St. Valentine’s Day – More than dates and roses

St.Valentine’s Day – more than dates and roses

Michael R. Czinkota

For centuries St. Valentine has been the patron of love and lovers, providing individuals with the nudge to move a relationship forward. International shipments of red roses have enriched the economies of Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya by hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the time to revisit Valentine’s Day as to its meaning and make plans to restructure its impact.

Valentine’s Day has already undergone significant expansion. Its celebration has grown from a small parish to half of the globe. It has become, in some of the wealthier countries, an important gift giving occasion. Gifts have become differentiated by gender. Men consistently give more than women, perhaps because they wish for a foundation, while many women see decoration. The typical gifts are jewelry, roses or dinner. As reported by the National Retail Federation of America, more than $ 810 million worth of Valentine’s Day gifts are given to pets.

The timing of Valentine’s Day has expanded as well. In Korea and Japan, romantic gifts are given on March 14, one month later than in the USA. The product pallet has become more diverse: for example in Denmark, instead of roses, one exchanges pressed white flowers. In the Philippines, on February 14 small events are increasingly supplanted by large ceremonies and mass weddings. Italians, instead of smelling the roses, listen to the reading of poetry and eat chocolate hazelnut kisses also known as baci. In South Africa the name of a beloved one is written on one’s shirt sleeves.

Some governments consider the Day as unreligious and ban its celebration. By contrast, increasingly, on Valentine’s Day one does not just recognize the one you love, but also family and friends. The Pope in Rome has been known to carry flowers with him on that special day.

In sum, Valentine’s Day has taken on a wider mission, diversified its outreach, introduced more flexibility in terms of timing, product, message, and interaction with more people. Most importantly, it has propagated quite successfully the message of interaction, proximity, hugs and love.

As next step should encourage this expansion and integrate it more with our lives as business people, policy makers or consumers. Here are some suggestions how Valentine’s Day as a widening construct can serve to incorporate present day realities and future days outlook. To nudge things along, recommendations are included  for appropriate commemorative gifts.  

For President Trump: A cake with many candles but little sugar for providing many occasions of hope, change and new perspectives.

For Kim Jong-un of North Korea : a candle signifying the love of your people and in appreciation  for not blowing up  nuclear devices;

For the U.S. Congress: A “like” card for constituents to send to their own representative; to be accompanied by a ‘’you can do better’’ card for the rest of the institution;

For the global trade community: A “tough love” card which allocates specific responsibilities for rules and tasks to be changed, accompanied by jovial if not hearty messages indicating that “we understand”;

For Prime Minister May: some non-tear tissues – to dry the eyes – we won’t  break away;

For people both domestic and foreign who were struck by natural disasters or poverty: a red envelope with a check inside;

For tax payers:  no plastic but a paper bag; their reductions are more than just crumbs;

For corporations:  a colorful map showing new investment opportunities with large benefits;

To the Twitter company: some tightly packed characters showing concern;

For media: some loosely sourced but highly emotional news stories showing respect;

To the world at large: the form of messages and hugs represent how different cultures take different approaches to love; to get there, a relationship has to come first; joint efforts will help.

To my own small world: humongous love to wife Ilona and daughter Margaret; your gift; anything you want.

TO ALL:   Happy St.Valentine’s Day!

*Michael R. Czinkota teaches international business and trade at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the University of Kent , U.K. His key book (with Ilkka Ronkainen) is “International Marketing” (10th edition, CENGAGE)

2015 Global Markets Trends & Forecasts

Global GDP2

2014 gave us a few unexpected turns in the global economy. There was the concern over the long-lasting effects of Ebola, the ISIS, and Ukraine. Aggressive policies regarding climate change have yet to take effect. The economic recovery of Western Europe and Japan are faltering. Brazil, Russia, and China’s growth have come to a halt and are slowing down. The United States, however, has continued its positive recovery and there seems to be a lot of changes in store for international business this coming year. Let’s get ready for 2015.

  • Slow but steady growth in the global economy

The global economy is taking longer than anticipated to recover from the debt bubble. The IMF projected that the world economy would be at 4.8 percent by 2015. However, 2014 ended with only a 3 percent growth overall. While the United States has pretty much met its growth targets, the disappointments came from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economies, Western Europe, and Japan. Forecasts have been adjusted for the coming year with an estimated growth of 3.4 percent for 2015.

  • Emerging markets dominate

Emerging markets rather than developed economies will fuel much of the growth. The United States will still be a major player in the overall growth of the global economies. However, Western Europe and Japan will grow only an estimated 1 percent and China’s 7 percent will be its lowest in 15 years. Much of the growth will come from Asia and Africa. Specifically, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey will be on the watchlist for booming economies.

  • Oil prices will continue to fall

The demand for oil will decline due to alternative sources and supply in other areas of the world. This will lead to the continued fall of oil prices affecting countries such as Iran, Nigeria, and Russia.

  • Climate change will still be a threat

Record-high temperatures continue to be seen with Antartica experiencing its coldest winter so far. Coal is still highly used and international policies to curb this practice are weak. This may lead to drastic effects such as shortages in water and the supply of world’s food system and inevitably contributing to world hunger.

  • Innovation, new technologies and hacks will continue to affect us

While spending is somewhat low and demand is weak, businesses are in a better position for recovery by investing in new technologies to get ahead of competition and for future savings. The search for more fuel-efficient machines by Boeing and Airbus is an example of this trend. Another example, is with the United States, who has contributed to innovations in oil drilling thus resulting in an oil boom and affecting world prices.

The global outlook for 2015 should be better than 2014. It may not be much, but it’s way better than negative.

How will these trends affect you and your company? Tell us what you think.

Sources:

  1. http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/2015/index.html#infographic
  2. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-06/2015-global-economic-outlook-better-than-2014-but-not-by-much
  3. http://www.businessinsider.com/business-insider-global-20-2014-2014-1?op=1 

No Talk on Forex Between Japan and U.S. Treasury

Full article at Reuters 

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday there was no discussion on currency moves at his meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

See Also: Michael Czinkota on Japan’s Self-defense Rights

He also said the two agreed on the need to achieve sustainable economic growth in Japan and the United States as the euro-zone economy stagnates.

See also: Congressmen Urge USTR, USDA to Press Japan on Tariff Elimination

Aso made the remarks after meeting with Lew on the sidelines of the Group of 20 finance leaders’ weekend gathering in the Australian city of Cairns.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

 

Top Ten Countries with which the U.S. Trades

For the month of April 2013

                                                  Year To Date
                                    Total in         Total in
                                    Billions         Billions
 Country Name                       of U.S. $        of U.S. $

 Canada                                         54.75           208.98
 Mexico                                         44.24           164.53
 China                                           42.09           167.43
 Japan                                                  17.04            67.11
 Germany                                       13.62            51.55
 Korea, South                                  8.79            34.23
 United Kingdom                              7.81            32.58
 France                                          6.75            24.20
 Switzerland                                   6.32            19.55
 India                                            5.73            20.56

source: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/top/dst/current/balance.html