Archive for December, 2010

The Evolution of the EU’s External Policy and the State of EU/US Relations – João Vale de Almeida, December 9, 2010

Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States, discussed EU-US relations at the European Institute in Washington, DC. Noting that this is a moment in history when the pace of change is accelerating, he stressed the importance of new forms of international cooperation and collective governance to deal with the challenges of globalization. “The principle of ‘shared problems, shared solutions’ has been at the heart of the European project for the last 50 years. In a sense, we have already managed a ‘regional globalization’, one that could usefully serve as a model for the rest of the world,” he said.

He added that “in shaping these new forms of global governance, we, the United States and Europe, need to decide if we want the world to be shaped by our values of freedom, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. If that is the case, as I am sure it should be, then we must work together, combine our efforts and maximize our influence. For that to happen, we need to set aside our differences, concentrate on what unites us and move forward with a positive agenda, making full use of the potential of each of our member states as well as the EU as a whole.” Read More


December 30, 2010 at 7:30 am

Congress extends Maritime Security Program to 2025

Congress gave the U.S.-flag vessel industry a Christmas gift of sorts on Dec. 22 by extending the Maritime Security Program beyond its 2015 expiration to 2025. The bill awaits President Obama’s signature.

The MSP extension approval was part of the massive 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6523), and championed by outgoing House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.
The current MSP program was authorized by the 2005 Maritime Security Act and administered by the Maritime Administration. The program provides the federal government immediate access to 60 modern U.S.-flag commercial container, roll-on/roll-off, and heavy-lift vessels.

Government payments to participating operators were $2.6 million per ship per year for fiscal years 2006 to 2008, followed by $2.9 million for fiscal years 2009 to 2011, and $3.1 million for fiscal years 2012 to 2015. Payments are subject to annual appropriations.

The three largest carriers in MSP are Maersk Line Ltd., APL, and American Roll-on Roll-Off Carrier. MSP carriers have been instrumental in ferrying equipment and supplies in support of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. MSP carriers provided all surface-borne transport for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

A National Defense Transportation Association study noted it would cost the U.S. government $13 billion to replicate the 60 ships and another $52 billion to match the related intermodal networks.

Source: American Shipper

December 29, 2010 at 8:29 am

NKITA and Northern Kentucky Chamber – Happy Holidays

In a few months I shall have the honor to host a delegation of 80 business, education and community leaders in Tuscany to show its many touristic attractions. In this last post before Christmas, I would like to share a couple of pictures of paintings hosted inside the Uffizi Gallery, the Museum we shall visit in Florence.

Leonardo’s “Adoration of the Magi” (left) never got past the stage of a wash drawing. In this painting, the complex, ephemeral and dynamic nature of the human form -represented by a whirlpool of actions, emotions, gestures and expressions- contrast with the calm, statue-like central figures of the Virgin and Child. Leonardo was very entrepreneurial and a dynamic and restless person himself. After issuing a bill for 300 florins he left Florence and moved to Milan where he became a military engineer and an inventor of defensive and offensive machines.

The “Holy Family” (right) or “Tondo Doni” was Michelangelo’s very first painting and his only existing panel picture. The painting, almost marble-like in his forms and the use of light, offers only one straight line, separating the past -when people received the baptism by immerging themselves in waters and coming out as reborn- and the “new age” – Catholics receive baptism by “infusion”, without having to take off any clothes. The little St. John, standing nearby the wall, represents the transition between the two. According to a tale, the price of the painting was only 70 ducates. However, Angelo Doni, who commissioned the painting, refused to pay -too expensive. Michelangelo then doubled the price (140 ducates). Angelo Doni paid 140 ducates to keep the painting.

Please do mark your Calendars for our first city-specific orientation! On Monday, January 17, 2011, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. I shall give a presentation on Florence and its many business and touristic opportunities. Feel free to bring friends and family members and if you are interested in joining the 2011 Tourism and Trade Mission to Italy, please visit our website at or contact me at I still have few seats available.

As 2010 comes to an end, on behalf of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of COmmerce and the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association, I would like to take this opportunity to wish a great Holiday Season to you and your family. A friend of mine shared with me a very nice, Italian Christmas Card. I am sure he won’t mind if I share it with you. Please click on this link to open the file.

Daniele S. Longo
Vice President, Business Development and International Trade

December 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Canada and U.S. Near Pact

The U.S. and Canada are in the final stages of hammering out a broad pact on border security that could be unveiled within the next several weeks, say people familiar with the situation.

The pact aims to address both U.S. fears that Canadian border-security measures are too lax and Canadian complaints that tight U.S.-border controls are hindering trade, these people say.

The two sides are discussing coordinating how to screen people entering the U.S. or Canada, making sure they have compatible methods to examine cargo leaving foreign ports for the U.S. or Canada, and increasing information-sharing and intelligence cooperation, according to a draft agreement cited by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

They also are discussing coordinating the planning, funding and modernizing of some ports and border facilities, the paper said.

The agreement outlines broad goals, and gives the two sides 120 days to come up with plans for implementation, the Globe and Mail reported.

The U.S. and Canada hope that bolstering cooperation on everything from traveler screening to cargo clearing will let both countries refocus scarce resources on dealings with nations outside their shared “perimeter,” and speed the movement of goods and people over their internal border.

Such a pact “has got the potential to be a much more significant step in how we exist on this continent,” said Gordon Giffin, who proposed similar ideas a decade ago when he was U.S. ambassador to Canada.

“We have a keen focus on ensuring that the Canada-U.S. border does not continue to thicken” as a result of added security measures, said Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, when asked about the reported negotiations. “If we can find reasonable ways to cooperate with the U.S. that maintain our sovereignty and respect our laws, we’re keen to do so.” Read More

Source: P. Dvorak, Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2010

December 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

U.S. supports Yemen’s WTO membership

The United States and Yemen on Monday concluded bilateral market access negotiations as part of Yemen’s efforts to accede to the World Trade Organization. The bilateral agreement provides new market access opportunities for U.S. providers of agriculture, goods and services, and sets the platform for Yemen to complete accession negotiations with WTO members.

The U.S. and Yemeni governments have worked to finalize the tariff and services schedules after reaching an agreement in principal in April 2010. Officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Yemen’s Ministry of Industry and Trade have signed the final schedules reflecting the results of the negotiations and deposited them with the WTO secretariat.

The two governments will continue to work with other WTO members to conclude the multilateral Working Party negotiations in the coming weeks so that Yemen may become a member of the WTO as early as possible in 2011.

“The United States is committed to implementing a government wide strategy with Yemen that seeks to support key economic reforms,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk in a statement. Yemen’s progress toward adopting international standards is an important step toward integration with global markets.” Yemen has been negotiating its terms of accession to the WTO since 2002. This bilateral market access agreement and those concluded with other WTO members in the course of the negotiation will be consolidated. This package must be formally approved by WTO members and then accepted by the Yemeni government. Thirty days after the WTO receives its notice of acceptance, Yemen will become a WTO member. No congressional action is required on the accession since Yemen already receives Permanent Normal Trade Relations from the United States (C. Gillis, American Shipper’s Florida Caribbean Connection, December 14, 2010).Read More

December 15, 2010 at 8:23 am

Coalition Praises Breakthrough on KORUS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition praised the announcement today that the U.S. and Korean governments have come to an agreement on resolving outstanding issues related to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“The Coalition commends President Obama and President Lee for their bold leadership in successfully overcoming the challenges that have held up consideration and enactment of the KORUS FTA,” said Laura Lane, managing director and head of international government affairs for Citigroup and a co-chair of the Coalition. “It is a huge step forward towards generating jobs needed across America by boosting exports to one of our country’s most important overseas markets. We applaud the U.S. and Korean negotiating teams for their tireless efforts to find the way forward.”

“Sixty years after the Korean War, this agreement is a powerful reinforcement of the U.S.-Korea relationship,” said Tami Overby, president of the U.S.-Korea Business Council and vice president, Asia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It will strengthen our countries’ efforts to promote regional security and lead regional economic integration.”

“We have no time to lose so that U.S. workers, farmers, and businesses can capture the benefits of new access to the Korean market before our other global competitors do,” said Ted Austell, vice president of executive, legislative and regulatory Affairs for Boeing and a co-chair of the Coalition. “The members of the Coalition will make every effort to secure the strongest possible support for the agreement in Congress.”

The U.S.-Korea FTA Business Coalition is a broad-based organization of more than 900 U.S. businesses and trade associations, co-chaired by Boeing, Chevron, Citi, Goldman Sachs, and Pfizer, that work together to secure approval by Congress of the U.S.-Korea FTA. The U.S.-Korea Business Council serves as Coalition secretariat.

For more information, please visit

December 6, 2010 at 10:00 am

How U.S. Businesses Can Really Win in India

Western outfits looking to sell products should forget “glocalization” and embrace reverse innovation

After this month’s midterm election results, which showed voters single-mindedly concerned about jobs and the economy, President Obama quickly rebranded his trip to India and other Asian countries as a trade mission. The goal of the trip, he said, was to stimulate overseas demand for American goods and services.

It’s certainly true that, for many U.S. businesses, emerging nations present rich growth opportunities. In China, India, and elsewhere in the developing world, rising prosperity is expanding the market for consumer goods from high-tech razors to high-tech cars. But the traditional way of serving those markets suffers from flaws that eventually limit the growth potential.

Typically, multinational companies create stripped-down versions of products developed for Western consumers. They then offer these products in the developing world at a reduced price. To do this requires removing certain premium features or bells and whistles, and perhaps substituting lower-cost materials. Even so, the prices such products command are often unaffordable by all but a small percentage of people at the top of the local markets’ income pyramid.

In this model, innovation flows in only one direction: downhill, from the headquarters of the multinational corporation out into the world. The same basic products made for the developed world are modified for poor-world consumption, mainly through de-featuring and substitution.

“Glocalization” Fizzles
This strategy is called “glocalization.” But while the word “local” is embedded in the name, in truth there is very little locally relevant insight reflected in the design of glocalized products. Thus, after an initial flurry of sales made largely on the cachet of the multinational’s global brand, the approach fizzles. As one Indian executive told us: “Emerging nations used to aspire to have rich-world products. Now they want rich-world quality in their own products.”

In the end, businesses that practice only glocalization will fail to exploit the full emerging-market opportunity—to the detriment of their bottom lines and the economy as a whole. Read More

Source: V. Govindarajan and L. McCreary, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, November 16, 2010

December 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

Travel with the Northern Kentucky Chamber in 2012

Peru - August 12-20, 2012
To learn more about the program, please email Kyle Horseman or call 859.426.3653.

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