|USA NORMALIZES TRADE WITH CHINA|
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA -- In an effort to encourage political reform in
China, the US Congress passed a trade bill to normalize trade with China. And
while the economic benefits to the US are, at first glance, apparent -- to reach
the world's most populous nation with our goods and services; in fact, many fear that
China is likely to establish policies that counteract the influx of foreign competition and
businesses that threaten the livelihood of tens of millions of state workers there.
While the trade bill has many supporters in the US, there are also those who argue we are condoning the one-party communist rule and repression of human rights, among other things. And these same people fear that higher paying US jobs will be lost to lower wages in China. Meanwhile, many Chinese officials expressed concerns about the conditions attached to this new legislation. That is, in addition to opening trade between the US and China, China will be obligated to report on human rights annually.
In 1999, the US bought US$82 billion of goods from China and sold US$13 billion to them, making this the second largest trade deficit for the US. (Japan is the largest.)
While we expect this to be an economic opportunity, it is also believed that this turn of events will have positive political implications for the US and other nations.
GLOBAL -- According to World Trade Magazine, after the USA, Canada tops the list of countries for trade and expansion, followed by the UK, Japan, Sweden, France and Germany. (According to their survey, China ranks 30th.) This is based on their analysis of 60 countries, using 21 different criteria, looking at such issues as political risk, population size, labor rates, the economy and financial issues as well as the country's participation in free trade and entangelement in bureaucratic 'red tape.'
Western Europe and the developed nations in Asia and the Americas topped the list. The biggest changes since 1999 came from Asia. Last year only 5 countries made it into the top 30; this year 8 Asian countries are in the top 30 (five of which are in the top 20).
ASIA -- Overall, Asia generated more than US$6 billion in online sales (1999). Japan is the leading e-commerce market in Asia with more than 10,000 e-tailers, followed by S. Korea.
A growing trend in Asia as well as Western Europe and the US, is the use of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), an advanced technology that uses cell phones to display web information. Asia's growth is particularly evident in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Consumers are alerted to specials and can buy online, using internet cell phone displays.
Another important trend noted in Japan and other major markets around the world is
the use of "convenience retailing." Customers place online orders, then can pick up and
pay for or drop off items (i.e. video rentals) at local convenience stores, pizzerias,
drug stores, etc. This gets around the problem of low credit card incidence, security
matters and distribution for e-tailers.
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