WTD International Trade News of the Week. Pick of the Litter Series, vol. # 4

This week’s batch of articles from our friendly neighborhood TI sources at home and abroad features a wide variety of good looking breeds to select from: Digital Literacy, Export Excellence Awards, “Reconditioning” Food (EEEK!), Top Ten Global “Green” companies and some interesting facts about sugar and shrimp (not referring to terms of endearment / pet names used by couples to refer to each other).

From the U.S. Commerce Blog: Digital Literacy: Initiative Aims to Help Americans Build Online Skills. “We live in an Internet economy where high-speed Internet access and online skills are necessary for seeking, applying for, and getting today’s jobs.  DigitalLiteracy.gov will help Americans build the online skills needed to fully share in the benefits of broadband, including developing workforce skills, finding reliable healthcare information, or designing a website.”  Now-a-days Digital Literacy is more necessary than knowing how to use a hammer, saw and screwdriver.   Yea, Geeks rule!

From International Trade Law News: Winners of 2011 Presidential “E” Awards for Export Excellence Announced. Congratulations to the 27 companies and organizations that received the prestigious 2011 Presidential “E” Awards for export excellence today.  The “E” Award, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is the highest U.S. government recognition any American entity may receive for supporting export activity.  Yea, Pete O’Neil and his crew at the Pennsylvania Center for Trade Development, Harrisburg, PA… You Rock! (Business associates and clients). 

From Customs and International Trade Law Blog: Reconditioning Imported Food Refused by the FDA.  Often the FDA does not allow the food to enter the United States by declaring it to be misbranded or adulterated by filth or decomposition.  Virtually always, refused food is then either destroyed or exported from the United States. There is a little known, but valuable, option called “reconditioning”.  O.K., I’ll be checking at my local Kroger next to the “generic” aisle for reconditioned food…NOT!

From Global Edge Blog (Post on original Forbes article)Top 10 Global Green Companies. The number one is LG Electronics in South Korea.  Other companies highlighted around the world include Adidas in Germany. I think I’ll run right over and buy another TV. 

From the good folks at USDA -ERS (Economic Research Service): Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States (FATUS). New monthly AG Data released and ready for download on the food we buy and the food we sell.   Does it strike anyone else as strange that the organization that collects and publishes data about our food stuffs is named “Fat Us”?  Is it some kind of not so subtle indictment that is aimed at us individually, or us (U.S.) nationally ? Is it meant to be a self-depreciating term, acknowledgment to hungry, struggling economies of the world of our gluttonous consumerism?  Me, I take it personally and respond, “Fat on you too!”

Ironic additional post by above Food folks: Are Competitors’ Free Trade Agreements PuttingU.S. Agricultural Exporters at a Disadvantage? “Empirical evidence shows Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) increased trade among member countries, suggesting that the large number of FTAs that do not include the United States may be eroding the U.S. presence in foreign markets.”  One member of a Tunisian delegation once commented to me while complaining that U.S. “subsidized” grain exports were all but destroying his domestic agricultural industry and building lasting dependence, “FOOD IS POWER”.  There are always many ways to see and describe the “truth”. “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics”.   Statistics show that you will either believe this or you won’t.  

Back to Commerce: Anita Ramasastry, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. “Recently, I was asked to establish a new initiative focused on preventing corruption in global trade.  My work on anticorruption attempts to tackle one of the largest trade barriers and problems in global trade.”  Her boss, President Obama has spoken of the devastating cost of corruption. And the need for change: “In too many places, the culture of the bribe is a brake on development and prosperity.” Best of luck and success Caped Crusader. Gee, I’ve done considerable business in China and never recognized corruption to be a problem.  Then again, for the most part, I’ve lost  a lot of money there.  Huì qì? Bu cong ming? Tai Lao?  Wo bù zhīdào.  

From U.S. Census (Global Reach) Blog: The Fruit of the Sea. “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it…” In the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill, exports of frozen shrimp from the gulf sharply decreased. Louisiana’s frozen shrimp exports dropped 75% from April to June 2010. Despite those losses, markets have rebounded and shrimp exports are back to pre-oil spill levels.  Go shrimp, go! 

Ending on a sweet note; from the food folks at USDA-ERS once again: Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook.

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