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Since the mid-1980s, emerging markets have grown faster than advanced economies. When you think of how hard it once was for smaller economies to grow and globalize, this is an amazing feat. Looking at the current situation can give many aspiring economies hope to grow successfully.

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Have you ever heard of mapping underground pollution? I hadn’t until recently, after Doug Barry sat down with John H. Sohl III, the founder of Columbia Technologies. This mapping involves using sensor technology that tracks leakage of pollutants, and following an analysis, customers can make decisions on risk assessment, disposition of the property and proper cleanup actions. The more interesting aspect of this story is how the company grew internationally.

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Exports are a vital source of growth at a time when the market in the U.S. and in Europe is fragile. Exports are now contributing to the U.S.’s recovery and growth at a higher percentage than the previous two recessions and subsequent recoveries. There is no better example of this than Combustion Associates, a California based company whose foreign sales make up 90% of their total revenue. Recently, Doug Barry sat down with Kusum and Mukund Kavia, a married couple who came from Bangladesh via London to the U.S. with not a lot of money, but a whole lot of determination.

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In recent years, especially after the financial crisis, there has been a fierce debate over the level of executive pay, especially in Europe and the United States. According to a Towers Watson study of 225 Fortune 1000 companies, the median total direct compensation increased only 5.6% for CEOs in 2011, compared to a 14.5% increase in 2010. It seems as though the recent outcry is having an effect. Though compare these numbers to Forbes 2011 study on the 500 biggest U.S. company’s CEOs and their pay, and you will see a different story. U.S. CEOs received a collective pay raise of 16% in 2011, compared to 3% for the average American worker. It is interesting to see the vast differences not only on the level of pay, but especially on how the culture of a certain country affects the debate.

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The reality of cultural diversity exists not just on the international business scene but also within an organization. As such, if they are to truly make use of the increasing opportunities and benefits that the global economy is providing, they have to make sure that their employees have sufficient intercultural competence. Communication is imperative for success in the business world, and most people would think of the language barrier as the largest hindrance. However, I’m here to argue that just knowing the local language will not help you be successful in an international setting.

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With poor infrastructure, pervasive corruption, and widespread poverty, being an entrepreneur in a developing country in Africa can be quite a challenge. But to one Rwandan, a problem became an opportunity. Oliver Nizeyimana started a bus transportation company in the year before he graduated with a degree in management. As a student of the National University of Rwanda in Butare, it would take him a very long time to get to class, and he had an idea to start a bus company that stressed punctuality. He saw an opportunity and took advantage, but it wasn’t without many obstacles and problems to overcome.

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There are about 30 million overseas Chinese in total, and most reside in neighboring Asian countries. Indonesia and Thailand have the biggest numbers, with about 7-9 million each, while Singapore has the highest concentration of around 3 million, or 75% of its population. One such country that is reaping the benefits of immigration is Malaysia, but is Malaysia returning the favor?

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A Basic Guide to Exporting is a comprehensive overview of how to export provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The guide does an excellent job of guiding companies through a complex global economy by examining:

  • How to identify markets for your company’s products
  • How to finance your export transactions
  • The best methods of handling orders and shipments
  • Sources of free or low-cost export counseling

The Tenth edition of this highly respected reference book has been revised for 2012 and contains some new case studies and information about the National Export Initiative.

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With the projection of a $150.1 billion cloud computing world market by 2013, what are emerging markets doing to get a piece of this pie? Cloud computing is finally growing in developed nations. Many companies are gradually moving more applications to cloud data centers where they can take advantage of pooling of computing resources, more efficient use of data processing power and increased flexibility. Cloud computing could have a huge impact on societies and economies in developing countries as well.

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The Euro has popped up many times in the news recently. Because of the debt crisis in Europe, many countries were left unable to fulfill the convergence criteria to have the Euro as a currency, leading to many problems throughout Europe. It wasn’t just the current crisis that brought about these issues; they have been rooted in the Euro ever since it was created. So what exactly are a few of these issues and how can they be solved?

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Currently in Hungary, the car industry accounts for a quarter of their industrial output. Germany’s Audi has just announced an over $1 billion expansion plan which will strengthen an economy that is struggling for growth. Hungary has become a center of production for export to the rest of the EU, just like the neighbouring Czech Republic. This isn’t just a big deal because of the amount of money being put into the project, but it also shows that these plants can become increasingly important over time as they do more than just simple assembly work.

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Exciting news! The United States Trade and Development Agency, in coordination with the U.S.-Egypt Business Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Egyptian Embassy and the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce, will be hosting a two-day forum on June 27-28 to encourage enhanced trade and sustainable economic development in Egypt. This conference, being held this year in Washington D.C., will provide an unprecedented opportunity to foster increased cooperation and trade between the United States and Egypt by encouraging business-to-business networking and highlighting commercial opportunities and financing resources.

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I was first introduced to cultural intelligence (CQ) in my international management class this past year, and was highly intrigued by the topic. CQ is a person's capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity. When the opportunity rose to read The Cultural Intelligence Difference, I jumped at the chance. Dr. David Livermore wrote the book to essentially give the everyday person, whether you are a teacher, doctor, entrepreneur or CEO, strategies to increase your CQ.  Here is a little excerpt of an example from the book that may apply to you:

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In part one we talked about the huge environmental costs for companies and the economic impacts these may have. Now we want to see what can be done, if reporting these costs should become standard, and the benefits this may have. Already many companies have made huge investments in reforestation, reducing water consumption, and an overall protection of natural resources. With the rising costs of valuable resources which are in danger, it only makes sense that these become a regular part of a company’s investment. With a strong sustainability agenda, corporations can help business be perceived as the place to best change what is going on in the world. As more companies realize how much sustainability helps their financial accounts, they’ll want to know how best to report these costs, and what can be done about them. The best step is to no longer ignore what’s going on, no matter what way you look at it.

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In order to see if a company is viable as a going concern, environmental costs are vital to know for the long-run. The benefits to preserving the environment in terms of dollars may be surprising, but it’s not to many business leaders these days. A private sector solution may be the best solution on a global scale. Just last week, Puma became the world’s first major corporation to report the details of the cost of the company’s impact on the environment. They said the costs of the carbon emission and the water it used in 2010 totaled $134.3 million. The costs not only included the company, but all of its suppliers as well. The next step for the company is to measure their cost of waste and land-use change. Ecosystems are vital to the performance of most companies, and integrating the true costs of extracting these services could significantly impact bottom lines in the future.

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Coface is a world leader in trade-credit information and protection. On Thursday, May 12, Coface will be hosting their annual Country Risk Meeting at the Sentry Center in New York, New York. A panel of economists and business leaders will tackle the short-term economic outlook for the second half of 2011, with a special focus on hot spots, booming regions and the world’s economic power bases. It should be a great and informative event with all of the current happenings in today’s business world. Coface has provided some great services for us and our viewers here at globalEDGE, and globalEDGE is helping co-sponsor this event for Coface.

Coface has played a key role in providing risk information in the country profiles and industry profiles here at globalEDGE. From an overall country rating to the business climate rating, Coface provides our viewers with an in-depth analysis of the current risk assessments and the strength and weaknesses of an economy. Not sure about expanding in your industry? The Coface risk ratings on industries in different regions of the world are sure to let you know what you’re getting into. Be sure to look into these informative sections and check out that event if you can!

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Each year, Ernst & Young releases a Global Business Risk Report, which highlights the ten most significant risks to global businesses. Compiling views from leading analysts, academics and industry executives, the report does a nice job of showing what companies need to be on the lookout for in 2011 and beyond. Here is the preliminary 2011 list, with the number in parenthesis being the rank from 2010:

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The music industry incorporates many individuals, more than just those that write the music or perform it. It’s an intricate web of producers, record labels, retailers, managers, and a plethora of other careers that can come about just from music. The music industry has really transformed over the years. In the late 19th century, it was sheet music that brought in the most profits. However in the mid-20th century, records (vinyl, 8 track, cassette, cd, digital) overtook sheet music as the main source of income. In recent years, live music has really taken off. Earlier in the blog series we talked about piracy as potentially being detrimental to the entertainment industry. Nowhere does that ring truer than in music. Illegal downloading has really hurt profits, yet on the other hand it has opened up more avenues to find new artists and possibly buy music and merchandise that wouldn’t have been purchased before. While there are a lot of worries in this industry, some countries are seeing a continued growth. However partly because of the piracy issue, partly because of the digital age of the single, record sales just aren’t enough anymore to keep many in the music industry afloat. So what can be done for the industry?

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Last week we talked about microfinance, and specifically ways to help alleviate poverty in the poorest of areas. A topic that’s closely related to microfinance, but in some ways a better option is micro-franchising. It’s basically business ownership training. It is not only for developing counties however, it can be used for the poor in cities of developed countries as well.

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Microfinance has seen such an increased popularity in the last decade, which has led to more than 91 million customers, most of them women, with loans totaling more than $70 billion by the end of 2009. India and Bangladesh together account for half of all borrowers! However, the system is not as perfect as you may think. In fact, it may be quite the opposite. In India some lending firms are growing at 60 percent to 100 percent a year. Investors in India’s largest microcredit firm, SKS Microfinance, sold shares last year for as much as 95 times what they paid for them a few years earlier!

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With China being one of Brazil’s most important trading partners, the two have created a whole lot of business and money-making opportunities for both countries. No person knows this more than Eike Batista, a Brazilian minerals tycoon that is now the eighth richest man in the world, with a wealth of $27 billion. He’s gotten there quickly, thanks in large part to China.

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Learn how your company can tap into the Global Marketplace! This year the Commerce Department’s Trade Information Center is offering a series of one-hour webinars on the basics of exporting. These webinars have been especially designed to meet the needs of new exporters. There is no fee to participate, although registration is required. Content will include slides, live audio, and question-and-answer sessions.

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The Irish love to own their own property and home. In the past 20 years, the value of their homes had for the most part increased dramatically, creating a solid investment in something the Irish cherish greatly. In the past year however it’s been a different story, the bubble finally burst. Most of the property values have been cut in half. Many are now owned by banks, and most toxic loans are bundled into a nationalized body called the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). The government bought out many banks to a tune of 50 billion euro. The bond market in Ireland is in major trouble. Many experts are saying there is a huge need for leadership in not only Ireland’s government, but in Europe as a whole (or the European system may possibly collapse).

The lore of leaving is engrained in the Irish culture. There were 27,700 emigrants this year, an increase of 42%, due in part to unemployment being at 13.7%. In the short run, emigration is just a safety valve. However there is still hope in Ireland. Watch the video to see how George Boyle dealt with her company going bankrupt, and how she stimulated her own micro economy of sorts.

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So how exactly to you advance from a frontier market to an emerging market? Some people classify frontier markets as a subset of emerging markets, but there is a clear distinction. We’ve talked in previous posts about systematic risk and political instability as huge factors to impeding growth. Once a country can overcome many of these risks, and grow a more stable infrastructure, it is well on its way to becoming a developed economy.

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Historically, China has gone to great lengths to shield their currency, the yuan, from the global markets. To coincide with this, the Chinese governments have off and on pegged the yuan with the U.S. dollar. Recently China has made some mini-steps to hopefully open up their currency to outside markets. Last month they said that a handful of foreign banks could invest some of the yuan they hold offshore in local Chinese bonds. Another step was that China ended the peg to the dollar in June. Even though this de facto peg was supposedly removed in June, the yuan has only appreciated less than 2% against the dollar. If you look at historical data you can tell that volatility has increased between the two, but barely enough to even notice. Is China holding back a potentially huge export, their currency, for a particular reason? Many believe that the yuan is artificially being kept undervalued. What kind of pressures is this putting on other economies to devalue their currency, as discussed in a previous post in the series?

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Universum, an employer branding company, released today the world’s Top 50 most attractive employers. From the world’s leading economies, nearly 130,000 students at top academic institutions chose their ideal companies to work for. This is a global index of employer attractiveness that highlights powerful global brands. These companies excel in talent attraction and retention. Students from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, U.K., and U.S. all contributed their employee preferences.

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Learn how your company can tap into the Global Marketplace! This fall the Commerce Department’s Trade Information Center is offering a series of four one-hour webinars on the basics of exporting. These webinars have been especially designed to meet the needs of new exporters. There is no fee to participate, although registration is required. Content will include slides, live audio, and question-and-answer sessions.

They will be led by experts in their field, and will cover such topics as:

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Exporters often want to know: “Does my product need a license before I can sell it to an overseas buyer?” The answer is often “no,” as 95% of goods shipped from the U.S. don’t require a license. But exporters must do additional due diligence to make sure their goods are not sold to denied parties. In a new series of videos produced by the U.S. Trade Information Center and Foreign Trade Statistics, the basics of export regulations are presented in a clear and engaging way. The series also contains videos on how to use trade statistics to pinpoint best markets and the role of freight forwarders and letters of credit in the export process. According to video team leader Doug Barry, there are now 20 short videos to help U.S. companies successfully participate in the National Export Initiative.

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It is time for the world to become a lot smarter. Smart technology is a catch-all term that covers a variety of applications. Video cameras and sensors could be used to monitor traffic patterns and route drivers around bottlenecks. Computer chips in bridges could signal when repairs are needed. Wireless technologies could collect data on electricity usage throughout a city. Smart infrastructure promises to make the world more productive and competitive, while helping the environment and saving lives. Not only that, but it will save money by making what we've got work better and break down less often. These systems would improve productivity in the long run.

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When you think of economic globalization, you think of the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, and the spread of technology. But one very important one that isn't thought of too much is migration. In the past it was almost unthinkable to leave your homeland just for a job overseas, especially just to look for one. Now it is becoming commonplace, especially with the high unemployment rates seen in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Spain (the latter of which is a whopping 19.9 percent!). Meanwhile in other developing economies, especially in Asia, the rates area much more respectable. The unemployment rate in Hong Kong is 4.6 percent, in Australia 5.1, and in Singapore only 2.2 percent of the people are out of work.

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Ecotourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry. What is ecotourism? Defined by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), it is "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. You must have a deep appreciation for local cultures around the globe, which is why I think it's so great. Along with this it provides direct financial benefits for conservation and the local economy and empowerment for local people. Can tourism really do this much?

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A nation's basic system of transportation, communication, building and maintaining road, bridge, sewage, and electrical systems provides millions of jobs nationwide. For developing countries, building an infrastructure is a first step in economic development. It is needed for a country to be efficient and productive. Without a good infrastructure in a country, an economy cannot thrive. Businesses cannot grow and be competitive with similar firms elsewhere.

KPMG recently released a report called "The Infrastructure 100," which displays the most exciting infrastructure projects from around the world, as selected by independent judging panels due to their scale, complexity, innovation and impact on society. This is a showcase of the most interesting infrastructure projects from around the world. There are different categories from water, power, renewable energy, rail, roads and education among others.

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The Financial Times ranks the top Global MBA schools each year based on a number of factors. These include alumni salaries and career development; the diversity and international reach of the business school and its MBA programme; and the research capabilities of each school. There are interesting subsets such as the percentage of international students and the international mobility rank, which tells you whether alumni are working abroad or not. Check out the top ten below, and the complete listing here!

 

 

 

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Did you just say human hair? Usually you only think of growth with hair while it's on your head, but now this industry is starting to boom. So what exactly can you do with this hair? Well, fashion designers are creating clothes from it that go for up to 30,000 U.S. dollars. Hairdressers will charge up to $3,500 for extensions, which normally will go for around $1,000 dollars a pop. The amino acids in hair can be used as a food additive. Hair is actually very useful for mopping up crude oil.

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As the 2010 World Cup kicks off, there are a lot of interesting stories not only on the pitch, but on the business side of things as well. They include fake goods and counterfeit products, local food vendors being pushed out, extra investments, 'green' jerseys and huge sponsorship deals. This week we will be writing about the impact that the World Cup has on South Africa, sponsorships, copyrights and the economics of running an event such as a World Cup. We hope that you'll join us this week!

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South African President Jacob Zuma has recently visited India in a bid to strengthen bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. Both are developing nations and are very interested in attracting investment from each other. India and South Africa are thirsting for more business from companies in both countries. India is specifically looking towards bigger investments in infrastructure and a chance to tap into South Africa's rich natural resources.

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Senegal is one of the world's poorest countries (17th to be exact), where the average annual income is $980 according to the World Bank's latest figures. This is increasingly concerning as their major industry, fishing, is declining due to over-fishing and intense competition from Asia. But there is a booming industry which is primed for growth and provides investment opportunities in Senegal, and I would say most people wouldn't be able to guess what it is. That industry is wrestling, and it is starting to grow much more popular than football (soccer) in the country. It used to be a pastime of the farmers in the region, who could only work on farming during the rainy season. When they came to the cities to work, they found there was quite an audience ready to watch them wrestle, a traditional African sport which has transformed to take on elements of martial arts and boxing. Now, a winner of a big Lutte (as the Senegalese call it) match can make up to 100 million West African CFA francs ($205,000)! Some bigger names will even make a lot just by participating.

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Are you ever worried about the costs associated with expanding your business abroad? It can be very important across many industries to meet with potential business partners and buyers in person. Traveling expenses can be quite costly, and will take up much needed time, especially for small businesses. Check out this great video by the U.S. Commercial Service and learn about the advantages that video conferences and other trade resources can give your business. In the video you can watch and learn from a real live video conference. Technology is what makes virtual wine tasting possible!

 

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The BRICs marketsBrazil, Russia, India and China – have survived the global economic crisis quite well, emerging even stronger than before. These counties have large surpluses in international trade as well as reserves in foreign currency, which really helped in the last downturn. They are on pace to equal the G7 in size by 2032, seven years earlier than originally predicted.

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Singapore's economy grew 38% in the first three months of this year. That is the strongest quarterly growth ever recorded in Singapore's history. The key to this recovery and of the Singapore economy as a whole is the manufacturing industry. Healthcare and electronics are the two biggest sectors for this industry in Singapore. Many companies that produce high-tech medical devices are looking to expand into China. China is a huge potential market as they grow and are looking for these high-tech equipments with their increased buying power.

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Yesterday the Euro hit a four-year low against the dollar. The euro fell to $1.2237 in early trading on Monday and actually fell slightly below $1.22 today. Investors fear that the austerity measures being put in place in many of the eurozone countries will hinder growth. Low growth would also mean low interest rates, so holding the currency would bring about poor returns. A lot of these measures stem from Europe's debt problems, and specifically Greece's recent troubles. This is very ironic because of the fact that their troubles may actually stem from the euro.

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Recently Doug Barry conducted an interview with Sharon Doherty. She is a grandma, entrepreneur and potential poster child for the National Export Initiative. Years ago Sharon was a show dog hobbyist before she saw a need for a line of high-quality grooming products for pets. Since 1993 she has been selling to buyers worldwide and now exports to more countries that she has employee. She is in 34 countries now with four more on tap.  How’d she do it?

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Brought to you by the U.S. Commercial Service, there are still eleven more webinars from the excellent Basic Guide to Exporting Webinar Series. There is still time to register, but don't delay. In particular there is a webinar on June 15, titled "Improving Your Cultural Intelligence." Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is described as the capability to function effectively in a variety of national, ethnic and organization cultures. You can learn how to do the following:

  •       Identify the cultural implications of your marketing and negotiating decisions. 
  •       More effectively function in culturally diverse settings. 
  •       Enhance and build your Cultural Intelligence.

       You will have your questions answered by David Livermore. Listen and learn from questions asked by companies participating in the Webinar. Dr. Livermore has written many award-winning books on this subject. He will also be speaking at the CIBER Short-Term Study Abroad(STSA) Conference in Kansas City from June 4-5, 2010. Short-term study abroad is one of the fastest-growing formats of study abroad, and it appeals to students and presents unique challenges in curriculum, financing, and program management. Interested? Learn more about the conference and come listen to some great speakers!
 

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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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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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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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For years, Airbus and Boeing have split the market for big passenger jets. But a series of shifts in the sector could start to eat away that dominance, leading to big changes in the commercial aircraft industry. The prospect of increased competition is already forcing the two large companies to consider making costly changes to their most popular models. Airbus executives were expected to meet this week to discuss upgrade options for the top-selling A320 family, though they said a decision wasn't expected to be made right away. Boeing will decide in the next few months whether to embark on a revamp of its 737 single-aisle jetliner line. So why would these top-tier manufacturers have to make sudden changes?

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Think of California's Silicon Valley back in the early 2000's. Think of the many companies that had to cut back or fail in the middle of the dot-com meltdown. Telewave Inc. became an expert at making two-way radio equipment. How did a small company such as Telewave Inc. stay alive? They followed a conservative investment strategy that didn't rely on the stock market and borrowed money. The company also focused on lower- to mid-level technology products instead of the breakthrough gadgets. Finally, they grew and spread business-cycle and industry risk across new markets. Now Telewave makes over 1,000 products, which include a ceramic autotune combiner, or "black box." It decreases the number of dropped cell calls, reduces electricity usage by 20 percent, and monitors equipment which in turn lowers personnel costs. But diversifying products can't be the only reason Telewave is still around in this global economy.

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Are you interested in learning about the growing areas of patient healthcare and water and waste management and how to take advantage as an exporter? Rapidly-growing economies, strong ties with the United States, and major public health needs put the Gulf Region among the world's most promising markets for U.S. suppliers. To help U.S. firms leverage opportunities in these markets, a senior-level Department of Commerce official will lead a trade mission to Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar, June 5-10, 2010.

With a strong growing demand for healthcare and water and waste management this mission will be important for any exporter looking to expand into the Gulf Region. Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Apply by March 31st, 2010!

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There are a few key observations that many have noticed about consumers in this new economy:

  • Shoppers are less impulsive, more needs-based

Some say the recession made a correction in consumer behavior especially in the U.S. The means simply aren’t there for as much shopping on impulse. Those adjusting to changing consumer behavior are advised to in turn adjust their merchandise mix and price points accordingly.

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Collecting, compiling, and organizing international business data is difficult and costly. Many scholars and firms do not have the resources necessary to conduct rigorous international business research. Finding comparable time series data is also a labor intensive task. These complexities often mean that international business studies include a smaller sample of countries and firms, often without the desirable power and quality. Have you ever been assigned a research project and don't know where to start? Are you looking for key statistics about a country when deciding whether or not to expand your business there? Look no further than globalEDGE's Database of International Business Statistics!

The Database of International Business Statistics (DIBS) will allieviate much of the stress you will feel when trying to compile all of this data. All of this data is in an easily accesible database, and the best part is, it's free! All you need to do is register. Here's a little sampling of the data (look at all that you can learn using DIBS!):

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Are you an American small business owner? Here's an interesting fact for you: 95% of your prospects live outside the U.S. But you're just a small and measly company, how could you possibly access this vast global demand? Why the internet of course! You usually don't think of selling a product online as exporting, but it is. Starting small is a great way to go, but as a small firm if you want to grow, you may need a lot of help. How exactly do you develop and excecute a comprehensive exporting plan without much knowledge?

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I recently stumbled upon a television commercial showing a great website. There are multiple great social networking sites online and many opportunities to meet other business people in the world, but this is a great opportunity. OPEN Forum is a community of small business owners, and gives the tools to connect and collaborate. It gives the chance for small business owners to help small business owners. There are multiple tools available to users, which can do anything from help generate new leads by intelligently matching businesses with similar needs and interests to having a digital trading post of ideas and insights from industry experts and owners. This is a great website for businesses to get informed and inspired.
 
I’ll give you a reminder that we too have a network system. You can sign up for a members only globalEDGE Network™ which allows other globalEDGE Network members to contact you. You can search people by industry or country to possibly find prospective collaboration partners and industry experts. Whether you are trying to expand your company into a new location or just need expert feedback, the globalEDGE Network allows all of our users to find the right person in the right place. The globalEDGE Network is free, and members will have exclusive usage of the members directory (searchable by industry or country) and email service via globalEDGE. If you are already a member of globalEDGE, please login above and update your profile, clicking the check box next to the globalEDGE Network™. Once your profile is updated, you will be a part of this new network. If you are not already a member of globalEDGE, join the network of opportunity!

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I recently attended a Global Business Club luncheon in Lansing, Michigan. The main speaker was Andrew Mangan, the Executive Director of the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development. He talked about a plethora of topics surrounding sustainable development on a local stage and global stage. What is this sustainable development? It is a term most everyone has heard, but it holds many implications for the future. Simply put, for a business it means that it can thrive in the long term.

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In a recent interview with Mitch Jackson, the senior director of environmental affairs and sustainability at FedEx, Doug Barry from the U.S. Commercial Service was told a few ways that companies can not only reduce their environmental footprint, but also increase the standards of living for all. I personally took quite a few things away from this interview. I learned the following:

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Portugal may be known to many for port wine and perhaps even fado music, but there are far more opportunities in the Portuguese market than people may realize. And realizing this is something that can prove very valuable to businesses looking to export to other areas of the world, especially for the United States. Portugal is not only a member of the European Union, but it has very strong ties to the U.S., meaning many American companies who have set up operations there have access to the EU market, giving it a huge advantage.

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International Education Week was started back in 2000, and is now celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. This annual initiative strives to promote international understanding and build support for international educational exchange. Exchanges are critical to developing mutual understanding and respect, building leadership abroad, and investing in the future relationship between all peoples of the world. Not only is this exchange great for the future leaders of the world, but it is also a vital service industry, and brings in a lot of money to countries around the world.

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Next week their are two themes of importance in the global community. We will be highlighting International Education Week, which is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. However, don't forget about Global Entrepreneurship Week, which is an initiative to inspire young people around the world to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity. So please join us next week as we explore the many aspects that make education and  the global exchange so great, and don't forget to continue to innovate, imagine, and create!

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Recently a study released by Ernst and Young, looks in detail to how leading global companies have dealt with the recession and are looking ahead. The report compiles conversations that over 500 of the firms senior partners had with clients around the world.

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China has just recently launched its brand new Growth Enterprise Market, a Nasdaq-style stock market that has been over 10 years in the making. Twenty eight small- and medium-sized companies will be debuting on the Gem as it is called, made to attract financing of new high growth industries. These industries include software companies, pharmaceutical firms and creative industries. But investing in these companies will be risky business, since there will less than 30 companies to begin with.

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The recent back-to-back typhoons in the Philippines have really crippled their small entrepreneurs. In this country consisting of thousands of beautiful islands, these small businesses are what make the economy thrive, so recovery has been and will be an uphill battle. A whopping 99.7 percent of all businesses in the Philippines are classified by the Department of Trade and Industry as micro, small, and medium enterprises. It got me thinking a bit about how other natural disasters affect the economies of other countries.

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Congratulations to the city of Rio de Janeiro for being selected as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics Games! This will be the first time that the continent of South America will host any Olympic Games. With all the buzz surrounding this topic, we here at globalEDGE thought it would be great to do a series on each of the final four candidates that were chosen from. Each day next week we will dissect Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Madrid, and Chicago to show what makes them an international business hotspot. We hope you tune in next week for some amazing insights on four very diverse economies.

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The damage the stronger yen is causing to Japan's export reliant economy has been large. The new government in Japan took an anti-interventionist policy, which has caused speculators to strengthen the yen even more. It made sense when the Japanese economy was healthy, but now with deflation and a decline in exports, an intervention is just what they need. While the cheaper imports are good for the consumer, Japanese Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii sees this steep increase as signs of trouble. His concern may weaken the yen, making it easier for companies to export. While trade protectionism between the U.S. and China is a concern, the yen will keep increasing unless an invervention occurs. This short video explains the situation a little better.

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We have a new compilation of resources here on globalEDGE! Produced by the member law firms of Lexwork International, this Compendium provides trade law summaries for over 30 jurisdictions prepared by law firms located there. These include the most significant U.S. trading partners. This is an excellent resource for companies intending to do business in foreign countries and some U.S. states, and I recommend checking it out.

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So this past week being sick with the flu, gave me an excellent idea. What should you do as a business as flu season approaches? There is a possibility of a widespread H1N1 outbreak, and employers around the world need to take important steps. Employees are a crucial resource at any business, and especially small businesses. There are steps you can take now, and during the flu season, to help protect the health of your employees.

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Why should a small business enter the Canadian and Mexican market? There are a plethora of opportunities in both countries. From a United States perspective, they are the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment. The U.S. exports to Canada exceed their exports to the entire European Union. Mexico isn't far behind with the second largest market in the world for U.S. exports. In 2007, U.S. and Mexico two-way trade exceeded one billion dollars a day. I will briefly discuss both the challenges, potential, and strategies for entering both the Canadian and the Mexican market.

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Culture has a very strong impact on how well someone is able to conduct good business in a foreign setting. Cultural intelligence can be a very important skill to attain. Cultural Intelligence, or CQ as it is commonly called, refers to an individual's capability to funtion effectively across cultures. There is a great way to find out about your own CQ.

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Jamal Qureshi never imagined the success he would have when he immigrated to the United States a few years ago from his native city of Bhopal, India. Now he is doing business in the same city he grew up in, just from the opposite end of the world. Qureshi is the CEO of JQ American in Hayward, California, an exporter of products and services in the energy, medical, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. The unique part of JQ American is that they sell to a whopping 16 countries, while most small and medium sized U.S. firms only export to one international market. So how was all this possible?

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The names we use to refer to places in the world can be a touchy subject. The island off the coast of mainland China that many know as Formosa became the Republic of China after World War II. Many today refer to it as Taiwan, but international recognition of the island as an independent nation-state is not universal.

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Last week Rupert Murdoch signaled the end of free news online, or so he hopes. He plans to start charging for his content within the next 12 months, and when he does, he suspects others will too. Murdoch's newspaper holdings span the globe, from the Australian to the Wall Street Journal and to his News International stable in London. The plans for a micropayment system are in the works, where users would be charged a very little fee for accessing one article. And he may get some people interested in specific content to do just that. He stated to the BBC "I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media."

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Learn valuable skills for growing your business by selling to international buyers. Based on the popular Department of Commerce Book "A Basic Guide to Exporting," register now for one or all seven interactive and authoritative sessions. Register for two or more webinars and get a complimentary copy of the book!

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Need to know how to complete a NAFTA Certificate of Origin or comply with customs regulations for outbound shipments? How about finding your Harmonized Code or Schedule B number? Head on over to the U.S. Census Bureau site and watch short, entertaining videos which provide step-by-step instructions. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by learning how to get your goods to the buyer.

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The World Trade Organization recently released their "World Trade Report 2009." It is very interesting to see what is actually happening to world trade right now. The situation appears to be darkening. After forecasting a 9 percent decline in world merchandise trade just last month, they now foresee a 10 percent decline. It seems as unemployment rises, global demand will be even less.

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India's younger population is growing quickly, and with that comes a greater demand for energy. Despite an ambitious rural energy program, 400 million people still live without access to elecricity. Approximately one-third of the world's urban residents live in slums. In the city of Mumbai, about half of it's residents (roughly 8 million people) live in these slums. Access to electricity can raise the quality of life dramatically, where now it is hard to do simple tasks such as reading and cooking. Many families must choose between putting food on the table or keeping the electricity running. The desperation resulting from this situation has led to a major problem of people stealing the energy.

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I thought that hotels were suffering drops below 50% and 60% occupancy in many high touristy areas? What's up with building these highfalutin hotels all over the place?

Well, believe it or not, there are some locations on the globe that aren't suffering such a setback. Places such as Egypt, Dubai, and Panama are really looking at a bright future still. Tourism even increased in Egypt by 15.5 percent from 2007 to 2008. This is where MGM Mirage is teaming with Egypt's New Giza for Real Estate Development to build a brand new MGM Grand New Giza, just outside of Cairo, Egypt. Imagine waking up looking out at those amazing pyramids. Multiple companies around the globe are looking to follow suit.

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Here's how it could be possible:

Asian economies have recovered much better from the current economic downturn than many countries. Their industrial production has reached previous levels not seen since the global crisis hit. Less and less it seems to have been because of net exports and more because domestic demand fell. When a surge in food and energy prices occured, a tighter monetary policy curbed inflation but further squeezed the demand. The recovery has come from the ending of destocking by manufacturers and the large fiscal stimulus that most governments put forth.

However these are only temporary solutions. With exports forecasted to still be low in the near future, consumer consumption should become a forefront for the Asian economies.

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You may be surprised to learn that Brazil produced half of the world's coffee at one point. Although the nation doesn't enjoy this kind of pick-me-up dominance anymore, they still are the key player in the global market, and produce one-third of world's coffee beans. Despite the shear quantity of coffee coming out of Brazil, most consumers are more familiar with  Columbian beans, and Asian and African beans seem to be gaining in popularity. It's said that because of Brazil's large-scale production, the quality suffers. Poor quality controls and an economic crisis in the 80's and 90's led to less local consumption in Brazil. Their best beans were exported while they had the leftovers. I can see why coffee didn't appeal very much to Brazilians. In response to this unfavorable trend, the Brazilian Association of the Coffee Industry initiated a "coffee purity" program that was so succesful that it was expanded to 60 countries. That led to a more than doubling of sales in Brazil. Brazilians now consume more than any other nation with the exception of the United States.

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We see them everywhere at Easter. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but always looking similar and always looking delicious. I'm talking about the famous chocolate bunny. I don't know about you, but I've had about 5 different kinds, and all had a similar shape. However, a few days ago in Luxembourg, the European Union's highest court ruled on a case about trademarking the shape of this tasty treat.