Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tough Times for Exporters

Fern growing in rock wall - Esplanade Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland Photo taken June 19, 2009
From all the media reports as well as figures coming from Statistics New Zealand, international trade is difficult at the moment particularly for exporters. It seems to me that this tenacious fern encapsulates the situation perfectly - find a niche and hold on!

Friday, June 26, 2009

World Trade Organisation

The WTO site is a fund of information as can be seen by clicking on the Trade Topics link. The WTO also has a library and the catalogue can be searched by anyone, but it is intended primarily for WTO Staff and Delegates. Here is the OPAC link:


It specializes in economics, statistical and legal materials related to international trade. The Library holds some 40,000 monographs, more than 1,000 periodicals, and over 800 current yearbooks. In addition, it is home to the GATT Archives. A search on 'New Zealand' retrieves 37 items.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blind Search

'The goal of this site is simple, we want to see what happens when you remove the branding from search engines. How differently will you perceive the results?
This site is built as a fun experiment by
Michael Kordahi.'
Michael says: 'The system has many flaws that I know about already, the primary one of interest is the lack of localisation. So, all searches are going through the US as US searches. The other deficiency worth noting is that there is much missing from the actual experience of using these search engines eg, image thumbnails, suggestions, refine queries etc.
Ohh, and this site is very very beta, expect it to break!'

I did two test searches using the following:

1. New Zealand's top exports
2. New Zealand's top ten export destinations

For Search 1 Google produced the best result which was a Statistics New Zealand page. For Search 2 Bing produced a result which was helpful although not exactly what I wanted - it gave the top seven destinations one of which was North America which is too general when an enquirer might want to know whether Canada figures in the top ten.

In both searches the results were the wrong way round e.g. US exports to New Zealand. This may be explained by Michael's comments above. There were also Australian results like this some of which came at the top of the list. Other results were very specific and focussed on one products e.g. wine or electronics. And there were results which focussed on one export destination e.g. Thailand.

See also post on Bing below. The URL for Blind Search is: http://blindsearch.fejus.com/ I'd be interested in what others might have found.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Picking up information

It's amazing where one picks up information related to aspects of international trade. I regularly read a magazine from the Columban Fathers which often has items which I have not seen in other media. Last year they ran a series on the Millennium Development Goals which didn't seem to get much publicity in the mainstream press. The June issue of The Far East included a reprinted article by Ruth Dearnley entitled "A glass and a half" in which it was announced that Cadbury's Dairy milk chocolate would become Fairtrade certified later this year.

Under the Fairtrade scheme, Cadbury will pay a guaranteed minimum price for cocoa even if the open-market proce falls below it.

Photo: www.unicef.org.uk depicts cocoa beans drying in Ghana. Cadbury's will triple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa imported from Ghana to about 15,000 tonnes a year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bing Bing!

And no not this Bing. There has been a lot of discussion on Google News about Bing and no doubt in other blogs and discussion forums. Here's a quote from Tom Krazit writing on Cnet News June 9, 2009: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10261061-2.html in a piece entitled: 'Google's Schmidt dings Bing'.

"Bing has been well-received in its first trip around the Internet, but it obviously has an awfully long way to go before it makes a dent in Google's business. Still, with some in the search industry now wondering if Yahoo really intends to compete in search over the next few years, Bing may shape up as the only true alternative to Google."

Has anyone in international trade really had a good look at Bing - care to share your findings?

Friday, June 5, 2009


Today's article in the Dominion Post's Business Day p.C1 entitled 'Attack on Zespri monopoly' by Andrew Janes contained an interesting piece of IP information. The name kiwifruit, coined to replace Chinese gooseberry, was first mooted in 1956 by the company Turners and Growers. Now of course, that name is commonplace throughout the world.

The remainder of the article outlined Turners and Growers' challenge to kiwifruit company Zespri to allow them to become an 'international, branded, year-round supplier and marketer of kiwifruit,' with accusations of monopolistic and protectionist actions.

Useful websites: www.turnersandgrowers.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

YouTube videos

Has anyone come across a list of useful videos that are available through YouTube? A search on the phrase "international trade" brings up a lot of short clips which look interesting e.g. one from mishymail about an academic course on International Commercial Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. If you can recommend any clips that you have watched that would be great - thanks. By the way if you are searching and use "exporting" you will get heaps of computer related results.