Blog

  • 01 May 2018 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    Late last night, President Trump decided to hold off on imposing most of the administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, at least until June 1.

    Tariffs were scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, April 30th.  Major trading partners to be affected by these tariffs included Canada, the largest U.S. supplier of steel and aluminum, as well as Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU.  China may well have been the intended target, but our imports of their steel and aluminum have been diminishing for years.

    The administration has reached an agreement (in principle) with Australia, Argentina and Brazil, but talks continue with Canada and Mexico as part of the NAFTA negotiations.  Discussions are also continuing with EU countries.

    President Trump used his authority to protect “domestic industries critical to national security” as the rationale to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum.  In recent weeks, Trump has moved to using tariffs — or the threat thereof — as a bargaining chip in broader trade negotiations.  A U.S. delegation is on its way to Beijing for trade talks later this week.

     

  • 27 Apr 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s one-day visit to Washington on Friday, April 27th, includes meetings at the White House and a joint press conference, but is principally focused on business.  There will be no state visit trappings that were afforded French President  Macron earlier this week.

    Chancellor Merkel will be pushing for a permanent exemption for European producers from the tariffs President Trump announced last month.  (The current European exemption from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs expires on Tuesday, May 1.)  A bilateral U.S.-German free-trade pact, as proposed by President Trump and rebuffed by Chancellor Merkel, can be expected to be a meeting topic. 

    Also to be discussed is the announcement by a Russian-led consortium of the development of a gas pipeline to Germany along the Baltic seafloor.  It is projected to be completed next year.  The U.S. is concerned it will draw Germany closer to Russia.

    Chancellor Merkel, however, will come away from the visit with one piece of good news:  Richard Grenell received confirmation on Thursday to become the U.S. ambassador to Germany after months of delay.

     

  • 27 Apr 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    Four Saints Brewing Company, Asheboro, NC, has begun brewing Founding Fathers Hemp Ale through a carbon-neutral process.  Four Saints has partnered with Greensboro’s Urban Offsets to offset the carbon produced over the entire brewing process, from sourcing to tapping kegs, with reductions produced by renewable energy and other projects in North Carolina.  

    This is the first carbon-neutral brewing process of its kind in North Carolina and one of the first in the country.  The beer will be released at Raleigh’s Brewgaloo, April 28.

  • 27 Apr 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    China’s President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy program, the “Belt and Road” initiative was established as an ambitious economic development program to interconnect 65 percent of the world’s population across more than 60 countries.  The initiative, deigned to become a modern “Silk Road,” reinforces China's links to Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa through networks of roads, ports, railways, power plants and other infrastructure projects.

    But a recent report by the US-based research group C4ADS offers alternative perspectives of China's stated purpose of promoting economic development.  Through the analysis of 15 port projects in nine countries funded by China, the report shows that the projects aren't purely driven by "win-win" economic development.  "Rather, the investments appear to generate political influence, stealthily expand China's military presence and create an advantageous strategic environment in the region," it said.

    A network of Chinese sourced maritime logistics hubs throughout the Indo-Pacific, has the potential to change the region's strategic landscape and advance military goals, particularly in locations adjacent to international shipping “choke points.”  The report also notes that debt levels for various projects, especially vanity projects, can prevent countries from pivoting away from Chinese influence in the future.

     

  • 27 Apr 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    Mexico's Senate on Tuesday, April 23rd, voted to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  Mexico becomes the first of 11 countries that previously constituted the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to approve the pact. 

    Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam signed the deal, which together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy at a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic product.  Five additional counties will need to ratify the agreement for it to take effect.

    Mexico remains in talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States.

     

  • 08 Mar 2018 by Global Chamber

    A sudden announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum.  Reactions from financiers, economists, and markets.  Subsequent shifts in details, possibly.  American jobs in specific industries will be protected.

    In this highly interconnected world, possible downstream reactions can include:

    • Counter tariffs that can be applied to American goods and services
    • Cost increases in materials used in American manufacturing, raising costs to consumers
    • Rising consumer costs becomes market-wide inflation
    • Protectionism reduces foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S.

    More importantly, we must remember that the Great Depression of the 1930s was marked by broadly imposed protectionist trade practices.  These trade barriers contributed to a sharp contraction in trade and contributed to a lackluster recovery being drawn out over a decade.

    Free trade is not always fair trade.  But the World Trade Organization has been operating for more than 20 years and has workable processes to address issues such as dumping.  Regardless, some industries in some countries will lose jobs, and this can be painful.  Governments and companies can invest in job training / retraining to prepare for next generation jobs.

  • 09 Jan 2018 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    2017 was a momentous year for international trade policy.  But not necessarily in a good way.  

    In years past there has been a generally bipartisan U.S. approach to trade policy.  The Trump administration started with a bang and accomplished four major changes to the operation of global trade:

    1. Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Within days of his inauguration, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from this 12 nation negotiation.  TPP negotiations had begun under President George W. Bush and extended beyond a Pacific Rim focus to include corrections to some of the limitations experienced under NAFTA.  China has since offered its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as an alternative and is picking up former TPP partners.
    2. Near-withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  A set of confusing and offsetting initiatives commenced in April with one set of Administration advisors calling for the US to withdraw from NAFTA followed by a different set of advisors pushing for further review.  Businesses (and especially NC agricultural communities) then stepped in to force Administration engagement to renegotiate the agreement.
    3. National Security Steel Investigation (Section 232). President Trump ordered a new investigation into whether steel imports harmed U.S. national security. Findings from the investigation were publicly promised for June 30, 2017 but have yet to be released. 
    4. World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Meeting. WTO has been widely viewed as advantageous to the US since its inception after World War II.  This year, President Trump’s principal policy contribution has been a dangerous move to block the appointment of key members of the dispute settlement body.  Then, at the biennial meeting in December in Argentina, the US identified numerous failings of the WTO.  No plan was presented to remedy these failings.

    It would appear that the United States had simply abandoned its leadership role in global trade.

  • 30 Jan 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    On Thursday, January 18th, the World Trade Organization in Geneva announced a ruling on a complaint filed against China regarding tariffs on US chicken imports.  The US originally complained China's imposition of anti-dumping duties of up to 105% and anti-subsidy duties of up to 30% on US broiler chicken products were illegal.  At the time, the US Department of Agriculture said US poultry firms had lost sales of over $1.0 billion. 

    China subsequently lowered the tariffs, but the US held that they were not lowered enough.  This latest ruling supports the US position and requires China further lowering.  China has 20 days to respond.  They have stated that they will assess the WTO ruling and conduct follow-up work in accordance with WTO rules.

  • 18 Jan 2018 by Mark Lohsen

    The first step in forging an improved supply chain is understanding your consumer’s wants, needs, and desires.  Then, work upstream, continuing to the source of all links.

    In the improved supply chain, brands must translate huge amounts of information at the local retail level into hierarchical demand triggers throughout a digitized supply chain, typically crossing international boundaries.  New data analytical / predictive tools are married to diverse sets of time sensitive, local data throughout the chain.  Orders are digitized as transactions between parties to create specific and unalterable block chain records.  Contract Line Items are broken down into specifications, volumes, and schedules and distributed throughout the build process, spurring Internet of Things (IoT) links to produce finished goods.  Local determinants of delivery efficiency, including weather, traffic, and geopolitical factors, are taken into account to minimize disruptions throughout the entire chain.

    This improved system authenticates raw materials, production methods, and avenues of distribution.  Taken together, all participants have a single view of truth that improves contract performance and minimizes disruptions. 

    Are you ready?  Global Chamber, with its partners, can help.

  • 10 Nov 2017 by Global Chamber

    Global free trade agreements primarily benefit countries by eliminating tariffs among its participants.  Additionally, they work to reduce the red tape of non-tariff barriers, such as quotas or export and import license requirements. They also try to address rules that promote the free flow of trade and capital investment.

    With the US departure from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), China has been promoting its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to the ten countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), plus six others in the larger region.

    In Latin America, there is the Mercosur (technically a trade bloc) that includes free trade privileges between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. This region also features the Pacific Alliance, which covers Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile. (This latter agreement covers countries comprising 34 percent of total intra-regional trade within Latin America.) 

    The European Union (EU), which functions as a customs union rather than a trade agreement, enters into its own agreements with other individual countries, including both Canada (with an agreement known as CETA) and Mexico.  Mexico and the EU are now renegotiating their current trade deal to expand it by including some elements more common to recent deals, such as investment, procurement and trade facilitation provisions.

    Watch for information and events from Global Chamber® and our partners for the latest on trade agreements, to find opportunities for your business.

    Mark Lohsen

    Global Chamber® Charlotte

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  • 18 Jan 2017 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    Ms. Krystyna Kielbon is the President and C.E.O. of Il Bella Sole, a company building custom designed, eco-friendly, avant garde furniture. Their furniture and accessories are used in luxury living spaces, amenity spaces, full service hotels, and boutique hotels.

    Ms. Kielbon spent 15 years as a senior executive in the international finance industry and commercial real estate before founding Il Bella Sole. The idea for her business came during a vacation in Sardinia years ago. Krystyna couldn’t keep the sun from glaring off her tablet screen or her face. She realized that most of the resort’s furniture didn’t have adjustable sun shades. Krystyna had an epiphany and soon after designed the elegant and spacious Arabella Chaise shaded lounger. Since her launch of the Arabella collection, she has introduced an extensive product line collection for the hospitality industry.

    Ms. Kielbon was approached to become a member of the Board of Advisors to Global Chamber Charlotte when she and Mark Lohsen, the Global Chamber Charlotte Executive Director, attended an Export seminar hosted by the US Commercial Service. 

    Shortly after accepting the BoA role, Mark learned of Furniture Trade Show opportunity through the Global Chamber’s network of member cities.  Emre Cekemoglu, the Global Chamber Istanbul Executive Director, uncovered an opportunity with the Istanbul Exporters’ Association that was hosting a Furniture Exhibition.  The Exhibition, January 23-26, 2017 draws manufacturers showcasing new products for the emerging industry.  They were offering a limited number of free travel, accommodation, and admission packages to the exhibition.  With quick communications between, Mark, Krystyna, and Emre, a free package was arranged for Krystyna. 

    Krystyna’s latest ventures include outfitting hotels in the United Arab Emirates, so this show offers her an opportunity to see trends, make contacts, and expand her service offerings to her clients.

    Be UNSTOPPABLE, Be part of the TRIBE!

    Mark Lohsen

    Global Chamber® Charlotte

  • 06 Nov 2016 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    For companies establishing commercial ties with European Union (EU) entities, there is a new privacy standard to consider. The EU-US Privacy Shield was adopted by the European Commission on July 12, 2016 and put into effect on August 1, 2016.

    The Privacy Shield guarantees that everyone in the EU has rights when their data is:

    • Collected in the EU by a branch or business partner of an American company
    • Received in the U.S. by an American company
    • Processed in the U.S. by an American company

    The range of this coverage extends from the traditional purchase of goods and services in the United States from within the EU to when using social media or cloud based data storage.  This is particularly important when EU citizens are employed by an American company and their personal data is transferred and used in the U.S. for business management or operational purposes.  Many of these transactions involve personally identifiable information (PII), including such data elements as name, address, phone number, birth date, credit card number, and email address, which is at the core of the Privacy Shield. Note too, that the Privacy Shield protections extend to non-EU citizens with transactions originating in the EU.

    The Global Chamber is prepared to help companies navigate the challenges in establishing business overseas.

  • 28 Dec 2016 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has released its forecast for the growth of international trade in goods and services in 2017. 

    OECD projections are based on an assessment of the economic climate in individual countries and the world economy, using a combination of model-based analyses and expert judgement.  Projections for the growth of imports and exports (as a percentage of country GDP) for key countries include:

                                                              Imports          Exports

    China                                                   2.2 %               2.3 %

    France                                                 3.6 %               3.2 %

    Germany                                             3.0 %               2.7 %

    India                                                     5.4 %               4.6 %

    Russia                                                  2.6 %               3.0 %

    UK                                                        1.5 %               3.2 %

    US                                                        4.4 %               3.5 %

  • 16 Nov 2016 by Global Chamber Charlotte

    Facilici.com is an online e-commerce platform in South America that is building its presence in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. This platform is a facilitator for companies and professionals to offer their products and services online. They are currently looking for interested investors that can help the company to expand it services and outreach.

    You can contact Jorge Cespedes for more information:  jcespedes@facilici.com