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WORKING ACROSS BORDERS

Many large companies are "international" in that they have branches and subsidiaries overseas; by some estimates, intra-firm trade, or trade between branches of the'Same company in different countries, accounts for an astonishing 40 percent of U.S. exports. Many more companies buy and sell goods all over the world. Companies frequently form partnerships with companies in other countries so that cooperation sometimes replaces competition. This has had a profound impact on the way companies operate in the global marketplace. Instead of merely exchanging goods and services with other countries, businesses around the world now work side-by-side to produce and market products. This is partially because it is often difficult for a single company to bear the economic risks of global production and marketing.

For example, a running shoe company headquartered in the United States might be financed by a Japanese bank, buy rubber from Indonesia and leather from Spain, and do its manufacturing in Mexico. The legal and accounting work might be handled by Americans, while a British company might do the advertising and marketing. The running shoes might be sold in many countries all over the world. As a result, such companies will often shift resources from country to country to maximize profits and productivity.

Now, if the final product is shipped to Indonesia from San Francisco, it will be recorded, simply, as a U.S. export and an Indonesian import. However, if the died by Americans, while a British company might do the advertising and marketing. The running shoes might be sold in many countries all over the world. As a result, such companies will often shift resources from country to country to maximize profits and productivity.

Now, if the final product is shipped to Indonesia from San Francisco, it will be recorded, simply, as a U.S. export and an Indonesian import. However, if the Indonesians apply a high tariff to the running shoes, they might harm more than just the U.S. exporters; all the businesses around the world that were involved in the process, including the Indonesian rubber manufacturers, might lose business. With more and more companies operating internationally, it is increasingly difficult for governments to target trade policies effectively.

These changes also mean changes in the ways people prepare for careers. Now more than ever, as economic ties between countries grow and strengthen, it has become very important to a nation's competitiveness to have a workforce that is able to deal with different languages and cultures. Varied business practices in different countries require new approaches to making profits.

Doing business in different countries sometimes can be frustrating; practices that are considered standard procedure in some places may be outrageous in others. In the United States, a signed contract is considered all but sacrosanct; in the Far East, Southern Europe and the Middle East, the spirit of the agreement sometimes can matter more than the letter. The "get down to business" approach that Americans and Germans usually favor in business negotiations may be considered brusque or harsh in Japan or Korea. Even the small details of business behavior—whether or not to look someone in the eye, tone of voice, the exchange of gifts—vary significantly from country to country.



To remain competitive, individuals, companies, and governments all must adapt to the changing global marketplace.

 


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 120


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