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New exporting modules were recently published in the globalEDGE Online Course Modules.  These modules were created in cooperation with the US Commercial Service, based on content published by the Commercial Service.  Topics covered in these modules range from a general overview on beginning to export to rules of origin on specific free trade agreements.  These modules will be of interest, especially to small business owners. 

Modules of specific interest might be our Developing a Marketing Plan module, Methods and Channels for Exporting, Preparing Your Product for Export, and the Selling Overseas and Aftersales Service module.  Each of these modules offers its own range of information that will benefit any business professional who takes the time to listen to them. 

To access the exporting modules you can use this link.

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globalEDGE offers a number of indices on our country pages.  Topics of these indices range from the level of innovation performance of a country to an index that ranks countries based on the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac in different countries.

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International e-commerce are commercial transactions that happen over the internet which involve people or businesses located in different countries.  In the modern world, many consumers now shop online and there are a plethora of opportunities available to market to a potential online international customer.   

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This is the fifth post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry.

The future of energy is often discussed in the news.  Many publications will say that the energy market’s future rests in one form or another but the future of the energy industry whole is difficult to predict because much of the future of energy is rooted in the policies of politicians. However, the Earth is not yet close to running out of these nonrenewable fuels so while there will be a need to fully replace the use of fossil fuels in our world at some point; running out of fossil fuels is not really the most pressing need at this time. 

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Stock markets all over the world did very well last year.  Many countries have seen their stock market indices hit record highs recently.  A stock market index is a tool used to measure a section of the stock market.  The most popular stock market indices measure some of the largest, most influential companies traded on the stock market.  Here are two links that explain how a price-weighted index and a market-value weighted index are calculated. The two most popular American stock market indices are the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is a price-weighted index, and the S&P 500, which is a market-value weighted index. 

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The globalEDGE team is back in the office today!  With our arrival, we wanted to just take a blog post to highlight some of our incredible resources.  If you’re writing a paper or need to prepare a report our website has valuable statistics and general trade information for you.

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Late last year Russia and OPEC agreed to extend their agreement to decrease oil production until the end of 2018.  Russia, OPEC, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to reduce their oil production in 2017 in an attempt to decrease the global supply of oil and in turn increase the price of oil.  An extension was signed in advance of the previous deal ending in this coming March.  The original cut in oil production was in response to falling oil prices.  After declining for the previous few years, 2017 saw rising oil prices worldwide, due in large part to the agreement limiting oil that OPEC and other countries enacted last year.  West Texas Intermediate saw crude oil prices rise from $43.33 per barrel in 2016 to $50.56 per barrel in 2017. 

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E-commerce is a major component of almost every business that sells goods in the modern world, some even call e-commerce the key to a successful business.  E-commerce is defined as transacting or facilitating business over the internet. With the internet growing exponentially over the last two decades many people now look to it for a more convenient avenue to shop and do business over.  People can now do everything from paying their bills online to buying groceries and getting them delivered to their home.  With the tremendous growth in the potential for e-commerce, many companies have taken advantage of the increased opportunities for revenue. 

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Inflation is a huge problem for many economies worldwide.   In countries like Venezuela, Argentina, and Ukraine the average consumer has been largely affected by the inflation currently occurring.  A basic definition of inflation is when the currency used in a country experiencing inflation buys fewer goods, the purchasing power decreases.  This is often bad for consumers, especially in countries experiencing very high inflation rates because they are not paid enough to compensate for the rising cost of goods and services.

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Many still think of biofuels as the fuel of the future.  They think of a futuristic technology that still has not really been developed fully.  Biofuels have actually been around much longer than most people realize.  Henry Ford even planned to have his Model T run on ethanol way back in the early 1900s.  Problems with today’s energy sources often come up because of the harm they can cause to the environment.  Biofuels may eventually become a solution to both of these problems.  That is why people still think of biofuels as a fuel of the future; they have not yet been implemented in society in an effective way. 

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This is part five of a five-part blog series on the evolution of the textile industry over time.

Traditionally, manufacturing and resource processing has been done in a factory setting with labor needs relying on human capital. Labor trends tend to coincide with factors like wages, working conditions, and more recently, technology. So far, this series has looked at the evolution of the industry in an international context, starting with its role in the formation of the first international commercial highway. Textile production continued as an international industry into the 18th century. The Industrial revolution brought technological advances like the spinning jenny and cotton gin, marking the first instances of machines making their way into production. Next, we looked at labor conditions throughout the industry—specifically the working conditions in developed and developing countries. As we look toward the future of labor, advancements in the textile industry will continue to have international ramifications.

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This is part one of a five-part blog series on the evolution of the textile industry over time.

The textile and apparel industry is one of the most popular in the world.  Like most other industries the textile industry has evolved over time.  The evolution of the textile industry is one of the most interesting industries to examine.  One can trace the origins of the textile industry back to prehistoric times.  It is estimated by anthropologists that humans began wearing clothes somewhere between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. Since this time the textile industry has been evolving.  The earliest trade hubs of textiles can be found in ancient China, Turkey, and India.  All of these regions can be found along the Silk Road; for more information on textile trade along the Silk Road be sure to read tomorrow’s blog.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published their Global Competitiveness Report for 2017-2018.  According to the WEF, the Global Competitiveness Index assesses the competitiveness of the landscape of 137 country’s economies and it provides unique insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.  There are twelve pillars of competitiveness used to sort and rank each country’s economy.  The twelve pillars are as follows: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.  Each of these pillars is used to measure a different part of a country’s economy’s competitiveness.

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This week the globalEDGE blog will look at cash crops around the world.  Cash crops are crops that are grown specifically to be sold in a marketplace or traded; essentially a crop grown not for direct consumption by the farmer.  Cash crops have played a large role in shaping the world throughout history.  A major factor in the colonization of the New World were the dollar signs investors saw in cash crops like tobacco and cotton in the Americas.  The only reason that the New World was even discovered was because Europeans were looking for a faster route to reach China and India to trade for their tea and other spices. Tea and most spices are products of cash crops.  

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Driverless, or autonomous, cars have been in the news a lot this past year.  Essentially it is a car that can drive itself with no help needed from a human driver.  There are many people who believe this is the next big development in the automotive industry.  We are still several years off from driverless cars being fully implemented on the road. According to a plan laid out in the U.K. last year driverless cars are to be implemented fully and on the road by 2025

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With Hurricane Harvey just recently striking southeastern Texas and part of Louisiana the damage major storms can create is too fresh in our minds.  Images of the submerged houses and destroyed stores fill most news programs in the United States.  Storms like Harvey often cost many people their livelihoods and sometimes even their lives.  The destructive power of a hurricane is even greater than most people realize.  NASA estimates that during a hurricane’s entire life cycle they can give off as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs.  While major storms like these never go through their entire life cycles damaging land they still hit land and destroy with a ridiculous amount of strength.

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The entire globalEDGE team will be returning tomorrow for another school year. We will resume our regular updates of the site. Also our blog schedule has now shifted to five days a week.  We are all excited to provide you with new content. 

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Oil prices worldwide are in decline. Much of the decline in oil prices has been contributed to rising oil production in the United States. To combat this it is expected that OPEC will decide to continue its cap on oil production at their meeting in May. As recently as one week ago it was reported that Saudi Arabia was gathering support from other OPEC countries in extending their cap on production.

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Iron ore is one of, if not the, most used elements in the modern world. Iron is the most important part of the steelmaking process and about 98% of the world’s iron ore is used to make steel. It has a combination of strength and durability most metals cannot compare to. Because of this, in much of the world products that contain steel are seen almost everywhere, from small household appliances to cars and major construction projects.

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Since 2006 the rate at which beehives die has jumped from 5-10% a year to about 30%. In the United States roughly 10 million beehives, worth an estimated $2 billion, died from 2006-2015. These statistics become even more alarming when you realize how important bees are to the world’s economy. Bees have been identified by a United Nations Environment Programme report as the most economically important pollinators in the majority of the world’s regions. There are 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food. 71 of these crop species are pollinated by bees. Almonds, pumpkins, and cucumbers are almost entirely dependent on bees for pollination. California produces 82% of all the almonds in the world. About 70% of the almonds California produces are exported to other countries, coming out to over $2.5 billion in revenue for California. The production of almonds in California would become nearly impossible without the presence of bees.

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China has recently stated its intentions to produce rain over five dry provinces in the country’s northwest. To accomplish this, the Chinese government plans to use a technique called cloud seeding. Cloud seeding involves inserting a substance, usually silver iodine or dry ice, into a cloud. The goal of this is to alter the precipitation the cloud produces. The most common way for China has practiced cloud seeding in the past is to disperse silver iodide into the sky in the location which rain was desired. In early 2009, China experienced a three day long continuous snowfall which ended its longest period of drought in nearly 40 years.  China hailed this result as a great success for their cloud seeding program; however, many scientists dispute claims that cloud seeding works at all. Other scientist point to events like China’s incredibly heavy 2009 snowfall as evidence that cloud seeding is effective in increasing precipitation levels. 

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Hacking is defined as using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data or information in a system. Often times the information is used for the financial gain of the hacker. Hackers have come to be a major drain on the global economy. It is estimated that for all of 2016 they will cost the global economy $445 billion. Data hackers have stolen information from many Fortune 500 companies, with one member of a major cyber security firm stating the all 500 Fortune 500 companies have been hacked. Small business are not safe from hackers either. Home Depot and Target are both international corporations that have had their information compromised after small third party company contractors were hacked, allowing the hackers access to the bigger companies' databases.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a major trade deal meant to strengthen economic ties among its twelve member nations (United States, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Chile). If the TPP were to pass in every country involved in the trade deal, it would give the countries with smaller economies the opportunity to grow at a rapid pace. This trade deal would eliminate tariffs between the member nations. Countries with cheap manufacturing labor like Malaysia and Vietnam would benefit immensely from being able to export to the massive consumer markets in the United States and Canada without any tariffs being imposed. Many of the smaller countries are looking to see if the United States will ratify the TPP.  Singapore’s Prime Minister has said that America must ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership to show it is serious about doing business in the Asian-Pacific market. Currently, it seems unlikely that the TPP will be ratified by the US Congress during Barack Obama’s presidency and both of the major US presidential candidates oppose the TPP in its current form.