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  • Colombia: South America’s Rising Global Trade Influencer

    The Republic of Colombia, a coastal nation in the northwest region of South America, has endured a colorful history marked by the legacy of early civilizations and Spanish influence, and marred by violent conflicts between drug cartels in the late twentieth century. In recent years, however, Colombia has emerged as the fourth largest economy among Latin American nations, with the promise of steady growth and the likelihood of becoming a top global influencer toward the end of the 21st century.

    Bogotá (Source: Wikipedia)

    Following the worst of the nation’s internal problems with drug wars, Colombia experienced a slow economic growth due to government reforms designed to assist the lower class. The beginnings of an economy recovery coincided with the turn of the century, and while unemployment affects a tenth of the overall population (with nearly half of Colombia’s people living below poverty levels) many workers get by mainly in the service industries.

    Main exports of Colombia to their main trade partners – which include the United States, Venezuela, and The Netherlands – include:

    • Natural Fuels  – Petroleum and coal are the top fuel exports shipped out of Colombia. Like other South American nations, Colombia maintains a fairly thriving mining industry, and is behind only Brazil in terms of coal reserves.  An estimated three billion barrels of petroleum are also shipped out annually.

    • Coffee – Many Americans associate the Colombian icon Juan Valdez with coffee. Indeed, this mascot represents one of the more popular agricultural crops imported by nations around the world.

    • Nickel – Colombia is one of the top producers of nickel in the world. An estimated fifty thousand tons are mined each year.

    • Bananas – Behind coffee and flowers, bananas are among the important agricultural crops in the country, with nearly all of their supply exported to major trade partners.

    Consequently, the United States is also Colombia’s top import partner, as more than a quarter of overall imports are received from the US. China, Mexico, and Brazil round out the top import traders, who provide Colombia with the following:

    • Industrial Equipment – Equipment used for agricultural maintenance and mining is exported in order to keep up with the country’s need to export.

    • Automotive and Transportation –  While the automotive industry is showing some growth, the nation continues to import a good percentage of transportation equipment.

    • Paper and Paper Goods – Colombia also enjoys a healthy paper manufacturing industry, though paper goods remain a popular import item.

    As a top trade influencer in Latin America, Colombia stands to increase economically  as attention is paid to their strength – mineral mining and production and in-demand crops. Though second behind Brazil and Costa Rica in production and export of select goods, one can predict heavy competition from Colombia in the future.


  • Pakistan: a Developing Next 11 Economy

    What we typically learn about Pakistan in school likely involves their tenuous relationship with India. Indeed, conflicts between the two nations have simmered and erupted on occasion long before modern-day Pakistan was formed in 1947 following a split from the British Indian empire. Nonetheless, these conflicts have not prevented the Republic of Pakistan from distinguishing itself as an emerging economy among the Next 11 countries.

    A largely Islamic republic, Pakistan ranks in the top fifty among global economies and recorded a nominal gross domestic product of close to $175 billion in 2010. This represents a growth of two percent, yet shows that Pakistan has potential for stronger growth in the industrial sector in the future.

    Skyline of Karachi's Financial District

    Pakistan is known primarily for the following exported goods, the majority of which are distributed to top export partners in the United States, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom:

    Textiles - Pakistan is one of the top producers of cotton in the world, and consequently the textile industry is one of their most important and profitable. Nearly forty percent of Pakistan's overall industry involves textiles and fabrics.

    Rice - Though rice is not the largest crop in the republic, it is one of the highest in demand among trade nations. Pakistan is especially known for its long-grained basmati rice and other aromatic grains.

    Leather - Tanned leathers and animal hides account on average for about $300 million in export sales for Pakistan.

    Carpeting - Many of the ornamental rugs and carpets coming from Pakistan are still hand-loomed, and nearly all of the rugs products in the country are exported around the world.

    Pakistan's exports in 2010 amounted to $20.29 billion increased from 18.33 billion in 2009. Main industries overall in Pakistan include the following:

    • Textile production and clothing manufacture (accounts for nearly 60% of exports)

    • Chemical production
    • Food processings
    • Transportation and automobile production
    • Telecommunications
    • Iron and steel
    • Paper products

    To maintain productivity as an emerging nation, Pakistan relies upon a number of imported products from their chief trading partners: China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Petroleum and byproducts for fueling cars and industrial plants, machinery for process and production, plastics, paper and tea rank among the more in-demand products that are not readily accessible domestically.

    As an emerging economy, Pakistan shows great promise alongside others in the Next 11 grouping. The clothes you buy, the rice you may cook from dinner, are likely to originate from this country. As conflicts are negotiated, one may hope to see friendlier trade ties formed with surrounding countries.

  • Made in China – The People’s Republic as a World Trading Power

    To see so many products in our retail stores stamped with "Made in China" on the labels, one might assume the country has long served as a major trade partner with the United States and the rest of the world. To find that China comprises a group of nations considered "newly" advanced in terms of economic development may confuse some. If China stands as the second largest global economy behind the US, why relegate her to the BRICS group with Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa?

    In truth, while China holds the distinction of being the most populous nation in the world as well as one of the largest land-wise, her influence as a trade power did not come into prominence until as late as three decades ago. Following a lengthy period of economic reform that began after World War II, leaders merged certain capitalist ideals into the nation's communist structure - this, coupled with budget restrictions designed to reduce inflation, and gains in productivity, helped the economy grow. China earned a greater boost during the Clinton administration when the People's Republic received permanent "most favored nation" status with the US, and consequently entrance into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    While China, like many other countries, has suffered financially during recessions, yet careful planning that involved real estate and tax benefits for her people made for a strong recovery. Experts predict China could surpass the US as the largest global economy in the next decade.

    Courtesy of Wikipedia

    Main Exports of China

    One might assume this list is long. Indeed, you can visit your favorite department store and perhaps eight of every ten items you buy is made in China. Indeed, with more than one-fifth of her total export production going to the United States, China offers a variety of goods from household goods to electronics. Top exports include:

    Data Processing Equipment: For businesses and private organizations in need of devices to calculate, measure, and store data, China provides an array of equipment needs.

    Textiles and Clothing: Apparel for retail shops - men's, women's, and children's clothing for all seasons is assembled and shipped regularly from the mainland.

    Medical Equipment: Hospitals throughout the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan benefit from new innovations in Chinese medical equipment.

    Electronic Equipment: Take a look at the devices you use on a daily basis - laptops to mobile phones, electronic book readers and portable music players, and you'll find at least one has origins in China.

    Main Imports of China

    While the United States receives the bulk of exports, only about eight percent of China's total import comes from the US. Japan sends the highest percentage of goods to the mainland, though the amount doesn't necessarily dominate over other trade partners like South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Top imports to China include:

    Oil: China depends upon fuel to keep the economy going, and while not an oil-rich country compared to top nations in this industry, they rely upon trade.

    Metal and Ore: While China is a major resource of rare earth metals, there are specific ores needs to manufacture products that come in from Asian neighbors.

    Plastics: What China exports in their numerous household goods and toys first comes into the country as raw material, including plastic.

    Chemicals: Needed for equipment production, chemicals are imported from China's top trading partners.

    Will China overtake the United States as the top global economy in the next ten years? It is possible, barring any financial or natural disasters like the recent Japan earthquake. With combined strategies that borrow from different economic platforms, China stands ready to achieve that goal.

  • The Russian Federation – an Emerging Trade Leader

    Young adults will have no recollection of the former Soviet Union and her tense relationship with the United States and allies beyond historical data. This is a country with a rich history spanning millennia - once part of the third largest empire in the world, Russia endured everything from Mongolian invasions, internal revolutions and Communism, and threats of nuclear war. During the latter half of the twentieth century the USSR stood as one of the most powerful and advanced nations in the world, until the fall of Communism challenged their economic position. Now in this latest incarnation, Russia continues to work toward economic stability while forging civil trading relationships with former adversaries.

    Red Square in Moscow (Christophe Menebeouf)

    Top Exports of Russia

    The Russian Federation counts The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and fellow BRICS nation China among the top countries that import Russian resources. The most popular of these materials include:

    Petroleum and By-Products: This likely comprises the bulk of outgoing products from Russia. The United States, while not a primary trade partner, does a fair amount of business importing Russian fuels - nearly half of Russia's supply in recent years.

    Aluminum: Russia offers the world a wealth of finished and precious metals to export. Aluminum is especially in demand from Western nations.

    Wood and By-Products: The vast forest regions of Eastern Russia provide a good percentage of timber to nations in search of wood for construction and goods.

    Nuclear Fuels: When you hear "nuclear" associated with Russia your thoughts may turn to the historical disaster in Chernobyl, but the country has shown to recover and provide nuclear products in trade.

    Chemicals: For products like fertilizers, pesticides, and other household items, Russia offers the raw materials needed for production.

    Top Imports of Russia

    Germany, China, and the Ukraine benefit most among other nations when it comes to selling goods to Russia. As with other countries that seeking to improve industrial conditions, Russia imports machinery needed for commercial and domestic uses. In addition, top imports to Russia include:

    Motor Vehicles: Although Russia manufactures automobiles (the most notable companies being GAZ and AvtoVAZ), imported cars remain in demand.

    Pharmaceutical Products: Medicines and supplements not readily manufactured domestically are imported mainly from Western nations.

    Food Products: Where Russia is known for exporting seafood and shellfish, import demands include meat, fresh fruits, and nuts.

    This nation that survived global and internal conflicts, and severe transitions in economy and government continues to thrive after centuries. As a member of the BRICS group of emerging economic powers, Russia stands to gain through macroeconomic stabilization and foreign trade.


    by Kathryn Lively

  • Brazil – A Technology Power in Paradise

    Brazil often evokes images of a tropical paradise, a colorful and adventurous community made legendary in song and on film. The annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, believe to surpass the American Mardi Gras celebrations, explodes with light and dancing and merriment, while the beaches remain crowded for most of the year as locals and visitors soak up the South American sun. One might think a nation closely associated with leisure and a party-like atmosphere relies on little more than tourism to keep the economy strong, but in truth Brazil holds one of the largest economies in the world and is viewed by many trade partners as an important ally.


    São Paulo


    Brazil is part of the emerging BRIC group of nations (which also includes Russia, India, and China) believed to serve the globe with advanced distribution and manufacturing influence. The country presently operates as a free market economy and, as the largest country land-wise on the continent, holds the majority of South America's natural resources. The Amazon Rainforest, the largest such tropical area in the world, gives Brazil incredible biodiversity and contributes to Brazil's economic fortune.


    Major exports, outside of what plants and remedies are produced within the Rainforest, represent Brazil's economic diversity and excellence in modern industry:


    Aircraft - Brazil ranks third among the world's largest aircraft manufacturers.


    Automobiles - Brazil ranks fifth in the world in automobile production, housing factories for nearly every top auto brand in business today.


    Ethanol - As the top exporter of ethanol fuel, Brazil contributes to green supply chains through relationships with countries seeking alternatives to gasoline.


    Iron Ore - Brazil's mines yield, along with other top producer Australia, nearly three-quarters of the world's iron ore supply.


    Coffee - Close to three metric tons of coffee comes out of Brazil annually, making this country the leader in production. This industry alone keeps nearly four million people in the country employed.


    China and United States rank among countries that import the bulk of Brazilian products, and are also the top exporters into Brazil. The most needed imports into the country include machinery for manufacturing purposes, crude oil, various electronics and automotive parts.


    An active workforce coupled with good roads and technologically savvy population has brought Brazil to the forefront of the overall South American economy. Include the impressive growth of the country stock market, and one can definitely bank on Brazil as a force in global economy over the next decade.


    Posted Mar 24 2011, 12:03 AM by admin
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  • Mexico: a Prime Partner in Trade

    When you see the label Hecho en Mexico on an item of clothing or a can of coffee, you will know that what you buy is genuinely North American, even though it is not produced in the United States. While some people associate Mexico with their ancient culture and heritage - indeed, as a popular tourist destination, Mexico takes pride in their preservation of Aztec ruins and contributions to art, music, and sports - society is quite modern and the economy enjoys great health. It is estimated that in less than ten years the total economy will triple its current worth.



    Despite the country's frequent seismic activity - the nation's capital of Mexico City is especially vulnerable to quakes - Mexico maintains the eleventh largest economy in the world, due in part perhaps to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is the largest trade bloc in the world. NAFTA was created during the Clinton Administration in the early 1990s for the purpose of eliminating trade barriers between the three countries that comprise North America - this included the dissolution of tariffs on Mexican exports into the United States, which has made it easier for Mexican businesses and manufacturers to thrive when dealing with their primary trade partner. While nearly fifty percent of Mexico's trade is with the US, the country also works to a lesser extent with Japan, Germany, South Korea, and China.


    Main Exports of Mexico


    Mexico offers rich natural resources in addition to assembled products from supplies imported from the United States. Some of the more popular exports include:


    Silver - Stroll the plazas and touristy areas of coastal towns and central cities, and you'll find beautiful silver jewelry among the woven blankets and other curiosities. Mexican silver is popular import into the US, often arriving in the form of elegant jewelry and cutlery.


    Automobiles - The top automakers in the world have plants in Mexico - Asian, American, and European brands are all represented. It is estimated that one of every seven cars sold in the world is assembled in Mexico.


    Oil and byproducts - Mexico produces close to four million barrels of oil daily, putting the country among the top ten world's producers. Crude, oil, and natural gas exports account for a large percentage of the nation's overall foreign income.


    Food - Fruits and vegetables, coffee, and livestock are some of the more popular exports cultivated here. Especially in the southern United States, one can find a myriad of ethnic grocery shops featuring known Mexican brands like Bimbo for bread and pastry, Carlos V for chocolate, and Goya. Mexico is also the second largest bottler of Coca-Cola soft drinks.


    Electronics - You may be surprised to know that Mexico, not China, is the largest manufacturer of smart phones in the industry. The amazing growth of the country's electronics sector in the last decade prompted the development of Mexico's own telecom companies, creating a shift away from manufacturing products for foreign brands with headquarters in Mexico. Zonda, a domestic telecom company, is a healthy competitor of Sony and Samsung.


    Main Imports of Mexico


    Much of what is brought into Mexico is used to assemble the end products that are exported, most often to the United States. These include electrical supplies, plastics, and other parts used to manufacture phones and automobiles. Growing interest in developing an aerospace program has the country interested in negotiating with foreign firms for the applicable technology and hardware as well. Of the non-industrial imports, tobacco is one of the fastest-growing in terms of demand.


    As our immediate neighbor, Mexico remains an important trade partner. As their own domestic economy improves, one will note the eventual reach to other countries for goods and services, and eventually a rise to greater importance in global trade.


  • Vietnam: a Growing Market in Global Trade


    When you heard the word "Vietnam," more than likely images of the turbulent war that plagued this Southeast Asian nation come to mind. Nearly forty years after the fall of Saigon, Vietnam has since found association in other parts of the world with the overall mindset of the 1960s - anti-war protests and consequent films depicting the military actions there. Some may expect that the country is completely rural and dominated by rice fields as seen in the movies, yet in truth Vietnam has developed steadily since the war to become a strengthening player among the Next 11 nations.



    Vietnam as an Emerging Global Power


    As a Socialist Republic, Vietnam operates on a market economy that relies heavily on labor, and the costs of goods and services produced in the country are determined by what is needed and what is offered. In the mid-1980s, the Vietnamese government allowed for the establishment of private enterprises to operate in addition to state-run businesses for the purpose of commodity distribution. Consistent with the current Chinese market economy, Vietnam's operations observe many principles of Marxism and apply these theories toward better participation in global trade. Presently, with trade relations tense between China and the United States and other nations, reliance on Vietnam for specific resources may grow as their economy stands to expand.


    Vietnam is known primarily for its agricultural production, rice being the largest crop and more than half the nation's working population employed in farming. However, in present times Vietnam's gross domestic product relies more on industrial and service labor to keep the country running. In addition to rice, which is traded with main partners in the United States and Japan, Vietnam is also known for the following exports:


    Crude Oil - Oil exports account for, on average, one billion dollars USD to Vietnam's economy. The nation is presently the third largest producer of crude among countries in Southeast Asia.


    Tea and Coffee - Vietnam ranks second in global coffee production behind Brazil, with nearly two tons exported annually. While coffee was introduced to the area in the 1800s, the Vietnamese have cultivated tea for thousands of years - with oolong and green varieties counted among the most popular.


    Textiles - The United States trades approximately $1 billion worth of textiles and apparel every year from Vietnam. Sports apparel, including shoes bearing name brands, are often in high demand.


    What Vietnam sends out to trade partners, in return the country receives these and other goods from mainland China, Singapore, and Japan.


    Refined petroleum - Like many countries that produce crude, Vietnam relies on trade partners to refine oil and gas and return the finished products to maintain their industry.


    Cotton - Though an agricultural nation by history, cotton is not a major crop here. What is imported goes out as finished fabric.


    Building supplies - Steel and cement for construction are particularly needed as the major areas of Vietnam grow in correspondence to industry.


    Transportation - Motorcycles are a popular method of moving around the cities and rural areas. SYM and Honda are two major distributors to the nation.


    As the economy in Vietnam continues to expand, perhaps one day the nation will outgrow the images of past wars imprinted by way of the popular media. With major supports like the United States and Japan interested in trade agreements, it's certain Vietnam will rise in the ranks of the Next Eleven.

  • Indonesia: an Emerging Island Economy


    To look at the Republic of Indonesia on a map, one may wonder how it manages to maintain a stable economy and government over the more than seventeen thousand islands that comprise the country. Declaring independence from the Dutch after World War II, Indonesia has since built weathered numerous political and natural obstacles to emerge as one of the Next Eleven economies to watch in the coming years.


    Despite the grand diversity, their improvements in governmental rule and uniform identity as strengthened by keeping to a national language have helped Indonesia through various economic road bumps. Today, while the majority of the republic's population (ranked fourth in the world) would be relegated to a low income bracket, there are improvements in unemployment and trade ties.



    The Economy of Indonesia


    Despite the majority of Indonesia's economy being founded in the services industry, the majority of the population is employed in the agricultural sector. Palm oil, rice, spices, and tea and coffee are primary products here - the Java islands are part of the republic, hence the popular nickname for the latter beverage. With an average gross domestic product of more than $500 billion, this island nation has proved a viable trade partner with Japan, the United States, China, and Singapore.


    Though Indonesia enjoys extensive natural resources like precious metals and tin, their list of top exports differs somewhat:


    Crude oil: Natural oil and gas is treasured especially by neighboring countries in Asia. The republic's resources are so valuable, Indonesia is Southeast Asia's only representative in OPEC.


    Electrical appliances and electronics: Nokia phones, notebook computers, printers, cameras, and video game peripherals are among the many products manufactured in Indonesia.


    Plywood: Approximately sixty percent of Indonesia is populated by forests. This natural wood is exported to provide construction materials throughout Asia.


    Rubber: In response to the demand for natural rubber, Indonesia ranks second only to Thailand in production and distribution. An average of 3 million metric tons of natural rubber is produced, accounting for a healthy percentage of overall global supply.


    Textiles: Gorgeous Batik prints on flowing gowns and sarongs are a popular export, found in eclectic boutiques around the globe.


    Where Indonesia is rich in specific natural assets, it lacks in other necessities. Here they rely upon trade partners to import a number of products, including:


    Machinery: What is needed to manufacture and assemble electronics, the nation acquires from mainland China and the U.S.


    Chemicals: Chemical necessary for medicine and other needs are brought in, as Indonesia lack the physical plants for creating them on their own.


    Refined fuels: What the country exports in crude, they accept to keep transportation and machinery running smoothly.


    Food: The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in particular provide the greatest percentage of processed foodstuff and meats to the islands.


    Where the republic lacks in technological advancement, Indonesia is rich in specific natural resources that remain important to global markets. The rubber soles of shoes you wear, the coffee you drink, and the phones you use daily may have ties to this region, and as they prosper you may find more of what you use originates from Indonesia.


    Photo by Yohanes Budiyanto.

  • Bangladesh, an Emerging Economy in Export and Import

    Students of global economy are familiar with specific terms defining the economic powers that influence trade and industry beyond their borders. The Asian Tigers, for example, are the four highly-developed countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) that account for a good percentage of market exports around the planet. Whether these nations will remain on top is up for debate, but as implied by Goldman Sachs those included in the Next Eleven group may prove competitive in the future. One such country is Bangladesh.


    Your first thought of Bangladesh might be of the Third World. In the 1970s the country - formerly known as East Pakistan - suffered the ravages of civil war and extreme weather conditions. The plight of her people moved musicians George Harrison and Ravi Shankar to organize a benefit concert to raise funds for relief - the first such charitable event, years before Live Aid. Today, while Bangladesh maintains its rank among nations with high poverty levels, it is slowly developing an economy that has shown impressive growth over the years.


    One might think, given the assumed paucity of natural resources and industry in the country, that Bangladesh doesn't offer much in the way of goods to export. Quite the contrary, though this neighbor to India doesn't enjoy the same GNP level of the United States or nearby Asian nations, Bangladesh exported in 2009 more than $18 billion worth of supplies annually, a significant growth from $5 billion seven years prior. With the United States as top customer (claiming almost a third of overall product), Bangladesh is known primarily for these goods:


    Textiles and Apparel: In proving its place among the Next Eleven, Bangladesh has made quite a mark in the textile export industry. Apparel exports, the nation's top industry, surpassed that of India for the first time in 2009, accounting for one-eighth of the country's overall export product.


    Leather Materials: Hides used for clothing and other products are a popular product for trade, and are usually included in the totals for textile and apparel exports.


    Jute: Jute is a specific vegetable fiber, similar to hemp and flax, which is used in the manufacture of textiles. Native to the region, jute is used in the production of coarser fabrics like burlap.


    Seafood and Fish By-products: Recent issues with the Gulf oil spill have no doubt boosted Bangladesh's role in the seafood trade. Always a popular export, fish by-products and seafood are shipped stateside and to Europe regularly.


    Ceramics: Pottery for decorative and practical purposes are created and traded around the world.


    Domestically, Bangladesh relies upon rice production to keep the economy strong. Other items imported in, primarily from neighbors China, India, and Singapore, help stimulate various industries. These include:


    Crude Oil and Petroleum: What Bangladesh lacks in natural resources for production, her trade neighbors provide to allow for smooth operations.


    Cotton: Perhaps the most important element of the textile industry, cotton imported into Bangladesh becomes the apparel that is exported around the globe.


    Food: Though two-thirds of the country's workers have jobs in agriculture, Bangladesh relies on imports to supply foodstuffs.


    Machinery: Equipment for refining rice and textiles are especially needed, and provided for by more developed countries.


    Metals: For domestic manufacturing, Bangladesh trades with metal rich nations to achieve these goals.


    Inexpensive labor and a growing GNP have helped Bangladesh reach a spot in the Next Eleven. This is certainly a country to watch in the next decade or so to see if their exponential growth will continue and impact neighboring nations.


    Kathryn Lively

    Photo by Ragib Hasan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

  • Spain as Exporter: Old World Power Meets New World Authority

    One time in the world's history, Spain ruled with significance and authority. Her royalty married other monarchs to seal alliances, and explorers sailed across oceans to claim new lands for her crown. Centuries ago it boasted the most awed naval fleet in the world, yet these days Spain exerts power through a fortunate position along the Iberian Peninsula and strong trade ties with neighboring European countries.


    Spain's victory in the 2010 World Cup is but one achievement this country holds. As the eighth largest economy in the world-the fifth in the European Union-Spain enjoys a public debt that is relatively lower than other countries and a growing economy bolstered by tourism and real estate. With its strong banking system and abundance of natural resources, this Iberian gem is a proven, valuable trade partner through Europe, with Germany and France as the country's top partners.


    Top Exports of Spain


    Consumers in the United States may be surprised to know of the wealth of products and materials available from Spain. Because the US only imports on average four percent of the country's total export, however, it may not appear as prominent. In truth, Spain has much to offer to the world. Some of their top exports include:


    Motor vehicles - SEAT, the largest auto manufacturer in the country, is part of the Volkswagen Group. The majority of SEAT models are shipped within Spain and throughout Europe, Africa, and Central and South America.


    Pharmaceutical products - The country's decentralized health system may account for the quality in health care products. Almirall, the Esteve Group, and Wyeth (now part of Pfizer Group) are among top companies exporting medicines.


    Fashion/Apparel -With nearly 3000 textile companies in the country, Spain is a force in the European fashion and footwear industry. Camper Shoes, for one, enjoys a celebrity following around the world.


    Wine - Fifteen percent of the world's vineyards are located in Iberia, putting Spain third in European wine production behind France and Italy. Popular vintages include Tempranillo, Grenache, and Monstrell.


    Foodstuffs - Spain is a large exporter of olives, vinegar, pork products, and traditional Spanish pastries. Chupa Chups, the globally known brand of novelty candy, is also based in this country.


    With a vibrant history and influence that is felt throughout the world, Spain continues to dominate in other ways. As the economy grows to surpass bordering nations, one might find this country will explore new territory in trade once again.

  • Singapore: Diverse Productivity Equals High Demand in Global Trade

    One would be amazed to how an island country tucked within Southeast Asia wields much influence in global business. Yet, just as the island of Manhattan symbolizes American prosperity and cultural diversity, so the Republic of Singapore mirrors those same characteristics on a worldwide scale. As the fourth largest financial center on the planet, this region where the land mass roughly equals the size of Rhode Island has enjoyed centuries of wealth and growth.


    Singapore port


    As one of the most active sea ports in the world, Singapore has observed an open business environment and capitalist economy since gaining its independence from Great Britain nearly fifty years ago. The region's bustling sea transportation and carefully planned free market paradigms have greatly inspired other global export powers who look up to the "Singapore Model" with the goal of achieving a similar high-level Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio and low unemployment rates. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010 by World Economic Forum, Singapore is ranked the 3rd most competitive nation among 133 major and emerging economics only after Switzerland (No. 1) and United States (No. 2), whereas it scores No. 1 followed by Hong Kong (No. 2) and USA (No. 3) in the World Competitiveness Scoreboard 2010 by International Institute for Management Development, Lausanne, Switzerland.


    As an exporter, Singapore deals mainly with countries in the Middle East and Southern Hemisphere, as well as the United States. The country, like other Asian Tigers, is reliant on natural resources and raw materials for production, hence its dependence on trade with nations like Australia and New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.


    Top Industries and Exports of Singapore


    Statistics from the US State Department reported in 2009 that Singapore's main exports to North America include industrial machinery and electronic components. These products have home with other nations as well, and Singapore is known throughout the rest of the world for providing the following in global trade:


    Biotechnology: In the last decade, Singapore has gained a foothold in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products. GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Merck are among the major companies with plants on the island.


    Crude Oil: Crude and petroleum is shipped practically daily from Singapore's ports for refinement. The UAE in particular is a major importer of this item.


    Shipping and Aircraft Components: Whenever and wherever you fly, chances are the parts used to build your plane have come from this region. As a top port, the island arguably has more expertise than any other market with regards to shipbuilding.


    Computer and Technological Circuitry: Like its fellow Asian Tiger markets, the island republic enjoys a successful business in the production of computers and accessories. Acer, for one, is reliant on trade with Singapore for their business.


    Jewelry: Particularly in the Middle East, precious gems and pearl jewelry are exported with regularity.


    As a diverse culture of prosperity that serves as the model, profitable trade environment, Singapore stands tall as a top global trade empire. A healthy currency and fortuitous location will undoubtedly keep the country at the forefront of world business.

  • Taiwan: a Rising Asian Tiger in Global Trade

    Situated off the coast of mainland China, this tiny island formerly known as Formosa (which means "beautiful island") has endured quite a history in terms of economic growth. Once an acquisition of Japan, Taiwan is property of the Republic of China yet enjoys a booming and influential capitalist economy that had grown annually since its post-World War II transformation into one of the four "Asian Tigers" of global trade. If you own a laptop computer, a smartphone, or a high-end racing bicycle, chances are high that you own a Taiwanese export.


    Taiwan 101

    Taiwanese Trade Continues to Rise

    According to the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Taiwan's total trade value in April, 2010 rose fifty percent from last year's amount, to $41 billion. Presently it ranks twenty-eighth among 125 countries in the 2010 Global Enabling Trade Report, still an impressive number given the area's shift from dependence on trade with the United State to diversifying connections with Europe. As the world's largest supplier of computer chip, computer memory, and LCD panel manufacturing services, Taiwan enjoys an important role in new innovations in technology. Top exports to the United States from the area include:


    Semiconductors: Where the US has Silicone Valley, Taiwan is literally a silicone island as a major provider of these important devices


    Televisions: As more people trade up to plasma and flatscreen TVs, you'll find Taiwan is a leader in providing the latest models.


    Automotive Parts: While Germany and Japan lead exports of new models, you'll find the parts that make run originate here.


    Advanced Manufactured Iron and Steel: A top provider of durable construction materials, this island trades quality raw resources.


    Blank Media: Yes, there is still a need for blank audio and videotape, and recordable CD-ROM discs. Taiwan meets the demand.


    As a progressively advanced territory, the economic growth leaves no room for natural resources. Agriculture comprises a low three percent of Taiwan's overall economy, and as a result the area imports a high volume of vegetables and foodstuffs and natural fuels like coal. Plastic materials for manufacturing, civilian aircraft for improved travel, and organic chemicals round out the island's most imported goods.


    Forecasts for Taiwan through the remainder of year, according to economic experts, predict continued growth as trade with Europe and the US strengthens. The health of the electronics industry in particular will play a role in the area's future, yet as demand for new technologies remain it is likely Taiwan will emerge in Asia as a powerful force in the export market.


    Photo by G. Williams

  • Avoid Counterfeit Goods in Your Retail or Wholesale Business

    For businesspeople in search of the best deal on inventory for their retail stores or warehouses, the temptation to cut costs by stocking "knock-offs" of major brands like Nike and Adidas may weigh heavy in your mind. After all, the untrained eye is not likely to distinguish the genuine article from a near replica, right? It's possible you won't receive complaints from consumers, but dealing in replicas and counterfeit goods is a practice best avoided if you want to run a legitimate, honest business.


    There Are No "Safe Bets" With Counterfeit Merchandise


    Often cheaper to produce, falsified toys, clothing, and other items designed to look like those of major brands typically sell at a reduced wholesale price. A buyer interested in maintaining stock to satisfy high demand for certain brands, while savvy enough to tell a real item from a fake, may wonder what the harm is in selling counterfeit goods. If the toy or radio works and doesn't fall apart immediately, what is the problem?


    For one, the manufacture of replicated items is illegal. When you purchase goods from a counterfeiter, you have already put your business at risk by dealing with a criminal or dubious organization. It is not uncommon for such businesses to have ties to other illegal activity - drug trafficking and terrorism - and your association makes you a guilty party at one level.


    Also, consider where and how fakes are produced. Because these products are made cheaply and priced to move, they are regularly assembled under poor working conditions, not unlike a sweatshop. The possibility of toxicity like lead paint and metal fillings in the materials is high, and with foodstuffs promoted under a false label one may find ingredients proven to be poisonous.


    Spotting Fakes and Working Toward Legitimate Connections in Trade


    Depending on the manufacturer, some fake products are simple to spot. Some clues to help you discern counterfeits from genuine brands include:


    • Proof of authenticity: A reputable manufacturer will produce a certificate of authenticity (COA) or OEM/ODM certification papers if asked. Anybody who hedges on this information is likely one not to be trusted.
    • Suspicious pricing practices: $10 for a pair of Nike shoes sounds too good to be true. While it's natural to want to hunt the best prices for goods, sales too low for the product quality could serve as a warning that what you are buying may be falsely labeled.
    • "Garage" and "Flea Market" sales: A reputable vendor won't deal from the trunk of a car or a garage stuffed with boxes. If you seek quality inventory, work with traders with a legitimate office or warehouse.
    • Poor packaging: While it's not uncommon for goods to sustain minor damage during transportation, you'll want to study the packaging. If boxes don't look right, or adhesive and blister packs appear fragile or brittle, chances are not much care went into wrapping the products. Such disregard may suggest the goods you're buying are not authentic anyway.
    • Brand names out of place: Certain brands, like Gucci, will only distribute their seconds and discount merchandise through their own factory outlets. If you see "sale" items from big names in another retail outfit, chances are they are not real.
    • Poor or no return policies: A reputable vendor is always willing to work with you if you're not satisfied with product. If you find you are dealing with "as is" or "no refund" terms, take this as caution to look elsewhere for merchandise. When dealing online, look for buyer protection information to ensure you won't get ripped off.
    • Missing parts/accessories: Usually when you buy a purse or watch, the items come with presentation boxes, liners, or dust bags to add extra protection. Hastily counterfeited items may be missing these finishing touches, so if you don't see any extra care made in presentation be warned.
    • Other errors: Are words misspelled on labels? Are warnings and instructions missing from packages? If it appears some corners have been cut, chances are you are dealing with fake goods.


    Forging connections with legitimate traders not only guarantees stellar inventory for you, but it helps reduce the cycle of criminal activity involved in counterfeiting. Your customers will receive quality items, and in turn recommend you to others and offer your repeat business. Cutting corners through fake merchandise increases the risk of consumers cutting you from their business.

  • Building a Global Supply Chain Can Expand Your Market and Improve Your Risk Management

    As a retailer or wholesaler of goods, your success lies in providing the products you offer to customers in a timely manner, and maintaining strong connections with this base of buyers. Whether your business is clothing, antiques, food, or household items, you know it's important to keep inventory ready, and be prepared for any issues involving transportation and manufacturing. Growing your supply chain through networking with globally-based traders rather than keeping business with one or two vendors can help reduce the risk management in your work.


    Risk Management and Your Company


    Risk management describes the effect of uncertainty on work objectives, positive or negative. Every line of work - manual labor, clerical, financial, etc. - comes with its unique risks. Where global trade is concerned, a retailer or wholesaler may encounter issues with shipping and customs, or damage to goods in transit. Recent events like the eruption of an Icelandic volcano and BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have assuredly affected global trade for certain parts of the world. In business, one cannot expect when natural or man-made disasters may occur and effect supply and demand, but it's always important to anticipate the possibilities.


    In risk management, you are responsible for assessing what events are capable of threatening your business. Suppliers and traders based in areas of political unrest, or with mediocre transit are certain to affect the timeliness of your deadlines with your customers, but if these vendors provide particular products you need you may find it difficult to drop them altogether. Expanding your supply chain to include similar manufacturers and distributors, however, widens the door and provides more solutions. If you are unable to get the goods you need directly from one source, you can create the option to buy from a similar company, or work through another vendor who is able to make that direct connection.


    Market Expansion - Grow Your Customer Base


    Think about your current reach. Have you experienced a slowdown in sales with your localized brick and mortar store? Do you have an online shopping cart but wish to do more to reach a market beyond your city's borders? Building a larger supply chain can help you accomplish that, and you don't necessarily have to import more inventory to your warehouse.


    Research suppliers that store goods for you, or else in warehouses at different points on the globe. Finding the right vendors able to drop-ship items to customers can increase your businesses, and in turn gain a higher level of brand recognition. Whether you expand your website presence to allow for overseas shipping to customers, or grow a following through an eBay and Etsy store, the ability to drop-ship offers limitless potential to how you do business.


    The greater your supply chain, the better you can optimize your company's risk management and global reach. Bigger profits are had when your business grows, and as you research the opportunities you'll see just how quickly they can improve.

  • How to compete in the 21st century?

     Supply Chaining, Supply Chaining, and Supply Chaining!

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