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Tobacco has been a large industry ever since it was brought to Europe centuries ago. The American plant took off in popularity, becoming a commonly used product worldwide to be smoked and chewed. One of the primary factors causing tobacco consumption is the addictive nicotine found inside. Smoking continued to rise in popularity until its peak in 1963, where roughly 11 cigarettes were purchased per person per day in the United States. Other countries appeared to have a slightly later peak in popularity for smoking. In 1972, Switzerland approached its peak, resulting in Swiss smoking temporarily surpassing the rates of the U.S. Other countries, such as Germany and Japan, also experienced their highest rates in the 1970s. The United States and Switzerland had significant declines in sales after their peaks, though many other countries did not experience these rapid declines in cigarette sales until the early 2000s. Nowadays, many countries that have the highest rates of smoking tend to be in Europe, such as France, Germany, and Greece.

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Helsinki attracts visitors by promising them a vibrant urban culture combined with pure nature. To support its positioning strategy as one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Helsinki has been addressing barriers to a sustainable lifestyle and making sure that the proposed benefits stand apart from those of competing cities. Across the globe, cities and communities are implementing sustainability initiatives and projects targeting greener infrastructure, economic development, zero-carbon mobility, and cultural recreation. But what makes some of these projects more likely to deliver impactful results in the long term? How can some of these initiatives help make communities more sustainable and resilient in the years to come?

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Second Shift: The Inside Story of the Keep GM Movement, looks at how Lansing, Michigan was able to save one of its auto plants from closing. Tomas Hult, professor and director of the International Business Center at Michigan State, co-authored the book along with David Hollister, Ray Tadgerson, and David Closs. The four authors recently gave a talk at Google, highlighting their research and perspectives on the efforts to save the General Motors plant from closing.

Check out the “Talks at Google” video here!

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This blog is about Second Shift: The Inside Story of the Keep GM Movement, a business trade book coauthored by Tomas Hult, Director of Michigan State University’s International Business Center, which is the developer of globalEDGE. The book was coauthored with David Hollister, Ray Tadgerson, and David Closs, and published by McGraw Hill Professional in 2016.

The Second Shift Model discussed in the book was “the dynamic, collaborative management model that saved a U.S. manufacturing city." When car-making giant General Motors decided to close its plant in Lansing, Michigan, in 1996, one person—the city’s newly elected mayor—stood up and said “no.” Initially, it was the cry of a man in the wilderness. Not once in its century-long history had GM reversed a decision to close a plant. But Mayor David Hollister quietly went to work building the ”Lansing Works! Keep GM!” movement and succeeded in defying all the odds.

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A great resource for all small businesses in Michigan is the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC). With services that range from no cost to a small fee, Michigan business owners and entrepreneurs can take advantage of business plan development, financial management, business workshops, raising capital, export strategy, and technology commercialization. The Michigan SBDC provides invaluable resources to the Michigan business community. With a global market that is changing everyday, having these types of resources at your fingertips could make a world of a difference in keeping a business competitive. Make sure to check out other globalEDGE Michigan resources for access to other sites that could help take your business from a single location to a global brand.

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There is a world of opportunity for those seeking to export their food and agriculture products, considering that more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. By tapping into these new markets before your domestic competitors, you will reap the benefits of having little to no competition, while possibly offsetting slow growth in your home market with the new increase in your company’s sales and profitability. Additionally, an enlarged customer base, as the result of expanding into foreign markets, can lead to your business hiring more employees and create economies of scale in production. Furthermore, diversifying the markets you sell to will help to mitigate the risk that often comes with expansion. For example, if your product sales tend to fluctuate seasonally, exporting can help to counterbalance drops in demand. Fortunately for companies seeking to export, the United States’ reputation for sound business practices and high quality goods appeals to foreign markets.

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Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan recently returned from a week long business investment trip to China. In an effort to promote international trade, Snyder continued his mission of increasing trade between Michigan and Asian countries. Snyder first embarked on this mission in 2011 and has made trips every year since. He has visited China, Japan and South Korea with a concentration on the automotive industry. He wishes to build a long term relationship to increase business investments.

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Michigan’s economy is reinforced by the global export market, with food and agriculture exports creating a $3.2 billion industry and supporting over 20,000 jobs. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Exporting is an essential way for Michigan companies to increase sales and profits by tapping into a far greater consumer market.

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As South America’s largest market, Brazil is becoming a global player with increasing consumer expenditure. Between 2007 and 2012, Brazilian consumer spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages increased 71.4% due to an expanding middle class, according to Euromonitor. American food and agriculture exporters have the potential to tap into this growing market.

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The international marketplace offers great opportunities to Michigan food companies who wish to increase sales. Worldwide, consumer food product exports are growing three times faster than U.S. sales. Though exporting can seem intimidating, Michigan food and agriculture companies can look to upcoming export assistance programs that are happening nearby in Grand Rapids and Canada as a way to enter export markets.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) International Marketing Program annually recognizes a leading food and agriculture exporter through its ‘Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year’ award to a deserving Michigan food or agriculture company. This special honor can bring further success, signaling to international buyers a company’s quality and commitment to exporting.

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The city of Detroit, Michigan was once looked at as one of the strongest cities in the United States, but due to the decline of the automobile industry and financial problems it has become a bankrupt city with a large struggle. However, the resilience and pride that its inhabitants still portray is incredible. In this day and age where a lot of the manufacturing takes place in Asia, people still want to own products made in their own country. For example, Americans take great pride in driving a car or owning an appliance that is “Made in America”. What better way is there than to use a loyal population and hopeful city to brand a product? “Made in Detroit” is a phrase that could help the city of Detroit bounce back, while boosting sales for a company.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering Michigan food companies multiple opportunities to exhibit within Michigan Pavilions at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. The shows offer businesses a unique, helpful, and affordable way to showcase products under the Michigan name, known globally for outstanding quality. In previous years, over $600,000 in actual sales were reported with $3 million in anticipated sales!

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It’s not too early to start planning for 2014! The 2014 year holds an extensive list of Food Export Association activities, programs, and services to help exporters of Michigan food and agricultural products begin or expand their international sales. They provide educational programs, export promotions, customized export assistance, market entry support, and a cost-share funding program. The 2014 Food Export Activity Calendar includes the dates, locations, and other details about buyers’ missions, seminars, focused trade missions, and more!

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Exports continue to help grow and expand Michigan’s food and agriculture economy, while generating nearly $2.8 billion in economic activity with support from the nation’s second most diverse agriculture industry, strong public and private investment, and a diversified portfolio for food processing. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to the foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Thus, exporting is vital to Michigan companies as an opportunity to increase sales and profits, as 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Moreover, food and agriculture producers can reduce dependence on existing domestic markets, and off-set slow sales due to economic changes, demands, and cyclic fluctuations resulting in short and long-term security for Michigan.

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For decades, free trade has received major support in the increasingly globalized market. of today. To account for the economic effects of free trade, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has caught the attention of economists and has become one of the most important components of measuring the economy. Since the Great Recession in 2008, most countries, especially the United States, have been experiencing a huge decline in FDI. However, in certain parts of America, we may see a much needed comeback of foreign investments in the next two years.

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Last week, the City of Detroit became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in the history of the United States. The once vibrant city, whose roots came from automobiles and music, fell-victim to its financial situation, which includes between $18 to $20 billion in debt. Along with a large amount of debt, Detroit has encountered problems with underfunded pensions, diminishing population, and poor public services. As a result of the bankruptcy, Detroit could experience large legal fees and cuts in its public services and bondholders will be left with pennies on the dollar. Is Detroit just the tip of the iceberg for cities that may file for bankruptcy?

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Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy is brutally honest. In a story filled with corruption, anger, and even laughter, LeDuff goes into detail about the crumbling of an American city, and what is left of it. After leaving a job with the New York Times, LeDuff comes to find what was once a city that represented the American Dream, now rotting and broken.

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With the local economy struggling, many businesses in Michigan have turned to international exporting as a source for new markets.  The state’s total exports for 2010 reached $44.5 billion, a 36.3% increase over 2009.  Rick Haglund recently posted a column on Ann Arbor.com about the work that trade specialists such as Patrick McRae of the United States Commercial Service and workers at Michigan State University’s International Business Center (CIBER) are doing to support globalization efforts of small and medium-sized local businesses. 

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Over the past 10 years, China has had a significant impact on the world economy. Many businesses in the United States, especially those whose success has been dependent upon manufacturing, have felt the effects the most. Although many feel that the shift in Chinese economic power has adversely impacted the United States, it is also important to highlight the positive aspects of these changes. One of the great success stories comes from Michigan, in the heart of the Midwest.

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

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As the executives of the Big 3 in Detroit - General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler - fly in their private jets to Washington in order to ask for public funds, they should consider this: a bail-out may not be the best way to revive the auto industry! The problems being faced by the Big 3 are not only a result of hard economic times, but also an inevitable conclusion of poor business practices. There are a number of things the auto industry must do to get itself back on track, and a check for $25 billion isn’t one of them. Such a measure will only prolong the inevitable collapse.