In Paris, France at the Third European Academic Research Conference on Global Economics, presenting my research paper, “Beyond NAFTA: Concluded Regional and Bilateral US free trade agreements (FTA’s) and an assessment of trends in trade with their new partners”
and presenting “Leadership Succession in Multinationals: Case studies and evidence” as an invited lecturer.
Fact about the paper: This study assessed trends in trade for recently completed US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners in order to determine the merits of domestic industrial faction claims that FTA’s hurt overall US exports. The study found that the US has not only witnessed the predicted increases in imports after the FTA went into effect, but has also witnessed comparably more success in exporting to new FTA countries in the immediate aftermath of a successfully concluded FTA. This evidence should better substantiate the claim of the recent presidential administration and economists that “made-in-America-exports” would benefit as a result of the successful negotiation of a new US FTA.
Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 11% (World Bank)
Country’s most Important Industries: machinery, aircraft, nuclear energy
Economic Freedom ranking: #75
WWII fact: The French Resistance, the underground movement that fought against German occupation from 1940-1944, included economic attempts to thwart the Germans, including the striking of workers from the national coal company, Charbonnages de France. The goal was to cause difficulties for German industrial plants operating in France.
This conference has been certified by leading global accreditation institution on the selected criteria “Technical & Scientific”. After my paper was accepted to the conference, I was further honored when asked to be an invited lecturer to make a special presentation from a 2012 research paper published in the International Journal of Human Resource Studies.
France joined the Euro-zone in 1999. The country is currently an economic leader of the EU and has political clout in dealing with potential crises. France is considered a secular country and a major internal focus on the country is to integrate a comparably high Muslim population. France experiences greater unemployment and government spending as compared to its European counterparts, including high tax rates of up to 34.3% for some companies.
The Paris inter-city rapid transit network is renowned for it’s density of kilometers and number of lines within the central city region. The subway system, or metropolitan (metro), posted enlarged maps of the various lines on the walls outside of the trains, but contained no maps of the various lines inside the train (see below). However, the metro included a very handy sequence of lights that lit up depicting distance traveled along the line. That made traveling along the line more understandable.
The second most noteworthy soccer tournament behind the World Cup is the Euro Cup, which is played every four years among the European countries. France was the host for the 2016 Euro Cup.
Paris has been called the cultural hub of Europe, and the health of the French economy has come to rely on tourism. The Euro Cup was a boon for tourism, and drew 1.5 million fans from around the world, generated 1.3 billion Euros to the domestic economy, and created 104,000 total jobs (France Diplomatie, 2016). However, this was the first year that the tournament was played while on heightened alert due to tensions related to recent terrorist attacks in Europe. As such, the security was beefed up. Note the armed guard within eyesight of one of the entry ways to a public viewing Euro Cup venue. Over 90,000 security personnel were expected to be employed for the tournament.
National pride has been especially strong in France since the coordinated terrorists attack in Paris on November 13, 2015 that killed 130. This has translated into sponsorship increasing by 40% as compared to prior Euro Cups (Forex, 2016).
Paris is very much known for their relaxed neighborhood cafe scene. Generally, soccer is viewed publicly in this culturally prominent atmosphere.
But since the Euro Cup tournament was hosted by France and played in various venues throughout the country, demand and interest were extremely strong, prompting the city of Paris to coordinate various public viewing venues.
On a side note, I was a day away from the terrorist attack at Ataturk airport in Istanbul coming to France from Bulgaria. Over 1.2 million tons of freight flows through this airport annually, which has seen a spike in cargo in recent years. In 2013, a 10,500 square mile cargo hub was built to accommodate increased traffic of goods (Manners-Bell et al., 2014). Turkey has positioned itself as a supply chain and logistics facilitator due to it’s geographic influence in-between Asia and Europe. Historically, trade between the Middle East and Europe went through Turkey.
Rotterdam, Netherlands (Study Abroad planning)
Rotterdam is a progressive, multicultural city whose mayor is the first in the country to be an immigrant, a Muslim no less. New Economy (2016) noted that “Rotterdam has embraced innovation and experimental programs in order to develop into one of the world’s most sustainable cities.” The city has been chosen as the host of the 2025 World Expo, an international conference which addresses major global issues. It’s been stated that “people were drawn to the city because of its new smooth running transportation networks” in the past several generations (Rotterdam Marketing, 2016). The New York Times included Rotterdam as a “Place to Go” (New York Times, 2014) and it was named one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet. The city is quickly becoming a hot tourist destination, with overnight stays in hotels going up by 14% in 2014 (Economische Verkenning Rotterdam, 2016).
The Netherlands employs the least percentage of its citizens in manufacturing of all European nations (European Union Eurostat, 2016), but serves as a supply chain epicenter. The Port of Rotterdam, which we will tour, is the largest port in Europe, and an integral cog in the European supply chain. It handles more cargo than any American port. The port currently boasts “safety, accessibility and sustainability” as key priorities (Port of Rotterdam, 2016). We will learn about key components of “Port Vision 2030” as outlined by their leadership team. The port recently received a loan of 900 million Euros by the European Investment bank due to the need for increased capacity, and has been labeled by the EIB as a “vital organ” of the European region (European Investment Bank, 2015). One modern usage of the Port includes the Innovation dock, a group of intermodal manufacturing workspace occupied by young entrepreneurs wishing for improved supply chain access for their products. The innovation dock first came about several decades ago by Van Gelder, who created the Innovation Dock area along with a community of houses and residential spaces behind it so workers didn’t have to travel far for work. It was the first known community to offer pensions around the world.
The Port sees 315.2 million metric tons of incoming throughput every year and 129.6 million metric tons of outgoing throughput every year. Automation and technology are constantly being upgraded. Cranes often pick up and unload containers; only 50,000 of 19 million containers are scanned in full.
Generally, food in Rotterdam is high in carbohydrates which is said to have evolved because foods high in carbs were needed for the working class during the formation of the country. Similar dishes are eaten for breakfast and lunch in Rotterdam, consisting of bread (bagels) with toppings such as Dutch cheese. Mashed potatoes with a meat dish is common for dinner, and natural juices tend to be a customary drink.
Immigrant flows into Holland have given rise to the types of restaurants opening for business. This trend included Spanish and Portuguese in the 1920s and 1930s, Turkish restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s, Moroccan restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s, and Polish restaurants today. Residents of refugee camps established near Rotterdam during the Vietnam War have started lots of Vietnamese restaurants. Many Surinamese restaurants are found in Rotterdam, because many from Surinam relocated to Rotterdam in 1975 after being granted independence from the Dutch in which they were previously a colony.
Markthal (Market Hall, see photo below) is a public venue built in 2014 that has been called the food mecca of the Netherlands. It contains 96 restaurants and 228 apartments. Whereas Rotterdam was rebuilt after World War II with mostly office buildings, there tended to be a problem for businesses after the close of the workday due to the lack of activity, so since the 1980s, new venues have been built with apartments and residential accommodations in mind.
Near Rotterdam’s newly renovated central train station are sites constructed in the square-mile area in the city’s once-thriving commercial district which was completely flattened during the Rotterdam Blitz, a surprise aerial attack by the German air force on May 14, 1940 that occurred in the midst of official German-Dutch negotiations and prompted immediate surrender by the Dutch government. The Blitz was a catalyst for a change in British bombing policy that led to banning the bombing of any civilian-industrial areas. Below is a picture of City Hall, which survived the Blitz other than a few bullet holes from German gunmen, which still can be seen in the structure today.
Erasmus University in Rotterdam features the internationally recognized School of Economics and School of History, Culture, and Communication. One means of getting to Erasmus University and around the port is through a water taxi, which is free for all college students attending school in Rotterdam.