Culture, the Ultimate Barrier to Trade

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Course: International Marketing

CULTURE THE ULTIMATE BARRIER TO TRADE?

The simple speech “I have got something you need and I need something you have got and I want it” [Professor Pedley, lectures] is basically the leading phrase in the world trade and actually the main reason of the trade. The International Marketing deals with identifying and meeting human and social needs, not only on level local markets, but also on multicultural international level. Many transformations appeared in the early years of the new century, played a role for the world trade. The eastern enlargement in the EU following by the Lisbon Treaty, the expansion of the European Market and etc., the changes in the Arabic world, steep growth of the Chinese economy and historical decrease of the US rating, all those events led to an increase on the complexities of international marketing. Hence, as we can see in nowadays, many companies going far beyond exporting and simply become more involved in the local marketing environment within a given country or market. In this case, by penetrating to the new market, either by indirect or direct import and export or by investing, we need to find out how to adjust to an entire new marketing strategy, in order to fit into new market demands. The first important challenge is the understanding of the different environments: the understanding of a completely new and different culture, a new economic system and a new political environment. These are the major tasks for every international company which is looking for success in the foreign markets. These, including the official economical trade barriers like quotas and tariffs, bring some negatives for foreign companies. First, let us clear the meaning and give a definition of CULTURE. According to the Wikipedia, culture represents “all the ways of life including arts, beliefs and institutions of a population that are passed down from generation to generation”. Here is the place to say that those beliefs and institutions transferring from one to the next generation are changing a bit the essence of the culture trough the centuries. “Some other cultures have being defined by national borders, especially when the countries are isolated by natural, geographical borders. Examples are the island nations (Japan, Ireland, Australia) and peninsulas (e.g. South Korea)” [CH_04_GMME5ed_Global_Cultural_Environment_final_4-22-09, p.5]. In that case, the cultural traditions may remain the same with years and not get influenced. But nevertheless, this is not a real impediment for countries to cross these barriers. As we stated previously, one of the central trading barriers is culture. There are many aspects of culture, but the main ones that directly affect trade are the social, economic and political cultures of a state (or a nation). We are using the scheme from the expert literature for the complex view of cultural environment of the country. For purpose of this work, we will choose only few aspects and analyze them deeper. The following chart here shows the major aspects of the cultural analysis.

Culture Adap-tation
Culture Change
Education
Intermediary Actions
Reference Groups
Work and Leisure
Religion
Family
Cultural
Analysis
Language

Scheme: Cultural Analysis
Adopted from: JEANNET, J. P. – H.D. Global Marketing Strategies, 1998.

As we see on the graphic, seven of the components are pointing the inside circle, while the Culture adaptation and Culture change are presented as two-way influenced by the rest elements. The culture adaptation- and change are reflected by the human behavior.

Language
In the context of international marketing, we consider language as the primary factor of cultural analysis, because it has a major impact on the international marketing strategies in different cultures. “Language has been described as the mirror of the culture” [L S Walsh,...
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