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What Did NAFTA Really Do?

NAFTA has been in the hot seat recently, though the controversial trade agreement never really got out of it. At issue is the U.S.’s trade relationship with Mexico, a developing country in comparison to the U.S. and Canada. Viewpoints on the effects of NAFTA over the years vary depending on the source, but what do the non-partisan institutions say about it? We took a look.

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Philippine Economy Proving Robust

The Philippine economy has led its ASEAN partners in terms of GDP growth, achieving an overall rate of 6.8% during 2016 according to information released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last week. This rate edged out the neighboring countries of China (6.7%) and Vietnam (6.2%.) This level of growth builds upon other favorable market indicators such as a growing Filipino middle class and an increasing preference for healthy foods.

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Truck Productivity Bill Needs Support

A bill to improve truck productivity in North Dakota is on the table for legislators to vote on this legislative session. The bill would amend North Dakota Century Code Title 24 by creating a limited network of roads within the state on which a 129,000-pound gross vehicle weight is allowed for long combination vehicles. The intent for boosting truck productivity is to increase the transport of regional agricultural products to the Port of Minot, keeping transportation revenues within the state and lowering costs for exporters.

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World Internet Use Varies by Country

According to a United Nations report released in late 2016, 47% percent of the world is now using the internet. This is up from the 43% estimated one year prior. Each percentage point of this statistic represents millions of people that now have access to life-changing health and education information, as well as global commerce. This report, along with the annual report from WeAreSocial.com, details internet use by country, painting a picture of how connected we are, and how far we have to go.

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NDTO Member Profile: SB&B Foods

Fifth generation owner/partner and vice president of SB&B Foods, Todd Sinner, is currently traveling, visiting customers of the family’s food-grade ingredient company based in Casselton, North Dakota. He will join his father, Robert Sinner as they complete yet another journey overseas to build upon the popularity of SB&B Foods’ non-GMO, identity-preserved products in international markets. The family-owned company delivers food-grade products to approximately 70 customers outside of the U.S., a patronage earned after years of effort.

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Commerce Department Changes Definition of Export

Changes to the Department of Commerce’s definition of an “export” were finalized this past fall and published in the Bureau of Industry and Security’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The revisions were completed in order to further harmonize the EAR with the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The EAR and ITAR are the two main export control laws for technology. The EAR covers “dual use” items – commercial products that could have military applications.  ITAR covers defense articles that are on the United States Munitions List (USML). There were several takeaways from these revisions that may apply to North Dakota companies and institutions, and are overviewed as follows.

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When in Rome: Gift Giving Etiquette

‘Tis the season of gift giving! At this time of year, we offer tokens of our love and friendship to family and friends to show how much we value and care about them. The same idea applies to the gifts that we choose for our business partners, at any time of year. We bring a gift to show our appreciation for them and how important the relationship is to us. However, gift giving traditions in other countries can widely vary. To aid in your selection of a gift, the NDTO has gathered gift giving tips and advice from around the world.

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NDTO Member Profile: Appareo

At Appareo, Director of Solutions Engineering, Brad Thurow, holds an exciting position – he’s in charge of conceiving new products and turning them into reality. In his position, “concept” is a verb as he takes a look at real world issues and solves them with electronics. Thurow works in business development, helping to define new projects that will be solved by the team members at Appareo. Appareo is a design, development and manufacturing firm of electronic and software solutions with headquarters in Fargo. The company predominately works in the aviation and agriculture industries.

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Specialty Crop Program Results

The North Dakota Trade Office’s Specialty Crop Programs have yielded fantastic results so far as North Dakota companies continue to market their specialty crops – beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and more – to various markets abroad. The Specialty Crop Programs’ returns on investment have reached over 3,800%, with more sales on the way. Additional details are as follows.

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When in Rome: Business Card Etiquette

Here in the U.S., we often have a casual approach when it comes to business cards. We give and accept each other’s cards unceremoniously, viewing them only as a future source of contact information. Some Americans view business cards as archaic, preferring to connect and share details through social media. Elsewhere in the world, the business card has a much larger role than just being a 3.5 x 2 inch piece of paper, it’s an extension of its owner. To get a better idea of just how important this small item is, the NDTO has collected different approaches to business cards from around the world.

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