North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Just when we thought Brexit would be the dominant discussion topic around the dinner table at International Trade gatherings, a much larger beast is on the loose. North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) What is Nafta? started in 1994, it is designed to lower tariffs for most traded goods and services between USA, Canada and Mexico it established rules covering food safety, intellectual property rights and dispute settlements. Since the deal was signed, trade between the three countries has more than tripled. Political ties between the three countries have also strengthened.  In the upcoming negotiations there is a number of specific areas which will be discussed. What is at stake as Nafta talks begin? President Trump has called this free trade agreement a "jobs killer" and a "disaster", and pledged to repeal it. However, in April, he pulled back and agreed to discuss "modernising" the “Agreement”. Talks between the three countries about overhauling the pact start in Washington on 16/08/2017. Mr Trump blames...
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Qatar and 2022 World Cup: Get the ball rolling…

Qatar and 2022 World Cup: Get the ball rolling…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you will probably know by now that the Middle-East’s very first FIFA World Cup tournament will be hosted by the Gulf state of Qatar in 2022; just five short years from today. Now I’m going out on a limb by assuming that between Trump, Kim Jong-un and the Kardashians, we will actually make it to 2022, so in that spirit of unbridled optimism, let’s explore some of the opportunities that this world-class event presents for British companies, large and small. Firstly, a little about Qatar. Geographically the State of Qatar sits on the Qatar Peninsula on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula and sticks out proudly into the Persian Gulf, or Arabian Gulf as it’s known in the Arab world (remember this if ever you visit). Its only land border is with Saudi Arabia in the south. In terms of land mass, Qatar is not much larger than...
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Impressions, Expectations & Relationships

Impressions, Expectations & Relationships

WE are all aware of the acronyms of B2B or B2C as defining our business and marketing strategies.  They are important to identify your target customer, the way in which you communicate your brand and your offering. To define what sort of business we are – to ourselves and to others.  They define the target market and the route to that market.  But this is only half the story – the other acronym worthy of consideration is H2H (Human to Human) or P2P (Person to Person). Cultivating strong relationships can be the difference between success and failure. My business certainly focuses on human to human or in another way, people to people. Much of marketing is conducted in an impersonal way – digital and traditional methods have relied on brand recognition to drive customer acquisition, in succeeding without talking or meeting the end customer. In effect a pure B2 or B2C experience. There is no doubt this works for many, just as many...
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5 tips for success in 2017: Year of the exporter?

5 tips for success in 2017: Year of the exporter?

Where will your business take you in 2017? Success and beyond, one would hope, but in these uncertain times, strong preparation and planning will be the key to achieving your potential. Strengthening and opening export channels will be imperative for many companies. Supply Chain Associate, Diane Thyer presents 5 important points to keep sight of in the coming year... 2017 is now upon us and the Christmas break, where reality was suspended in a Disney induced fog for the best part of week, is now well and truly over. This year is likely to prove just as challenging as 2016 with BREXIT and President Elect Trump making themselves felt; although in the case of the President Elect this is mostly on Twitter. However, in the words of Barack Obama on that historic US election night, ‘no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.’ With that steadying note we must act less like rabbits caught in the headlights and more like...
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Roadmapping for success – approaching new markets

Roadmapping for success – approaching new markets

What is the right way to approach new markets and how does approaching an international market differ from a domestic approach? What needs to be considered? How do you make the optimal choice? We look at the advantages of Roadmapping your export activities to maximise potential. Separating what we know and defining what we don’t know is essential.  The aim of your bespoke Roadmap should be to achieve increased market share.  By defining the stages, deliverables can be measured, considered and controlled. The map will define what the criteria for success are, what the budget is and what timelines are to be followed. The structure of both desk and primary research is the same as for any new market with the added ‘colour’ of international trading requisites and culture.  Using a Roadmap template can help to guide a company to seek the information needed to launch a successful campaign in a new market.  Creating a template that your company can design and...
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Customer Myopia

Customer Myopia

At a recent networking event the audience of consultants and small business owners were asked about who was their customer? There was a mixed response to the question with people mainly identifying those people that bought their products of services. Some of those present then went on to say why they had customers and what their value proposition was to their customers. There is a huge field of information on ‘voice of the customer’ for supply chain optimisation, on extending services to the buyer/seller relationships by adding layers of value. The 21 Customer Burdens (of Uncertainty) features on building trust with your customer whilst another approach advocates that you ‘put yourself in their shoes’: Click HERE to view a great article  by Marketing Donut A whole science on defining what you provide, what you should offer and the best way to achieve new customers whilst retaining established buying relationships. But for me the value that companies offer to customers is only one strand of a...
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Nuggets of Information – bringing it together

Nuggets of Information – bringing it together

One of the great challenges in accessing new markets is getting information on which to base your decision making.  Too often businesses fail because they hadn’t appreciated either the regulatory regime or the business culture in the target market. It is true that some companies make a success in spite of their ineptitude, same as people really but a little foresight and preparation really can make the difference between success and failure.  For me it is those nuggets of information that really bring a potential project to life. For example, knowing that entry to a new market is best done through an agent or a distributor; whether you have to build relationships with central and local authorities , just how far a country is with their technological development is valuable information.  Your export strategy should be based on reputable sourced information and I personally recommend the A5 business guides produced free by the Institute of Export About the Guides IOE together with IMA produce the internationally-recognised...
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