On the heels of a successful series of “Doing Business In…” educational session at NACM Credit Congress and through more recent webinars, FCIB launched a series of four new, sprawling regional ones at its annual Global Conference in greater West Palm Beach. The following were among nations and areas that drew hot interest and/or debate:
Russia – The phrase that pays, so to speak, when talking about Russia and credit is: careful. Panelists and attendees alike told stories of problems with getting paid by Russian-based companies. Most require cash-on-demand or, in the face of growing demands for better terms in a risk-reward climate, deposits. But the following all appeared to be par for the course: very late payments, payments in “big chunks,” little regard for proper invoicing and explaining to what debt the payment is supposed to be going.
Greece – While it seems obvious to say, “Be careful in Greece,” it goes beyond that. Take the time to figure out which industries are dominated by public sectors/government funding, such as the hospitals industry. After all, that is where the money appears to be running dry the quickest. “You have to be mindful of where their capital comes from,” said Bob Wanuga, of Atradius Credit Insurance.
Egypt – The business climate in Egypt, “right now is in pretty bad shape,” Economist Hans Belcsak told attendees via a recorded message. He noted that, since the regime change, business that had been successful previously were considered by many, often unfairly, as successful only because of loyalty to the recently toppled regime. What has resulted is the jailing of many business leaders, widespread suspicions of those who remain free and workers violently demanding 100% wage increases that obviously are cost prohibitive.
Asia-Pacific Region – While there are difficulties in dealing with some of the nations there in – India because of the expansive landscape and currency differentiation, Bangladesh because of weak banking infrastructure and Australia because of sometimes downright erratic business behavior – most polled at FCIB Global characterized it as the easiest international region with which to do business. This is especially true in China, South Korea and Turkey, though the latter seems to be a bit of a crossroads with divergent interests pulling them toward more western economic value and observation of Islamic law.
Note: Check back throughout the week here and at our Twitter account (NACM_National) for live coverage from FCIB’s Annual Global Conference from greater West Palm Beach, FL.
Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer