New world, New policy: Overcoming the Burden of Foreignness

burden of foreignnessWhy should we worry about misaligned participations in trade? According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, less than 1 percent of U.S. firms export. Tens of thousands of small-business manufacturers and service sector firms could export their goods and services, but do not. These companies often fear the challenges of going overseas. But all firms entering new markets face shortcomings and disadvantages when compared to local competitors. Due to a lack of local knowledge, unfamiliarity with market conditions, insufficient insights into consumer behavior, and newness to political decision making, all new entrants encounter a “burden of foreignness.” Policymakers need to help prospective exporters overcome this burden and successfully access new opportunities overseas.

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New World, New Policy: Buy American, Hire American

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President Trump has issued a new executive order focusing on so-called “Buy American, Hire American” policies. Making the announcement at the Snap-On Tools plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the President’s order directs various federal agencies to produce reports and recommendations on government procurement policies, with the goal of increasing domestic employment and production.

The Executive Order (found here) covers two broad areas of government policy: numerous “Buy American” laws and regulations, which set requirements that materials purchased by the government – say, steel for building a bridge – give preference to US domestic producers; and “Hire American,” which aim to address reported abuses of H1B visas that undermine high-skilled domestic labor.

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Curative Thinking at Georgetown

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Across the long arc of history, few are innocent, but some are wise enough to make good on past wrongs. I’ve written about the importance of curative thinking as vital in bringing the soul back to business. Georgetown University has demonstrated such curative thinking recently, as the below article from the Georgetown website demonstrates.

April 18, 2017 – An apology from Georgetown and the Society of Jesus’ Maryland Province for their roles in the 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals for the university’s benefit took place today in the company of more than 100 descendants.

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The Soul of Business: From United to Volkswagen

soul“The soul leaves the body” is a common euphemism for death, but what about “when the soul leaves business”? This is increasingly the case, as business managers care more about the bottom line than about decency and curative behavior. As I explore in my article in Qualitative Marketing Research, business must change: the soul must come back home.

Wrestling for the soul of business is nothing new. Each year we are reminded about just how far some companies are falling short. In 2015 Volkswagen cheated emissions regulators. United Airlines recently bloodied a passenger while dragging him from a plane the company had overbooked. Most stunning to me is that not a single United employee – pilot, ground crew, or flight attendant – interceded to say, “This is wrong.”

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New World, New Policy: Dumping penalties – Give to Caesar what you owe to Caesar

money from all over the worldPresident Trump has issued a new executive order focusing on international cheaters, who do not pay their debts due to dumping penalties. The order targets the problem of unpaid special customs duties known as “Countervailing Duties” (CVD), levied on products from companies found guilty by an “anti-dumping” investigation.

First to the jargon: “Dumping” refers to a type of predatory trade practice. In its simplest form, it amounts to a company selling a product in a foreign market for less than it costs to make it. In theory, the goal of “dumping” is to drive down the price, and in doing so, muscle out smaller, weaker competition in order to later establish a monopoly status on that market. Under the rules of the World Trade Organization, dumping is a prohibited practice, and countries are permitted to levy special taxes on goods found to be unfairly dumped in their market in order to rebalance the price level. These tariffs are called “Countervailing Duties”, abbreviated as CVD.

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