Global Business Development

EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 52, Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Trends in this issue:

The war in the Ukraine is having an impact on other countries due to suspended commodity shipments. Western brands are exiting Russia in waves – 400 to date. But the most important aspect of the war is it impact on the people of the Ukraine. Hopefully, a positive solution will be found very soon.

First, A Few Words of Wisdom

“I have no special talents; I am only passionately curious.”, Albert Einstein

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”, Henry Ford

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”,  Winston S. Churchill

Highlights in issue #52:

  • Brand Global News Section: Black Rifle Coffee®, Dominos®, McDonalds®, Papa John’s®, Tim Horton’s and Subway®

Interesting Data and Studies

The implications for the world economy of the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine will become more visible in the coming weeks and months. Emergent economic conditions are briefly addressed at the end of the report, which is otherwise focused on the most recent economic data available prior to the invasion.

Much of the recent data show a growing global economy, but at a restrained pace due to rising inflation, supply chain bottlenecks, and effects of more recent pandemic restrictions. The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measured a drop in consumer confidence as inflation accelerated. Retail sales have been subdued globally, except in the United States, where spending is strongest, with purchases slowly shifting from goods to services. Notable, however, is that during the crisis, eurozone households retained significant currency and deposits, estimated at one thousand billion euros, representing a record level of disposable income.”, McKinsey, March 8, 2022

International Tax Competitiveness by Country – This Markets in a Minute from New York life Investments looks at international tax competitiveness among countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Tax Foundation measured international tax competitiveness using two aspects of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.”, Visual Capitalist / New York Life Investments, March 10, 2022

Global Energy

After banning imports of Russian oil, the U.S. is searching for new supplies. The U.S. consumes more oil than any other country by far. Before the pandemic, the U.S. had been reducing its crude oil imports for more than a decade, largely thanks to increased domestic production and the growth of renewables. But with its ban on oil imports from Russia, the U.S. now needs to replace about 7 percent of its imports.”, Geopolitical Futures, March 11, 2022

Germany says it has clinched long-term gas supply deal with Qatar – Berlin and other EU countries seek alternative suppliers to Russia and ways to shield consumers from rising prices. Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck on Sunday said the deal would be a “door-opener” for the country’s economy because it would reduce its reliance on imported Russian gas, which currently accounts for more than half of annual supply. ‘We might still need Russian gas this year, but not in the future,’ Habeck was quoted as saying by DPA in Doha.”, The Financial Times, March 20, 2022

Global Supply Chain & Trade Update

The Ukraine War’s Effects on Global Food Supplies – Record food prices and disrupted grain supply due to the war in Ukraine bode poorly for global food security. Ukraine and Russia are both top grain exporters, but the closing of Ukrainian ports and sanctioning of Russian trade are causing severe market disruption. Fighting and cold weather has also interrupted Ukraine’s March to early April sowing campaigns, which could impact future exports as well.”, Geopolitical Futures, March 18, 2022

India in Talks With Top Wheat Buyer Egypt to Start Shipments – India is in final talks to begin wheat exports to Egypt, the biggest importer, while negotiations are also going on with countries such as China and Turkey, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended global supplies. The country is in discussions to sell wheat to Bosnia, Sudan, Nigeria and Iran too, the commerce ministry said in a statement at the weekend. India is the world’s second-largest producer, while Bangladesh was the largest buyer of the nation’s wheat in 2020-21, it said.”, Bloomberg, March 20, 2022

The Kiel Trade Indicator estimates the trade flows (imports and exports) of 75 countries and regions worldwide, as well as world trade as a whole. The world map shows an expected increase (green) or decrease (red) for the individual countries. Clicking on a country opens a graph with more details. Estimated are the unilateral trade flows of a country with the rest of the world. The Kiel Trade Indicator is updated around the 5th and 20th of each month.”, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, March 7, 2022

South Korea’s Jump in Gas Imports Shows War’s Fallout – South Korea’s gas imports jumped 114.3% in the first 20 days of March compared to a year earlier, customs data showed Monday. That contrasts with a mere 13% increase for the entire month of February……Imports of crude oil soared 57.8% and those of coal shot up 68.7%. The rapid increases show how much costlier energy has become since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The figures also suggest the race is on among countries to secure fuel needed to continue their economic recoveries. For a trade-dependent nation like South Korea, keeping the costs of energy low is crucial in order to ensure a trade surplus and shore up its currency so investors can stay interested and engaged.”, Bloomberg, March 21, 2022

Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates

Cambodia, South Korea and Vietnam loosen COVID-19 restrictions as Asia reopens for tourists. Many countries in Asia are ready to welcome tourists again, even with case numbers related to the omicron variant still showing concerning increases. Several nations have begun to pull back or remove their pandemic restrictions, including testing and quarantine requirements.

On Thursday, Cambodia eliminated its mandate that overseas visitors must take COVID-19 tests before entering the country. It was a move government officials said was designed to help revive the tourism industry, which accounts for 2 million jobs and is responsible for roughly 25% of the country’s gross domestic product. “Now it’s the stage to open the economy by learning how to live with COVID,” Reuters quoted Prime Minister Hun Sen saying during a speech.”, The Points Guy, March 18, 2022

Government of Canada will remove pre-entry test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers on April 1 – Today, the Government of Canada announced that effective April 1, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water. Fully vaccinated travellers seeking to arrive in Canada before April 1, 2022, must still have a valid pre-entry test.”, Public Health Agency of Canada, March 17, 2022

Germany ends centralised Covid restrictions amid regional protest – North Rhine-Westphalia state premier Hendrik Wuest and German chancellor Olaf Scholz address a press conference in Berlin on the lifting of Covid restrictions. Germany’s pandemic restrictions end on Sunday after two years just as they began: with record Covid-19 infection levels and furious finger-pointing between federal and state politicians.

Masks will remain obligatory on public transport and in hospitals and care homes but are no longer required in German shops, restaurants and schools – despite a sixfold rise in infections in the last fortnight.”, Irish Times, March 18, 2022

Indonesia scraps quarantine for overseas arrivals – Indonesia has removed its quarantine requirement for all arrivals from overseas, its tourism minister said on Monday, responding to improvements in its containment of the coronavirus The decision, effective immediately, follows the successful implementation of a quarantine waiver this month for visitors vaccinated against COVID-19 on the islands of Bali, Batam, and Bintan, minister Sandiaga Uno told a news conference.

‘With the handling of the pandemic more controlled …today we announce that the policy of no quarantine has been expanded across Indonesia,’ said Sandiaga, adding a negative COVID test would still be required.”, Reuters, March 21, 2022

Italy Announces Plan to Eliminate COVID-19 Restrictions – Starting May 1, its digital ‘Green Pass’ will no longer be required to access places like restaurants and public transportation. Italy will gradually phase out its COVID-19 restrictions, the government announced on Thursday, becoming the latest European destination to ditch pandemic-related measures. Starting May 1, its digital ‘green pass’ will no longer be required to access places like restaurants and public transportation, Reuters reported.”, Travel and Leisure, March 18, 2022

Global COVID & Vaccine Update

64% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

11 billion doses have been administered globally, and 16.69 million are now administered each day. Only 14.4% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.”,  Our World In Data, March 21, 2022

Country & Regional Updates

Australia

Franchising Year In Review – Lessons Learned – The franchising sector had another action-packed year in 2021, with significant changes to the Franchising Code of Conduct (‘Code’) coming into effect, requiring Franchisors to review and update their Franchise Agreements and Disclosure Documents to comply with the new Code. Several proceedings instituted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) also continued and the question of when an agreement constitutes a ‘Franchise Agreement’ to which the Code applies was again considered and decided in the Federal Court of Australia.

This article summarises some of the key events that occurred and impacted the franchising sector in 2021 and the lessons that can be learned from them.”, MST Lawyers, March 21, 2022

Floods: $50,000 in new funding available to SMEs – As the flooding crisis continues in New South Wales and Queensland, two new funding packages are set to provide grants of up to $50,000 for affected small businesses. Applications are open now for businesses in both states. The new state and federal government-funded programs will see a total of $558.5 million invested in community support in Queensland, and $434.7 million invested in NSW.

‘Many small businesses and not-for-profits are experiencing loss of infrastructure, equipment, stock and trading,’ Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.”, Smart Company AU, March 7, 2022. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, Managing Director, Franchise Advisory Centre, Brisbane

Canada

Companies prepare to return to office as COVID-19 restrictions loosen in some provinces – Canadian business leaders are preparing to bring employees back to the office as COVID-19 mask mandates begin to lift across the country and daily case counts continue to decline. For now, most large companies are requiring employees be fully vaccinated before they return, but many are also hesitant to impose overarching mandates for in-person days. Instead, they’re deferring by allowing teams and individual departments to determine hybrid work schedules.”, The Globe and Mail, March 18, 2022

China

The Seven Factors That’ll Shape China’s Economy This Year – As the country works toward achieving a GDP growth target of around 5.5% this year — the lowest in more than three decades yet still above many market expectations — economists predict that the government will ramp up the implementation of more targeted macro policies while prioritizing stability.”, Caixing Global, March 14, 2022

Why China’s Central Bank Is Handing Over 1 Trillion Yuan to Treasury – Signs of further coordination of China’s fiscal and monetary policy emerged when the country’s central bank announced Tuesday that it will transfer more than 1 trillion yuan ($158 billion) in profit to the finance ministry which the government can use to stimulate the economy. As the country works toward an economic growth target of around 5.5% for the year, its top leaders have highlighted economic stability as their highest priority and urged greater government spending.”, Caixing Global, March 10, 2022

New Zealand

NZ Franchise Awards 2021 Results ­– Friendly rivals from the same industry won the two biggest titles at the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards tonight. Here’s our full report with all the winners in every category.

The first franchise awards since 2019 neatly reflected the upheavals of the past two years. Not only did lockdowns mean the 2021 Awards were delayed until 2022 (and then took place online), but the top Franchise System and Franchisee Awards went to those who have been helping us stay safe during the pandemic – commercial cleaning franchises.”, Franchise New Zealand, March 6, 2022

Russia

United States and Others to Revoke Most-Favored-Nation Status from RussiaOn March 11, 2022, President Biden and the G7 (a group of countries that includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) jointly announced their intention to take steps to revoke most-favored-nation (MFN) status – otherwise known in the United States as permanent normal trade relations – from Russia. MFN status grants countries the best possible trade terms, including low tariffs, few barriers, and the highest quantity of imports allowed. The European Union also announced that it will take similar action. Earlier this week, Canada became the first nation to revoke Russia’s MFN status. Canada also revoked Belarus’s MFN status at the same time, making Russia and Belarus the only countries besides North Korea that do not enjoy MFN status with Canada.”, Baker Hostetler, March 14, 2022

Over 400 Companies Have Withdrawn from Russia—But Some Remain – Since the invasion of Ukraine began, over 400 companies have announced their withdrawal from Russia—but some companies have continued to operate in Russia undeterred.  Originally conceptualized as a simple “withdraw” vs. “remain” list, our new list of (400) companies now consists of five categories.”, Yale School of Management, March 21, 2020

Dozens of corporations are still in Russia. It’s getting harder for them to leave. Several multinationals have stayed despite public blowback, and experts say they are running out of time to protect their assets and reputations. ‘I would say to any corporate executive, you have to do what you think is right,’ said James O’Rourke, a professor of management at University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. ‘In the end, you have no control over what [President Vladimir] Putin or the central government will do. But if you want to keep doing business in the rest of the free world, you have to pay attention to what they [the rest of the free world] think of you. This may be one of the moments in history in which proactive disinvestment is the best option.’”, The Washington Post, March 11, 2022

Thailand

Thailand Eases Rules for Tourists as Global Travel Revives – Nation scraps Covid-free certificates for foreign visitors. Thailand will scrap a pre-arrival Covid-free certificate requirement for vaccinated foreign visitors even as it reported record new infections, as more countries ease border controls to benefit from a rebound in global travel.

Starting April 1, foreign travelers will no longer be required to hold a Covid-free certificate issued within 72 hours of boarding a flight, but they will have to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival and a self-administered antigen test on day five, according to Chote Trachu, permanent secretary of the Ministry Of Tourism and Sports.”, Bloomberg, March 17, 2022

Ukraine

The First Conversation Brands Should Be Having About Ukraine – To date, some 400 U.S. and other multinational firms have pulled out of Russia, either permanently or temporarily. Oil companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil and BP, along with tech companies like IBM, Dell, Apple, Twitter and Google have led the way, with others like McDonald’s, Starbucks, Airbnb and Coca-Cola following. Every day there is news of decisions being made, one way or another, by a wide spectrum of corporations and businesses.

And, every day, there are, likely, two predominant conversations taking place in the business world relative to the decision to pull out of the Russian marketplace in support of Ukraine. One conversation has to do with the amount of revenue and profits companies may be giving up. The other, whether the show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people will have enough impact to change the trajectory of this horrific situation.

While these are absolutely valid and critical conversations, my belief is that the first conversation a company should be having relates to what its actions – or inactions – say about its brand values. Consumers, especially younger and more socially connected consumers, increasingly want to do business with brands that align with their values. Be it fighting climate change, or standing up for social issues, consumers look for companies that reflect their personal principles.”, Forbes, March 18, 2022

United Arab Emirates

UAE Opens Doors to Wider Trade as World Veers Toward Protectionism – The oil-rich Gulf nation has been on a mission to lure billions of dollars worth of foreign investments and open itself up to more lanes for trade. Last year, the UAE announced its intention to deepen its ties with fast-growing economies to reposition itself — already a big player in international commerce as the home of logistics giant DP World and Emirates SkyCargo — as a global destination for business and finance.”, Bloomberg, March 14, 2022

Brand News

12 restaurant chains raising menu prices – In the face of inflation and increased labor costs, many companies are forced to charge customers more – An ongoing theme in the Q4 earnings season was menu price increases at restaurants. Chains across every segment, from quick service to casual dining, are raising prices for a variety of reasons: Increased labor costs, increased food costs, general inflation.

At least 12 such restaurants directly addressed these menu price increases in their most recent earnings calls. Many executives expressed optimism, with Wingstop chief financial officer Alex Kaleida believing the worst of wing inflation is past and CFO Craig Pommells saying the company has room to further raise prices throughout the year. Executives agreed that customers are not put off by the increases so far.”, Nation’s Restaurant News, March 9, 2022

Black Rifle Coffee Has a Problem Most Companies Dream About – Black Rifle, the upstart coffee chain focused on veterans, military and first responders, faces an issue that every company wants to have…..the upstart coffee retailer and coffee-bar chain also has an enormous advantage, described by Co-Chief Executive Tom Davin on the fourth-quarter-earnings conference call as a “large and growing community who love interacting with our brand on a daily basis……“[What] we’ve seen is such support for the products that we have from consumers and from retailers that the unmet demand is really additional opportunities for us to go after,” Johnson said, adding, ‘it’s really taking advantage of the momentum on the brand and continuing to accelerate.’

How to meet that unmet demand expeditiously?  ‘We are now in advanced discussions with several co-manufacturers that will enable us to more fully address product demand that is currently unmet,’ he said.”, The Street, March 20, 2022

It may be years — or never — before McDonald’s reopens in Russia – The era of the Big Mac in Russia may be over for years and possibly for good — even if the war in Ukraine ends in the coming weeks or months, experts tell The Post.

McDonald’s, which opened 850 restaurants in Russia over the past three decades, temporarily closed them all this month because of the war in Ukraine. Now, as the Russian government threatens to forcibly reopen them, the fast-food giant looks increasingly unlikely to rebuild itself in Russia, experts say.

Just four days after McDonald’s announced its store closures, a trademark filing was made in Russia for a knockoff burger chain called “Uncle Vanya,” whose red and yellow logo looks like a sideways Golden Arches. The application — which neither the company nor Russian officials have yet commented on officially — came on the heels of Russian officials advocating for the removal of patent protections for companies linked to countries deemed hostile to Russia.”, New York Post, March 18, 2022

Papa Johns, Subway, Domino’s join brands taking stand on Ukraine invasion – Moves illustrate challenge of international franchising under glare of public outrage. Papa Johns International Inc., Subway and Domino’s on Wednesday joined the growing number of U.S.-based restaurant chains to take action in Russia, but the move illustrates the challenges of franchising overseas at times when shifting global tensions ignite public outrage.

The Louisville, Ky.-based Papa Johns said it has suspended all corporate operations in Russia, cutting off all operational, marketing and business support to, and engagement with, the Russian market, and the company is no longer receiving royalties. A master franchisee — an American named Christopher Wynne, president and CEO of PJ Western, who took over the chain’s Russian operations in 2008 — operates or sub-franchises 188 restaurants there, and also owns and operates the supply chain for ingredients. Because of that relationship, however, the Papa Johns units in Russia are likely still open and there’s very little the franchisor can do about it.”, Nation’s Restaurant news, March 9, 2022

As calls to boycott Subway intensify, CT company resists pulling out of Russia – The Ukraine invasion has sparked a massive corporate withdrawal from Russia in the past three weeks. But Subway is among the few companies that have not announced any such changes despite mounting pressure to do so.

While several hundred major companies have curtailed their business in Russia since the invasion began on Feb. 24, Milford-based Subway has not reported any scale-down in the country where it has approximately 450 restaurants. The company has cited those establishments’ independent ownership and management, but that explanation has not quelled a growing outcry that includes calls on social media for customers to boycott the sandwich shop.”, CT Insider, March 18, 2022

Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons eyes India with 300 outlets in 10 years – The Canadian coffee and fast-food chain founded in Ontario will open its first outlet in New Delhi later this year, according to a March 15 press release from its parent company Restaurant Brands International. Colloquially known as Timmies in Canada, the chain is popular for its “double-double” (two creams, two sugars) coffee and doughnuts.

In the Asia-Pacific region, India will be the fourth country Tim Hortons will be entering. It already has 400 outlets in China, besides restaurants in Thailand and the Philippines.”, Quartz India, March 17, 2022

Articles & Studies For Today And Tomorrow

2022 Global Consumer Trends –  a report from London-based market research firm Mintel. The report’s trend analysis and prediction research are based on seven core trend drivers, each of which is explained more fully in the report.”, Franchising.com, March 19, 2022

Five Things Your Office Needs to Attract Gen Z + Millennials – Younger workers seek out the office as a resource, but need more out of their space.

Steelcase research shows younger workers want to be in the office more, but they need more out of the office. Five factors are key to keeping them. Younger generations sometimes get a bad rep when it comes to workplace perception and now they’re shouldering a new blame: responsibility for ‘The Great Resignation.’ In fact, new Steelcase global research conducted with 5,000 employees globally shows Millennials and Gen Z workers are 65% more likely to leave their companies within the next six months when polled against Boomers and Gen X. Developing a better understanding of what younger generations are seeking may help us improve the work experience for everyone……44% of younger employees say they perceive the office to be more valuable now, compared to 28% of older workers.”, Steelcase, March 2022

Global Happiness Levels in 2022 – Happiness levels depend on a number of factors, including one’s financial security, perceptions of social support, feelings of personal freedom, and much more.

This map pulls data from the World Happiness Report to uncover the average happiness scores of 146 countries. It shows average scores from 2019 to 2021, and highlights which countries are the happiest—or unhappiest—and why.”, Visual Capitalist / World Happiness Report, March 18, 2022

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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.  Please feel free to send us your input for the biweekly report. bedwards@edwardsglobal.com

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William (Bill) Edwards, Your Newsletter Editor, has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill Edwards has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill is known as an international Problem Solver and Advisor. Over the years, Bill has made and/or seen most of the mistakes companies make when going global. In Bill’s role as a Global Advisor to ‘C’ level executives, his objective is to impart the wisdom he has learned over time to help them minimize costly mistakes.

With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey and has worked on projects in over 50 countries.

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for companies Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working around the world. Our Team on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.  EGS has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

www.edwardsglobal.com

Download our latest chart ranking 40+ countries as places to do business at this link:

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking

For advice on doing business successfully across 40+ countries, contact Bill Edwards at bedwards@edwardsglobal.com or +1 949 224 3896. 


EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 51, Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

Trends in this issue:

Since living and working in Eastern European countries coming out of decades of communist rule, I have closely watched what Russia does and how it might impact the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.  In this issue there is a special section on the impact of the war on trade and how the surrounding democratic countries have responded. Actually, most of this issue deals with this immensely important event.

First, A Few Words of Wisdom

“Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.”, Ronald Regan

“Quality is the best business plan.”, John Lasseter

“Being positive in a negative situation is not naive. It’s leadership.”, Ralph Marston

Highlights in issue #51:

  • Brand Global News Section: Burger King®, Jolibee®, KFC, McDonalds’s®, Phenix Salon Suites®, Retail Food Group and Wingstop®

Our latest GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking Last week we released our quarterly update on how countries rank as places to do business. Our only change would be to give Russia ‘4’ – lowest ranking – for political and economic security.

The Impact of the Ukraine War

A new Europe is emerging from the tragedy of Ukraine – The war has prompted urgent EU membership applications from countries seeking sanctuary from Russian aggression. Jean Monnet, a founding father of the EU, said that Europe “will be forged in crises”. He is being proved right again. It took the Covid pandemic for the EU to make the giant step of financing a huge recovery plan with common debt. Now a war on the continent has moved the EU to decide, over the course of a weekend, to finance weapons deliveries by member states to a country outside the union, thus turning an economic and political organisation into a security provider. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, then Germany’s finance minister, called the EU recovery fund, agreed in May 2020, “a Hamiltonian moment” for Europe, in reference to Alexander Hamilton’s mutualisation of American war debt in the late 18th century.”, The Financial Times, March 6, 2022

These Are the Companies Cutting Ties With Russia Over Ukraine – Exits reverse 30 years of investment by foreign businesses Criticism of banks and companies seen doing too little grows. International sanctions, the closure of airspace and transports links due to the war, and the financial restrictions on SWIFT and capital controls have made it difficult if not impossible for many companies to supply parts, make payments and deliver goods to and from Russia. Added to that, the potential international consumer backlash against any company perceived as helping Vladimir Putin’s regime means that the exodus of corporations from Russia has become a stampede.”, Reuters, March 7, 2022

Businesses worldwide are cutting off Russian trade – ‘The private sector is doing what the U.S. and E.U. were more reticent to do: Punish Russia’s oil and gas sector directly,’ one expert told NBC News.  It is an apt metaphor: Russian economic activity has ground to a near halt, stymied by a sudden lack of access to such products and services as software, payment processing and insurance — often-overlooked cogs in the machinery of commerce but vital nevertheless. Transportation, energy and banking are three sectors in which these sudden omissions are likely to cut the deepest, according to experts.”, NBC News, March 5, 2022

Sainsbury’s renames chicken kievs and pulls Russian-made vodka – UK’s second biggest supermarket switches Soviet-era spelling of capital city to preferred Ukrainian version. Sainsbury’s is changing the name of its chicken kiev to chicken kyiv and is joining Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons in withdrawing a Russian-made vodka from the shelves in the latest action by British retailers to signal solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The UK’s second biggest supermarket said the packaging for the poultry dish would change in the next few weeks, switching the Soviet-era name for the country’s capital for the Ukrainian version.”, The Guardian, March 4, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war: Global shipping titans suspend bookings to, from Russia – Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk, MSC and Hapag-Lloyd have suspended operations. Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk, MSC and Hapag-Lloyd all suspended operations in the country this week, as Bloomberg first reported. ONE — the world’s sixth-largest container carrier and Asia’s second-largest — announced Tuesday that due to the ongoing conflict, it has suspended bookings to and from Odesa, Ukraine; Novorossiysk, Russia; and St. Petersberg, Russia, effective immediately.”, Fox Business, March 1, 2022

McDonald’s distributes food, KFC opened kitchens for war – The management of the McDonald’s Ukraine restaurant chain has decided to provide food from restaurants for the needs of Ukrainians during martial law, and KFC has opened kitchens for cooking to hospitals, military and territorial defense.

‘Our restaurants are closed for safety reasons, but we provide food to local councils from restaurants where it is currently safe (as far as possible) for our employees. Local authorities take away products and distribute them where they are most needed,’ the statement said. McDonald’s Ukraine. The KFC restaurant chain has opened its kitchens for cooking for military hospitals, hospitals, territorial defense, military, etc. ‘We appeal to the restaurant business, all over Ukraine, to also join, open their kitchens to cook and deliver food to those who need it most now,’ the statement said.”, Extracted from the Ukrainian ‘Economic Truth’ publication on February 27, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto.

Magna to idle Russian operations in response to Ukraine invasion – Magna International Inc., the Canadian auto-parts giant, says it is idling its Russian operations in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Magna, which once boasted of ties to the country’s leadership, had said earlier this week that it was focused on the “business continuity” of its Russian operations, but changed tack on Thursday night.”, The Globe and Mail, March 3, 2022

Global Energy

Oil price rises to highest level since 2008 on talk of Russia oil sanctions – Loss of Russian supplies would remove crucial barrels from an exceptionally tight oil market. The price of Brent oil soared to almost $140 a barrel, its highest price since 2008, in early trading on Monday, after reports that western countries were discussing a possible embargo on crude supplies from Russia, the world’s second-biggest exporter. The price spike came after US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington was in “very active discussions” with European allies about a ban on Russian oil exports.”, The Financial Times, March 7, 2022

Global LNG Supply Will Fall 100 Million Tons Short by Mid-2020s – The gap between supply and demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will reach 100 million tons a year globally by the mid-2020s, reflecting increased demand and limited supply growth, global oil and gas giant Shell said Monday in its latest annual LNG outlook report. Global trade in LNG expanded 6% in 2021 to 380 million tons as economies rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand is expected to almost double to 700 million tons a year by 2040, Shell said in the report.”, Caixin Global, February 23, 2022

Global Supply Chain & Trade Update

Ukraine Crisis Creates New Strains On Global Supply Chains – Fragile and sensitive supply chains are facing new challenges in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But as bad as things are now, they are likely to get worse for hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world. According to a new report from Dun & Bradstreet, the international domino effect of global dependencies on businesses in the Ukraine region is already being felt.

Why? Because 374,000 businesses worldwide rely on Russian suppliers—90% of these businesses are based in the U.S. About 241,000 businesses rely on Ukrainian suppliers and 93% are based in the U.S., according to Dun & Bradstreet.”, Forbes, March 6, 2022

Charting the Global Economy: Commodities Fuel Yet More Inflation – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a feverish run-up in the prices of just about every commodity — from oil to grains to metals — that will inflict even more financial pain on consumers already struggling with rampant inflation.

Global food prices hit a record last month and consumer price indexes across major economies are on the rise. That’s bad news for households everywhere as wage growth largely lags inflation, underscored by the latest U.S. hourly earnings figures that missed all estimates.”, Bloomberg, March 5, 2022

Food prices jump 20.7% yr/yr to hit record high in Feb, U.N. agency says – Higher food prices have contributed to a broader surge in inflation as economies recover from the coronavirus crisis and the FAO has warned that the higher costs are putting poorer populations at risk in countries reliant on imports. FAO economist Upali Galketi Aratchilage said concerns over crop conditions and export availabilities provided only a partial explanation to the increase in global food prices.”, Reuters, March 5, 2022

You Think Groceries Are Expensive in America? Try Shopping in These 6 Countries. American consumers have felt plenty of pain at the supermarket of late, due to the effects of inflation. Overall costs in the U.S. are rising at a 7.5% annual rate. Some food items are going up by as much 20%, according to reports.   But shoppers in the U.S. still may not have it as bad as those in Switzerland and South Korea.

In a recent analysis of prices in 36 major nations, the British website Money.co.uk found that those two countries had the highest costs for groceries, based on a fairly standard shopping list that included milk, eggs, cheese, apples, bananas, oranges, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, bread, rice, potatoes, chicken and beef.”, Barron’s, March 1, 2022

Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates

How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is changing air travel – The Russian invasion of Ukraine is turning into a seismic event for the aviation industry just as it emerges from the COVID-19 downturn. According to Umang Gupta, managing director at Alton Aviation Consultancy, the typical flight time between Europe and Asia is about 11.8 hours, and 13.5 hours flying the reverse leg.

‘In a best-case scenario, more than two hours of flight time will be added in each direction,” Gupta told Axios. The roundtrip fuel burn would increase by more than 20%, he said, and that’s for the most fuel-efficient wide body aircraft flying today, such as the Boeing 787-9 or Airbus A350-900. At today’s oil prices of around $100/bbl, this will translate into nearly $25,000 of additional expenditure for the airline round trip,’ Gupta said. To cover costs, airlines would need to increase fares by more than $120 for a round trip ticket.”, Axios, March 5, 2022

Should you change your European travel plans in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Whether you’re currently booked for a trip to Europe or you’re thinking of booking, there are a handful of rational inferences we can draw from the conflict between Europe and the Kremlin.”, The Points Guy, March 6, 2022

Many Travel Restrictions Are Being Eased. Here’s The Latest For March 2022 – We’re approaching the start of the spring travel season as the weather starts to warm north of the equator. Additionally, many positive domestic and international travel developments make it easier to pack your bags and hop on a plane. Here is some of the travel news to know about for March 2022, including several restrictions that have been eased.”, Forbes, March 6, 2022

Asia-Pacific travel faces bumpy recovery – Booking.com exec – Travel in Asia-Pacific is trailing the rest of the world and should expect a bumpy recovery, a Booking.com executive said on Monday, as countries in the region have been slower to open borders than other destinations. With North Asian countries still largely restricting entry and Southeast Asian countries reopening cautiously, the region’s tourism recovery will not be quick, Laura Houldsworth, the online travel agency’s managing director for Asia-Pacific said in an interview.”, Reuters, March 7, 2022

Indonesia, Malaysia to ease COVID curbs on foreign visitors further –  Indonesia is considering a quarantine waiver for foreign visitors to its holiday island of Bali from next week, officials said on Saturday, while neighbour Malaysia announced the removal of curbs on travellers from Thailand and Cambodia.”, Reuters, March 5, 2022

Global COVID & Vaccine Update

63.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 10.88 billion doses have been administered globally, and 19.2 million are now administered each day. Only 13.6% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose., Our World In Data, March 6, 2022

Country & Regional Updates

Asia Pacific Region

ASEAN’s Growing Economic Importance – The bloc has one of the largest economies in the world. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an increasingly important player in global trade. The 10 members of the grouping together comprise the world’s fifth-largest economy. Its economic resources aren’t quite evenly spread, however. Indonesia has the largest economy among the members, accounting for one-third of its total gross domestic product. It’s followed in a distant second by Thailand and then the Philippines. Still, with its strategic location, ample natural resources and abundant human resources, the region stands out as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.”, Visual Capitalist and Geopolitical Futures, February 25, 2022

Australia

Western Australia finally reopens, uniting the country but leaving questions – For months, as waves of the delta and omicron variants led other states and territories to abandon their goal of reaching “zero covid,” Western Australia remained the lone holdout. With almost no local cases but vaccination rates lagging other regions, Premier Mark McGowan kept the border shut. Life inside the state largely went on as normal. ‘The virus is already here and we cannot stop its spread,’ he said last month. ‘Having the border is no longer effective.’”, The Washington Post, March 2, 2022

Eat your hearts out, McDonald’s Australia is launching a national loyalty program where you can get free food. As if you needed another excuse to cruise through the McDonald’s drive-thru, but now you have one that can financially justify a splurge on a treat from the all the offerings on the coveted McMenu.”

MyMacca’s Rewards, where from Thursday, March 3, customers can earn points with each purchase, which will then earn then even greater rewards. For every $1 spent on eligible food and drink purchases with the MyMacca’s app, customers will earn 100 points.”, The Honey Kitchen, March 1, 2022

China

China’s Ambitious GDP Goal a Boost to Slowing World Economy – Beijing’s 5.5% target will require modest investment stimulus Focus on curbing debt growth will limit the global impact. Beijing on Saturday announced a gross domestic product growth goal of “about 5.5%” for 2022, at the higher end of many economists’ estimates. If achieved, that would be notably quicker than the 4.8% expansion forecast by the International Monetary Fund and the 5.2% seen by economists.”, Bloomberg, March 6, 2022

China to meet ‘severe’ commodity price volatility by boosting coal supply, oil and gas exploration – China to focus on increasing coal, oil and gas supply, while strengthening reserves and maintaining stable imports, says economic planner. The coronavirus pandemic, shifting monetary policies of major economies and geopolitical conflict are stoking volatility in commodity prices. China’s top economic planning agency said on Monday it would steady energy supply this year in the face of escalating geopolitical conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has roiled global oil and gas markets.”, South China Morning Post, March 7, 2022

“China Overhauls $23 Trillion Supply Chain Finance Mechanism – China is about to rein in its booming, 167.23 trillion ($23 trillion) market for commercial acceptance bills, a risky, controversial form of business financing that played a role in the 2019 collapse of Inner Mongolia-based regional lender Baoshang Bank.

Stung by that financial calamity, China’s central bank and top banking regulatory agency are about to overhaul the 25-year-old regulations governing the bills. The rapid growth in their use in recent years and their involvement in fraudulent financing and other violations spurred regulators to close loopholes and tighten supervision of the instruments.”, Caixing Global, February 26, 2022

Japan

Ukraine crisis may hurt Japan’s economy via fuel spike, says BOJ policymaker – Japan’s consumer inflation could briefly approach the central bank’s elusive 2% target due in part to sharp rises in energy costs triggered by the crisis, Bank of Japan (BOJ) board member Junko Nakagawa said. But such a rise in inflation alone would not be reason to dial back stimulus, Nakagawa said, adding that Japan’s economy was still in the midst of recovering from the pandemic’s wounds.”, Rueters, March 2, 2022

Japan PM signals more sanctions on Russia, braces for price rises at home – Japan’s prime minister indicated on Thursday that the country will impose more sanctions on Russia including a possible airspace ban, and he promised support for Japanese households and companies over looming price rises. ‘As for additional measures including a ban on Russian airplanes in Japan’s airspace, we need to take appropriate steps while working with the G7 and international community,’ Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a press conference.”, Reuters, March 3, 2022

Mexico

Mexico’s “magnet cities” are attracting renewed U.S. investment as an alternative to Asian sourcing. Whereas freight from Asia to North America takes roughly 110 days, freight from Mexico takes only five to 10 days. Today, Mexico’s maquiladoras are booming with investment from manufacturers desperate to alleviate supply chain woes.”, Exiger Trends Report, February 2022

Ukraine

Visualizing Ukraine’s Top Trading Partners and ProductsInternational trade was equal to 65% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2020, totaling to $102.9 billion of goods exchanged with countries around the world. Ukraine’s largest trading partner in 2020 was China, with the value of trade between the two countries reaching $15.3 billion, more than double the value of any other trading partner.”, Visual Capitalist, March 3, 2022

Brand News

Burger King shrinks chicken nuggets meal size as inflation eats into margins – The fast-food giant has also removed its popular Whopper as a core discount item. Burger King’s largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group, revealed that the fast-food giant has reduced the number of chicken nuggets in its meals from 10 pieces to eight, in order to ‘limit the impact of higher input costs and help improve restaurant-level profitability.’”, Fix Business, March 1, 2022

Popular Filipino fast food chain Jollibee finally opens in Vancouver – Anthony Bourdain called Jollibee the “jolliest place on earth” — and one just opened on Granville Street. People from across the Metro lined up for hours on Saturday for a taste of Jollibee, a hugely popular Filipino fast-food chain that just opened in downtown Vancouver. The Granville Street location opened Friday after a two-year delay due to COVID-19.”, Vancouver Sun, February 26, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

KFC Pizza Hut operator Yum China calls time on its struggling East Dawning fast food chain as Covid 19 impact deals fatal blow’. Yum China said its last five outlets of the Chinese-style quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand would cease to operate within 2022. The pandemic was the final straw for the brand, though it had been losing ground for years to the likes of Da Niang Dumpling and Yang’s Dumplings.”, South China Morning Post, March 7, 2022. Compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto

Phenix Salon Suites Trailblazes International Growth – Phenix Salon Suites, the leading salon suites brand turned international trailblazer, is continuing its impressive growth spurt.

Since starting to franchise over a decade ago, the brand has continued to reinforce its stellar reputation as the leading salon suite rental franchise. With more than 150 combined licenses sold, Phenix Salon Suites had a monumental year in more ways than one. From opening the first international salon location in Manchester, U.K. to surpassing 300 locations domestically to signing a countrywide development agreement for Sweden, Phenix Salon Suites is experiencing its strongest growth in the company’s history.”, Franchising.com, March 4, 2022

Higher average spend, overseas growth boost Retail Food Group’s first half – Retail Food Group operates Gloria Jean’s, Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie, Crust Gourmet Pizza, Pizza Capers, Cafe2U and The Coffee Guy. It also roasts and wholesales coffee under the Di Bella Coffee brand.”, Inside Retail AU, February 23, 2022

Wingstop has filed a trademark to sell chicken wings in the metaverse – The chicken-wing chain followed other restaurants, including McDonald’s and Panera Bread, when it filed the trademark applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office on February 25.

The application covers “downloadable virtual goods,” including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and virtual food and drink. It also includes the creation of an online marketplace where people can trade NFTs, digital assets, and artwork. The multi-class trademark also covers downloadable software for trading cryptocurrency, NFTs, and digital tokens as well as downloadable loyalty and reward cards that the company says can be redeemed for food in both the real and virtual worlds.”, Business Insider, March 3, 2022

Articles & Studies For Today And Tomorrow

Going International? Taking Your U.S. FDD Abroad – Based on my experience as a master franchisee in five countries, a franchisor executive leading an international operations and development department, and working with more than 40 franchises over the past 20 years in more than 35 countries and cultures, here are the (U.S.) FDD sections I have found international candidates are most interested in, the ones that will most affect their investment decision.”, Franchising.com, March 1, 2022. Your newsletter Editor, William (Bill) Edwards, is the author of this article.

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Our Mission, Information Sources & Who We Are

Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.  Please feel free to send us your input for the biweekly report. bedwards@edwardsglobal.com

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William (Bill) Edwards, Your Newsletter Editor, has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill Edwards has a four-decade career successfully accelerating the international growth of more than 40 brands. Bill is known as an international Problem Solver and Advisor. Over the years, Bill has made and/or seen most of the mistakes companies make when going global. In Bill’s role as a Global Advisor to ‘C’ level executives, his objective is to impart the wisdom he has learned over time to help them minimize costly mistakes.

With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey and has worked on projects in over 50 countries.

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for companies Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working around the world. Our Team on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.  EGS has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.

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