What We Learned This Week - Global Trade Magazine
  March 6th, 2015 | Written by

What We Learned This Week

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That it’s fine to be your own best friend, just don’t expect to be surprised with your birthday gift, and …

Twenty Three Million’s Enough … There’s a lot to be said for the Chinese people, their industriousness, strength and willingness to embrace the new, all of which are just a few reasons so many companies clamor every day to have a presence there. There is another reason, of course: the presence of so many Chinese people. Lots and lots and lots of them, especially in the capital city of Beijing which has 21.5-million lots of Chinese. Too many lots for Chinese officials. Beijing Vice Mayor Li Shixiang announced Friday that officials will attempt to cap the city’s population at 23 million—about the size of three New Yorks—by 2020. There are some very serious reasons for this, the most serious being that the city has been living under a severe water shortage; Beijing is short 1.5 billion cubic meters of water a year. While it may sound easy to limit the population growth to 1.5 million over the next five years, consider that the city has already exceeded the original goal for 2020 of 18 million set in 2005.

Open Market … Was talking this week with the always-entertaining Gary LaGrange, CEO of the Port of New Orleans, for our annual “Pick Your Port” feature and when I asked what things excited him for the future he mentioned the end of the trade embargo with Cuba. Turns out, before the embargo went into place in 1962, New Orleans was Cuba’s biggest trading partner. The port remains the biggest exporter in the States but the amount of goods going out are rather limited, a pittance compared to what will start flowing once trade relations are normalized. As Gary put it: ““When the embargo is lifted, there isn’t a thing in the world that Cuba doesn’t need.” That was confirmed to us while chatting with a buddy after a meeting. He mentioned that he’s a classic car buff and once, during a visit to Cuba, saw a man working on a ’57 Chevy. Turns out the man was having carburetor problems, the main problem being that his carburetor was made out of wood because there wasn’t a real one to be found on the island. Our friend ended up sending him the carb he needed; Gary LaGrange can’t wait for the day when his port will do the same …