further firm the connection. Also, there is the chance to make new friends and establish new connections as a BBC video explains.

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File under: Singapore, Infrastructure

Singapore has grown tremendously in the last few decades. They have one of the highest population densities of any country in the world. The Singapore government has devoted large amounts of time and money to urban planning to make this a possibility. They have used urban planning to make them globally competitive and increase their economic potential. Not only this, but they have also built an extremely environmentally friendly city. This makes their expertise in urban planning even more appealing. Now, they are looking to share that expertise with other cities around the world.

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In the early 1990s India was a closed market and it has gone a long way since then to become an important player in the international trade scene. The country is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a growth rate of 8-10%. This rate in combination with the large market in India makes it a desirable trade partner for many other countries. The European Union, for example, is looking to establish a Free Trade Agreement with India - negotiations started in 2007 and the agreement is expected to be finalized by the end of this year according to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.

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What do Michigan and China have in common?  They are both involved in the production of a triple junction amorphous crystalline solar cell. In layman’s terms, solar energy.  These roof-mounted solar cells will generate much more electricity than silicon because of it is lightweight and flexible structure which holds up more efficiently in real-world conditions.

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Poultry farmers all over the globe are running into serious problems with the waste from chickens, which is real trouble when it gets into the water supply. Years back John Logan, a farmer from Prentiss, Mississippi, noticed the same problem. In an interview with NPR radio he recalled, "I said, 'I got to do something.' I can't be putting this on the ground. Now, I have a river right here. What's to happen when that phosphorus overload washes into the river, which then ends up in the Gulf of Mexico?"

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While Vietnam’s largest export is textiles, seafood is often overlooked as another crucial product to Vietnam’s economic well-being. In June 2009, Vietnam and Japan signed the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, which effectively reduced and eliminated tariffs on a number of Vietnamese goods, one of which was dried seafood. In the past, high prices had deterred other Southeast Asian countries from buying Vietnamese seafood, but the tariff cuts, coupled with overall increased demands, have led to a boom in Vietnamese seafood exports.

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McDonald’s Corporation is now starting Hamburger University in Shanghai as a place to train the latest generation of managers.  This decision is influenced by the fact that China is McDonald’s fastest-growing global market, increasing 10 percent annually. Part of this growth is because collectively, Chinese spend nearly 300 billion dollars a year on eating out at informal restaurants.

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Do you want to go out to eat? People around the world are saying “yes” to this answer, but are finding different venues to satisfy their hunger. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that 20% of the world’s food venues are street vendors! Did you know that of the 10 largest markets in the world in the food services industry, five are in East Asia? The industry is making some major shifts which are also specific to geographic location.

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As the world is becoming more globalized, there has been a change towards internationalization in the food and beverage industry as well.
 
Traveling abroad for business is an essential part for many professionals. Also, since business men and women from different parts of the world work together on many occasions, it is only natural that they share and spread different cultures. This is very strongly pronounced in the way taste preferences around the globe have changed.

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Quality wine is produced and consumed all over the world. It is custom in so many different countries to have a glass of wine with dinner, serve it at gatherings, or drink it socially. It has become a huge industry worldwide. What is fascinating now is how the industry is constantly evolving.

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Recession? What recession? Only select areas of the food and beverage industry struggled during the past two years. The industry as a whole performed well overall in 2009 and will likely continue to develop in promising emerging regions after having proven capable of adapting its product offer to new consumer tastes in mature markets.

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File under: Economy, Infrastructure

When a natural disaster hits a country, the negative affects are quite obvious. The number of deaths is always devastating, along with the destruction of the land. Luckily, the number of casualties associated with natural disasters has dropped significantly in the past few decades. On the other hand, the cost of natural disasters is continuing to rise. They can have an enormous effect on the country’s GDP and economic growth. Natural disasters have been proven to drop a country’s GDP significantly.

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Kerala is known all over the world for its lush landscapes, sunny beaches, and peaceful and pleasing backwaters. It also defies the stereotypical Indian state. This state has a lot going for it, and the following just touches the surface:

  • The highest human development index in India
  • The highest literacy rate (more than 90%) and life expectancy, lowest infant mortality and the lowest school drop-out rate in all of India

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File under: Aerospace and Defense

Two of Europe's airlines are about to merge in order to form one of the largest airlines in the world. The two comapnies, British Airways and Iberia, have been considering this merger for a long time now and it will not be final until the end of the year.

Due to the economic recession airline companies have been losing money and looking into different ways to cut costs. Is this merger of the two European airline compnaies a good business decision and will it be beneficial for the industry? A video from BBC answers these questions and points out some of the advantages and disadvantages of this merger.

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I remember when I was eight years old and traveled with my family to Cancún, Mexico. We stayed in a four-star hotel, and yet still had cockroaches running around the room. It certainly seemed at the time like the star system standards were different between the U.S. and Mexico. As it turns out, there is no world standard for hotel star ratings. Systems for ranking hotels and motels differ from global region to global region, between countries, and even within those countries. What then, can the tourist or international businessperson do to better decipher which hotels are worth staying at, and which ones to avoid?

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Just over six years ago, a “state of the art” free trade agreement (FTA) was signed between the United States and Chile. Since that time, a nearly perfect model of bilateral trade has ensued. In fact, the projected growth between the two countries was between 18% and 52%. Would you believe that the actual growth over this period is over 345%?! Free trade agreements have often been a source of debate because of the potential environmental and human rights impacts they have had in the past. How has this FTA impacted each country?

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First, is your Website ready for prime time?  Consider adding a section for international buyers which might contain a currency calculator, shipping options and prices, a statement about the buyer paying for customs duties and taxes, and even sample duty and tax calculations using your most common commodity classification codes (call 1-800-usa-trade for assistance with this).  This is purely good customer service and will reduce misunderstandings across the miles.

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The plan, in addition to some reasonable sales projections and a statement of how your product or service is positioned for international buyers, should single out from three to five markets to focus on.  The markets can be selected by an analysis of secondary research information or by looking at where previous inquiries or sales have come from.

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A recent Department of Commerce study of midsize and smaller U.S. manufacturing exporters made a surprising finding: the majority of the companies surveyed don’t have an export plan.  What’s more, they lack international financial goals and, in general, lack staff who are dedicated to growing the international side of the business.  In addition, exporters rely mainly on U.S.-based sales efforts to generate overseas customers, and fully one-third sit back passively and let the orders come to them.

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File under: Latin America, Trade, Exporting

In the past decade, China has grown its relationship with Latin America immensely. China has been very interested in South America’s natural resources and their potential for power production. China has been importing South American copper, soybeans, iron ore and many other materials for many years. They have also begun lending money to the major energy companies in the region.

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