Ballast Water Management – Why is it important?

Ballast Water Management – Why is it important?

Ballast Water Management – Why is it important? Officer of the Watch examines legislative efforts to avoid disastrous environmental risks posed by ballast water from international shipping The problem: Ships use ballast to control their stability. The ballast can be solid, and historically rocks or iron ingots might have been used, but nowadays the stability is provided by pumping water in and out of tanks on the ship. By filling or emptying different tanks, the stability of the ship can be adjusted and controlled. On the new generation of large ships, the amount of ballast water can be very considerable, amounting to many tens of thousands of tonnes.  Ballast tanks must be either full or empty to avoid water slopping about inside them.   Typically, a ship will pump in ballast water when leaving a port and pump it out again on arrival. This has led to some major environmental and public health disasters. For example, in 1991 a ship loaded in Bangladesh and discharged in...
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Brexit: Command Economy – A Warning from History

Brexit: Command Economy – A Warning from History

Is it not wonderful to live in a democracy where the spirit of free enterprise and free trade is protected by the laws of a State within a legal system that has been shaped to prevent business being subjected to irrational and arbitrary decisions of government ? By Joe Sweetinburgh, guest author This article refers to the EU Repeal Bill vote in the House of Commons on 11th September 2017 The answer until last night was almost certainly "yes". However, as of this morning such a description may no longer apply. This general freedom now seems to be in jeopardy due to an Executive that on the one hand proclaims the need for national sovereignty yet on the other hand is poised to reduce the sovereignty of the individual and businesses by conferring upon itself, powers to shape and dictate the terms of Brexit without reference to Parliament or the Courts by delegating the passing or laws and regulations to Secretary of States....
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Sterling Facing Critical Week

Sterling Facing Critical Week

There's a perfect storm approaching the pound this week with critical factors affecting Sterling on a collision course. Analysts cite political uncertainty, macroeconomic data and monetary policy as the three main drivers of economy and therefore currency. There isn’t one which is more important than the other and they are all interwoven each influencing the other two to a varying degree dependent upon the level of each or in the case of data, the degree of variation from expectation. This week the U.K. faces the influence of all three drivers. Parliament will vote on the first Bill put before it that provides an opportunity to appraise the Government's performance. Despite the almost universal disapproval of how Brexit is being handled, their vote to pass legislation that repeals the original decision to join the then Common Market, should pass within the slimmest of majorities. Next comes macroeconomic data. First is inflation which will be released tomorrow. The headline is likely to have reached 2.8%...
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Export business in the South West: Superfast & Streamlined

Export business in the South West: Superfast & Streamlined

Ray Gore reflects on the positive effect of technology on the potential prosperity of once disconnected regions. SW businesses' export opportunities enhanced by streamlined supply chains and Superfast connectivity! I was reflecting on the way that the digital age in which we now live has so changed the way things had to be done when I first started out as a young Procurement Engineer for Rolls Royce back in the late 1970’s, and of the export opportunities now afforded to business by the new communications mediums that are now available. I first began my career when there were no mobile phones, desktop computers or even fax machines. Computers were the size of a small house, landline telephones were the only direct means of communication (if the GPO ever got around to connecting you up) and we had only the telex machine, primitive photocopiers and a hideous piece of equipment called the Roneo Banda machine by which documents could be reproduced. This meant that...
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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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India: Historic Trade Capital to Future Economic Hub

India: Historic Trade Capital to Future Economic Hub

With Brexit topping the headlines and the prospect of a need to find new export partners looming, one answer is to look to our historic colonial relationships. You might be surprised to discover how much we have in common with India after all these years... By Tony Parry Your scribe is a little bemused that China has drawn a lot of favourable economic and business sentiment vis-à-vis India over the past two decades or so. A bit odd really. About 250 million Indians speak English as an alternate or second language; Indian commercial law closely follows English law, brands such as Leyland, Typhoo, Royal Enfield are still huge in India, and they play a mean brand of cricket. You will feel right at home there. So, I’ll try over the coming period to entice you to do business with India. As a starter for ten, can I encourage you to get hold of a book edited by entrepreneur and communications strategist Manoj Ladwa, and...
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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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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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Commonwealth and Beyond – IOE Global Summit

Commonwealth and Beyond – IOE Global Summit

A beautiful autumnal day in October, the Castle Hotel in Taunton was certainly looking its best.  The venue for the first Institute of Export Global Summit in the South West 'The Commonwealth and Beyond' was perfect.  The South West has a wide range of industries that can be exported from financial services to agritec, advanced engineering to creative design, marine to aviation - representing the wealth of our region. The Commonwealth and Beyond, the theme of the event and representatives from companies and organisations both far and wide came to hear of the opportunities for British goods in the fifty-three countries that are members of the Commonwealth, in Russia and in China.  They heard how Brexit may affect their European contracts and/or relationships and how technological advances will affect change for exporters. The line-up of expert speakers gave the audience valuable information on overseas opportunities for local businesses as well as routes to market through DIT and local providers. Read the IOE article about...
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Brexit advice from Middleton Jones in Plymouth Herald

Brexit advice from Middleton Jones in Plymouth Herald

An article In the online edition of the Plymouth Herald this week features an interview with Linda Middleton-Jones. The story discusses the benefits of investing in export relations ahead of Brexit and some of the possible outcomes from negotiations with Europe. In the article entitled Expert tells Plymouth firms how to avoid a Brexit disaster, Linda is quoted encouraging companies to reinforce their relationships with overseas businesses and make contact before Article 50 is triggered. "It's about keeping customers and striving for that trade to continue with Europe" The benefits of strengthening ties and making good contacts with our European counterparts are clearly going to be the focus of any company that wishes to prepare for successful business from 2017 onwards. This is even more important in the South West, where a large proportion of regional revenue and employment is in manufacturing.   "We sell to Europe and will in future export to Europe" By preparing now, UK businesses can ensure they are best-placed to emerge...
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Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake

Can International trade continue as we know it? Are we really living in an age of uncertainty? What will change, what will remain the same, and where are the opportunities? Recently I was asked to review the legal framework surrounding international trade.  Reminiscent of many years spent studying UK, European, International and Spanish law there was a comfort to the familiar phrases, jurisdictions and structures.  True there have been a few changes – mainly in common law, in a few statutes like the Bribery Act, in the development of our relationship with the EU but, in truth, the framework of international law is familiar, soothing and constant. It allows us to send goods & services to far flung corners of our world.  Trade relationships have developed meaning that our exports attract tariffs or incur VAT when we sell to Europe. We hold a most favoured nation status with the World Trade Organisation meaning that we both provide and receive preferential tariff rates. ...
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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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Relationship building, post Brexit

Relationship building, post Brexit

Thomas Jefferson said “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none”. How do we apply this to the impending Brexit issues? Apposite for these challenging and uncertain times post the Brexit referendum. So what should UK traders be doing right now? I think we reinforce our current relationships and broker new ones. Our brave new world will be different but what I have learnt is that we do business with people we know and like. If you have good relationship with a client, nurture them. If you are looking wider than current markets then use this time to find new buyers and forge new relationships....
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The divide – campaigning and debate…

The divide – campaigning and debate…

As the debate and campaigning surrounding Brexit gets exceedingly nasty over which statistic/fact or forecast is right or wrong, I have been thinking about the cost to UK from the schism’s that are appearing between party members. Until now we generally saw a great respect by party members for each other’s contribution to the economy and social wellbeing of our country.  Yet what we are seeing is a divide in opinions through this debate that will have a profound effect on the future of this country, whatever the result of the poll. There are countless examples of peoples living in unity and then being torn apart by strong beliefs, a continuing theme of present day conflicts.  We in the UK though have always prided ourselves on our pragmatism, our ‘Englishness’ and our rule of law - a solidity broken only by the occasional scandal or emotive social issues. So how will the scars of strongly opposing views affect our future governance?  I do...
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