“It could become the most expensive waste of money in history”

Marina Barberá Matías

All the actions done by the president Donald J. Trump have been done to “make America great again” but despite of what people may say the intention is not what matters. Those political moves may produce different outcomes of those sought by Mr. Trump.

One of the f086c412irst decisions when he arrived to his actual position and one of the well-known promises done during the presidential campaign of Mr. Trump was the withdrawal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Charles Kushner program director of the Bachelor in International Relations at IE University in Madrid Spain, sees it like the perfect opportunity for Canada to step into America’s leadership role in order to facilitate better trade, as Canada largely avoided the 2008 financial crisis by avoiding the risky banking practices that were responsible for the collapse, thus they are well poised to step into this leadership role.

Mr. Trump said “now American workers will be protected against competition from low-wage countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.” but the reasons established by experts for the manufacturing jobs decline differ from his. The central cause is the automation, which has developed into the decline of human labour. It is a fact that despite the decline in manufacturing jobs, the productivity in American factories has been increased. We are producing more while employing fewer. “This is exactly why Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of trade deals won’t only not bring back jobs to the American economy, it will actually hurt the economy further, as products exported by America would undoubtedly suffer with less trading partners.” Mr. Kushner said. The economic position of the U.S. as the world leader can be at risk by the isolationist strategy followed by Mr. Trump as affects their international image in the free market. Mr. Kushner said that in order to maintain its status as the beacon of the free world, America in fact needs to be a part of the world. It cannot afford to shut itself in behind pointless and costly walls.

Also, the acts done by the new president will without discussion cause changes on the relation between the U.S. and the countries from all around the world. The TPP was a pact in which the United States, the world’s largest economy and Japan, the third world largest economy, were together in a free-trade pact. The end of this agreement could cause some differences in the relation between Japan and the U.S., but the reality is that their relation despite the event from the past is better than the one that Japan has with its neighbours. “The dismantling of the TPP doesn’t affect current trade deals the U.S. and Japan share. Currently Japan is the United States 4th largest trading partner”. The relation among them will remain as usual but it is a fact that the withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP will cause an economic vacuum that China will look forward to fill. It will be matter of time see if the relation between other members and the U.S. is enough to prevent China of fulfilling that position.

The relation with Mexico is the most affected by the actions of Mr. Trump as one of the most polemic orders is the construction of the wall in the frontier between Mexico and the United States. The main cause of its controversy is the dispute about who is going to pay for it, as the president of the United States has affirmed from the campaign that his country will not pay and the president of Mexico also declared that no Mexican money will be used for the construction of that wall, Mexico is face to face against the multimillionaire Donald Trump who has promised to find the way to make them pay and one of the ideas is through taxes. This will not be a good option as Mr. Kushner says that Mexican exporters would likely just raise taxes on American products as well as the prices of their own exports, resulting in price increases in the U.S. and ultimately the cost of the wall would be paid by Americans, not Mexico. Moreover, the construction of the wall will be unproductive as there are another ways through which the immigrants arrive to the U.S. so “it could become the most expensive waste of money in history as most undocumented immigrants in America fly into the country and overstay a valid visa.”

Not so “great great wall”

The U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to begin the construction of his famous wall along the 1,900-mile border with Mexico but the outcome will not be as good as he promised due to the arguments he gave during the campaign haven’t got any sense.

During the campaign, Trump promised a wall in the U.S.-Mexican border which would be paid by the Mexicans. The wall will cost nearly twice the $10 billion estimated by Trump, which by the moment will be paid with U.S. federal dollars as Mexico still refuses to pay for it. This dilemma has broken the historical relationship among them, as they used to fight together against illegal immigration. Recently the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a landmark meeting with the new President. The different ways Trump may use to make Mexican pay (as a sky-high export tax), will cause economic damage on both countries.

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The Department of Homeland Security’s estimates that the total undocumented population peaked at 12 million in 2008, and has fallen since then. And that decline is not because of rising border enforcement but because Mexico is producing less demographic pressure to migrate to the U.S.. Moreover, according to the BJS, black males are 37% of the male prison population, white males made up 32%, followed by 22% of Hispanics that were in state or federal prison at yearend 2014. So the “malos hombres” that Trump always talked about are not the main cause of criminality in U.S..

Also, Trump said that “undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans”, but it has been proved that most of immigrants take different jobs than American. For example, farmers can’t find enough native-born Americans to pick crops, as often Americans are unwilling to do the jobs done by immigrants. There has been numerous cases in towns of the U.S., where they enforce laws against immigrants, which has led to a catastrophic result in their town.The Town of Riverside, New Jersey is a clear example of it. 11 years ago, the Town Comitee became the first municipality in New Jersey to establish a law against illegal immigrants, by fining or even sending to jail to their householders. This led to a massive exodus of immigrants in the Town, leaving it without workers or customers. Their local economy suffered to the point that the local shops, like hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered the immigrants went broke, which made a big part of them close.

If Trump thinks that kicking the immigrants out of the U.S. is a good thing, we think that there are more reasons showing the opposite. The diversity of ethnics has always been one of the pillars of the U.S. in terms of economy, referring that any person of any country could seek fortune in the U.S., which turned the U.S. into “the land of opportunity and liberty”, and the construction of the wall will suppose the end of it.

By Marina Barberá, Alejandro Martín, Alba Tissera.

Steinadler Co. – The Golden Eagle connecting Latin America & Asia

Born in Guatemala City and having spent almost half-life in Taipei, Rodrigo Galvez, an international businessman, created his company Steinadler Co. in 2007, starting with the notion of exporting high-quality Guatemalan coffee connected with its history and cultural beliefs to the edges of South-East Asia.

His company’s name ‘Steinadler’ is the German name for the “Golden Eagle” species; known for their excellent accuracy, their sharp vision and high altitude flight as well as its elegance.

Picture retrieved from: http://steinadlerco.com/

Steinadler Website. Picture retrieved from: http://steinadlerco.com/

Due to his location (Taiwan), I had to communicate with him through e-mail and Skype, but everything went very smoothly. In my first few questions, I asked him about himself and how does he feel due to his job, as well as his company’s objectives and challenges.

He stated that he started doing business at the age of 16 back in Latin America. Mister Galvez has always been attracted to international trade and the exchange of markets, and his company’s main objective is to create a bridge for exchange between Asia and Latin America.
He mostly manages investments and the financial part of his company. For daily operations they have employees and usually outsource a wide array of services (which is something really easy and cheap in Asia).

I continued by asking about his career development and its company’s expansion and specialization in Agribusiness as well as in Construction and Industrial equipment and services, which shows that it is a quite broad and busy company.

R. Galvez pointed out that it has developed as he expected, even much more interesting than he thought someday it would become.
Steinadler Co. has specialized in different areas due to the “chain effect” being in Asia that it represents. R. Galvez said: “there isn’t anything too broad if you know how to expand it and organize it”.
He started importing coffee from Guatemala, and allocating it into different roasters and retailers, then the same customers became interested not only in coffee, but also cocoa, sugar, lobster.
Later, the same farms and suppliers back in Guatemala and Nicaragua took the opportunity to acquire equipment from Steinadler Co., at much lower prices than buying it locally. Products include harvesters, tractors, forklifts and other farming equipment. So they saw the opportunity to not only import, but also export to Latin America.

Nowadays, Steinadler Co. has market share in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. Same thing happened with construction supplies; “customers saw Chinese prices and quality is not “bad” or badly rated anymore”, there are even building materials companies listed in fortune 500 which they have agreements with and represent them for Latin America. “It’s mostly taking advantage of opportunities.”

I also had thoughts about the economic connection between Taiwan (Asia) to Guatemala (Latin America), as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) that increasingly improved trade relations between these regions.

R. Galvez said that there is a big difference between Taiwanese economic connection and (Asia in whole) economic connection with Latin America.
Some countries are pro-Taiwan; some others like Costa Rica are pro-China. In this case, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras are pro-Taiwan.

“That means, ZERO import taxes, good flow of communications, diplomatic relationships, assistance and excellent interest rates for getting credit lines.”

Imports and exports at least from or to Hong Kong and Taiwan are quite easy; “it’s not a hassle.”
R. Galvez said that what is difficult is to allocate products into China, if the country doesn’t have any diplomatic ties or economic relations.

An example: “we can’t directly enter Guatemalan coffee into China, because all sanitary certificates are not valid, cause there is no relationship or any ties between China and Guatemala.” So in the end, all the coffee needs to pass through Taiwan or Singapore, as Hong Kong nationalizes it, and then it is imported forward into China.

According to some news and the simple historical fact of the ideological, political as well as economical issues between Taiwan and China, I also had to ask him about these things.
He stated: “Our connection to the Republic of China is actually much better than 4 years ago. There are some trade agreements starting to take place between Taiwan and China. That’s a good advantage.”
He also mentioned that they are entering the Chinese market, through Taiwanese companies, which have already been established in China and which “already have the know-how to the Chinese market. “
Hong Kong is also another market Steinadler Co. has entered and it seems to be easier than China in whole (or Taiwan) due to its “strong international environment”, as R. Galvez has experienced.

I was also interested in some projects that they are currently working at. He told me about a Taiwanese solar energy products manufacturer that they are right now representing, and with it starting a big solar-energy generating system in Nicaragua, “with future plans for the Guatemalan market”.
Due to low land prices in Nicaragua, they are able to “lower costs, have an inexpensive operation and sell it to the grid for excellent profits.”

Rodrigo Galvez (right) in Taipei. OWN PICTURE

All in all, they are looking for expansion and profit, and already spread into many regions. So, I asked him what does his company contribute to the world or the regions, referring also to the world market or even to politics.

His answer was quite short, but powerful: “We contribute to the ‘internationalization’ of the Asia Pacific region.”

Due to his ‘internationalization’, I asked him about some visible effects caused by the financial crisis of the EU and if it influenced his company.He stated that they haven’t been largely influenced, “maybe only on the fact, that many European companies dropped their prices and Latin American countries were able to get European quality products / machinery at better prices – But still, it’s minimal”. He said that it wouldn’t be enough to compete with China or Taiwan, and in the end they also don’t sell any products to Europe at all.

Rodrigo Galvez is an experienced, creative and international business-focused man with great aspirations, who tries to connect and to improve Asia-Latin America trade; also importing and showing the world what his precious and productive country Guatemala has to offer.

I personally thank him for his time. I wish him good luck for his further work and I hope to follow his path on international business.

 

Written by DAVID J. K. TOFAN

Interview with Welinton Bernardes

Interview made by Larissa Duarte Lourenço 

Interview with Welinton Bernardes, a Brazilian entrepreneur of the health business area that lives in Angola for his business. He has six business including a hospital and several health clinics  Unisaude, Pracs, SGH. Neofarma and Nova Africa.

How the idea of expanding your business to Angola came?

– It was trough a friend; he already had business here for 15 years.

Which were the main differences, related to you adaptation?

-When we arrive here, was six months that the war was over. Beyond all the difficulties (and pain) of a people that was fighting a war for 27 years all was missing, including the essential as food and basic health. Our first business here was a medicine distributer, until today it is a reference here in Sub-Saharan Africa.

When did you moved to Angola?

-There’s been 10 years. At the year of 2002.

What was the image you have of African Countries before you go to Angola? And how is the reality that you found?

-That they would be a sad and closed people, revolted and dangerous. The people is good and has all the acceptance with the expatriates. Inside Africa, there is a lot of “Africas”, and I’m not talking about the North of Africa, where are the countries that speak Arabic. But, all of them suffered with the speculation and extraction of the settlers countries. There are wealthy countries with a lot of poverty that is the case of Angola, as also have a lot of poor countries with a lot of misery.

As a professional in the area of health, do you think that the situation of diseases in Africa is improving?

– Yes, it has improved a lot, essentially in function of the formation of the human material, a lot of graduates are coming back to their homeland. After the end of the Angola’s war.

Do you have an optimist or a pessimist vision of Africa? Why?

– Compleatly optimist. The world is all in Africa somehow. Today a many contries invest in Africa, mainly the Chinese, searching for mineral wealth.

Which recent events that most caught your attention?

– Exists an attempt there is still shy, of a change of the Governments. Ther is a movement of new awakening, for democracies, varorization of the man and their culture, independent of their tribe or belief. There are new “winds” arriving in Africa, a new continent will rise.