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The way we shop changes rapidly from year to year. This is due to the various technological improvements that are introduced to the market so often. From laptops, to tablets, to smart phones, and reliable networks it is extremely convenient to switch from the traditional brick and mortar stores to online shopping which has increased tremendously in the past few years. Consumers in Canada, for example, spent last year alone. Social media provides just the right push to turn users in the direction of shopping at the click of a button. Customized advertisement on Facebook based on user preferences listed in their profiles and opinions expressed on Twitter open the door for users to explore different shopping websites and possibly find items that they would not be able to find in stores otherwise. Furthermore, the internet provides a wider variety of products and comparing prices is much easier because when online, a customer can be searching multiple websites simultaneously.

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For small businesses, exporting products to new markets may appear unattainable.  With assistance from partners such as the U.S. Commercial Service, business leaders with minimal international experience can soon of exporting.  This can be an enormous opportunity for business growth, attainable without unnecessary levels of risk.  Jim Blasingame of “The Small Business Advocate” recently sat down with Doug Barry, the Director of Marketing and Communication for the U.S. Commercial Service, to discuss such a success story.  One small bio-business used international markets to quickly achieve levels of wealth that otherwise would have seemed impossible. 

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While social media sites are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, there is one region in particular where social media has nearly unlimited growth potential. That region is the Middle East and although there has been much concern surrounding the use of social networks for protest demonstrations, social media sites provide great opportunities for businesses of the region. In the Middle East the number of in the past year. Now, the question is whether businesses of the region will take advantage of social networks and use them as a brand building tool.

Publish Date: 乐动体育董事长

The Dominican Republic is usually known as the country of Latin America. However, that’s not necessarily the entire picture as the Dominican Republic is such as mining, finance, telecommunications, and infrastructure. Foreign direct investment flowing into the country allows this growth to be sustainable and continue into the future. There are many business factors that provided the foundation for the Dominican Republic’s growth in these various sectors.

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Last month’s blog series introduced readers to cloud computing, as well as digging deeper into numerous characteristics of the cloud. A particularly interesting aspect of cloud computing is the risks and benefits to the global environment. With the explosive growth of cloud computing in recent years, this is quickly becoming a very heated debate.

Publish Date: 乐动体育董事长

Online shopping is being used in many countries around the world and its use is becoming more widespread each year. In emerging countries such as India, the rapidly with over three thousand e-commerce centers found online. Recently, businesses in South Korea have taken by allowing people to shop in virtual supermarkets with their smartphone.

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Here at Michigan State University, agricultural business has played a very important role in the history and development of the university. In 1855, Michigan’s governor signed a bill establishing the nation’s first agriculture college, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. The nation’s pioneer land-grant university later became known as Michigan State University. Created by the International Business Center at Michigan State University, globalEDGE has noted the importance of agriculture in our university’s foundation and the significant role agriculture plays in the international business world. For these reasons, globalEDGE provides many resources pertaining to agribusiness which can help you recognize the major international business trends in the agriculture industry.

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With increased awareness of environmental change in today’s business world, more and more companies are looking for innovative resources to reduce their “footprint” in any way possible. Some have started cutting down on packaging; others have redesigned their containers with recycled material. Certain companies are one step ahead of these methods and have turned to agricultural products to eliminate packaging wastes. 

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With the world population recently reaching 7 billion, many wonder how the agriculture industry will keep up to feed this multitude of people. It seems that much of the success will come from developing countries. Many of these countries are a large part of the growing population and also have natural resources that produce a large amount of the world’s agricultural products. Still, an enormous amount of effort is needed to increase agricultural production in developing countries.

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programs, commonly known as C.S.A.’s, were born in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s and 1970s.  Since then, C.S.A.’s have expanded globally and are now becoming increasingly popular worldwide.  These programs enable consumers to buy fruits, vegetables, meats, and other goods in advance that are grown by local farmers.  Most commonly, consumers receive baskets weekly containing the goods specified in their subscriptions.  The growth of these programs is due largely in part to the numerous advantages that both consumers and farmers are experiencing.

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During routine trips to the supermarket, shoppers frequently face choices between organic and conventional food products.  While these items may look nearly identical at first glance, they likely arrived on store shelves via radically different supply chains.  Global regions have had varying reactions to the organic food movement.  The future of agribusiness may well be determined by consumer preferences between organic and conventional foods.

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It is hard to imagine life without food – in fact, it is impossible. And although many people don't recognize it, there is big business behind getting food from the farm to your kitchen table. The agribusiness sector is a broad industry covering the entire business of food production ranging from planting to the distribution and selling of the end product. New technologies and global trends are changing the way these businesses operate. The Agribusiness Blog Series will cover many of these topics including organic farming, new sales methods, and the new uses of agriculture products.

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This past week, the United States passed a trio of free trade agreements removing trade barriers with the countries of Panama, South Korea, and Colombia. The free trade agreements will have many impacts on international trade tendencies between these countries as the pacts will essentially eliminate tariffs faced by exporters in all four countries. Exports of each country are expected to rise as a result of the agreements and many businesses small or large will be able to compete in new markets abroad. The trade relationships between each country will dramatically change as the new trade agreements mark the biggest opportunity for exporting businesses in decades.

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Forbes has just released its list of "Best Countries for Business" and this year Canada has reached the top. Canada jumped up from last year’s number 4 spot to claim the top spot on the list. Countries were ranked based on “property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.” Through a variety of reliable sources, Forbes was able to evaluate countries based on these characteristics and rank the countries in order of business attractiveness.

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Germany and Vietnam recently expanded their economic ties by signing financial cooperation and partnership pacts.  Last year bilateral trade exceeded 5 billion dollars between these two countries and Germany was Vietnam’s largest trade partner in the European Union.  These countries are not only looking to increase trade, but also to create welcoming working conditions for businesses in each other's country.  This partnership aims to benefit both parties in ways far beyond just trade.

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While most economies in the European Union are slowing down, Estonia is going in the complete opposite direction. Estonia currently has the fastest economic growth rate in the European Union with a solid eight percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2011. Joining the European Union in 2004, Estonia has come a long way to establish itself as a prominent economic force in Europe. The country experienced some hindrances along the way but has overcome these obstacles while continuing to grow economically. There are that account for this positive growth rate in Estonia.

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乐动体育董事长As global food prices continue to rise, rice is no exception. In Thailand, extreme rain and government regulation are also expected to contribute to a sudden hike in rice prices.

Thailand has around 8 million rice farmers, and currently accounts for about . However, the Thai government is stepping in to , so that share is likely to drop. The Thai government hopes the increase in prices will benefit local struggling farmers increase their income. Unfortunately, the increase in prices also means that Thailand rice exports will be less competitive internationally. Some say that other countries, such as India and Vietnam, will be able to make up for what Thailand does not export but global price increases are still likely. With other countries becoming larger international players in the rice market the Thai government may end up rethinking its rice pricing policy.

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If you are a small business counselor looking to improve your skills as an export and trade advisor, online training certification may be of interest to you. The webpage is a great resource to achieve this goal and is provided by the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce. This page offers small business counselors the opportunity to receive certification after viewing several webinars on exporting information and guides.

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China’s image as a is likely to change due to the rapid increases in worker wages.  In fact, wages for the average manufacturer worker in China are expected to double by 2015.  As this has begun to unfold, many foreign manufacturers have begun looking for alternative low-cost production bases and have been largely unsuccessful in finding better options.  Foreign reliance on China for inexpensive production will likely be a thing of the past as these wages continue to climb.

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Last week globalEDGE experienced some technical issues causing a few blog posts to be deleted from the site. To correct this problem, we will be re-posting three deleted blog posts today from last week. We are sorry for any inconveniences this may have caused and we look forward to getting the blog going again. We are also open to hear some ideas from you, our readers, on international business topics you would like us to cover. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog suggesting future blog topics or you can also comment on various blog posts throughout the week that you find interesting.