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The scale and diversity of Latin America is something that Irish exporters cannot afford to ignore. Comprised of 33 countries, inhabited by over 600 million people, and with a GDP of over $5.6 trillion, Latin America is one of the few regions in the world that is still growing consistently year over year since the start of 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

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Changes in information and communications technology, international trade liberalization and advances in transportation systems have enabled the rapid spread of business supply and distribution networks beyond the old local and national constraints and onto a global stage – a process often referred to as “Globalization”. This process has accelerated significantly since about 1990 and has dramatic implications for all types and sizes of business and not just for large multinational corporations.

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A hotbed for entrepreneurship, the Gulf area has become one of the leading business destinations in the world today. With an abundance of opportunities for Irish exporters, the Gulf area is an umbrella term encompassing the Arab states that border the Persian Gulf, namely Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates (UAE). These countries make up the economic and political block of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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A report from Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 50% of major business processes will incorporate some form of the Internet of Things (IoT). One such business process is the supply chain. Though often overlooked, the application of IoT in supply chain management is already making exceptional changes and developments in international trade landscape.

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Las aplicaciones de la tecnología de la cadena de bloques o “blockchain” en la cadena de suministro y en el comercio internacional tienen el potencial de mejorar la velocidad, la transparencia y los costes en transacciones de topo tipo de manera espectacular y al mismo tiempo de aportar información precisa en tiempo real sobre el estado y la situación de los bienes y los inventarios a lo largo de la cadena de suministro.

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I was delighted to interview Hugh Kelly, Managing Director of Marketing Associates, on Dublin South FM’s Breakthrough Brands. Hugh Kelly is a veritable expert on what it takes to successfully break into overseas markets.

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Blockchain technology applications in supply chain and international trade have the potential to spectacularly improve the speed, transparency and costs of all types of transactions as well as to provide real-time information on the status of assets and inventories across the whole supply chain.

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SMEs that decide to take their business to a higher international level have a lot to gain from globalization.

Nowadays, globalization has become a major driver that impacts not only the largest corporations but the SMEs that operate in highly dynamic and turbulent environment. With the rapid increase of internationalization over the past decades, more and more SMEs can afford a much broader market reach, compete strongly on price with domestic firms, and leverage the specialized skills of contract workers from around the globe.

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If you are convinced that internationalization is an effective way to grow your business and that you need to start exporting or to diversify your current exporting activity, the next question is: where to? Over recent years, Irish SMEs have learned that the Irish market alone is not enough to support a long-term growth strategy of any scale and given the uncertainty around Brexit and its aftermath, the time has now come to look further afield.

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I was delighted to be interviewed by Dr. Nilda Perez of Foresight Strategies Group in New York on her Dr. Nilda Show on the topic of business internationalization for American SMEs. While only 1% of America’s 30 million companies export to overseas markets, those that do export are more productive, more profitable and stay in business longer than those that don’t.

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