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Food Shortages Spell Opportunity

Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate was 73% in 1965 falling to 37% in 1993. The rate held around 40% from 1998 to 2007 and slowly crept up to 41% in 2008 (compare this with 128% for the United States and 70% for Britain in 2003). At the national level, the goal is to return to 70% self-sufficiency. Add to this heightened consumer demand in Japan for ‘safer’ food and greater uniformity in appearance of the food and you have the start of a trend in food production.

The third in a 3-part series on the economic impact of aging in Japan

Despite its crowds and fast pace of life, Japanese society retains an air of politeness, ongoing respect for traditional values and a low crime rate. On this last point, a recent report by the Japan Times showed a 40% drop in crimes from 2,800,000 in 2002 to 1,700,000 a decade later. Putting this in perspective, this is about 1,360 crimes per 100,000 Japanese residents compared to 3.466 per 100,000 in the United States.

The second in a 3-part series on the economic impact of aging in Japan

In July 2010 police found the body of an 111 year-old, nominally Japan’s oldest man, lying in bed. The problem was that he had died 30 years earlier. By the time he was discovered, his 81 year-old daughter had collected JPY9M (about US$109,000) in pension payments. Subsequent investigations showed that this was not an isolated incident:

The first in a 3-part series on the economic impact of aging in Japan

Debt Japan's government debt exceeds that of other industrialised nations while gross debt is around 200% of GDP (in the US, UK and Germany the ratio is below 100%). While the financial markets are punishing Ireland, Greece and Portugal for their high public borrowings, Japan stands largely immune.

Japan Not Starting Enough Startups

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report groups countries roughly by: • Those that have a large share of primary goods in their total exports (Tonga, Morocco…) • Economies where scale-intensity is the major driver of development (Argentina, South Africa…) • Innovation-driven economies, which includes Japan, USA and UK. These produce unique goods and services created via sophisticated and often pioneering methods

Doing business in Mexico...

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With its growing GDP, a higher level of foreign direct investment than any other Latin country, and a current political climate that is more pluralistic and open to investment than any other of the last seven decades, starting a new business in Mexico today offers high rewards with limited risk.

Mexico's total area is 1,972,550 km2 making it the world's 14th largest country by total area. Mexico has a population of 110 million people and is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world, as measured in gross domestic product  in purchasing power parity . Mexico has the second-highest Gross National Income per capita in Latin America in nominal terms, at $9,100 (2009)

 The Mexican economy is the 11. Largest in the world.  After a strong hit in 2009 the Mexican economy is recovering since December 2009. The estimated growth for 2010 will be aprx. 3.9%

Investing in any foreign country comes with certain risks. There's the strength of the country's currency to consider, the health of its economy, its openness to foreign investment, its relative political stability, and the transparency of its laws. In many places around the world, the risks are high in nearly all of these categories.

Mexican customs regulations, product standards and labour laws may entail pitfalls for foreign companies.  Please be aware that, everything takes more time to accomplish in Mexico than what companies are used to. 

Mexico has its own customs and it is very important to know about this to avoid pitfalls from the beginning.

Patience is definitely important.  Time is managed a different way than you might be used to. A “NOW” could mean “NOW within the next 5 min” or it mean “NOW within a week”.

Mexico is not only about hot food and tequila. This is a very proud country and with a very impressive cultural heritage. Mexico is different than all the other Latin American countries – it has one of the richest cultures world wide!

In Mexico the best business you do is with friends, friends you trust. The best way to start a business relationship in Mexico is with a social meeting over a lunch or dinner. Yes, you will talk about the business, but at the same time people want to get to know you. They want to know about yourself, your kids, your favorite football team, what you think about Mexico etc.

 Prepare yourself a little bit before the visit. Read about the recent political situation in Mexico, about its cultural heritage, how is the Mexican national football team doing etc.

Be careful when you hear a “yes”. That does not mean always a “yes” (a real yes). You need to know the person you are doing business with to judge for yourself after a while.

Contributed by Oliver Heldt, ABL Logistics.

 How ABL will assist you and your company enter the Mexican market.

We are interested in giving you a “local solution to your global needs!” It is normally difficult for small and midsize companies to expand internationally. The lack of local knowledge, the language, customs brokerage etc. Very often companies look for help at their embassies, at their local chambers of commerce or with big international consulting companies. All of these options are feasible and might be a good solution for bigger cooperation’s, but it is just too costly for smaller companies.

ABL is offering a local solution. We treat an international customer the same way we treat our local customers. Our international customers will get access to local expertise offered by locals.  This assures a very personal service and more attractive economical start into a new market.

 ABL will analyze your business idea for Mexico together with you and work with you to set out anobjective market analysis for your product.  Then ABL will develop a “statement of work” with concrete timelines about building the business for the Mexican market. 

 ABL will introduce you to your future customers and guide you through the administrative process of building up your new company.

 ABL will pick you up from the airport, choose the lawyers, look for the right office ….. And tell you what Tequila you really need to try out!!!!

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