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April 13, 2004

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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WTO Predicts 7.5% Growth In International Trade

The World Trade Organization's Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi says that world trade has made a major turnaround from the 9/11 incident, which caused a 1% decline in 2001. Growth in 2002 was only 2.5%, and 2003 saw 4.5%. For 2004 the prediction is 7.5%, which would exceed the 1990s average growth of 6.7%.

World trade is now closing in on $8 trillion per year. In 1950 the aggregate trade figure was but $120 billion, showing the enormous expansion of trade which provides support for sustained economic growth and job creation.

Supachai says the best way to ensure sustained trade growth would be for the WTO's 146 members to work together, to conclude the current round of trade-liberalization negotiations aimed at reducing import duties and other barriers to free international trade.

Editor's Note: Approximately 10% to 15% of the $8 trillion in international trade is done on a countertrade basis, according to the WTO and the Economist magazine.


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Cabela's Barter Message To Business Community

Cabela is a hunting, fishing, and outdoor retailer that uses its ability to attract tourists to negotiate favorable incentives from state and local governments. (Automobile dealerships have used the same "I'll move into your area and provide additional taxes if you'll do such and such for us!")

Most of Cabela's nine stores are located in the midwest, each one attracting about 4.4 million visitors on average last year. The stores in Kansas City (KS) and Owatonna (MN) are among the top tourist destinations in their respective states.

The "barter offers" are contingent on various economic-development incentives Cabela is able to get from cities and states where they locate, which include road improvements, tax incentives and other subsidies.


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Chinese Company Joins Olympic Games' Barter Program

Sponsorship Payment Made In Products & Services

China's biggest personal-computer manufacturer, Legend Group Ltd., has become the first Chinese company to join the Olympic Games' world-wide sponsorship program.

Legend will provide desktop computers, laptops, printers and other equipment as well as technological support (and some funds) to the 2006 Turin Olympic Winter Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as payment for the sponsorship. Sponsors use the 5-ringed Olympic Logo (Olympics intellectual property) in their world-wide marketing programs.

Editor's Note: McDonald's recently renewed their 4-year Olympic sponsorship for $50 million. Like other Olympic sponsors, McDonald's payment will be in-kind, wherein they will feed the hundred thousand volunteers as well as the Olympic athletes from around the world at the two-week events. (The Olympic Games are like no other sporting event in the world, they're comparable to staging a "Super Bowl" for 14 consecutive days!)


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Networking Is Important, But You Better Keep The Relatives Happy, Too

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), a research program that assesses the national level of entrepreneurship, the aggregate amount of informal investment is enormous. Nearly 1 in 20 adults report investing money in entrepreneurial businesses, with 50% of those proceeds going to companies owned by relatives.

Informal investment weights in at a hefty 1% of GDP, or approximately $100 billion, in the United States. Not all is earmarked for junior or the spouse...25% goes to a neighbor, friend, colleague, or someone the investor knows. And 15% to 20% goes to a stranger with a good idea—which is why networking is so important.


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Here & There...

  • March 30th follow-up: International Monetary Systems (OTCBB:INLM) has completed its acquisition of California Barter Exchange in Modesto. IMS now has 3,000 members within a 100-mile radius of the San Francisco Bay area, and 7,000 members aggregately.
  • Intagio Trading Network has unveiled an upgraded and re-designed website, www.intagio.com. Among the many enhancements are new "Buy" and "Sell" sections, and a "My Storefront" section where clients can promote offerings.
  • China is now the world's third largest merchandise importer, after the U.S. and Germany. The World Trade Organization says China's imports expanded by a remarkable 40% last year. At the same time, China's exports expanded by 36% to make them the world's fourth largest merchandise exporter.
  • Mark Conroy, president of closely held luxury operator Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and head of the Cruise Line International Association, an industry trade group, believes North American travelers appear to be so intent on taking long-delayed vacations that even some terrorism worries aren't having the impact they had previously.

    (Cruise lines have reported strong bookings in the key "wave season," the period from January to March when much of the year's bookings are made.)

  • A poll conducted by the American Research Group in mid-march found that 44% of Americans believed that the U.S. was still in a recession, despite the last two quarters of 2003 posting economic growth at a sizzling rate of 6.1%...the fastest in 20 years. And household wealth recently hit an all-time high of $44.4 trillion, due to a 35% recover in the stock market and rising property prices.

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  • More than 71 million individuals pay someone to prepare their taxes according to the government's General Accounting Office.

  • In Mexico tax authorities allow painters and sculptors to pay their annual tax obligations with their works, i.e. "payment-in-kind." However, a group of highly respected artists decides whether or not each piece is accepted.

    The artists like the idea for two reasons: it's hard on struggling artists to come up with the cash, and the artists benefit because their work is put on display. (Total tax collection in Mexico equals 11.9% of gross domestic product-about half the U.S. rate.)

  • David Wethey, an international advertising consultant in London, is advocating a major shift in the way ad agencies are compensated. His suggestion is to switch to a model that emphasizes the results an agency achieves rather than the number of staff or hours devoted to an account.

    Wethey says agencies should get either a percentage of the client's sales or a percentage of the client's marketing budget. One major advertiser-Procter & Gamble-subscribes to this thinking. Four years ago they moved to a sales based compensation plan.

  • The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, sang "This is a man's world" and in the venture capital world that's true-as fewer than 10% of high-level venture capitalists are women. Does having so few women in decision-making roles in VC mean women entrepreneurs are less likely to get funding? According to the Kauffman Foundation, a resource center for entrepreneurs, that is indeed the case.

    Although women led 28% of all U.S. businesses in 2002, for example, female entrepreneurs historically receive as little as 4% to 9% of available venture funds.

  • India's economy grew 10.4% last year, surpassing China (which grew 9.9%) to become Asia's fastest-growing country.

  • Chief economist Stephen Roach at Morgan Stanley contends that property markets are frothy, as are government bonds, credit instruments, high-yield debt, and tech stocks. In the WSJ he was quoted, "Here we are, only four years after the bursting of the first bubble, and new bubbles abound."

    Roach suggested that the Fed immediately raise the federal-funds rate charged on overnight loans between banks to 3%, to restore some semblance of normalcy to financial conditions.

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
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