GLI — Greater Louisville Inc. highlights comments from Kimberly VanLandingham, president of European Market Link, on November 6, 2013 for October export trade event. For full article see http://www.greaterlouisville.com/NeedToKnow/default.aspx?id=9287&blogid=7771
GLI Export Seminar Highlights Business Opportunities
GLI and the World Trade Center of Kentucky recently hosted Consul General Graham Paul of France and Consul General Dr. Christian Brecht of Germany so they could provide some background on the benefits and barriers to doing business with their respective countries, as well as other countries in the European Union (EU). Both painted a very big and bright future for those who wish to operate with and in the EU, noting that France and Germany together represent one third of the European market. Germany has the 4th largest economy in the world and France comes in 5th.
Both speakers took some time to stress the need for approval of the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as it will create growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. The TTIP will establish common standards and improved business opportunities that can help create stronger competition for China and all of Asia. Click here for more information on how TTIP impacts Kentucky.
Paul, who along with Brecht is headquartered in Chicago, quickly focused on France’s productive and educated talent pool. According to current studies, 80% of French people are happy to go to work, and France is 4th in the EU in terms of productivity. More than 40% of the French workforce are college graduates. France is considered to be the gateway to doing business in the EU largely because of its focus on innovation, which is the number one priority, and is organized around 71 innovation clusters. Developed through a strong university system and enterprise channels, these innovation clusters have helped to develop more than 5,000 new businesses. Currently, 20 Kentucky companies representing more than 7,500 employees are doing business in France.
Brecht highlighted Germany’s current Business Climate Index, which shows improvement in all sectors, including a highly productive workforce (ranked 6th in the world), first class infrastructure which offers rapid transit to all of Europe, and a secure investment environment featuring an easy legal framework and strong intellectual property protection. Currently, 58 German enterprises are operating in Kentucky, representing 8,500 employees. In addition, Kentucky has a Business Trade and Investment office located in Hamburg, Germany.
Kimberly VanLandingham, founder and president of European Market Link, a market development consultant for businesses operating in Europe, provided a look at some of the “dos and don’ts” of working in the EU. She pointed out the importance of moving to a new market with a strength, rather than starting in a new market with a new product. VanLandingham stressed that Americans have to adapt to a new way of thinking because the EU is more about people and the affects that a project will have on them, and the US focuses on strategy and how to get things done. She also drilled down so far as to offer tips on how to e-mail a potential colleague in Germany, and how to handle a business lunch with the French. For example, Germany is much more formal than the US, and expects an email to look much more like a business letter complete with greetings and salutations; quick, one sentence emails are considered rude. Also, Germans expect visitors to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to a meeting time and go strictly by an agenda. You should plan on a business lunch with the French to be treated as a social, relationship-building event, and last two to three hours. The French choose to savor each course and you will be asked whether you prefer red or white; wine is a way of life, and the French take it very seriously.
>>Interested in going global? To learn how GLI can support your exporting efforts, contact Michael Iacovazzi-Pau at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502.625.0070.