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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Warm Christmas Greetings to Exportersblog Readers

Christmas Greetings to all readers of this blog wherever you are.  Since most of you are in the northern hemisphere I thought some pictures of warm flowers which we have flowering this Christmas might 'export' some warmth into your reading.
Thank you for continuing to read the posts I put up. On Thursday last I listened to a radio interview with the developer of the Read Write Web blog, Richard McManus.  For those who may not be aware this blog was developed in Petone, New Zealand - Richard is a New Zealander - and has just been sold for ca US$5 million.   Richard said that he was getting 5 million hits a month whereas Exportersblog is getting just over 800.  Although paltry in comparison, it very worthwhile for me, and hopefully for those interested in international trade.  I trust you will continue to dip in and see what I am thinking about and maybe in 2012 make a comment.
Certainly in New Zealand with all our political parties in the newly elected Parliament promising to grow the economy with 'export-led growth' - we can  expect  some new and exciting things to happen!?
I know that one of my presents this year is a Kindle - thank you to our American friends who have exported this e-reading technology around the world.  At the moment it is tantalisingly wrapped and awaiting Christmas morning.   It will be a Christmas of discovery for me - importing titles, getting used to the way it works, almost certainly sharing it with family for the first few days.  In one of my early posts for 2012 I will let you know how I have been getting on.
In the meantime try to keep warm and enjoy these summer flowers from my garden in Palmerston North.  Before Web 2.0 this kind of exporting was  much less frequent  - aren't we blessed with technological advances.
Best wishes to you all.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Chairs from Lower Hutt

What do the ZAF chair, the LIFE chair, and the Be chair have in common?   They have all been designed by New Zealand exporting company Formway which is based in Lower Hutt.

The New Zealand School of Export's file on Formway makes very interesting reading with three newspaper articles and one magazine article covering 2008-2011.  In the earliest article the furniture maker had just been awarded the Outstanding Individual Award at the Design in Business Awards.   The company had made a ZAF chair for Prince Philip and a LIFE chair for both Steve Jobs and President Bill Clinton.
The next year 2009 seems to have been a roller-coaster year for Formway with the Be chair winning the Gold Award at the Neo-Con trade show in Chicago.   But just a month later the newspaper article from 1 August reports that the Unemployment axe falls on Lower Hutt companies.  Formway was forced to shed 50 staff but decided to retain its design team.
This year in a survey article on 'design thinking' published in the New Zealand Listener (June 4), Formway features alongwith key NZ companies such as Gallagher, Pacific Aerospace, Howard Wright and Zeacom.   The author Rebecca Macfie reports that Formway's Be chair has generated $60 million in international sales since it was launched in 2009.
So what is this design thinking that had been so crucial to the success of these NZ companies?

The guru of design thinking is Tim Brown (Change by Design) and it is about using intensive observation - of customers and potential customers, work and social patterns, and global trends - to uncover latent needs, and applying teamwork, experimentation and expertise to figure out ways to meet them.

Creative design is becoming a key feature of New Zealand's export products and this blog has earlier posted on the innovatove lighting firm David Trubridge Ltd.

Formway's website is at: http://www.formway.com/ and is well worth looking at with two fascinating case studies.

The Be or Knoll Chair -  Image source: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/136/in-the-hot-seat.html

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Export Bank for New Zealand?

In the latest issue of the Exporter (November/December 2011), the Director of the New Zealand School of Export, Dr Romuald Rudzki floats the idea of an export bank for New Zealand.  He says:
'What we need is a comprehensive economic plan founded on an export-based economy.  One which includes all the essentials such as the use of the Superannuation Fund to invest in New Zealand export companies..., an Export Bank that has a different view than the ludicrously high interest rates of the Reserve Bank, more funding for NZTE both here and abroad, and major tax breaks for income earned overseas.' (p.43)

Dr Rudzki says that many countries have an export bank which specialises in support for the exporter.  Four  examples of countries that have an export bank are:
Turkey - Turk Eximbank at: http://www.eximbank.gov.tr/eng/
Malaysia - EXIM Bank of Malaysia at: http://www.exim.com.my/
USA - Export-Impport Bank of the the United States at: http://www.exim.gov
Vietnam - Vietnam EXimbank at:  http://www.eximbank.com.vn/

Since the private sector banks in New Zealand don't see a role for themselves in this area, Dr Rudzki suggests that Kiwibank could become the bank for exporters.   Food for thought for both government and the banking industry here in New Zealand....

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

IATTO Forum Chengdu, China 2011 - more

 Pandas at Chengdu – Photo by Dr Romuald Rudzki November 5, 2011.  A visit to the Pandas at the Panda Breeding Center was a lighter but enjoyable moment for participants in the IATTO Forum in Chengdu, China.
The Forum was very successful and the Chinese hosts at the Nordic International Management Institute ensured that the event was enjoyed by all (including the five banquet meals and displays of dancing).
Dr Rudzki found the programme very stimulating and when pressed for a highlight opted for the paper by Anu-Mall Naarits of the Estonian Marketing Institute entitled How to revolutionize exports? The case of Estonia.
The changes made in Estonia included a new programme with a 12 month long export training – the first three months being intensive.   

The key success factors for the programme were:

·         Media support for the programme
·         Passionate participants: companies, candidates, mentors, providers, ITM, & Enterprise Estonia
·         Speed of recruitment
·         Sense of competition
·         Used innovative recruitment strategy which set high expectations and used innovative training methods

The paper presented by Dr Rudzki at the Forum and written by him with Graeme Siddle is available in pdf format from the New Zealand School of Export website at: http://www.export.ac.nz/publications.html  

A brief report with photos can also be found on the IATTO website at http://www.iatto.org/Default.aspx?ext=1&objectID=85

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Koha - intellectual property

Koha is the name of the open-source library software developed by the Horowhenua Library Trust in Levin New Zealand.   It was given the name 'koha' because it was intended to be a 'gift' to any library or organisation that wanted to use it.  Koha is the Maori word for gift, donation or parting message.   This word is in common usage in New Zealand by both Maori and Pakeha and often it is used when we want to give a donation to help  fund an event being attended by the giver.  It is also used when staying on a marae or meeting-place to fund the expenses that have been incurred in the visit.
The essence of the word is that it is a gift - freely given and that is why it was chosen and used and also why it was not protected as a trademark.   The software has been exported and  is now used around the world.   In particular it has enabled libraries in developing countries to automate their collections and provide a better service to their people without the huge expense of other ILSs.
Now a US company Liblime has applied to register the word KOHA for computer software.  The Horowhenua Library Trust and other libraries like the New Zealand School of Export Library who use Koha face a battle to oppose this application.
There is a guest post on the Patentbuff blog which you can read here: http://www.patentbuff.com/2011/11/guest-post-how-koha-trade-mark-dispute.html  in which it is stated quite clearly that because the Horowhenua Library Trust has prior use of the trade mark KOHA in New Zealand , there is a good chance the Library Trust could successfully oppose the application.
You can also read Librarian Joann Ransom's plea for help here:  http://koha-community.org/plea-horowhenua-library-trust/
This is a classic case of Maori words being used in a way which is completely against the spirit or wairua of the word.   Of course it may also be regarded as a case of the ignorant exporter unwittingly giving away intellectual property because they haven't done their homework.
Let's hope that Liblime will try to understand this situation and like the American company which tried to market a beer called 'Maori King' will withdraw the application.   Colorado Brewery Funkwerks changed the name when they learned of the significance of their chosen name and the fact that there was indeed a Maori King.

Gilbert W. Ullrich - exporter

This year one of New Zealand’s premier exporting companies Ullrich Aluminium celebrates its 50th anniversary.   The company operates 43 distribution centres across New Zealand and Australia and exports to 23 South Pacific island nations.  It has two aluminium extrusion plants – one if Hamilton and the other in the Hunter Valley, Australia, as well as a small foundry in Dunedin.
The company is lead by CEO Gilbert Ullrich who believes that we live in an age of aluminium. Mr Ullrich has been an outstanding export leader.   He was a founder member of the Export Institute of New Zealand and participated widely in their activities – for example in their event programme for 1997 where he spoke on  The $100,000,000 issue.
He is widely regarded as a New Zealand business leader and in 2007 Gilbert Ullrich was listed as an “influencer” by Unlimited Magazine.  As far back as 1988, business writers were both writing about Gilbert Ullrich and his company and consulting him on the export trade and the economy.   For example Tom Hyde wrote an article in Metro August 1988 entitled The exporters: secrets of the new order which profiled Gilbert Ullrich and others.
One of his outstanding contributions has been to encourage international trade between New Zealand and the South Pacific.   He and his company have planned and supported trade missions to Pacific countries on a regular basis – this year visiting Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
He is the chairman of the NZ Pacific Business Council and his Annual Report can be read at: http://www.spasifikmag.com/nzpacificbusiness/  This gives an excellent summary of the kinds of trade activities he fosters.
This year he was appointed a member of the new Business Advisory Panel for the Auckland Council alongwith representatives of other export companies and business organisations.
 In acknowledging the company’s 50 years of success, he pays tribute to Ullrich’s 700 employees and mentions in particular the specialised export department which features multi-lingual staff. 

  • Dominion October 29, 2011 p.B1
  • Index New Zealand search (National Library of New Zealand) retrieved 22 November 2011
  • http//:www.ullrich.co.nz             

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Russia is (Just About) in the WTO

International Economic Law and Policy Blog: Russia is (Just About) in the WTO

The above post from the IELP blog highlights Russia's bid for membership of the WTO. It is worth remembering that countries such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada having all been members since 1995. New Zealand has embarked on negotiations for a free trade agreement with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and it will be interesting to see what effect Russia's membership of the WTO has on them. An update on those negotiations can be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website: http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/2-Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan/index.php

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Manawatu Gorge Landslip - Impact on Exporters

Since August business firms and other travellers have been inconvenienced by a huge landslip in the Manawatu Gorge near Palmerston North.   Logistics and transport operators have been particularly hard hit, especially those taking goods for export through to the Port of Napier.   An economic report last month showed that closures of the gorge since August had cost the region more than $2 million.
Vision Manawatu, the region's economic development agency, has said that those who use the gorge had suffered to the tune of about $62,000 a day.   The report was based on 500 trucks and 6300 other vehicles using the gorge each day.
It calculated lost productivity due to the additional 13 to 20 minutes of travel around the gorge via the Pahiatua Track or Saddle Rd, as well as extra fuel costs and expenses associated with drivers being on the road longer.

Although not visible in the photograph, the Gorge has the railway line to the East Coast on the other side above the river.   Fortunately this event has not affected the milk trains from Hawkes Bay to plants in Taranaki.

Photo courtesy of Nereda Corbett.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

IATTO Forum Chengdu, China 2011 - a great success

This is a picture of the IATTO statue which was unveiled at the Nordic Institute of Management in Chengdu, China during the recent Forum.

You can read more about the Forum at: http://iatto.org/default.aspx?pageid=292&siteid=1

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Greece and its exports

Over the past months the Greece debt crisis has loomed large in global economic news.   In a recent newspaper article by David Charter entitled Papandreou looks on the sunny side of German bailouts , a plan to set up a huge solar power project called Helios is briefly outlined.  If it goes ahead Greece will be able to export solar energy to Northern Europe.   This does raise the question in my mind: What does Greece actually export?

Trade in services is obviously very important with Tourism heading that list.  Greece’s main products exports are food and beverages, petroleum products, chemicals and textiles.   Its principal export partners in 2010 were countries of the EU: Germany and Italy.

What does Greece export to New Zealand?   The main products imported into New Zealand from Greece were plastics products, vegetable preparation products, aluminium sheets and fresh grapes.   Greece is 64th in the country rankings for trade with New Zealand with a NZD$44 million trade surplus in New Zealand’s favour for the year ended June 2010.   Export of goods from Greece to New Zealand has been growing steadily from NZ$12 million in 2003 to NZ$20.5 million  in 2010. 

Information Sources:
Charter, D. (2011) Papandreou looks on the sunny side of German bailouts. Dominion Post 28 September, 2011 p.C5
Global New Zealand – International Trade, Investment, and Travel Profile 2010. Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.  Available in pdf format.
Statistics New Zealand Infoshare database.
World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gr.html

Photo from the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Disaster for exporters - Container ship Rena

Source: http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/images/Incident-area/Salvage6-small.jpg.  Maritime New Zealand. (All images in the incident gallery are available for re-use.)

This photo shows the containers on the grounded ship Rena at a dangerous list.  A number of containers have already fallen overboard and have been washed up on beaches in the Bay of Plenty.

I had occasion last week to go to the local branch of Macaulay Metals - a New Zealand exporter of scrap metal based in Lower Hutt.   I asked the assistant who helped me how things were going.  It was quite an innocent question asked because I was interested in this exporting company.   He said:  'Well not too good - we've got three containers of metal on the stranded ship going overseas'.!

No doubt Macaulay Metals is not alone in having a precious cargo of exports already ruined either because it has fallen off the ship, or because the consignment is perishable and the containers are no longer linked to any power source.   The focus for Maritime New Zealand at the moment is to get the oil from the ship before it causes further environmental damage and once that is completed then to remove the containers that remain.

This sad incident highlights the dependence of New Zealand's international trade on maritime transportation.  When all is going well we tend to forget about the supply chain, and only in the case of a disaster such as this do we remember these vital links.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Steve Jobs - 1955-2011 Exporter and entrepreneur

Steve Jobs.  Photo by dfarber. Creative Commons licence non-commercial only.

Much has been written following Steve Jobs’ death on October 5.  Few if any of those writers have noted that as the developer of the i-gadgets – iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone – he was an exporter.   His ideas and the technologies he fronted have been sent around the world.  There are now so many other companies who are marketing and exporting these technologies.
In his obituary for Steve Jobs, Bruce Newman writes  that he ‘altered the landscape of popular culture’ in three areas: music, movies and computers.  Everywhere around the world, his influence through the ‘exporting of his ideas’ has been and still is felt.   Indeed he has changed our language with the introduction of the  ‘mouse’ at the time of the launch of the Macintosh in 1984.   And at the moment and probably for some time to come, the phrase ‘I’ve got an Apple’ doesn’t mean we have a fruit.
Many of us are familiar with his entrepreneurial beginnings in business, when he and Steve Wozniak started the Apple company and the Apple brand which has become synonymous with style and ease of use.  Steve Jobs was a model for all those who believe that export products should have a clear aesthetic in their design and be high quality products.
May he rest in peace.

Sources: Newman, B. (2011) Sun King reigned over Silicon Valley. [Obituary] published in the Dominion Post Friday October 7, 2011 p.B5
Rogers, C. (2011) He changed your world, whether you bought an Apple gadget or not.  Dominion Post Friday October 7, 2011 p.A1

Monday, 10 October 2011

IATTO Forum Chengdu, China 2011 - Why you should not miss this Forum

James Foley, current Chairman of IATTO has set out ten top reasons why you should go to China for the 2011 Forum next month:

  1. First time ever for IATTO to hold a forum in China.
  2. Outstanding professional development opportunities including insights into China, the global economy and trade, technology and trade, entrepreneurship, and case examples of firms expanding internationally.
  3. Over 20 leading speakers in international trade training, education, and promotion.
  4. Opportunities to visit Chengdu - one of the fastest growing and economically dominant cities in inland China. We will also visit the Xindo Industry Park, Furniture Park, and International Trading City. 
  5. Networking opportunities with colleagues from around the world.
  6. Get industry insights such as the Chinese solar industry and best practices in outsourcing.
  7. Better understand the unique challenges of trade training and promotion in emerging economics as seen from China, the US, and Europe. 
  8. Visit the campus of our host - the Nordic International Management Institute (NIMI).  See their beautiful new campus and learn about exchange opportunities with this growing university.
  9. A rare opportunist to visit the Giant Panda Breeding Center outside Chengdu - a 600 acre research and breeding ground where you will see these wonderful ambassadors for China freely roaming.
  10. Gain new friends.  Renew old friendships!
One of the reasons he lists is that it is on the campus of the Nordic International Management Institute (NIMI):

That seems to be a standout reason in itself!

Go to IATTO:    http://www.iatto.org 
and NIMI:          http://www.nimichina.com/

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Argentina - Quarter-finalist and its bilateral links with New Zealand

Argentina is another of the nations who are currently in New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011.  It is the only Spanish-speaking nation and the only one from South America.  The Argentinian flag is shown in the centre of this photo with England to its right.  Photo taken at the New Zealand School of Export September 2011.

 On Sunday 9th October the New Zealand All Blacks will play the Argentinian rugby team the Pumas, in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Auckland.

New Zealand and Argentina have a number of things in common: a temperate climate, an economic focus on primary products commodities, whale conservation, climate change and the environment, and of course a rugby playing heritage.

Argentina ranked 65th as an export destination for New Zealand goods and services with a trade gap valued at almost $70 million in Argentina's favour.  A large percentage of Argentina's exports to New Zealand are made up of Food waste and animal feed.   Over the period 2006-2008 short-term visitor arrivals (tourists) from Argentina to New Zealand increased to over 6000 in 2009.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has prepared an Exporter Guide for Argentina and this is available from the NZTE website at: http://www.nzte.govt.nz/explore-export-markets/South-America/Doing-business-in-Argentina/Pages/Argentina-country-brief.aspx  
You will also find this  by clicking here for the ELIS catalogue: http://ets.kohalibrary.com/cgi-bin/koha/opac-search.pl?q=argentina 
A number of New Zealand companies are actively engaged in Argentina and a list of a few is found on this page from the University of Auckland's Centre for Latin American Studies: http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/new-zealand-companies

Argentina has an Embassy in Wellington and New Zealand has an Embassy in Buenos Aires with a resident NZTE regional Manager for the Argentine Republic, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Bienvenido a Nueva Zelanda to all Argentinian rugby visitors and especially to any who are also exporters!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year 2011

Bill Buckley - Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 Photo: from Buckley Systems website http://www.buckleysystems.com/
On September 14th I posted on Entrepreneurship and referred to the Ernst & Young resource entitled Nature or nurture.   Included in that publication was a photo list of 'some of the world's leading entrepreneurs'.
It would be good to see Bill represented on the EY website or in one of their publications in the future.

Mr Buckley will represent New Zealand in the next stage of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition at Monte Carlo in France in 2012. More information about the New Zealand category winners can be found on the EY New Zealand site at: http://www.ey.com/NZ/en/About-us/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year.

You can also tap into interviews with entrepreneurs at:
http://www.ey.com/GL/en/About-us/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year/Entrepreneurs-on---Leadership and this includes Diane Foreman CEO of NZ based Emerald Group.

His company Buckley Systems Ltd situated in Auckland, New Zealand, manufactures precision electromagnets and almost all their production is exported - mostly to the US, UK and Japan. Congratulations!

Don't forget to use the label list for other posts on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship or use the Search facility - top left sidebar.

Monday, 26 September 2011

U.S. Trade Agenda

U.S. Chamber Applauds Senate for Advancing Trade Agenda | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Interesting to read this report with apparent clear support for free trade agreements. New Zealand is currently negotiating six agreements but I think it is fair to say we don't see this kind of overt support.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Namibia and its links to New Zealand

Bunting for the Rugby World Cup at the New Zealand School of Export 2011. Photo: 14 September, 2011, Graeme Siddle.   Namibia's flag is second from the right.  The blue stands for the clear sky, the Atlantic Ocean, water, and rain. Red is said to represent Namibia's people reflecting their heroism and desire for equal opportunity. And white stands for peace and unity, with green symbolizing vegetation and agriculture.

As a result of Namibia's participation in RWC 2011, there is no doubt that more New Zealanders will recognise Namibia's flag than before.   But how much do we know about that country in south-west Africa as international trade professionals.
Connections between the two peoples appear to be very few and in the period 2006-2010 there were fewer than 200 visitor arrival in each year.   This contrasts with with over 30,000 visitor arrivals in the 2010 year ended June, from Namibia's near neighbour South Africa.

In fact it appears that on a business level there have been more connections than we realise - New Zealand has had a role in the development of the orange roughy and other deep-water fisheries in Namibian waters, and we have been involved in the post and telecommunications reform and training.  These links are described in the Country Brief published by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and which is available digitally at: http://tinyurl.com/3jeobjy    This  Exporter Guide to Namibia was written in preparation for Namibia's participation in Rugby World Cup 2011.   So if you are a rugby fan and want information on Namibia's games you will get that here too.

Another resource which might be useful if you are a business person interested in Namibia is Doing Business in Namibia  published by The World Bank and International Finance Corporation and available from: http://tinyurl.com/3jvs9s5

New Zealand is represented by a Consulate in Windhoek, but is not represented in New Zealand.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Exportersblog Audience

I thought some readers might be interested in this map of our audience from the past 7 days screengrabbed at 10.00 p.m. NZT on Friday September 16, 2011.  As has been commented before, readers from the US and New Zealand outnumber all others.  The most popular topics change frequently and range across posts made in different years.
There have been very few posts specific to South America or Africa and this could be a reason for a lack of readers from those continents.   Language does not seem to have prevented European and Asian readers from viewing posts in this week.
One could draw a line across the map and with the exception of NZ, it might be deduced that reading blog posts on exporting and international trade topics are a northern hemisphere preoccupation.

Comments anyone?