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In the midst of an economic transformation that favors technology, the trucking industry is seeing one of its largest growth years in the past decade. In January, American trucking companies ordered the largest number of new 18-wheelers in about 12 years. This action took place following a tax overhaul that gave them more cash to invest. Trucking companies have also been incentivized to purchase new fuel-efficient trucks in a period of rising diesel costs. In a way, a digital economy has the potential to boost the growth of the trucking industry even further. Heightened packaging volumes have allowed suppliers to employ more truckers, which has boosted margins through their economies of scale. On top of this, more individuals are partaking in e-commerce, which has pressured the shipping industry to have the capability to access customers in rural areas as well as suburban and urban areas.

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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 country of Germany has been known as Europe’s economic powerhouse for quite some time, and recent reports regarding the country's projected economic growth seem to confirm it. According to official data from the National Statistical Office, Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.6 percent during the first quarter of 2017. German economic institutes accredit this surge in economic growth to healthy domestic consumption as well as investments and exports. This recent report has shifted projections by German economists; leading German economic research institutes have increased their growth in GDP forecasts for 2017 from 1.4% to 1.5%.

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The word refugees has been thrown around quite often recently due to the several ongoing situations across the world. There is no doubt that the impact of the inflow of refugees into a country is very controversial. They have been welcomed by some and rejected by some. Some look toward the benefits and some look at the disadvantages of allowing in refugees.

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After economic sanctions were lifted off of Iran, many countries quickly began trade talks and one of the first countries to jump on this was Germany. Large German companies, such as Siemens AG, have already announced plans for large industrial projects in Iran. German companies hoped that the removal of the embargo on Iran would reignite old trade deals that had reached $5bn in yearly exports. Although exports have jumped since January, the results have left Germans disappointed.

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Girl power” was made popular by the pop group Spice Girls in the mid-to-late 1990s. The phrase is typically used as a reference to female empowerment and independence, and has also been linked to modern-day feminism. The “girl power” phrase came in vogue in 1987 in a song by London-based all-girl group Mint Juleps and their “Girl to the Power of 6.” The pop-punk due Shampoo also had a single titled Girl Power in 1995. But, Spice Girls, without a doubt, set the phrase on fire in the mid-to-late 1990s.

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Volkswagen, one of the world's largest automobile makers, was recently exposed as having cheated on diesel emissions tests as far back as 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency said that Volkswagen could face penalties of up to $18 billion for their wrongdoings. Potentially worse is the fall out from a class-action lawsuit, as anyone who bought one of the affected cars now owns a vehicle that is illegal to drive in the United States.  Along with severe repercussions to Volkswagen itself, there could also be difficulties that the German economy faces.

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The world electric car market could get a shake up soon as Porsche unveiled a concept for a four door electric sports car known as the Mission E. This so called “Tesla Killer” won’t hit the streets until at least 2019, but it puts a statement out there that other companies have put a target on Tesla’s back. This is all part of Porsche’s parent company, Volkswagen (VLKAY), push to have a greater presence in the electric car market. The impact this could have the global economy could be huge as the United States is the world’s largest purchaser of hybrid/electric vehicles in 2015, with the Tesla Model S near the top of the list. Tesla is an American company so the impact that a prominent foreign electric car manufacturer could be huge as Porsche claims their car will charge faster and last longer than the current Model S. All hope isn’t lost for Tesla as they still have at least four to five years to improve their current battery technology to compete the Mission E.

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People are always the ones who suffer the most in war, especially this time in Syria. Half of the country’s population has been displaced and 4 million people have fled as refugees to neighboring countries since the country’s civil war began in 2011. The majority have ended up in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, and new refugees are now seeking “new homes” in Germany and Hungary. Some countries refuse to take refugees because they are considered liabilities for an economy. But some others, such as Germany, take refugees in as opportunities for economic growth.

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In part 4 of our international tourism blog series, we discussed the importance of cultural sensitivity as tourism increases in developing countries. In this blog, we will focus on how hosting international conferences can stimulate a country’s hospitality and tourism sector. Organizing global conventions requires an extensive amount of planning, data gathering, and business acumen. One of the most important decisions made is location. Attendees, reporters, and small enterprises will flock to the chosen venue. This presents a prime opportunity for significant amounts of resources and capital to be exchanged. But is it possible for a singular event to revitalize an entire economy?

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Ask and you shall receive. The Greek population decided it was time for a change in government and just last week, Greece elected and swore in its new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. The prime minister represents a leftist party and reflects the desire of the Greek people for reform just years after a major bailout. Tsipras ran his campaign based on the issue of renegotiating the ensuing debt that citizens have blamed for large increases in unemployment and a recession.

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In a world where overpopulation and high unemployment are serious problems for many nations, Germany faces an entirely different set of challenges. Germany currently has record low unemployment rates that are leading to a deficit of workers, especially those with high levels of education. To further magnify this issue, the current workforce is aging rapidly, and with the lowest birthrates in Europe, the size of the German workforce will decrease substantially in the coming decades. The most recent projections show that Germany’s working-age population will decrease by 6.3 million people by 2030, and that the entire population could decrease as much as 19%, to about 66 million people.

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It is no surprise that the German economy has been instrumental in balancing the struggling Eurozone. France, along with Germany, are the Eurozone’s brightest economies and are leading the way towards a much needed economic recovery. Germany has been able to weather the strained economy and has held its own during the recession with positive growth projections. However, the woes of the Eurozone countries, along with foreign factors, are beginning to wear on the German economy and are causing more setbacks than before. A survey taken by the German Ministry of Economics shows that Germany's manufacturing activity has shrunk for the first time in fifteen months, an example of how the stalling Eurozone economy is affecting Germany.

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In the first half of 2014, Germany derived 31% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Compared to the first half of 2013, Germany's production of solar power increased by 28% and its production of wind power increased by 19%. Germany’s use of natural gas fell by 25%, which signals an effort to become less dependent on Russian natural gas.  Over the past few years, Germany has elevated itself to the status of one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy production, especially in wind and solar power.  Germany aims to continue its production of renewable energy and also its innovation of new sources of renewable energy.

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Angela Merkel, the current chancellor of Germany, has been reigning over the country for 8 years. Her approval rating of 71% seems expected when you consider the 2014 estimated GDP growth in Germany. Compared to the Eurozone average of 0.25% Germany’s domestic demand and increase in construction have been great assets to the country’s economy. Despite her success as chancellor, some believe that she is not taking actions that will positively impact the long-term economy.

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Technology companies all over the world have engaged in lawsuits against each other over various controversies since the beginning of the industry. Major corporations that produce smartphones, such as Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple, have often engaged in 'smartphone patent wars', which are lawsuits over patent and design disputes. Often, these companies have sued each other in several countries at a time in order to protect their creative patents and keep up their presence in the global market. A typical case of this happened only two years ago when, on January 2012, Motorola sued Apple in a German court over allegations of Apple infringing on Motorola's technology patents. The results of this particular case and some others, however, spell a different story for the future of smartphone patent wars.

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For those of us who drive, we are well aware of how unavoidable major traffic can be. While en route to work or on a road trip, it can be a nuisance to have your estimated time of arrival continually pushed back. But can you imagine consistently attempting to travel somewhere, while living in a city with congested roadways? In Dubai, this is a daily reality. As an affluent city in the United Arab Emirates, the number of cars has grown so much that traffic is a rising issue for the country. Orthodox methods to combating the problem such as increasing prices of parking, fuel, and insurance have proved fruitless so government leaders are seeking a new strategy: putting in place an income threshold for the ownership of vehicles.

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As the Eurozone Crisis has progressed and European Union countries have continued to struggle to devalue their currencies, with the goal of making exports less expensive for importing markets, many countries are now adopting "Americanized" labor policies of dismantling workplace protections to reduce labor costs. In Portugal, the 1.9 million workers that were protected by collective bargaining agreements have now diminished to merely 300,000, while Spain has agreed to ease restrictions on collective layoffs and unfair dismissal. The motive for these actions, as encouraged by the German government, European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund, is to restore competitiveness, increase employment, and recover solvency.

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In a recent series of blog posts in the Economist, the Schumpeter columnist compared start-ups in two European cities: London and Berlin. Both are major cities in Europe that are popular to tourists, but are less well known for being leading cities for start-ups. Comparing the two, Berlin has only recently seen an increase in digital start-ups. In contrast, London has seen a large increase in tech start-ups during the internet boom in the late 1990’s. Increases in technology and international business could result in more cities beginning to experience tech start-ups.

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Economic bubbles have been a reoccurring economic cycle in the world throughout the history of capitalism. Recent economic bubbles that the world has experienced include dot-com/telecom, real estate, stocks, and biotech bubbles. They date back to the 1880’s when the first railroad tracks were laid down in the United States. The goal was to connect the United States through economic integration and development, which created a boom in the development of canals, turnpikes, railroads, and telephone lines. Many of these projects were funded by the government, and now green technology projects are funded by them as well. Globally, governments are beginning to promote green technologies through loans and subsidies. The rapid growth the world has seen in green technology could be the start of the next big economic bubble.

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Germany’s decision to slowly close its many nuclear power plants over the next decade was met with much support. Consequently, new plans for renewable energy sources started to accumulate, with the grandest, most expensive plan proceeding in the North Sea.  Germany’s ambitious plan is entitled Energiewende, or energy transition. This state-backed plan seeks to build fourteen gigawatts of wind turbines off the coast of the North Sea by the year 2023. These turbines alone will provide for roughly one tenth of the country’s energy needs.  The elaborate plan has met many issues, both financial and political, though. Will the turbines come to fruition in spite of its obstacles, or will this become just a giant waste of taxpayer money?

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This year the spring slowdown in manufacturing may slow down more than anticipated. Following disappointing results in the manufacturing activity and industrial production worldwide, analysts are saying that with the already weak economies in China, Germany, and the United States, the slowdown could impact more than just spring. Germany has had a trend in weaker manufacturing activity, and the U.S. has been introduced to sequestration due to its weak trend in the industry. If China, Germany and the United States can’t find a way to power their manufacturing activity this slowdown could have global effects.  

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Germany’s economy holds a critical significance in the European Union, especially in regards to the ongoing debt crisis. Its industrialized economy has held steady despite a slump in the global economy. It might be surprising to hear that Germany, one of the most industrialized countries in the world, is undertaking an energy revolution that will dramatically transform its economy’s energy sector. The newly re-engineered economy will no longer receive its energy from nuclear powered stations as all nuclear power plants in Germany are being closed down. Renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power, will instead fill Germany’s energy gap. Will this move jeopardize Germany’s economy and how does this energy revolution affect Germany’s relationship with other countries?

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While the majority of European countries are experiencing the “nightmare” debt crisis, Germany is actually in an optimistic mood and is pleasant about its extraordinary trade surplus. Although Germany was hit hard initially by the global financial crisis, its exports helped the country's economy recover the by dropping unemployment to 3 million in 2012, the lowest level seen in 20 years. Its fast economy rebound left the rest of the European world in envy, and therefore triggered an argument on its role in the European Union (EU).

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The last few blogs here on globalEDGE have not been too optimistic and may make one think that the world may indeed end in December (as the Mayans allegedly predict). This blog will not be much more optimistic. However, instead of just talking about recessions, this will explore some of repercussions or causes that are being observed right now. Specifically, this will explore the potential permanent change in the financial services industry.

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Quite frankly, one involved in business would have to be living in a cave in the middle of nowhere to not be aware of Europe’s debt problems of late. There are numerous theories for how to solve this problem ranging from European Fiscal Unions and bail-out funds to thousands of different austerity measures and the fabled Grexit. Sadly, none of these theoretically viable plans have come to fruition. However, Greece has an idea that is rather unusual but could possibly solve their own debt problems (by far the worse in the EU): unpaid World War II reparations.

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When the words German businesses are spoken, the images that tend to come to mind are usually those of large corporations like BMW or Siemens. Surprisingly to most, the true engine of the German economy that has kept the country away from the European debt crisis is actually the Mittelstand, or the nation's vast amount of small and middle-size companies. Accounting for more than 60 percent of Germany's workforce, the Mittelstand focuses more on sustainability than growth, has not seen any effect on sales during the current debt crisis, and is reported by the Institute for Mittelstand Research to actually be cutting their debt. When compared to the debt-stricken economies of Greece, Italy, Spain, and a debt-threatened France, Germans argue that the structure of the Mittelstand, which focuses more on sustainability than growth, has proven to be a vital aspect of the country's economic prosperity.

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Across the world, there are a wide variety of resources needed to successfully operate a business. Many people may be quick to name equipment, technology, wealth, and labor as key resources. However, a resource that is often overlooked is land. Land along with buildings located on the property make up real estate. The global real estate market holds great importance for businesses and people around the world involved in the buying and selling of property. This week the globalEDGE blog team will explore several aspects of the global real estate market including private real estate and green construction. This post will take a look inside the international housing market and the market characteristics of several different countries.

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The German Federal Statistical Office has recently released estimates stating that the nation’s economy grew by approximately 3 percent last year. While this is a very impressive figure in today’s uncertain global economy, official data shows that the growth came mostly in the first half of 2011. Alarmingly, the office estimates that the German economy actually contracted by approximately .25% in the fourth quarter of 2011. Stress from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis and a slowdown in the global economy are weighing heavily on the nation.

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Germany and Vietnam recently expanded their economic ties by signing financial cooperation and partnership pacts.  Last year bilateral trade exceeded 5 billion dollars between these two countries and Germany was Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the European Union.  These countries are not only looking to increase trade, but also to create welcoming working conditions for businesses in each other's country.  This partnership aims to benefit both parties in ways far beyond just trade.

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Since the Euro was introduced by the European Central Bank in 1999, Germany has gained competitiveness against not only other developed countries around the globe, but also against all other members of the Eurozone. In this time, they have also managed to transform a slight budget deficit into a strong surplus. A lot of people are starting to wonder what caused this rapid transformation?

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In a recent Forbes article, they highlighted the top 10 green companies in the world. These companies have all in some way contributed a global environmental management system by reducing emissions, adjusting their manufacturing process, becoming environmentally certified and doing the best to adjust their performance records into a more positive light.

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With the recent concerns in Japan over nuclear power hazards, many around the world are questioning the use of nuclear energy. Some ask if the benefits outweigh the costs while others just question the precautions necessary when using nuclear energy. Of the questions asked, Germany has an answer. Don't use nuclear energy at all.

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As much of the Eurozone has struggled to make ends meet during the recession, Germany has embraced global importing and exporting through a variety of thriving industries.  The country’s 3.6% growth in GDP over the last year can be attributed to a variety of factors in a time when the rest of the Eurozone barely topped 1% growth.  During this same time period, exports from Germany jumped by 21.7% including a 17% increase in sales to China

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Traditionally free trade agreements and their kin are the principle agents of more competitive, efficient, and economically viable countries. However, people often look at the overall effect of FTA’s in their questioning for whether or not FTA’s should be implemented. The smaller country is usually considered the major benefactor after an FTA is implemented, but what happens when the opposite happens? There is an obvious, glaring example that is often overlooked, I myself just stumbled upon it a few days ago. Looking at Europe currently, you have the PIIGS, the countries that seem to be on the fast track to nowhere, and the rest of the Union. The idea behind the Union was that the economies could build on each other and raise the smaller less developed countries to the same standard as the U.K., France and Germany. Did this actually happen though?

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It is no secret that going global has become more and more essential for successful businesses in this competitive world. Still, some smaller companies find it difficult to break into foreign markets and are struggling to know where to start. Luckily, the U.S. Commercial Service and the National Export Initiative provide several helpful tools for businesses looking to export. One of the most useful resources for businesses looking to expand internationally is international trade shows. These can provide businesses with trade leads, business connections and exposure to the latest trends and technologies.

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Each country has different ways of doing business. Sometimes it may be confusing for foreigners visiting the country for the first time. What follows is tips on doing business successfully in some of the most advanced countries in Europe:

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If the norm at the moment is that countries don’t want to invest in other countries due to the economic downturn and volatile markets, then the exceptions are Qatar and Germany. Currently, the country of Qatar is looking to invest heavily into the exporting powerhouse, and they have the money to do it. As of 2007, Qatar has attained the highest per capita income in the world, primarily through the means of oil and natural gas revenues. So what interests Qatar so much about Germany?

Surprisingly enough, Qatar has its sights set on Germany’s auto industry. The oil giant is primarily concerned with the German brands Volkswagen and Porsche, brands which are very numerous and very popular in the Arab world, especially in the country looking to invest, which had an $80,900 GDP per capita in 2007.

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A proposed 12-mile bridge across the Baltic Sea connecting Germany and Denmark, if approved, will be finished by 2018. The bridge will directly connect the two countries and replace the Scandlines ferries which operate on the route now.

There is a plethora of pros and cons to this proposal. The bridge will make travel not only easier between the two countries but also shorter. It will eliminate waiting at the dock and shorten the drive between Copenhagen and Hamburg. Consequently, business between the two countries will also be conducted more efficiently. Furthermore, an increase in tourists crossing the border between the two countries would likely result, and the tourism industry would stand to profit from this new option in travel.