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U.S. WINE INDUSTRY IS DROWNING ITS SORROWS OVER TRANSATLANTIC TRADE SPAT

wine

U.S. WINE INDUSTRY IS DROWNING ITS SORROWS OVER TRANSATLANTIC TRADE SPAT

Tipsy trade policy

The United States imported $6.5 billion worth of wine in 2018, equal to 17 percent of total wine imports worldwide. We like our Rioja from Spain, Bordeaux from France, and Italian Vernaccia as much as our California counterparts.

Instead of toasting, American wine importers — and the many businesses that rely on imported wine, from distributors to wine shop owners to restaurateurs — are protesting. Why? Because the administration was seriously considering raising tariffs to 100 percent on a range of imported Euro

pean products, including French, German and Spanish wine.

Imported European wines are already more expensive due to a 25 percent the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) imposed in October 2019. The wine industry is concerned that raising the tariff to 100 percent will cost thousands of jobs as the higher prices on European wines knock out a large chunk of the industry’s wholesale and consumer sales.

A drunken trade brawl

European wine is but a pawn in a decades old trade dispute. In October, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that Airbus, a European aerospace corporation and Boeing’s big rival, had illegally received over $22 billion in state-sanctioned subsidies. The WTO authorized the United States to apply retaliatory tariffs on as much as $7.5 billion worth of European exports each year until the subsidies are removed.

Under U.S. law, the USTR must review and possibly revise (maybe increase) or “rotate” the list of products subject to tariffs after 120 days, known as “carousel retaliation,” to ensure the tariffs are causing enough pain to induce a negotiated resolution.

Even if wine were spared a tariff increase in the aircraft case, a new front has opened in this trade brawl. In July last year, France announced its Digital Services Tax, a tax of three percent on revenues generated in France by a digital company, independent of where that company was established. The tax appears targeted at American companies like Google and Facebook and was denounced by President Trump. When it became clear France had no intention of backing down, the U.S. administration threatened tariffs of up to 100 percent on popular European imports — including wine.

Value of US wine imports

Friends don’t let friends retaliate

The U.S. wine industry is getting whiplash from the prospects of cross-retaliation in this trade war. The Europeans are also awaiting a WTO verdict on their case against Boeing subsidies that could authorize tariffs on U.S. imports. One-third of total U.S. wine exports, some $469 million worth, come from California shipping wine to the European Union, making it a prime target for retaliatory tariffs. The European Union could also decide to counter with tariffs in protest of the U.S. response to France’s digital tax.

Wine tariffs will not age well

An attack on wine strikes at the hearts of many. French and Italian wines alone account for one-third of the $70-billion U.S. wine market. The very biggest wine distributors may be able to afford to absorb the cost to remain competitive, but smaller importers and distributors will have a much harder time. The higher costs are passed along to distributors, drivers, specialty retailers, supermarkets and hotels, hitting everyone from the specialist Italian wine store to the French bistro that makes its margin on alcohol sales to the forklift operator in the warehouse. Wine sales also generate local and state tax revenue, particularly in states like Mississippi and Pennsylvania where the Liquor Control Board is the main wine buyer and seller.

In January, House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) and eight Committee Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer voicing their fears about the tariffs’ impact on small businesses in the United States. They project that even the original 25 percent tariff could cost as many as 12,000 American jobs. A 100 percent tariff could risk 78,000 American jobs.

The 106 bipartisan members of the Congressional Wine Caucus also got together in January to send their own letter to Lighthizer, urging him to leave wine out of the sanctions, emphasizing the potentially crippling effects on America’s $220 billion wine economy.

Risk to wine chain of 100% tariff

Reason to celebrate?

Last week, the USTR made a sobering decision not to raise tariffs on imported European wines as part of the carousel review.

The entire industry is breathing a small sigh of relief, even producers in California. They would be unlikely to benefit significantly from the loss of competition from European wines. Due to laws on provenance, it is literally impossible to produce Chablis or Champagne anywhere else but France, for example. And compared to numerous competitors across the world, American producers have higher labor costs and limited supplies that could not fill the giant hole in the U.S. market left by European wines. Instead it seems likely that lower-cost South African and South American wine would be the beneficiaries as the more economical switch. Tariffs are a lose-lose for the U.S. industry.

In Vino Veritas

The tariffs are not an end unto themselves. They are meant to raise the stakes and bring the parties to the negotiating table. European trade officials appear to be contemplating measures to mitigate the trade row. Officials in Washington state appear to be reviewing its tax incentives to Boeing. The United States is seeking an international resolution to the question of digital taxes and French economy minister Bruno LeMaire seems more interested to resolve the digital tax dispute with President Trump.

Meanwhile, the U.S. wine industry cannot raise a glass. They must continue to live with the consequences of the 25 percent tariff, which they say could cost as much as $1.6 billion in lost wages throughout the distribution chain.

As for American wine lovers, another terrible reality sets in. After the 25 percent tariff went into effect in November, U.S. wine imports from Europe fell by half over previous months. Over the same period, China’s imports of French wine rose 26 percent. If European winemakers can shift their export focus, they might avoid the U.S. tariff pain and grow their market share in emerging economies while U.S. wine drinkers are left to abstain or drown their sorrow over higher prices.

Let’s all hope the issue is resolved and tariffs removed long before Beaujolais Nouveau Day in November.

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Alice Calder

Alice Calder received her MA in Applied Economics at GMU. Originally from the UK, where she received her BA in Philosophy and Political Economy from the University of Exeter, living and working internationally sparked her interest in trade issues as well as the intersection of economics and culture.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

brexit

What’s Your Brexit Security Strategy?

Boris Johnson’s new Conservative majority is set to plow forward with leaving the EU on January 31st, 2020, however, what exactly does this mean for Britain’s logistics industry? K9patrol has put together this infographic highlighting concerns and possible issues with the logistics industry post-Brexit.

As we’ve seen so far, there still appears to be uncertainty ahead regarding Brexit, and this could impact logistics especially. With further disruption and delays, new regulations and potential diplomatic breakdown between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the EU, there does seem to be some very real threats posed to this particular industry. Cargo security, in particular, will be a major concern for many businesses within logistics because of goods that would otherwise be in transit may have a possibility of being sold on or delayed for long periods of time in foreign countries. The EU receives around 50% of our exports, so with this, e should take this possible risk very seriously.

We hope this infographic lays out potential future issues that this may bring, and with this better understand the key political decisions that might affect them and their business.

Any arguments made by the evidence in the infographic is incidental and do not reflect our political opinions as a business.

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Brexit Security Strategy?
Infographic: K9 Patrol

 

 

global trade

Global Trade: 2019 Wrap-Up and 2020 Forecast

Looking back at this year, 2019 saw a multitude of global economic growth disruptors from the escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China, to Germany’s manufacturing and automotive decline and Brexit.

Consequentially, global trade growth has almost come to a standstill, and while it’s not quite at recession levels, nearly every market and sector, as well as businesses within those sectors, have felt the impact of policies and decision making.

Even with the possibility that trade growth could rebound in 2020 to a modest 1.5%, economic policy uncertainty remains high and if it abates, it is likely only to do so to a limited extent into 2020. What factors are at play? Let’s take a look.

Trade war with China. Despite the recent conclusion of ‘phase one’ of a U.S.-China trade deal, uncertainty remains high. The underlying reason for the trade war is not resolved and is unlikely to be resolved soon either: it regards fundamental issues such as the influence of China on the global economy and theft of intellectual property. Although tensions may temporarily soften, as they seem to do now, we see no end in sight for the trade war with China and with the current administration in the White House for one more year, another rocky year is forecasted. The trade war alone is affecting no more than almost 3% of global trade — currently approximately $550 billion of goods — but it is sending a ripple effect around the globe from business investment to value chains and trade flows. If it expands to other economies in Asia and Europe, which is very possible, we could see an even more pronounced slowing in trade.

Brexit. The self-imposed economic hardship has caused much uncertainty and plummeting fixed investments in the business sector. With Boris Johnson elected to Prime Minister in the December election and Brexit a certainty come January 31, policy uncertainty has been lessened, but some will remain until a new trade relationship with the EU is shaped. While the clout of those favoring a no-deal Brexit has been diminished, a no-deal Brexit is still possible. If this occurs, it would throw chaos into supply chains across Europe.

Business insolvencies and market pressure. The U.S. is expected to lead the number of business insolvencies with a 3.9% increase in 2020, far above the global average of 2.6% expected next year. This is due to the fact that there’s been lower business investment, lower external demand (especially from China), and higher import and labor costs. Those sectors feeling the most pressure include steel, which is dealing with an overcapacity issue, automotive, and businesses dealing in aircraft, which have seen a 20% market share loss. U.S. businesses dealing in vegetable and animal products and agriculture won’t see any relief soon either, and all U.S. businesses that have typically relied on imports from China (as well as businesses in China relying on imports from the U.S.) are now facing higher costs, which are resulting in insolvencies.

Despite all the economic doom and gloom, there are a few bright spots. Indeed, the ‘phase one’ agreement between the U.S. and China provides at least hope. Moreover, the U.S. signed trade agreements with Japan, Canada, and Mexico, and a few countries, like India and China, which are pulling their weight with a 6% GDP growth rate, are providing some positive impact on the global figure as they continue to grow at rapid pace, that is to say above 5% per annum.

Further, the consumer outlook looks positive with household consumption in both North America and Europe ending on a high note, thanks to low unemployment. Unfortunately, this alone cannot support economic growth. Low-interest rates and the amount of money floating around the U.S. as well as Europe could give rise to turmoil in the markets and the economy – both pillars of global growth – and any detriment to consumer confidence could put the economy in a downward spiral, reversing the modest growth expectations set for 2020.

There is much at stake and a low likelihood of that changing for 2020. If economic and political developments continue to sour, economic growth could be hampered even more than it already is.

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John Lorié is Chief Economist at Atradius Credit Insurance, having joined the company in April 2011. He is also affiliated to the University of Amsterdam as a researcher. Previously, he was Senior Vice President at ABN AMRO, where he worked for more than 20 years in a variety of roles. He started his career in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. John holds a PHD in international economics, masters’ degrees in economics (honours) and tax economics as well as a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Uncertainty Over Brexit Leaves the B2B World in Suspense

When talk turns to Brexit, much of the discussion revolves around what will happen once the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. While the United Kingdom Parliament hashes out a withdrawal agreement, with Prime Minister Theresa May at the helm, the economy is already shifting in anticipation of… what? The trouble is, no one is quite sure. Even experts can only make educated guesses since their research hinges on the type of withdrawal the United Kingdom and European Union ultimately consent to.

Where Brexit currently stands – A high-level view

The European Union recently approved a second extension of the Brexit deadline to allow May additional time to forge a deal in Parliament and finalize the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union. While the new October 31, 2019 deadline offers some breathing room, it leaves the United Kingdom and European Union in an uncertain economic limbo for most of this year.

The spiderweb of potential events that lay ahead for the United Kingdom stem from two of the most likely outcomes:

-May passes her withdrawal agreement in Parliament by October 31st. If she succeeds, the United Kingdom can hammer out future trade deals with the European Union, to be expanded upon after the separation is finalized.

-May does not pass her withdrawal agreement by October 31st. This would mean the United Kingdom leaves with no trade deals in place, and very little room to negotiate ideal terms in the future. A “no-deal” situation has the potential to create lingering consequences, particularly at the border between Northern Ireland – which is part of the United Kingdom – and the Republic of Ireland, with the European Union.

While those in favor of Brexit are eager for a more economically independent United Kingdom, others hope that the withdrawal agreement will come with lenient tariffs, not just at the Irish border, but for trade across the United Kingdom and European Union. Unfortunately, only time (and an approved withdrawal agreement) will tell how the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and Europe continues.

What Brexit means for businesses in the United Kingdom

Politics aside, the United Kingdom has already seen changes to their market and businesses since the original Brexit vote in late 2016. The pound sterling (GBP), which dropped drastically after the majority of United Kingdom citizens voted to leave the European Union, remains weakened in comparison to the United States Dollar (USD). The approach of each Brexit deadline has triggered a slight drop in the market, followed by a recovery a few days after the granted extensions.

The GBP and Euro (EUR) have become tied to shifts in the political sphere, rather than the market. Companies are making financial decisions in anticipation of a plummeting currency values caused by Brexit.  Many banks have already moved their home offices  from London to various European cities. Healthcare facilities are stockpiling life-saving medicines in the event of a shortage. United Kingdom-based businesses are reducing their investments and employment opportunities. 

How will Brexit affect U.S. business with the United Kingdom?

With a diminished value for pound sterling, currency exchanges between USD, GBP, and EUR won’t be very attractive for a while, especially when considering the added per-payment fees charged by banks to transmit funds across international borders. Global businesses depend on stable markets to keep exchange rates as uniform as possible; someone will always be paying the difference, whether it’s the buyer purchasing more currency, or the supplier receiving a reduced amount.

Companies whose accounts payable teams have adopted payment automation into their processes can use their rebates to mitigate irregular exchange rates. Payment solutions that lower the cost of electronic payments through exchange rate transparency ultimately improve the buyer’s relationships with their suppliers.

Only one thing left to do

The United Kingdom and European Union are in a transitory stage – and that is an enormous understatement. The Brexit experience is genuinely frustrating because it has no precedent, so no one’s sure what will ultimately happen. Economic growth may stagnate for a while, but as with any market, where there are ebbs, there will be flows. The only thing left to do is what the United Kingdom already does best: “Keep calm and carry on.”

Alyssa Callahan is a Technical Marketing Writer at Nvoicepay.  She has four years of experience in the B2B payment industry, specializing in cross-border B2B payment processes.

Supply Chain & Logistics Summit and Expo 2019

It’s the 21st edition of one of Europe’s most bustling, highly-attended, logistics-centered conferences. Influential directors and C-suite executives provide valuable insights to attendees through a series of talks and workshops on topics including retail, pharma, manufacturing and brands.

With a focus on maximizing efficiencies and reducing costs with one-of-a-kind strategies, this year’s event will feature more than 80 industry speakers with more than 450 attendees gathering to network at one of the premier events in Europe. Known for bringing C-suite executives and high-level directors, the 2019 event is projecting 80 percent SVP and VP’s.

The Supply Chain & Logistics Summit and Expo will take place in Belgium at the Hilton Antwerp Hotel from September 24-26 and will represent more than 33 countries.

Send in your interest in registration for one of the most established events in Europe today. To review more information on this premier event, visit: sclsummit.com

Bremen Confirmed for Breakbulk Europe 2020

Bremen, Germany will once again host the largest event for the project cargo and breakbulk industry during the 2020 Breakbulk Europe event, according to information shared by ITE Group prior the upcoming 2019 Breakbulk Europe event that will take place May 21-23 in Messe Bremen.

“Breakbulk Europe returning to Bremen also in 2020 is great news for our location. Bremen ‘breathes’ trade and logistics, is one of the main breakbulk ports in Europe and therefore the logical choice as host of Breakbulk Europe,” Günthner said. “We are glad that we were able to convince ITE to come to Bremen for the third year in a row and to give us the chance to be a great host again for this wonderful show with more than 10.000 exhibitors and visitors.”

“We are delighted to be returning to the historic city of Bremen for the third year in a row,” said Nick Davison, Portfolio Director for Breakbulk Events, ITE Group .“Bremen has really stepped up its commitment to provide the services to support this event. In fact, the city will provide free public transportation on its trams and trains to make traveling between the venue, hotels, restaurants and popular tourist sites around town convenient to all participants.”

This year’s event will include more than 550 companies exhibiting and currently boasts an increase in visitor registration by 40 percent. Additions to the 2019 event include Hall 7 showcasing a Masters Arena and the Breakbulk Masters lounge and an increase in food venues and bars.

“Bremen can do ports and Bremen can do trade fairs. And that is why Bremen is the ideal partner city for ITE to host this outstanding event again in 2020,” Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports, said. “I am both pleased and proud that we will have the opportunity to be good hosts to the international port business once again. On behalf of everyone at bremenports, ‘Welcome to Breakbulk City!’”

To read more about Breakbulk Europe 2019, visit: europe.breakbulk.com.

Cold Chain Shipping Solutions Planned for IQPC Reveal

Softbox, a temperature control packaging provider, confirmed three new cold chain shipping solutions scheduled to be revealed at this year’s Temperature Controlled Logistics IQPC in London.

“We’re very excited to launch the Tempcell MAX and Silverpod MAX in Europe and unveil the Tempcell ECO for the first time. Bringing to market these new temperature control packaging systems signals a further advancement for Softbox. Our goal is to keep innovating and providing the latest technology and materials to our customers to ensure the cold chain is perfectly maintained during transportation.”

The three new pallet and parcel shipping systems all provide unique, one-of-a-kind features:

Tempcell ECO is 100% kerbside recyclable, made from recycled corrugated paper materials and is able to control different temperature ranges including 00C to 300C products.

Tempcell MAX is a single-use high performance PCM parcel shipper that maintains up to 96 hours of thermal protection while  incorporating a  SilverSkinTM radiant barrier enhancing thermal performance.

Silverpod MAX, is a high performance PCM pallet shipper that  incorporates PCM coolants that enable safe storage before and during shipping and has a SilverSkinTM reflective radiant barrier that enhances its thermal performance.

Two additional temperature control packaging systems are also scheduled for pre-launch at the event.

Source: Softbox

Foreign Trade Data Solutions Company Adds Germany Location

Trade Technologies, a global leader in foreign trade documentation software solutions, announced the opening of the second European branch office in Stuttgart, Germany. Trade Technologies currently has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Houston,
Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Singapore.

The company prides itself in its patented, cloud-based software solutions that securely streamlines sharing trade data and documentation for over 1,500 exporters, freight forwarders and international banks.

Additionally, the company’s outsourced trade documentation services grant increased visibility of other transactions involving foreign trade through real-time access and management.

“Europe is home to high-performing and fast-growing exporters, and Germany is a growth engine in Europe and we expect strong demand not only for our outsourced letter of credit services, but also for our entire TradeSharp platform,” said Kirk Lundberg, CEO of Trade Technologies.

The company’s impressive list of awards and recognitions includes:

-One of the “50 Smartest Companies of 2016” in the Silicon Review business magazine

-Presidential E Award for Export Services from the US Department of Commerce in 2015

-CIO Review Magazine voted TTI one of the 20 most promising banking solutions in its annual list

-Trade Finance Magazine’s Best Trade Tech Solutions Company winner in 2012

-TradeSharp Software Platform and Process  Award

-Winner of the US Department of Commerce’s Presidential E Award for Exports in 2011- known as the highest possible US export recognition.

 

Source: EIN Presswire

 

 

Leadership Shifts to Support Global Logistics Expansion Efforts

Increasing growth in Europe and India is the primary driver behind recent leadership changes for the global innovation and provider of temperature control packaging for life science and logistics company, Softbox.

Kevin Valentine will now hold the title of General Manager for Softbox Europe and brings with him over  25 years of industry experience, specifically pertaining to the leadership experience in the science and production of advanced temperature controlled packaging solutions and thermal covers for pharmaceuticals. Valentine will focus primarily on quality of innovation and client services in his new role.

Additionally, Dharmesh Chauhan, who will report directly to Valentine, will take on the role of Sales Director for Softbox Europe. and will provide support to the newly-combined Softbox and TP3 Global sales teams to further efforts of temperature control packaging and thermal cover portfolios for global pharmaceutical customers.

A third player in the industry, Dinesh Patki, will lead efforts towards growth with the full integration of TP3 Global/CLI and Softbox in India through his role as General Manager of Softbox India. Patki provides strong relationships with the Indian market that will assist in the expansion of company growth in the region.

 “Kevin, Dharmesh and Dinesh are very experienced industry leaders and I’m delighted to welcome them in their new roles within the Softbox leadership team,” Wayne Langlois, President at Softbox, said.  “By leveraging the best possible talent from within our organisation, it enables us to integrate and grow Softbox to further growth success.”

Source: Softbox Systems