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Overcoming Obstacles to International Trade

Click on the menu links below for specific answers to common international business problems, or click on the logo to the left for services we provide.

International Trade Barriers

Prior to World War II, international trade could be characterized by the level of difficulty selling products between countries. After World War II, so many countries were devastated and needed rebuilding, many of the trade barriers began to fall.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a treaty first signed by 23 countries in 1946, established the modern format for trade rules and regulations around the world. It has matured to what we now call the World Trade Organization and periodically the "rounds" of multinational negotiations make the headlines. Russia is the most recent member of the WTO. It seems odd that such a large country would have taken so long to j0in a world organization dedicated to improving trade, but if you consider the fact modern Russia did not exist until 1992, it has taken 20 years to establish its own internal laws regulating competition and trade between its provinces and members of the Confederation of Independent States (the multinational organization that unifies trade among former Soviet Republics).

Explicit Barriers (Tariffs) or Non-Tariff Barriers

Although GATT and the WTO deal explicitly with barriers from tariffs (or import taxes and fees), the WTO also negotiates with countries that implement practices to protect local businesses from foreign competition without explicit tariff regulations. The Department of Commerce and the US Trade Representative work with officials of other countries to open US markets in exchange for partner countries opening their markets.

Boycotts, Security and other Trade Barriers

As you read on the Welcome page, even businesses dealing with international transactions since the 19th century can be caught violating international laws regarding specific boycotts and trade restrictions established by different countries to protect their national security. The Standard Chartered Bank of New York admitted to knowingly trying to hide extensive transactions they facilitated between the government of Iran in violation of US and New York State Finance regulations.

Principals of Mullins International have been selling and shipping products around the world in compliance with US and foreign laws for over 20 years. You can rely on them to help you maneuver through a myriad of laws and regulations so that your company does not violate international trade laws.

The Doppler Effect

Many visitors will recognize the term "Doppler Effect" which refers to the apparent change in pitch (or frequency) of a sound emitted by a moving object when the listener remains still. A whistle of a train moving toward you while you wait to cross the tracks sounds like a high pitched note. But when it passes you will notice the sound seems to lower in pitch or frequency. Actually, the pitch of the whistle hasn't changed but the frequency that hits your ear does change.

What does the Doppler Effect have to do with International Trade?

Medical devices use ultrasound, or high frequency sound, to evaluate tissue and cells in the human body that move or that return sound of different frequencies. A sound wave hitting moving blood cells within the walls of arteries and veins reflect sound in very distinctive ways.

Sound Waves and Submarines

Before the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States and its allies maintained tight controls on equipment and technology that could be used in military applications. Devices called Spectrum Analyzers were designed to recognize plaque and blockages in human arteries and veins, but they could also be used to distinguish the differences in the propeller sounds of submarines. Even though the application for the product was clearly medical, the export was restricted to allied countries only.

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