WINNING THE COUNTERTRADE WAR: A New Approach to Am by Matt Schaffer


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From an investment banker, an illuminating guide to the tricky and increasingly important techniques of countertrading. In the past 15 years, countertrade has become a way for American companies to make sales that would otherwise have been impossible. Schaffer's broad definition of countertrade includes barter, counter-purchase, offsets, and coproduction agreements. In traditional international trade, cash (in the form of hard currency) is simply exchanged for goods. However, as Schaffer notes, "Countertrade flourishes when money is scarce." Countries with nonconvertible or blocked currencies--i.e., the Soviet Bloc, India, and many African and Latin American countries--must pay for imports with convertible (hard) currencies like dollars, yen, or marks. Most countertrade activities tie the purchase of imports to ways to generate the hard currency that the importing country needs to pay for them. Schaffer cites many useful cases of successful countertrades. An example of barter is GE's acceptance of Rumanian products in exchange for a turbine generator. An instance of counterpurchase was Rockwell International's sale of a printing press to Zimbabwe that was tied to that company's purchase of Zimbabwean minerals. And a good example of offsets occurred when Turkey bought F-16 fighter planes from General Dynamics only after the company agreed to make a number of investments in Turkey. Schaffer argues that countertrade is here to stay and that the US must develop a coordinated response. In particular, he recommends increasing the Export-Import Bank's lending authority and establishing a federally owned trading company that could deal on a government-to-government basis for promoting US exports. In this era of massive trade deficits, this is an excellent introduction to the complexities of countertrade.

Pub Date: April 20th, 1989
ISBN: 471-63252-X
Publisher: Wiley
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