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New Challenges for Brazilian Markets

brazilian

New Challenges for Brazilian Markets

Usually, when we talk about Latin America one of the first markets that come to mind is Brazil.

Brazil is experiencing a unique moment never experienced before in the local economy: the lowest level of interest rate and, therefore, a large demand from investors for assets that could generate a considerable performance, in the period.

Historically, the Brazilians Investor Profile has been strongly related to a conservative shape, once the Selic rate – the country’s basic interest rate – has constantly been at comfortable levels for those people who invest in conservative products, such as Savings and Certificates of Deposit, for example. Nonetheless, this perspective has been changing since the end of 2016 with the consecutive action from the ‘Comitê de Política Monetária’ (known as COPOM – very similar to the US FOMC) in reducing the interest rate, and proportionately seeking to promote the local economy. In addition, this domestic reduction is being quite influenced by the US Federal Reserve process of cutting rates.

It is possible to observe the interest yield curve below:

For this reason, financial institutions and brokerage firms are working hard on clients ‘financial education and portfolio reformulation, in order to adapt their clients’ investment portfolio to this new stage of Brazilian Market. Most analysts and advisors are aligned and agree with the Central Bank’s official reports, betting on new interest rate cuts for 2019 and, as a result, it benefits other types of asset classes, such as the Brazilian Stock Market.

Regarding that, the Ibovespa (Índice da Bolsa de Valores de São Paulo), the main indicator of the average performance from the Brazilian stock market, at the beginning of 2019 was quoted at approximately 91,000 points and until the last day of September it had an evolution of around 15% reaching its 103,600 points, with a standard deviation of, approximately, 20%. The Index has now reached record levels. Typically, with the movement of diminishing interest rates, as any other economy, there is a natural increase in demand for this type of assets, which takes a favorable and positive aspect of the segment this year, specifically given the Pension Reform approvals and lower projections for the IPCA (Índice de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo) – Brazilian official inflation index.

The latest statistic released showed 2.89% in the 12 months through September, according to IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian government statistics agency). The Central Bank’s official year-end goal for 2019 remains 4.25%, and due to this fall in inflation expectations most economists consent to another 50 basis point cut in the Selic rate at the end of this month – precisely, the next reunion will happen in 10/29/2019 and 10/30/2019.

Essentially, for the local investor, there are several alternatives to access this market, such as Equities Funds, ETFs or Active Mutual Funds. Furthermore, the whole market is gradually seeing an increase in fundraising this type of product, this is very clear if we look through the development of new asset management firms, for instance. Consequently, the biggest challenge for the investor is to adapt themselves to this relatively new type of culture in diversifying the portfolio with risky and volatile products.

professionals

5 Ways Professionals Can Succeed As New Entrepreneurs

It’s been a common occurrence in recent years: Company downsizing or restructuring has left skilled professionals looking for a job. Or, feeling constrained, they jump to a better growth opportunity.

But, with the era of lifetime jobs at a single firm or company long gone, many doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals also are opting to work for themselves, becoming entrepreneurs and launching their own start-ups.

Some who already started small practices have expanded into several locations. As dentists and business partners Dr. Seth Newman and Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos can attest, the learning curve of running and growing a business in multiple offices — while still practicing their profession — can be challenging but also rewarding.

“It was never my plan to run a practice, or even co-run one,” says Giannoutsos,  (www.asktheorthos.com), an orthodontist and co-author, with Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. “But then the financial crisis of 2008 happened, and a lot of the opportunities that had been available before were now gone.

“But we were able to flip those circumstances on their heads and use them to our advantage.”

“The biggest challenge initially was finding clients,” Newman says. “But we learned to use different resources and educate ourselves in the business side as we did in our chosen career.”  

Newman and Giannoutsos offer five tips for professionals transitioning to running their own business:

Be passionate. Entrepreneurs tend to be extremely passionate about their work. They need to incorporate the same passion for running a business. “Think about how running your own business could transform your career, send it soaring,” Newman says. “That kind of spirit energizes you and all those around you.”

Be bothered by inefficiency. Entrepreneurs don’t have a high tolerance for inefficiency, and the bonus is they don’t have corporate red tape to cut through. “You can fix problems that come up quickly because of your expertise and the freedom of not running into typical corporate obstacles,” Giannoutsos says. “If you or your business partner are mired in work processes that are too slow, analyze the inefficiencies and consider the places you could implement solutions.”

Don’t be afraid to take on more risk. One thing that sets many entrepreneurs apart from the average professional is their appetite for risk. “A business owner knows the risk-reward possibilities, and by taking well-calculated shots, bigger rewards can come,” Newman says. “Set aside time to strategize, and listen to the best-qualified people working for you to develop a precise plan.”

Brainstorm more. Constant innovation is crucial to a business’ long-term success, so entrepreneurs have to take time to let their minds be loose and creative. “Set aside time each week for brainstorming sessions with your staff — and remember to have fun doing it,” Giannoutsos says.

Don’t limit your dreams. “The most important aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit is being limitless – the sky’s the limit,” Newman says. “Many people are conditioned in the workforce to be realistic and practical, but dreaming big sets the mission for your company, and it’s why you became a business owner.”

“It can be daunting at first, performing the myriad tasks of a business owner,” Giannoutsos says, “but if you believe in what you do and those you’ve hired around you, it’s so worth the effort.”

Dr. Seth Newman (www.asktheorthos.com) is an orthodontist and co-author, with Dr. Steve Giannoutsos, of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid To Ask. He owns orthodontic practices in the New York City area. Dr. Newman completed his dental training at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, where he was a member of the National Dental Honor Society. He was a clinical instructor of the Invisalign system at the NYU School of Dentistry.

Dr. Efstathios Giannoutsos, or “Dr. G.” as he is commonly called, was born in Astoria, Queens, just outside of New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens, with high honors and a BS in Biology.  He is also the co-author with  Dr. Seth Newman of Giving It To You Straight: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Orthodontics But Were Afraid to Ask (AskTheOrthos.com). He completed his dental training at NYU, where he graduated with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. He was also accepted into NYU’s highly competitive orthodontic residency program. During that time, he also discovered a passion for treating children and adults with facial deformities. Coinciding his passion, his research thesis to attain specialty certification involved children with cleft deformities.

business listings

The Importance of Having Local Business Listings

In this day and age, it is clear that having a strong online presence is very important for any company. Business owners know that having a functional, informative, and visually attractive website will draw in more customers. The same goes for a strong social media presence. We’re sure that you’re marketing your business on Instagram, Facebook, and so on. However, what people sometimes don’t think about are local business listings sites. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of having local listings and why utilizing such listings would be beneficial for your business.

You’re Easier to Find if Your Name is in the Phonebook

Basically, think about local business listings as a sort of a digital-era phonebook. Nowadays, whenever people need information on a certain kind of business, they’ll most likely look for it online. Local business listings can introduce them to a variety of companies offering the kind of service or product they need, based on the potential customers’ area. For example, people looking for moving companies in New York would find the company Dumbo Moving and Storage Brooklyn, as well as important information such as the company’s working hours, address, link to the company’s website, and its phone number. As a lot of queries also specify the location of the kind of business they’re interested in, having your business on these area-based listings can help you a great deal.

Posting important information on local business listings is not hard to do and it doesn’t take much time. It is an easy way to improve your digital marketing. So, why waste the opportunity to efficiently attract new customers? There’s even a good chance that interested parties will give you a call right away. People often use the internet on their smartphones, so it’s very easy and convenient for them to call you as soon as they find your number on local business listings. And if you receive a phone call, then you’re already halfway to securing new customers.

SEO Benefits

Apart from this obvious advantage that local business listings provide, there are more “under the hood” benefits as well. Namely, they can increase your search engine visibility and overall brand visibility. If you’re paying attention to the keywords you use, then you’ll be pleased to learn that local business listings do the same. They’ll most likely use the same or similar keywords you’ve used, thus generally improving your SEO. These sites usually have significant domain authority. Even if your potential customers don’t find your website while using the specific keyword, they’re likely to find your profile on local business listings.

What’s more, the benefits to your search engine visibility don’t stop there. The people working for the major search engine companies like to compare their data with data found on such sites. If your information is there and it is consistent, search engines will deem your business to be more reliable and trustworthy. And if it’s not, they might think that you’re running a shady business, causing your SEO to degrade.

Local Business Listings Can Improve Your Reputation

The importance of local business listings in terms of your reputation isn’t only related to SEO. Potential customers themselves might think that it’s strange that your company isn’t listed there. They might consider it a red flag, warning them to take their business elsewhere. Even if they’ve already heard of your company, finding another one on local business listings might make them call that company and end their search right there and then.

On the other hand, local business listings also offer user reviews. If your company is not only listed there, with all the up-to-date, relevant information, but it also has a lot of good reviews, that’s often all it takes to secure a customer. While we know that many company owners often fear reviews, if you don’t have faith that you’ll receive good user reviews (in other words, if you’re not sure that you’re providing a quality service and/or products), then you have more pressing matters at hands than thinking about the importance of local business listings. However, if you are good at what you do, then you can expect the positive reviews on such sites to help you significantly. You can even post the same reviews on social media or on your website.

When it comes to your reputation, it is also worth noting that some business listings will include your information without your knowledge. This information could be incorrect. What’s more, your competitors can also use these listings to harm your company (this doesn’t happen often, but it is possible). Setting up your profile by yourself on local business listings will prevent that from happening.

Five Most Important Business Listings

So, utilizing local business listings is easy and can generally only help your business. The only thing to consider is which business listings to use. We’ve prepared a list of the five most important ones to help you out:

-Google My Business

-Yelp for Business Owners

-Yahoo Business Listing

-Bing Places for Business

-Facebook Business

There’s not too much difference between these five listings. They are all free and easy to use and setup. However, Yahoo Business Listing will require you to pay 9.95$ every month to allow you to include pictures, which could be important depending on the type of business you run. They also offer the option of paying 29.99$ every month. Choosing this option is recommended because Yahoo’s employees will then include your business in about 40 other local business listings as well, thus saving you some time.

Facebook Business is also highly recommended because many people are using Facebook to find businesses in their area, even if you are mostly doing business with baby boomers. Unlike other business listings, this one not only makes it easy for potential customers to call you, but it also makes it easy for them to message you, if that’s their preferred way of doing business.

Of course, these five sites are just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t stop there and try to include your business in as many local business listings as possible (even if you’ve paid for Yahoo Business’ 29.99$ option). Taking the time to do so means that you’ll have less time to dedicate to running your business, but in the long run – it’s definitely worth it.

logistics professionals

5 Tips for Supply Chain & Logistics Professionals

How can supply chain and logistics professionals continue to survive in the business now and in the future?

As technology continues to evolve, the business environment is also changing. To stay in business, supply chain and logistics professionals need to adapt fast, invent, and solve problems in order to survive in today’s competitive business world.

In this article, uk.superiorpapers.com shares five tips to help supply chain and logistics professionals survive in business now and in the days to come.

Let’s get started.

 

Get a Serious Partner

It is said that no man is an island and that no man can stand alone. Similarly, in business, a company that works with a serious logistics partner will have high odds of withstanding lows and taking up opportunities when they arise.

According to Nerdywriters, these days’ customer needs are not easy to predict, and companies need to find a great logistics partner who can offer solutions to customer problems.

Working with a great logistics partner, companies will be able to get guidance when joining new global markets, predict any business dangers before they can hurt the business, and find solutions to problems before they get out of hands.

It is, therefore, important for businesses to find logistics partners who are friendly, guarantee the quality of service, easy to partner with, and can provide extensive solutions to problems.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

With the competitiveness in the business environment, it’s not enough to take on challenges as they occur. As a supply chain and logistics professional, you need to understand that change must happen before it is triggered.

As you will see in velvetjobs, changes in the logistics have happened and are going to be happening every day even in the future. Therefore, companies need a strong partner who can guarantee sustainability today and in the future no matter what challenges occur.

As James Longman, the author of academized reviews and papers owl reviews puts it, working collaboratively and innovatively can help companies develop new and more efficient approaches to lower costs and add value. In addition, a strong partner will help their clients to stay ready for future changes in the sector.

Create a Strong Relationship with Colleagues outside Your Industry

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in supplier quality, logistics, procurement or whichever field you are; supply chain is aimed at making a product accessible by customers.

For that reason, creating and sustaining a strong personal and professional relationship with colleagues in other sectors such as manufacturing, product development, finance, and engineering will boost the effectiveness of a supply chain team.

Find time to build a close relationship even if it means having short discussions once a week.

Mentor Others

As aussiessay.com puts it no one can master a skill by learning and reading but you can become an expert by teaching others. Identify your exceptional supply chain, knowledge, abilities, and tools you have that can be helpful to others in your team and start mentoring them. 

They say if you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together. Unless you want to go alone, the best thing to raise your team’s collective performance is to train and encourage them in something you know.

Don’t Stop Reading

Learning never stops, it stops when we die and who knows there could be learning after death but this is something that cannot be established. However, if you want to continue to survive in business today and days to come, you must read and expand your knowledge.

According to best paper writing services when it comes to reading, don’t limit yourself to books only, there are plenty of audio materials out there you can listen to even when on the go. Just make sure you read every day even if just for 10 minutes.

Get Certified

Attaining an industry certification is also a great way to invest in your professional education. Getting certified does not only open you to greater opportunities in the workplace but also helps to drive value to companies.

Besides being industry certified, keep learning. Explore every possible avenue that puts you and your company up for success.

Write down Your Goals and Revisit Them Every time

Supply chain and logistics professionals at Assignment helper, a firm that offers assignment help to students argue that to make sure you are working toward achieving your goals, write them and keep them in a visible place (your desk is the best place to write down your goals so that you can see them every time you are working).

Life is busy and for supply chain professionals, it can’t be better and accomplishing sizable strategic initiatives that aren’t laid down can be tricky.

Set goals for the first 60 to 90 days of the year and revisit them regularly. This way, you will not wander when working on achieving your goals and in the end, you will celebrate the results.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. And the list is not comprehensive. These are just a few of the effective tips for supply chain and logistics professionals. Since the industry is extremely dynamic and evolving fast, every key player needs to stay updated on the latest trends and development.

foreign trade zones

FOREIGN TRADE ZONES, PORTS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FORCES CREATE AMERICAN SUCCESS STORIES

The U.S. Foreign Trade Zones Board’s Annual Report to Congress is bullish on FTZs, finding that after several years of decline in zone activity largely related to a downturn in the petroleum sector, strong increases in all major categories were logged in 2017, the last year for which data are available.

Foreign trade zones provide economic incentives to companies importing or exporting international goods. Duty-free treatment is accorded to items that are re-exported, and duty payment is deferred on items sold in the U.S. market, thus offsetting customs advantages available to overseas producers who compete with producers on American soil.

Businesses can use FTZ space a variety of ways, including warehousing and distribution of non-ferrous metals for sale on the London Metal Exchange, warehousing spirits and alcohol and storing vehicles before they are sold in the domestic marketplace.

The value of merchandise received at America’s FTZs increased by 9.6 percent in 2017, to $669.2 billion, according to the report that was presented to Congress this past December. Merchandise received at warehouse/distribution operations increased by 15.5 percent, to $259.1 billion, while that received at production operations increased by 6.2 percent, to $410.1 billion.

Foreign-status inputs to FTZs increased by 11.2 percent, to $250.6 billion, and the value of FTZ imports accounted for 10.6 percent of all goods imported into the U.S. in 2017. The majority of merchandise admitted to FTZs (63 percent) is of domestic origin. The value of exports from America’s FTZs increased by 15.1 percent in 2017, to $87.1 billion, which represents 5.6 percent of the value of all goods exported from the U.S. Exports from FTZ production facilities accounted for two-thirds of all exports from FTZs. Employment at America’s 191 active FTZs increased by approximately 7 percent in 2017, to a new record of 450,000 workers at 3,200 firms that used FTZs during the year.

“The FTZ Board’s latest report confirms that the program continues to be a vital component of America’s trade policy,” says Erik O. Autor, president of the National Association of Foreign-Trade Zones (NAFTZ), which boasts 650+ members. “The competitive advantage for companies operating in an FTZ has enabled them to boost exports and employment, continuing their strong recovery from the recession.”

The Trade Partnership, a Washington, D.C.-based trade research firm, in February provided case studies on the success of FTZs as part of an NAFTZ-commissioned report. “This study measures, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the economic effects of FTZs on the communities in which the zones operate, which we refer to as Zone Economic Communities (ZECs),” states The Trade Partnership introduction to the research, which examined the economic impacts of FTZs in community employment, wages and value added. 

The study concluded the economic impacts of the U.S. FTZ program on communities in which FTZs are located are positive,” The Trade Partnership President Laura M. Baughman said during NAFTZ’s annual Legislative Summit in Washington on Feb. 12. “Many companies have the option to operate inside or outside the United States,” she noted. “They will make that decision based in part on the relative costs of doing business in the United States or abroad. To the extent the Foreign-Trade Zones program can provide positive financial reasons for a U.S. location, it should merit the support of U.S. policymakers.”

“We are very pleased that The Trade Partnership’s analysis has concluded that the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones program has demonstrable positive economic impacts on the communities in which FTZs are located,” says NAFTZ Board of Directors Chairwoman Eva Tomlinson, who is also director of FTZ Solutions for UPS Trade Management Services Inc. “These real community impacts are in addition to the value that U.S. firms realize from using the FTZ program.” 

The survey included some individual success stories that follow:

FTZ-38 

(Spartanburg, South Carolina; Inland Port Greer; Port of Charleston) 

BMW broke ground on its first American automobile factory in 1992 in Greer, South Carolina, and the first cars rolled off the line in 1994. Before the German automaker’s arrival, Spartanburg was a ghost town of former textile plants and roughly 60,000 lost manufacturing jobs. BMW’s investment in South Carolina changed all that. Today, BMW employs more than 10,000 workers and produces around 400,000 vehicles annually, more than 70 percent for export to 140 global markets (with China the largest foreign destination, followed by Germany). Inputs imported by BMW duty-free under the FTZ program supplement inputs from 235 U.S. suppliers, 40 of whom are in South Carolina.

“As a consequence of this investment, BMW directly and indirectly adds $6.3 billion annually to South Carolina’s economy and leads to the employment of 36,285 people there,” says the German automaker. “The overall footprint in the U.S. is even larger, with value added by BMW of $15.77 billion and employment of 120,855. In each case, this includes both the direct contribution of BMW and the contribution via purchases of BMW and its employees that would not exist if BMW were not established in the United States.”

Earlier this year, BMW Manufacturing, citing Commerce Department data, said it led the U.S. in automotive exports by value for the fifth consecutive year. More than $8.4 billion in cars and SUVs were assembled in Spartanburg before passing through the Port of Charleston in 2018.

FTZ-154

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Greater Baton Rouge Port; Port of South Louisiana)

ExxonMobil is a leading example of a company making use of FTZs to import crude petroleum and process it into downstream products, mainly for domestic use in the U.S. but also for export. The oil company has three FTZ subzones in operation, two in Texas (Baytown and Beaumont) and one in Louisiana, where within FTZ-154, ExxonMobil operates a main refinery complex, a petrochemical plant, a tank farm storage facility and a plastics plant in East Baton Rouge Parish, a lubricants plant and a tank farm in West Baton Rouge Parish and the Sorrento Salt Dome in Ascension Parish. The company employs more than 6,600 employees and contractors in the Baton Rouge area, with payroll totaling $491 million.

Despite the exemptions from state and local ad valorem taxes made possible by the FTZ, ExxonMobil’s activities in the Baton Rouge generate millions in annual state and local tax revenue, from property taxes ($33.2 million in East Baton Rouge alone in 2015), to direct sales taxes ($26.3 million in East Baton Rouge), to other state and local taxes (more than $100 million, after credits and rebates). According to a 2017 study, one out of every eight jobs in the Baton Rouge area can be traced back to ExxonMobil. 

FTZ-26

(Newnan, Georgia; Georgia Ports Authority; Port of Savannah)

Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. of America (YMMC), which has corporate offices in Cypress, California, and Kennesaw and Marietta, Georgia, decided in 2011 to take advantage of more efficient production that would result from a centralized location, including one that benefits from the efficiencies offered by the FTZprogram. Thus began the transfer of nearly all YMMC mid- and large-engine ATV production from overseas facilities to Newnan, Georgia. Yamaha directly employs about 3,400 workers in the U.S., but more than 2,000 of them are in Georgia alone, with approximately 1,600 within FTZ-26.

Newnan’s factories spend over $170 million annually at more than 100 U.S. parts suppliers, 30 percent of which are located in Georgia. By 2018, Yamaha had invested more than $354 million in its Newnan facility, with that spending rippling through the local community and beyond. Meanwhile, savings YMMC reaps within FTZ-26 have been fed back into the local community, including Yamaha-sponsored environmental projects for schools, youth character-building initiatives, scholarships for high school students and support for local teachers. 

FTZ-86

(Tacoma, Washington; Northwest Seaport Alliance; Port of Tacoma)

Helly Hansen imports from Asia specialty water-resistant cold weather apparel and footwear for professionals working in extreme environments. The Helly Hansen brand had a strong presence in Canada when its Norwegian owners looked to expand beyond the Great White North to all of North America. Savings afforded by the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone program tipped the scales in favor of making Auburn, Washington, which is within the Port of Seattle’s FTZ-5, the location for Helly Hansen’s U.S. warehouse in 2011.

Four years later, growth spurred the need to open a bigger warehouse and a location was found within the Port of Tacoma’s FTZ-86, where all operations consolidated. About 55 percent of Helly Hansen’s imports into Tacoma are re-exported to Canada, and the company pays no duties on those products. It does pay U.S. import duties on products destined for the U.S. market, when they exit the FTZ for U.S. sale, but while products wait at the warehouse, the company saves money from deferred duty (the value of tighter cash flow and reduced interest costs) and reduced processing fees. The Canadian Tire Corp. purchased Helly Hansen in 2018, and the company now employs 103 people in Tacoma, up from about 50 in Auburn in 2011. Indirectly, the company supports jobs at the port processing 400-500 containers a year, containers that would otherwise go directly to Canada. 

FTZ-18 and FTZ-45

(San Jose, California; Port of Oakland; Portland, Oregon; Port of Portland)

Fremont, California-based Lam Research Corp., a global supplier of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to semiconductor manufacturers around the world, creates, assembles, repairs and distributes equipment within San Jose’s FTZ-18 (since 2010) and Portland’s FTZ-45 (since 2016). Around 6,000 employees work in zone-based activities. Components and materials sourced from abroad are admitted free of duty under the FTZ program; those duties would otherwise range from zero to 10.7 percent. Lam estimates that program benefit alone saves the company a significant amount of its import costs. But the FTZ has also helped Lam manage fluctuations in supply chain and international trade. The company has poured zone savings into research and development throughout the U.S.

FTZ-25

(Oakland Park, Florida; Port Everglades)

ProdecoTech, which makes electric bicycles that retail for $1,000 to $5,000 each, was founded in 2008. It would not now employ about 100 people in Oakland Park, Florida, were it not for the FTZ program. ProdecoTech bikes used to be finished abroad, but that changed in 2015, when the company began taking components imported from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere in the U.S. to assemble the rides in Oakland Park.

Thank the benefits from being within FTZ-25, which allowed ProdecoTech to avoid paying import duties that can range up to 10 percent. Keeping final assembly stateside as opposed to overseas is now saving the company about 4 percent per bike. And that has allowed ProdecoTech to sell goods 30 percent below what its competition charges. Because American workers are doing the assembly, ProdecoTech has a tighter rein on quality control. 

FTZ-272

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Port of Philadelphia)

Piramal Critical Care Inc. was a U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturer that could no longer compete paying tariffs on imported inputs while its foreign competitors shipped finished products here duty free. That put a target on the jobs of 95 employees in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where they manufactured and distributed inhalation anesthetics from chemicals and other materials sourced from abroad, primarily India.

After toying with eliminating 70 high-skilled positions and moving production abroad, Piramal launched a Hail Mary by applying for FTZ benefits in 2012. The application was approved, and it has saved Piramal hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in duties. Not only was the company able to stay in Bethlehem, it went on to add even more jobs, modernize its facility and increase capacity three-fold. Piramal today employs about 120 workers and exports to more than 100 countries. 

FTZ-176

(Rockford, Illinois; Port of Rockford)

UniCarriers Americas, which was previously known as Nissan Forklift Corp., sought approval to manufacture rider-type forklift trucks in Rockford, Illinois’ FTZ-176 in 2005. Imported components, which accounted for about 48 percent of the finished forklift truck’s value, were charged duties as high as 9 percent. After contending FTZ benefits would improve UniCarriers’ competitiveness in export markets, the company won approval in 2006. That has gone on to save UniCarriers about $2 million a year, according to the company, which adds employee time spent on handling and filing documents daily for U.S. Customs and Border Protection was eliminated. That’s a win-win when you consider a booming U.S. economy and e-commerce have created strong demand for forklift trucks.

Fortunately, UniCarriers has redirected some duty savings into adding space and employees as well as funding training for a workforce operating ever more sophisticated new equipment. Whereas many manufacturers are replacing workers with robots, UniCarriers is retraining and redeploying employees to work and train alongside automation, according to CEO and President James J. Radous III. He cites figures that show UniCarriers has increased its automation capabilities by 50 percent while doubling its number of employees from about 300 to 600 over the past five years. 

The preceding were the success stories cited in The Trade Partnership report, but there are also other foreign trade zone success stories out there that include the following:

FTZ-84

(Houston, Texas; Port Houston)

FTZ-84 was on a roll in 2017, adding 13 companies, which is no surprise when you consider the Houston region’s rapid growth. As a result, more large importers and exporters are taking the advantage of the financial benefits of using FTZ-84.

One company reaping such benefits is Houston-based Dixie Cullen Interests, which specializes in steel, machinery and other industrial materials. “We are excited about the opportunity that it has opened up for us,” says Dixie Cullen’s President Catherine James. “And we know that Port Houston is where we need to be.” That’s especially true when you consider Port Houston, which owns or operates eight terminals, has committed to invest $1 billion-plus during the next several years in expansion and improvement projects. About two-thirds of all containers in the U.S. Gulf move through Houston, whose port is one of the world’s largest.

FTZ-87

(Lake Charles, Louisiana; Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance; Port of Lake Charles)

The five parish area bordered by Southeast Texas and the Gulf of Mexico is anchored by Sulphur and Lake Charles, where companies from the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia have staked claims in industrial growth expansion totaling $97 billion.

An extensive rail network makes its way through Southwest Louisiana with Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern servicing the area. Interstates 10 and 210 service a combined 100,000 motorists a day and complete routes between America’s Pacific and Atlantic Coast. And Lake Charles Regional Airport is served by United Airlines, whose hub is in Houston, and American Airlines with its Dallas/Fort Worth hub. But the region has more going for it than simply location, according to George Swift, CEO and president of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Our people and companies are making history,” he says. “Each day that passes, companies from across the globe are calling to learn about development and expansion possibilities while others call about the tens of thousands of temporary and permanent jobs that are going to be generated by industrial expansion.”

FTZ-74

(Baltimore, Maryland; Baltimore Development Corp.; Port of Baltimore)

FTZ-74 is one of the most active and largest zones in the United States, which is fitting considering the Port of Baltimore is among America’s 10 busiest ports. With merchandise such as cars, paper and steel, total FTZ-74 international revenue rose from $44 million in 2016 to more than $396 million in 2017, a whopping 800 percent increase! The total value of shipments through Baltimore’s FTZ was more than $19.9 billion in ’17. That only figures to rise as Maryland recently approved a contract to complete the fill-in of a wet basin at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore’s Fairfield Marine Terminal.

That project will create more land to help handle the port’s surging auto and roll on/roll off (farm and construction machinery) cargo. Among those as pleased as a Baltimore Bang cocktail over this development is Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “The Port of Baltimore is the number one auto port in the nation and continues to break cargo records every month,” Hogan says. “Our administration is committed to furthering this growth and strongly supports our great port and its thousands of hardworking men and women handling the millions of tons of cargo coming in throughout the year.”

FTZ-196

(Fort Worth, Texas; AllianceTexas; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)

Known as the Alliance Foreign-Trade Zone, FTZ-196 in North Fort Worth sees more action than any other general purpose FTZ in the country. AllianceTexas is a 17,000-acre, master-planned community anchored by the world’s first industrial airport. Also within its boundaries are the Alliance Global Logistics Hub, Circle T Ranch, Heritage, Alliance Town Center, Saratoga and Monterra Village projects. A total of 265 companies that have created more than 30,000 jobs. Among them are Cinram, Hyundai, LEGO, Motorola, GENCO ATC, Callaway Golf and Alliance Operating Services.

Since its inception, AllianceTexas has generated a $40.65 billion economic impact for the North Texas region. Steve Boecking, vice president of Hillwood Properties, the Perot company that developed the Alliance brand, says of the $4 billion in annual FTZ-196 imports: “Regional efforts to strengthen international relationships and to build new global trade partnerships have also resulted in an increased volume of foreign goods being shipped through North Texas.” 

THE POWER OF POSITIVITY

The National Association of Foreign Trade Zones study found the following positive economic measures when examining each of 251 Zone Economic Communities (ZECs) to determine the impact of foreign trade zones:

-Employment, wages and value-added increased in the broader zone community following the establishment of an FTZ. Those gains are the greatest in the early years for employment and wages, and throughout the period for value added. This increased economic activity is also evident once a decision is made to form an FTZ.

-The establishment of an FTZ caused a positive increase in employment growth in the surrounding ZEC (up 0.2 percentage points), wage growth (up 0.4 percentage points), and value-added growth (up 0.3 percentage points), typically eight years and later, after establishment of the FTZ. The impacts begin sooner, in years six and later, for wages and value added in small- and medium sized ZECs.

-Company access to FTZ benefits had a substantial ripple effects through the companies’ supply chains, which are typically located nearby. 

Downloaded the complete report at www.naftz.org.

geopolitical

How to Successfully Conduct Global Business During a Time of Geopolitical Instability

The way organizations approach global commerce is undergoing a radical change. Geopolitical instability is slowing growth in a volatile global economy as organizations are forced to adapt their tactics, making complex decisions that increase operational costs and, if mishandled, make them less competitive in an unforgiving business landscape. So, what can organizations do to navigate this ‘new normal’? As an association whose members deal with small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the local level on a regular basis, we at the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) released our second annual WTCA Trade and Investment Report: Navigating Uncertainty, in partnership with FP Analytics. The report focuses on how cities around the world are optimizing trade and investment opportunities despite challenges, both economic and political, and how SMEs benefit from these strategies

The report shows that the majority (83%) of business leaders interviewed believe that global economic uncertainty will stay at its current elevated levels (30%) or get worse (53%) in the coming year. However, 69% of business leaders polled are cautiously optimistic about the coming year, as the report shows that resilient cities—defined as those that outperform their countries during economic downturns—have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a percentage of GDP twice as high as non-resilient cities.

Despite their differences in location and culture, resilient cities have a set of commonalities that allow trade and investment to thrive. These characteristics include diversified economies and strong service sectors. In fact, resilient cities on average saw the share of services in GDP grow by 3.3% over the last five years; more than double the pace of non-resilient cities. Their populations are largely educated, with many inhabitants having college or other advanced degrees, as well as diverse, with higher rates of foreign citizens. On average, foreign citizens represent 11.6% of resilient cities’ populations, which is one-quarter higher than that of non-resilient cities. These cities also tend to have strong transportation infrastructures, including both airports and public transit options. 

Building Resilience 

The report also identified specific tactics used by resilient cities that organizations, including business and civic leaders looking to improve their own city’s resilience, can mirror. 

In resilient cities, key stakeholders are prioritizing direct diplomacy, meeting face-to-face to navigate obstacles created by regional or national governments. By cutting through political red tape, organizations have been able to create new meaningful relationships with each other and strengthen existing ties. The ability to engage in a direct dialogue creates efficient business interactions that are beneficial to all parties. For example, World Trade Center (WTC) Arkansas has organized multiple diplomatic trade missions with Mexico. As a result, its exports to Mexico are growing 3.6 times faster than to any other country. 

Cities are also proactively building programs to attract and retain skilled foreign citizens. For example, Twente, located in the eastern Netherlands, is evolving from a region focused on machine-building and textiles to one with an economy driven by high-tech systems. To retain young, skilled workers from across the globe, WTC Twente created an Expat Center that offers a range of services, including Dutch language courses, visas and work permits, housing, and support for families, as well as social events with the goal of enticing technically-skilled foreign workers and their families to integrate into the community for the long term.

Turning Obstacles into Opportunity

Economic turmoil affects everyone, but not always in the same way. For some, the current geopolitical reality presents opportunity. City leaders are adapting to these geopolitical changes and establishing themselves as cost-efficient and low-risk trade and investment partners to capitalize on the situation. FDI is being redirected towards these agile cities who have recognized the advantages created by this global uncertainty, and supply chains are shifting and realigning based on new benefits. Competition for FDI is escalating (global FDI slowed 27% over the last year, according to the OECD) and the private and public sectors need to work hand-in-hand to create attractive fiscal and tax environments, and institute policies that will attract business. 

Cities are also increasingly investing in both high-tech industries, and SMEs to ensure they are able to attract FDI at a time when this investment comes at a premium. These high-tech industries will lead to future growth and play a central role in the next industrial revolution. Additionally, partnerships with major research institutions are being used to create new technology and modernize existing tech. For instance, in Delaware, private agriculture technology or “ag-tech” companies have partnered with universities to pioneer better technology in seeding, pest management, antibiotic reduction, and biopharmaceuticals. 

SMEs are well suited to adapt quickly in the face of change and evolving economic realities, which enables them to capitalize on changing conditions. However, their size can prevent them from competing on a global scale. To combat this, programs that help SMEs move forward given limited resources can be critical in encouraging and nurturing growth opportunities. As an example, WTC Toronto created the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP), a six-week program that connects SMEs with export and business experts to train them on developing export plans fit for the global market. This program has now been adopted by several other WTC members in Canada, including Vancouver and Winnipeg. 

At the moment the global economy is relatively unpredictable, and increasing risks for businesses have made sound strategic business planning more difficult at a time when it is absolutely vital. Knowledge, preparedness, and agility are key traits cities and businesses need to acquire in order to achieve success and growth. Despite the prevailing conditions, with a strategic approach and tactics proven to increase resilience, organizations can optimize current trade and investment opportunities and set themselves up for success now and in the future.

To review the full 2019 WTCA Trade and Investment Report: Navigating Uncertainty, including commentary from WTCA Members, visit www.WTCAReports.org

Tech Mahindra Ltd. Opens O’Fallon, MO Location

M Property Services officially announced the addition of Tech Mahindra Ltd. to its WingHaven Development earlier this week. The technology-focused global company – which is specialized in areas pertaining to digital transformation, consulting, business reengineering and software solutions, now boasts an address on Technology Drive in the O’Fallon, Missouri region.

“Due to the many amenities throughout O’Fallon and the WingHaven development, we were able to invite a world-class tech company to open a facility within the city’s boundaries which would allow it to continue supporting world-class companies in O’Fallon, MO and numerous other large companies outside of the O’Fallon area,” said MPS Chairman Paul McKee, Jr. “So many of Tech Mahindra’s employees currently live in O’Fallon and WingHaven, so the location for the new technology center was ideal.”

As innovative solutions for micro services, automation, artificial intelligence, security, machine learning, cloud computing, big data, data and analytics, and blockchain serve as primary drivers behind the expansion, Tech Mahindra’s new 14,000-square-foot Technology Center also supports efforts in addressing the needs of customers.

“As part of our TechMNxt charter, we are committed to inspire our partner ecosystem, academia and employees to focus on innovation in next gen technologies and customer experience,” said CP Gurnani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Tech Mahindra.

“We believe it is our responsibility to invest in the local communities we operate in, and this is a step towards supporting increase in employability of future technologists, and delivering enhanced experience to our customers globally. We look forward to seeing the innovations that come out of this center as we develop real-world solutions for a digital future,” Gurnami concluded.

Five Tips for Streamlining Supply Chain Success

At the core of every successful business is a well-oiled, well managed system with an honest, strategic approach to operations and communication. Without these foundational elements integrated within supply chain management, the operational structure becomes even more unpredictable and scattered than what’s worth gambling. Furthermore, your company’s reputation can suffer from avoidable mistakes. The method of prevention is as simple as a high-level risk management evaluation.

An article from Supply Management (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply) titled, “Five Tips to Streamline Your Supply Chain” focuses on taking your operations and looking at what’s working, what’s not working, and what steps to take to ensure efficiencies are being made.

The article focuses on five priority areas that begin with reviewing the current situation through a high-level, but granular lens. This approach takes a bit of skimming and a whole lot of knowledge of the internal workings. Additionally, it takes some honesty. It’s okay to confront an inefficient practice as there’s always room for improvement. Rather than a “Don’t fix what’s not broken” approach, think of it as an “Optimize over settling” method, or as the article put it, “surgical action and further reduce costs and pass savings along to their customers,” (Supply Management).

Utilize the magic of data integration within each and every aspect of the supply chain data library. With digital solutions becoming more of an industry standard, this one comes as a no-brainer. Take the insights and hard numbers, integrate them, and provide an even faster delivery of information than before. Efficiencies do not come without some form of expedition and urgency. It’s about mastering the art of quality and quantity.

The integration of data is a great segway to the flip-side – data duplication. Try to eliminate this as much as possible and save the business from petty errors and confusion. Technology creates a new way for duplication to be managed by providing on-the-go options via mobile devices and real-time updates.

Keep up with the times, but respect the original system. Many data systems allow for merging, creating a seamless transition of information without re-doing the entire process. Businesses can  leverage the lessons from the past that spotlight customer needs, strategic trends, and industry success. Don’t let history repeat itself, learn from it.

Proactive versus reactive is another no-brainer on the list. When plugged into this mindset, businesses have the capability of providing customer needs before they are even identified, providing reliability and optimization.

Summarized, the strategic use of information and data integration combined with forward-thinking can make or break the near future of supply chain management.

To read the full article, visit: Supply Management

women leaders

Women Leaders Bring Diversity to Tech Companies

We need more women leaders in technology companies. Having personally experienced gender bias during my career, it’s hard for me to say this because the last thing I want to do is advocate for bias of any kind. The goal should always be to hire the best person for the job, and I don’t think having an x or y chromosome has anything to do with that.

However, when you look at the makeup of the workforce today, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than we need more gender diversity in leadership. Making a conscious effort to find and elevate qualified women, especially in tech finance roles, is a good place to start.

Women hold more than half of the accounting and auditing positions in the U.S., but just 12.5 percent of CFO positions in Fortune 500 companies, and only 11 percent of executive positions in Silicon Valley companies. The need in the tech industry is acute.

Valuable qualities

Despite the scarcity of women in leadership roles, there’s no shortage of research on how women leaders are enabling businesses perform better across a wide variety of metrics. Why is that? What are women leaders bringing to the table that’s helping them drive better performance?

I think there’s an argument to be made that those who have experienced bias—be they women or any other underrepresented group—are likely to have developed some distinctive qualities in response. Some of these qualities are particularly valuable in a finance leadership role in a tech company.

Strong financial leadership is every bit as critical to a fledgling tech company as engineering, sales, or operations. One of the most important things finance does in an organization is use data and analysis to help business leaders see things they might not see otherwise. These are the folks who keep you grounded in the world of reality, instead of the world of hope and hype. Timely, accurate, unbiased financial information is important to understand the realities of your business and make changes quickly.

Finance becomes even more critical as your business grows and founders are not involved in every funding meeting or sales call. The finance team needs to step in and apply data and analysis to operating, sales, and business development decisions.

Trial by bias

I think there are four qualities that make someone really good at finance; the ability to listen and learn in an unbiased way, to look at things from a lot of different perspectives, to stay calm in stressful situations, and to withhold a bias from analysis.

The biggest challenge to overcoming bias is ourselves. Most of us are unaware of what our biases are and may even see ourselves as unbiased, which of course is not the case. We all have biases. I believe people who’ve personally experienced bias are more aware it exists, even in themselves, and are better equipped to guard against bias creeping into their thought processes. If you haven’t had a lot of experiences with bias, it’s less likely you’re going to recognize it when it’s happening.

Women in finance, tech, or fintech witness plenty of bias. We are almost always greatly outnumbered by men wherever we go. In such settings, I am often aware that not only does the group perspective differ from my own, but that it also comes as a surprise to the rest of the group that anyone would see things differently.

In these situations, it can be very challenging to offer a differing opinion. You have to have courage, your facts down cold, and do a good job of listening and understanding other perspectives. All while acknowledging you’ve considered other points of view as you articulate your own. These are great qualities for a finance leader to have.

People who rise from groups experiencing systemic bias have excelled in the face of greater challenges. It’s a kind of trial by fire. They’re often high achievers, because succeeding under those circumstances takes more determination. You have to be so good that you simply cannot be ignored.

Twice as good

One study of applicants to fellowship programs in biomedical sciences found women had to be 2.5 times more productive than the men to be seen as equally competent. A 2015 paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research found black workers get extra scrutiny from bosses, often leading to worse performance reviews, lower wages, and job loss.

So, if you’re considering hiring a candidate from a group that has experienced bias, recognize the person sitting in front of you may have had to work harder, overcome more obstacles, and achieved quite a bit more just to be in contention for that leadership role.

I’m not saying the qualities that make for a successful tech finance leader are exclusive to women, or that all women possess them. Also, women are not the only group we should be making efforts to elevate. But they are the largest group, encompassing a whole range of demographic, experiential, and cognitive diversity, making them a damn good place to start.

If companies want to innovate and differentiate, they need to start thinking differently about their workforce. Challenge your ideas about how leaders look, speak, and act. Focus on the qualities that make a person good in a role. Just about every industry claims to be facing a talent shortage, but there are large pools of talent right under their noses that are simply being omitted. In the hunt for the next generation of talent, overlooking large segments of the population is going to catch up with you. I’m betting on it.

Karla Friede is co-founder and CEO of Nvoicepay, the leader in payment automation software for the enterprise

pension reform

Long-Awaited Brazilian Pension Reform Reopens Doors for US Investors Ahead of US Secretary Wilbur Ross’s Trip to Brazil

Nearly two weeks ago, Brazil’s House of Representatives approved, in a first round of voting, a long-debated reform of the country’s convoluted pension system. For the millions of Brazilians following the Reforma da Previdência (Pension Reform), this first round of approvals is a positive step forward and one that ensures a reasonable forecast for the estimated economic impact this will have on Brazil over the next decade.

But Brazilians are not the only ones who should celebrate the outcomes of this first round of voting. For US investors, the House’s approval of Brazil’s pension reform is a green light for far greater opportunities to come. Ahead of US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s trip to Brazil in the coming week, this move will also help the US evaluate how domestic reforms in Brazil can facilitate US-Brazil bilateral commercial engagement.

The Pension Reform, as it stands, is expected to help revamp Brazil’s costly pension system, bolster Brazilian public finances and bring budget numbers down to a sustainable level within the next years. More importantly, it will be a trigger for much-needed tax reform. Implementation of both pension and tax reforms would be a real turning point for the country’s economy.

Though Brazilians and investors are right to celebrate this progress, a number of additional hurdles lie ahead for the Reforma da Previdência before it is approved. Over the coming weeks, the reform will have to pass through a vote by the Special Committee, a second round of approvals by the House, and two rounds of approvals by the Brazilian Senate.

Nevertheless, for President Jair Bolsonaro’s economic team, headed by economist Paulo Guedes, this is a victory. Since Bolsonaro’s visit to Washington in March 2019, companies interested in investing in Brazil have kept their eyes peeled for concrete outcomes from Brazil’s new administration. This is one such outcome.

Does the Pension Reform solve all of Brazil’s problems? Far from it. The text itself is not perfect and can be (in fact has been) criticized, especially as it pertains to the benefits provided for different categories of workers. But despite its imperfections, foreign investors can take this step forward as a sign that the Brazilian government is committed to making difficult decisions to improve its economic circumstances. There is now an opportunity for Brazil to embark on a growth cycle.

Relying on the assumption that the reform will pass, the Brazilian real has strengthened in the past weeks. This will foster investments in the middle to long term. In addition, it is important to note the government has encouraged the expansion of actions related to the Investment Partnership Program (PPI) in an effort to create a more business friendly and less bureaucratic environment for foreign investors in several sectors of the economy.

Over the long term, in addition to opening a door to other relevant and necessary legislative changes, the approval of the Pension Reform shows Brazil’s commitment to implementing broader necessary reforms, a positive sign to the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) currently evaluating Brazil’s request for accession.

Along with the excitement around the approval of the pension reform text in the past weeks, Brazil can count on another recent victory: the signing of the Mercosur-European Union Agreement. After twenty years of negotiations, under the leadership of Mauricio Macri and Jair Bolsonaro Mercosur reached a final and comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union on June 28, sending a message to the world that Mercosur’s member countries are committed to the multilateral trading system and are looking to expand their trade relationships.

Today’s Brazil is open to investments and to competition; the US private sector should rejoice in these changes. The Brazilian House’s approval of the Pension Reform is at the heart of changes deemed necessary to reduce red tape and improve business performance in Brazil. As President Bolsonaro marks 200 days in office, investors should be ready to once again seize on the opportunities Latin America’s largest economy has to offer.

 

Renata Vargas Amaral is a Visiting Scholar in the Trade, Investment and Development Program at the Washington College of Law at American University. She is the founder of Women Inside Trade.

 Roberta Braga is an Associate Director at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council

 With Valentina Sader, Program Assistant at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council