Global economic trends and threats were the main topic of the FCIB New York International Roundtable Conference that took place on February 21, 2007. The event drew attendees from several states on the eastern half of the country and professionals from a diverse collection of industries including chemicals, foods, electronics, credit insurance, financial services and many others.
Keynote speaker Byron Shelton, an International Economist for FCIA Management Co., noted that the global economy has, overall, performed well over the past several years with growth averaging out to 4%-5%. Record numbers of jobs have been created and countries that were once failing, namely India and China, have vaulted to the forefront of the global market. However, Shelton said, there is a remarkable dichotomy in this amount of global growth when considered with the simultaneous rise in political insecurity and still high levels of poverty that effect even the strongest nations.
Shelton noted that high levels of poverty have often led to an increase in authoritarian regimes that are far less open to foreign investment, citing Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela as an example. The oil-rich Latin American nation that recently re-elected Chávez by a landslide was a hot topic for discussion at the meeting. Many attendees citied troublesome payment experiences and concern for what’s to come of the country now that Chávez has announced a plan to nationalize a number of the nation’s most booming industries.
After Shelton’s presentation, the floor was opened up for a roundtable discussion of attendee experience with customers in a number of different regions and countries. The discussion also included a diverse collection of panelists: Glenn Lifrieri, Director of Corporate Credit and A/R at Arch Chemicals, Inc.; Paulo Menezes, Senior Manager of Risk Management at the Sojitz Corporation of America; and Andrea Ratay, Vice President of HSBC Bank USA. The discussion was moderated by John Rossini, Director of Credit at Central-National Gottesman, Inc.
Conference Attendees were allowed to submit questions prior to the event that would be addressed during the roundtable and these provided a the discussion with starting points for relevant discussion about payment experiences in a number of different regions. While Latin America was the most-talked about region, other areas including Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America were all discussed, as well as general questions pertaining to best practices, changes and trends affecting the world of international credit.
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Source: Jacob Barron, NACM Staff Writer