An Example of Midterm: The Tomato: Vegetable or Fruit?

Today, we had a midterm in the “Marketing Across Borders” course in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Students were asked to elaborate on the trade consequences of a Supreme Court Decision “Nix vs. Hedden” 1893. Our working title is “The Tomato: Vegetable or Fruit?”.

Here is my summary of the case, please feel free to comment or send us your analysis of this case and I will respond to you. Enjoy!

The Tomato: Vegetable or Fruit?

In 1893, the U.S. Supreme Court grappled with an international legal question that continues to confound to this day — does a tomato qualify as a vegetable or a fruit?

Though many associate the tomato with the stews, salads, and sandwiches that are typically the domain of vegetables, any botanist will tell you that the plant meets the scientific definition of a fruit: a seed-bearing structure that  develops from the ovary of a flowering plant.

But in the U.S. Supreme Court case Nix vs. Hedden, the judges unanimously arrived at a different definition. They ruled that imported tomatoes should be taxed as vegetables, which had a 10 percent tariff when they arrived on American shores, rather than as fruit, which carried no tariff.

Though the court acknowledged that a tomato is technically a fruit, it went on to write that according to the “common” definition most people use, tomatoes fall under the same category as other vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. In other words, a tomato counts as a vegetable because most people thought it was.

A more recent example of changing definitions in trade policy arose during a trade war between Vietnam and the United States that started in 2001. When cheap imports of Vietnamese catfish threatened to put U.S. producers, who had higher costs, out of business, American lobbyists and lawmakers scrambled to find a way to bar Vietnamese producers from the market.

The coalition persuaded Congress that the word “catfish” only applied to U.S. varieties, not Vietnamese imports, even though there was no biological difference between the fish. Thus, when Congress normalized trade relations with Vietnam, its definition of “catfish” excluded basa or tra, the names applied to Vietnamese catfish.

Even today, the questions explored by the Nix v. Hedden case continue to have implications. What does this Supreme Court case – along with the example of the Vietnamese catfish – tell us about trade policy? Who ultimately defines a product, and how could altering definitions affect trade policy? Do tariffs still play a role in modern-day international trade, and can marketers make a difference?

Please analyze this case.

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

Spring 2018: Marketing Across Borders Syllabus

 

For the Spring 2018 semester, Prof. Michael Czinkota of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, offers a course on “Marketing Across Borders”.

The course will cover the internationalization and intersection of business and marketing. We will understand the global environment drivers and directions for business, and how policy frameworks are shaped around them, being affected by key variables such as culture and behavior. We will introduce living cases to offer examples of the topics we cover.

Storytelling and interaction will be dynamics of the course, with an emphasis on small and medium sized firms. We will also use learning exercises such as video productions and elevator pitches.

Below you can  find a more detailed syllabus of the course. In the following link you can see a video of Prof. Czinkota welcoming you to the course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OebH1ikkF3o

If you are a Georgetown University student, hurry up and sign up to the course and join us.

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

Welcome to Marketing Across Borders

Prof. Czinkota welcomes the students of his Spring 2018 course in McDonough School Of Business of Georgetown University, “Marketing Across Borders”

Mr. J. Michael Farrell Concluding the First Year Seminar

At the end of the Fall semester seminar, we had the great pleasure of welcoming Mr. J. Michael Farrell.

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Mr. J. Michael Farrell is the principal of the Law Offices of J. Michael Farrell. He specializes in international arbitration proceedings before the International Court of Arbitration as operated by the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the American Arbitration Association. Mr. Farrell was a member of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. In 1992, he was designated by the President as Chairman of the Commission. In 1992, the President appointed Mr. Farrell as Commissioner of the United States of America on the Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal. The Commission was composed of representatives from the Governments of Japan, Panama and the United States. In 1993, he became Chairman of the Commission. From February 1988 through August 1991, Mr. Farrell was a Deputy Commissioner on the Commission, having been appointed by President Reagan. He was appointed by the Secretary of Energy as a member of the National Petroleum Council. He is a Director of the US-Panama Business Council, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (Georgetown University) and the Air Force Academy Foundation. He also served as Deputy Head of the office of Presidential Personnel. 

Mr. Farrell presented his views about sanctions and international business. He offered some of his high level experiences and engaged the students in a conversation about their aspirations and career paths.

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By the end of the class, Prof. Czinkota gave out certificates to the students for their excellence and engagement in the class.

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For the rest of the pictures of the student, please click here.

To know more about the First Year Seminar’s content and previous guests, please click here.