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August 2010

Euro -  US Dollar development

The European rescue plan supports and strengthens the Euro

Despite all credit problems from countries like Greece and Portugal the Euro gains almost 10 Cent towards the US Dollar in July. Germany and parts of Europe recover faster than expected from the recession.

At the same time American economists cut U.S. growth forecasts and fear to fall back into recession.

A strong Euro helps US based companies to grow sales in Europe.

Now is the perfect time to consider entering the EU market and grow your business successfully. The economy of the European Union generates a GDP of over €11,805.66 billion ($16,447.26 billion in 2009), making it the largest economy in the world.

May 2010

European Union

European Union:  E-commerce trends and potential cross-border obstacles  

Some of todays barriers to cross-border online trade relate to language, demographics, individual preferences, lack of trust, missing business development solutions, technical specifications or standards, internet penetration or the efficiency of the postal or payment system. 33% of EU consumers say they are willing to purchase products and services in another language, while 59% of retailers are prepared to carry out transactions in more than one language.

While e-commerce is taking off at national level, the recent trade statistics show that it is still relatively uncommon for consumers to use the internet to purchase products or services in another Member State.

However, as more and more consumers have access to the internet to conduct their day-to-day operations, the cross-border obstacles they face will be more and more difficult to justify in the face of mounting frustration at being unable to access the goods and services of their choice.

Consumers also lack comparable information in order to make cross-border comparisons and to identify cross-border offers: few cross-border comparison websites exist, default settings may skew search results in favor of domestic offers, and there is little crossborder advertising. It is also difficult for consumers to identify which traders are reputable, as many well-known brands are unknown outside their home market. Offering a local phone number and/or a local contact address could help to gain trust. Despite the existence of national trust-marks, it has not been possible to achieve a sustainable EC-wide trust-mark.

At the same time, most companies now have a website that is visible to consumers everywhere, which means that they are likely to receive orders from customers in countries where they are not actively marketing their products and services. This creates heightened expectations on the part of consumers. As a result, internet retailing seems to have given a new dimension to the notion of ‘passive sales’ by fostering a borderless, increased visibility of commercial offers. How companies address this issue and whether they seek to limit or to engage with this phenomenon will be instrumental in setting the course for a more integrated online market.The right business development tools and solutions will ensure new market shares.

Cross-border e-commerce has the potential to enable consumers to shop around for better deals and can therefore increase the competitive pressure on prices across borders and in offline retailing.

Just as important is the potential for increased quality and choice, as consumers are able to obtain products or services not available in their own country.

Business attitudes may also be the result of perceptions rather than of actual problems, which suggests that there is more potential for an integrated online internal market than commonly thought. Eurobarometer surveys show that retailers with no direct experience of cross-border trade are much more concerned about the possible obstacles to the development of such sales.

Cross-border sales can be a fantastic opportunity for online businesses who do their homework. Working with a  business development company can be the right start into a new market.

March 2010

US Exports

US President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports and supporting new jobs start shaping up

Dealing with the biggest US trade deficit ever, US President Obama promised to help US companies to export their products and services outside the USA. The majority of US exports are so far done by larger corporations and mostly to Canada and Mexico. Facing more and more difficulty in the home market, exporting goods and services outside the US are a great opportunity for business development particular for small and midsize firms. The biggest challenges tapping into new markets are:

  • language barrier
  • allocating opportunities
  • finding and keeping customers
  • possible credit risk
  • lack of local presence
  • lack of business parters abroad
  • lack of business solutions

President Obama details administration efforts to support two million new jobs by promoting more US Exports.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a new National Export Initiative (NEI) to double U.S. exports and support two million new jobs. President Obama announced several steps the Administration is taking under the NEI to help U.S. firms expand sales of their goods and services abroad.

The National Export Initiative is focused on three key areas:

1. A more robust effort by this administration to expand its trade advocacy in all its forms, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises. This effort includes educating U.S. companies about opportunities overseas, directly connecting them with new customers and advocating more forcefully for their interests.
2. Improving access to credit with a focus on small- and medium-sized businesses that want to export.
3. Continuing the rigorous enforcement of international trade laws to help remove barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets.

more (source america.gov and commerce.gov)

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