Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi at the First Year Seminar

This week, the students had the opportunity to hear the insights of two professionals specialized in international trading financing, Troy Fuhriman and Jozsef Szamosfalvi, who kindly accepted the invitation to be our guests yesterday, Nov.1st.

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Mr. Fuhriman, Professor Czinkota and Mr. Szamosfalvi

Troy Fuhriman (left) is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). He helped analyze the rationale, history, tradition and needs of EXIM Bank. He also discussed the controversy surrounding the existence of EXIM Bank and highlighted the existence of competitive organizations. 

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Mr. Fuhriman has been one of the very early Trump’s appointees at the official US Government export credit agency, where he has served since January 2017. He has also been an Associate Professor of Law at the Kyungpook National University, in South Korea, for seven years.

Mr. Fuhriman also co-founded and managed Goldfinch Limited and Stellar Photonics for 14 years.

Mr. Jozsef Szamosfalvi (right) is the Managing Director at ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund focused on international trade financing. He shared his thoughts from the perspective of private sector, especially on trade finance. He is also the Managing Director at the financial advisory firm Interlink Capital Strategies, where he focuses on emerging markets, especially for projects related to infrastructure, financial and energy sectors.

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Mr. Szamosfalvi is also part of Georgetown University as an adjunct instructor for international trade and emerging market finance at the McDonough Business School.  He kindly invited our students to consider applying for work at his firm.

To know more about the First Year Seminar previous guests, please click here.

Good Corporate Citizenry, No Longer a Choice But a Necessity

By Victoria Galeano & Jerry Haar

When queried at a 1909 business meeting about the choice of colors available for his automobiles, Henry Ford replied that customers could have any color they wanted as long as it is black. Fast forward to the late 20th and early 21st centuries and consumers today are now in the driver’s seat (no pun intended). Publications such as Consumer Reports, CNET, and a myriad of other independent professional and consumer reviews of goods and services empower buyers, dictating to producers the style, features, and price ranges that consumers seek.

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Afghanistan and the War against Terror: Business can make a difference

Michael R. Czinkota, Gary Knight, Gabriele Suder 

The “War on Terror” was launched ten years ago, on 07 October 2001.  It represents a battle against terrorism, extremism and global geopolitical adversity seen to oppose democracy and freedom of choice. In the intervening years, however, the War has produced various unintended consequences that threaten personal freedom and other liberties enjoyed by progressive societies worldwide. Stringent inspections delay cargo
and personnel at border crossings. In many cities, cameras constantly monitor the
movement of vehicles and civilians alike. Government wiretapping and
surveillance procedures have been expanded. Bank transactions are scrutinized
as never before. Airport security measures are annoying and sometimes even
humiliating. In many ways, such intrusions represent a victory for
terrorists.

An early casualty of the War on Terror was Afghanistan.  During much of the time since October, 2001, Afghans have seen little improvement in their lives and business conditions. Ten years on, Foreign Policy labels Afghanistan a “failed state”, especially regarding security, refugees, and legitimacy of the state. As the United States prepares an acceptable exit strategy, Afghanistan faces much risk and uncertainty. Divided by religious and political strife, the country’s per-capita income remains among the lowest
worldwide.  Adult literacy is below 28 percent and infant mortality is high. Following 30 years of war, Afghanistan’s social, institutional, and commercial infrastructures are in a decrepit state.

The World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO) have pointed to constraints that
discourage corporate investment in Afghanistan: crime and disorder, inadequate energy
and transport systems, and insufficient access to finance. However, experts also suggest that, with appropriate local knowledge and collaborative efforts, companies can succeed
in Afghanistan. Success requires investments in education and training, creation of networks and infrastructure, and open-mindedness and flexibility towards the unexpected.  Firms with significant experience in troubled regions are most likely to succeed.

Recent changes in Afghanistan have produced significant potential opportunities for early investors, especially in infrastructure development. The World Bank views Afghanistan as a prospective hub for regional trade. The WTO points to significant
improvements in the categories of “Getting Credit” and “Registering Property”.
Thanks to a modern secured transactions law that helps companies obtain loans,
Afghanistan is now well ranked for “Starting a Business”.

Afghanistan’s economy is improving, especially in agriculture, commodities, and traditional industries.  The nation is home to a wealth of natural resources, including natural gas, petroleum, and certain key minerals.  It has benefited from billions of dollars of international aid and investments.  In many ways, Afghanistan is typical of troubled regions around the world.

Experience with Afghanistan and the War on Terror has provided important lessons for Western governments and businesses alike.  Companies now include terrorism as an
important factor in their international planning.  Firms are devising international strategies that emphasize flexibility and the ability to change course quickly, with less
dependence on vulnerable physical facilities. Foresight and skillful management
reduce the risk of loss and downtime.  Companies are putting more emphasis on developing closer relations with governments and other key players in uncertain foreign markets.

Since the launch of the War on Terror, many world regions have experienced attacks and conflict. But companies are fighting back.  Experienced managers are vigilant
and favor approaches that ensure long-term, sustainable success. Simultaneously,
governments are learning to strike the right balance between security and unneeded
intrusions in business and our personal lives.

Educators like us have an important role to play.  Alongside managers and public authorities, we share a responsibility to redefine global commerce. Increasingly, business must emphasize attitudes and behaviors that are not just ethical, but also socially responsible, compassionate, and focused on the long-term stability of nations worldwide.
Perhaps the best hope for a brighter future in troubled regions is business that, in addition to expanding profits, meets the social and economic needs of local stakeholders.

The struggle against terror, extremism and adversity is a long-term effort.  The costs in human and financial terms are extremely important. But hope remains eternal.  Responsible, collaborative business can go far toward improving the social, political and
economic landscape worldwide.  The global business community has both the capacity and responsibility to protect against the terrorist threat and to support development of a more sustainable, peaceful world.

 

Michael Czinkota teaches international business in Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. He is a former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Gary Knight is a professor and expert on international business at Florida State University. Gabriele Suder holds the Jean Monnet Chair at SKEMA Business School in France, China and the USA and is a visiting fellow at ANU’s Center for European Studies.