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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Frankfurt Book Fair 2012

Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 | Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This is great news for New Zealand's creative industries and the export of our creativity.
New Zealand will be the Guest of Honour at the prestigious 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair which is the biggest book and media trade fair in the world – with around 7,500 exhibitors from over 110 countries and nearly 300.000 visitors yearly. The Buchmesse or Book Fair site can be found at: http://www.buchmesse.de/en/guest_of_honour/

Monday, 29 August 2011

Posting milestone

Congratulations from Clarissa ! Exportersblog has reached 200 posts!  Photo: Awesome Pai Rawa Graeme Siddle 28th August 2011.   I am surprised and delighted that three and a half years and 200 posts have gone by since early 2008.   I was challenged to start a blog after having attended the VALA Conference in Melbourne, Australia.   The challenge remains to develop an active  readership community focusing on international trade topics and issues.

There is certainly no shortage of issues on which to post, so I hope Exportersblog will continue, and meet that challenge.  The most popular post has been the GoGlobal Post on Sept. 29, 2010 with 326 pageviews and it is continuing to be looked at! May 2011 had the highest number of pageviews overall at 570.
The blog that pleases me the most is one that so far has not had any pageviews - Pallets and International Trade posted on 19th August.   I was so pleased to find that there are blue pallets in New Zealand, that some of them have ended up in  Palmerston North and hopefully are playing a vital role in world trade.

Thank you to our readership over that time - especially all the American readers who look at the blog.    My compatriots are second in terms of total readers.  I do puzzle over the small numbers of people from Australia who look at the posts - 84 pageviews from Australia as opposed to 1,400+ for readers from the States.   Do Australians not blog?  Do they have obvious alternatives?  I have looked and can't find them.   There is My World Blog  from Miriam Feiler of Trade Australia and there is The VECCI Blog from Victoria which includes export and import topics.   It would be great to be put right if there is something we should know about.

I'm looking forward to the next 200 posts on international trade and hope to have your company from around the globe.

Friday, 26 August 2011


Tradeology is the official blog of the ITA International Trade Administration of the US Dept of Commerce.
American readers of this blog will I am sure be very familiar with the ITA blog, but Southern Hemisphere readers probably not.   From the blog itself we learn that:

The mission of the International Trade Administration is to create prosperity by strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promoting trade and investment, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. It says that it offers broad public access to a wide range of information, and  Blog.trade.gov offers the public an alternative source to mainstream media for trade information. This blog offers the opportunity for participants to discuss issues that impact international trade with employees of the International Trade Administration. 

There is a list of categories in the right hand sidebar covering a wide range of topics and I was delighted to see that there were over 60 posts on Trade Shows given my post of 24 August on that topic.   However there didn’t appear to be a category for Free Trade Agreements.  Only when I looked at the post on Chile for June 10, 2009 did I find that the post had tags for: free trade agreement, FTA and trade agreement.   In theory one should be able to find all the posts that had these tags but to date there were no other posts covering free trade agreements I guess.   The main ITA website does have a link for free trade agreements which takes one to the Trade Compliance Center website.   Here all the FTAs which the United States has signed are listed and are available (13 FTAs including two side agreements on environmental cooperation and labour cooperation). One of our North American readers may wish to recommend a better site for the US Free Trade Agreements. 

The blog is certainly up to date with frequent posts since April 2009.   I did find it difficult to get back to the most recent page, although one way is by using the Archives monthly list.   Essentially it is a US Government blog on which employees of ITA can post or engage in dialogue with the public and as such provides a careful and targeted service. 

 It has pushed me to look at some New Zealand blogs and compare them.  The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade blogs at: http://blogs.mfat.govt.nz/ are certainly very different and don’t appear to be categorized or tagged!   NZTE’s blogs are to be found at: http://blogs.nzte.govt.nz/ and they do have tags and a tag cloud.  FOOD and CHINA figure prominently in the cloud – what does that say about our country?  Again trade agreements are not covered.  This does give a real role for Exportersblog to post on this topic. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Trade Shows

Stall at a trade fair advertising and displaying the produce of Kiwi Bacon & Hams, 1930, New Zealand. Reference Number: 1/2-000261-G Photographer William Arthur Price. Dry plate glass negative. Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand. No known copyright restrictions.
Much of the material that is published about trade shows or trade fairs contain really useful information about the nuts and bolts of preparation and setting up.  And of course they stress the importance of this marketing technique for the exporter.    Few contain strategies for the actual intelligence gathering that will go on once the opening hoopla is over.

One short piece, from that goldmine of very useful information FUMSI,  written by Judith Binder outlines what she calls ‘elictation techniques’ (– from eliciting information.)   This is unique and useful material for the team going to a trade show.  Judith Binder’s piece can be found at:

FUMSI’s website address: http://www.fumsi.com/   and if you are looking for resources on trade shows, have a look at what the New Zealand School of Export has to offer at:

Monday, 22 August 2011


International Economic Law and Policy Blog: The International Economic Law of "Seasteading"

Here's an interesting idea published in the IELP blog! By the way this blog is a great place to keep up with what is happening over the Apples decision (New Zealand v. Australia) and the imminent entry of New Zealand apples on to the Australian market http://worldtradelaw.typepad.com/ielpblog/

Sunday, 21 August 2011

More on the TPP

There is a campaign afoot in the country at the moment asking the Government to withdraw from the TPP negotiations.   It has been printed on postcards for sending to Government members of Parliament and Ministers and asks that:

[the Government] put New Zealand's national interest at the heart of all trade and investment negotiations, rather than the interests of transnational corporations and the US government.  It states that:
The TPPA will among other things: undermine what little NZ has left in the way of nay controls of foreign investment; institutionalise the very same horrendous financial practices which led to                                                                                                                                                                         the global financial crisis; allow American corporations to sue the New Zealand                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         government in private international tribunals; attack Pharmac and drive up the cost of prescription medicines; make access to digital recordings more expensive and copying more restricted; attack our GE and tobacco controls and food labeling and food and appliance safety standards; and weaken our controls of food imports where they might carry disease.   The whole process is both secret and fundamentally undemocratic in the way in which it is being negotiated and then ratified by Executive decree.  

The New Zealand Herald newspaper in its editorial of February 22, 2011 describes such campaigns as scaremongering.   Its final paragraph is perhaps the most telling: 'Free trade agreements depend on honour, not enforcement.   That is all the more reason to reserve them for partners that want them, need them and can be trusted to keep them'.   Perhaps those using such a postcard campaign would agree - it's what is negotiated into the agreement which may not be honourable.

The editorial in the Dominion Post on July 23, 2011 sets out two of the issues in a more reasoned way i.e.: access to the US dairy market by our producers and the buying of drugs for the NZ health system by Pharmac.The Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser and indeed the Prime Minister have insisted that New Zealand will not sign up to anything that is not in the country's best interests and have signalled that Pharmac will be jealously guarded.   Perhaps New Zealanders would feel more comfortable about that if the negotiations were a little less secretive.

In a letter from the Office of Hon Tim Groser, Minister of Trade dated 15 August 2011, he writes in response  to receipt of one of the Red Cards:

In light of the high level of public interest in TPP, MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) is also looking at options for making more information available, including producing information papers on key issues and a regular column by TPP negotiators.   Officials will continue to undertake stakeholder consultation, and in the meantime regular updates on the progress of the negotiations will be provided on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website http://www.mfat.govt.nz

Looks like the curtains are opening slightly.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Pallets and International Trade - some thoughts

International trade is often associated pictorially by a container ship or a mountain of containers sitting on a wharf.   Rarely is the role of the pallet in the supply of imports and exports acknowledged, yet it is ubiquitous and could equally fill the role that containers and container ships have!

Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts in their 2011 book Edgelands write:

'Pallets are consumer capitalism's red blood cells.   They convey the products around the organism... the chances are that you're surrounded by things from places far away, borne here on a pallet.' p.196 and
'This is the age of pallets,...' p.202   The authors visit a pallet yard in Birmingham, England and find that:
'Pleasing to the eye, all the pallets are blue, stacked as high as the buildings that surround the yard.   It's a powder blue, like the blue decking of seaside themed cafes and shops.' p.197.

And here is proof that powder blue pallets are to be found not only in Birmingham, England but also in Campbell Street, Palmerston North, New Zealand.   Of course pallets are the packaging descendants of barrels, casks, kegs and tea chests.  Let's recognise their role in 21st century international trade!

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Customs website for New Zealand

A new website for the New Zealand Customs Service | Te Mana Arai o Aotearoa was launched in May.  The address is http://www.customs.govt.nz/.

The left-hand sidebar has clear buttons for exporters and importers but the bit that caught my eye was the section at the top Making Products in NZ.  Under this section you will find information on Codes & utilities for trade and can access all the forms which Customs provide.

A nice feature is the Quick Index which is found at the bottom of every page instead of just having one sitemap.  Unfortunately legislation relevant to the Customs Service is not accessible from here, but only from the News and Resources page.

It is worth taking a look and exploring what is available if you haven't done so before. Oh and if you don't already get Customs magazine Contraband - you can subscribe to it from the front page and it is FREE.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Exporting - a dilemma

Should there ever be any dilemma over exporting - isn't all exporting 'a good thing'?

Located in Petone, New Zealand, the Exide Technologies company operates a plant for the recycling of batteries.   The Company has been accused of breaching emission limits and endangering the health of nearby residents.  This post is not about the rights and/or wrongs of that.

Since 2008, 100,000 tonnes of toxic lead acid batteries have been exported to Korea and the Philippines, rather than being recycled in New Zealand.   With the possibility that four further direct shipments out of New Zealand will get the green light, it is likely that the Exide plant will close because there is not enough work to keep it going.   Dilemma 1:  Exporting, generally thought to be good, may in this case cause the closure of a local plant with loss of jobs.

Under the Basel Convention the Government has an obligation to ensure the availability of safe and adequate disposal facilities, if possible within our own borders.   Dilemma 2: It seems as though we shouldn't be exporting this material but should be trying to recycle it within New Zealand, and there is a plant available which can do the job.   That however would stop the export trade, and that would be bad for our balance of payments right.   Exide say that the export of batteries is unlawful and have written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

The Company says that little has been done to assess the environmental safety of plants overseas.   Dilemma 3:   Are we exporting our toxic problems to other countries?  Should New Zealand send this or any hazardous waste to any other country?  Is it the right thing to do?     Isn't this the equivalent of sending nuclear waste elsewhere - and we all think that is wrong.

Export permits had been issued by the Ministry of Economic Development until July1, subject to satisfaction that overseas plants are meeting correct standards.   Dilemma 4: Maybe the Ministry shouldn't have been issuing the export permits without more information.

If New Zealand continues to export batteries for recycling, it may cause the Exide plant to close.  Then if the export market dries up, we are left with no plant which can do this work.   Dilemma 5: The export trade in this product may leave NZ without the ability to do what it has committed itself to do under international agreements.

Exporting the batteries rather than recycling in New Zealand, reaps a higher profit for companies.   Dilemma 6:  This is not an uncommon problem - the local activity doesn't get as high a price as the overseas one.   Do we use positive discrimination to support local industry as opposed to exporting?

The Exide Technologies Ltd website is at: http://www.exide.co.nz/ but there is no information about this activity.   The Company's application for a continuation of its resource consent  and report on process details to the Wellington Regional Council dated April 2011   http://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/Resource-Consents/Manson-Report-on-Process.PDF     is however a more informative document.   In it they say that the service they provide is of national importance, and that if the plant closed ULABs (used lead acid batteries) would have to be exported as hazardous waste or would accumulate in the environment.

Are we committed to exporting and exports at any price?  Conversely are we committed to recycling in New Zealand at any price?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Apple exports from New Zealand - decline!

In my two posts about our holiday to Germany and the United Kingdom, I mentioned the fall in apple exports from New Zealand.   An article in the Dominion Post for Thursday 4 August, 2011 (Page C1), goes some way to explaining what is happening.

Some of the points outlined by Jon Morgan were:

  • Growers must change the industry's strategy and alter the way they market their fruit
  • New Zealand's apples are sold to an unknown destination, with fruit going through two hands in Europe before finishing up in the UK
  • All four major supermarket chains in Britain are supplied, but the apples go through many service providers to get onto the shelves in the high street
  • We are not promoting the New Zealand brand but rather numerous independent brands
As a result of this very bleak picture 'bankers and international consumers were starting to question the industry's viability.'

These solutions were given:
  • One point of entry for the majority of Braeburn apples going into the UK
  • Using collective shipping
  • Promotion of "Brand New Zealand" rather than a myriad of brands which were not necessarily obvious as from New Zealand
  • Eliminate marginal apple varieties
  • Get the marketing right for entry into the new Australian market
Is there an apple exporter among our readers who would like to comment?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Will collaborative consumption affect international trade?

The Guardian Weekly for 8 July 2011 ran an article entitled Must-have addiction has to end by Leo Hickman in which he cites a book by Rachel Botsman called What's mine is yours: How collaborative consumption is changing the way we live.

She says that social networking has enhanced the notion and practice of collaborative consumption which 'aims to exploit previously ignored or unnoticed value in all our assets by both eliminating waste and generating demand for goods ans service that are otherwise lying idle.'

The development of e-bay, and Trade Me in New Zealand has successfully enabled people to sell off unwanted goods easily and with the added pleasure of making a few dollars.   Movements such as Freecycle in New Zealand allow sharing of idle goods in a targeted way.  This selling or sharing of unwanted goods has been around a long time but the internet has meant that you are not touring Saturday car boot or garage sales on the off-chance you might pick up something useful.

Does it mean that we will consume less and therefore demand for garments from China or shoes from India will fall to the detriment of our trade?   Will shared vehicles or belonging to a car club mean that our need for cars and petrol will also decline?  How will that affect our imports from japan, or the production of petrol from our own refinery?

An important element of this kind of consumption is that you look to see if your seller has been offering a good service - how does Trade Me rate their efficiency, their packing and delivery?   In other words it is dependent on trust and the building up of our reputation - just as in international trade we look to those countries and companies that have a reputation for delivering what we want, what they say they will deliver within the agreed costs and time.   Maybe instead of reducing the overall amount of trade, it will see enhanced trade between trusted partners as a result of this kind of collaborative consumption at an individual level.   As well it may mean that goods that have sat around waiting for a buyer can somehow reach a customer that needs them.     What do you think - a bit far-fetched?  a possibility?

Monday, 1 August 2011

IATTO Forum 2011, Chengdu, China

The 2011 IATTO Forum, will be held in Chengdu, West China from 1-4 November, 2011. The Forum host will be the Nordic International Management Institute and is being organised by Professor Per Jenster.
The Nordic International Management Institute (NIMI) in Xindu District, Chengdu is a newly established institution dedicated to offering world class leadership and business development for managers and organizations in China and the Asia-Pacific Region.

Twelve forums have been held by IATTO (the International Association of Trade Training Organisations) but this is the first time it has been held in China and it promises to be an exciting venue with a stimulating programme.

A list of some of the presentations organised to date include:

  • Prof. Niclas Adler, Babson University (USA) - New Growth with Global Entrepreneurs
  • Prof. Mike Miles, University of Ottawa (Canada), - Tools to Help SME Management Teams Align on Internationalization
  • Prof. Yeo Lay Hwee, Singapore Management University - How Singapore Helps SMEs Engage in Internationalization
  • Dr Romuald Rudzki, New Zealand School of Export - Supporting companies with 21st century library and information services
  • Prof. Per Jenster, NIMI - Why We Need to Rethink Trade and Trade Development
  • Prof. Haico Ebbers, Nyenrode University (The Netherlands) - Why is the Nature of Trade Changing and What does it mean for Competence Development?

You can find the full list at: http://www.iatto.org/Default.aspx?ext=1&objectID=55

Chengdu  is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It is also one of the most important economic centres, transportation and communication hubs in Western China.  Chengdu has attracted leading professional institutions such as IBM and Accenture, which have opened sub-branches in the area. And Swedish carmaker Volvo has chosen Chengdu as a manufacturing base.

Photo retrieved from: http://english.cri.cn/6566/2009/05/05/902s481706.htm
27 July 2011