Economy, trade and language proficiency for doing business globally
‘Australian business leaders have been found to be competent in fewer languages than their counterparts in 27 other countries’ (Global literates, Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Talking about Spanish language, I can say nowadays is becoming more and more important in regards to business. Learning Spanish will enable you to communicate better with Spanish speaking employees/co-workers and business partners across 21 countries. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to offer your product or service to the 390 million people whose mother tongue is Spanish? In North America, Hispanic & Latinos consumers are the fastest-growing market segment. As for job opportunities, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have Spanish on your resume. In the United States, knowing Spanish can be particularly helpful if you work in health-care or education.
Increasingly, the building trades are employing more and more Spanish speaking workers. One thing is certain. If you are bilingual, you will be more marketable and have more career choices than your monolingual counterpart. Globalization, with its accompanying free trade agreements is shrinking the business world and those who know more than one language will definitely have the edge.
Additionally, many Latin American countries start to be seeing as potential mining booms that count on natural resources and foreign trades with several countries around the world, including U.S.A and European countries despite their financial crisis at the moment.
In terms of market size, the largest Latin American markets, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela are as significant for Australian trade as the emerging Asian markets, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand (Blanco, 2000). Nowadays, Brazil and Mexico are the most important Australian trade partners in Latin America. They also have the oldest diplomatic relationships in the region with Australia (62 and 41 years, respectively). The Latin American region has experienced rapid economic and political change in recent years. The new Latin American business environment increases expectations for trade growth with Australia.
The term “Latin American countries” has been used to refer to different groups of countries. For example, The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) includes as Latin American countries all Central American and South American countries (DFAT, 2006). However, in this brief analysis, Latin American countries refer to a group of the ten major Australian trade partners in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Mostly of these countries are located in the continental part of South America, except for Mexico in North America and Dominican Republic in Central America. The commodity composition of trade by broad categories was studied by using the Australian ‘DFAT’ data sets. Major trade categories comprise total primary products and total manufactured products, which shows that Latin American great potential business partners for Australia.
Aditionally, all Latin American countries are rich in minerals, petrol, vast/rich natural resources, agricultural products, etc. And the best of all, these countries are united by the same language ‘Spanish’. Even Brazil includes the ‘Spanish language’ as part of the core language subjects in its National Curriculum. But not only Brazil is acknowledging the importance of Spanish language in the World. Also many European countries such as: Germany, France, The UK and Scandinavian nations have ‘Spanish language’ as one of the main foreign languages taught in schools and universities. Likewise, China, Japan, Vietnam and India are following the steps to implement ‘Spanish language’ in schools and higher education. The answer is ‘YES’, Spanish is one of the most spoken and taught languages in the world after English and Chinese, as the following link/reference can show:
And YES again, nowadays ‘Spanish’ is more or equal spoken comparing with ‘English language’, believe it or not the statistics show this evidence.
For many people can be surprising, but the reality is ‘Spanish language’ has been sleeping for decades and the majority of its speaking nations has been and still developing slowly but firmly. That’s for sure the majority of Latin American countries do not have wars or conflicts with other nations, the opposite, it is increasing the foreign trades, cultural awareness and spreading the ‘Spanish language’ around the world.
Now, continuing speaking about business, Australian trade with the ten Latin American countries selected has increased from US$12.5-million in 1950 to US$3,145.3-million in 2005 (IMF, 2006). Latin American countries account for less than 1.5% of Australian total exports. In the past, these regions were seen as competitors (agricultural producers and mining exporters) rather than trading partners. However, in recent years economic relations between Australia and some of the Latin American countries have increased. In 2005, more than 130 Australian companies were operating in Mexico, Argentina and Chile with investments close to AU $7.4 billion (DFAT, 2006).
The two main Australian trade partners in Latin America are Brazil and Mexico. However, Brazil ranks only as the 24th Australian export partner and Mexico as the 30th Australian import partner in 2005-2006.
In general, Australian imports from the region have been concentrated in elaborately transformed manufactures. Taking into account the broad composition of imports, there are two groups of countries importing from Australia. The first group, concentrated in imports of manufactured products, includes Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The other group, with imports concentrated in primary products, includes Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay.
On the other hand, during last three decades many Europeans had increasingly moved to the Big America Continent (U.S.A, Mexico, Canada, Central America and South America) and what they found in common was the ‘English and Spanish languages’ were essential in this side of the World.
For many Australians the ‘South America Region’ can be known as synonymous of nice beaches, exotic food, fun and lot of traveling. But indeed ‘South America Region’ means more than that in this Century. Of course, no doubt China is a big country with lot of resources and with millions of Chinese dialects speakers (the more common Cantonese and Mandarin), but these dialects can be very challenging for Anglo-speaking, comparing with ‘Spanish Language’ which has been taught through generations in U.S.A and Europe…..Obviously Spanish is an easier language to study and learn despite in Australia it hasn’t been promoted enough yet for the simply reason of ‘Asian Region’ influence in this side of the planet. Nothing wrong with that, it is natural the influence of the geographical location of Australia, but I think ‘Spanish language’ has a high potential to become a well-known and important language for this ‘Globalization Era’.
In addition, everybody knows the economy highly influences in the language education for many countries worldwide. For the case of Australia, this is not a new concept; that’s one of many reasons ‘Spanish language’ is also very important for Australia and its international trades.
Australia has free trade agreements with many Latin American countries not long time ago as the following article can detail the importance of Latin American Economy is growing in similar way comparing some Asian countries.
Furthermore, Australia is also part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) that promotes greater liberalisation of trade, investment and enhancing regional integration. Likewise, Australia hosted ‘APEC’ in 2007, then in 2008 Peru held the continuing colloquium. Both countries are part of the group of nine ‘APEC’ members who are negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Australia and Peru are also members of the Forum for East Asia Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC). But what really disappoint me is the Media in Australia speaks very little about all these news and the wide opportunity for many Australian businessmen or for those who would like to start an international business.
On the following website is possible to find more details about the Australia-Peru Chamber of Commerce, including Australian official information to invest in Latin American countries and vice versa:
Implications for Higher Education:
One of the most important implications of the changing business climate on higher education in Australia is the need to provide a variety of international education at various levels, including graduate, undergraduate and executive education. Businesses want graduates with a global outlook and especially value candidates who have experienced foreign cultures and situations. In addition, managers will increasingly see education as a continuous, life-long process.
While the level of sophistication of foreign partners and increased use of English in business may decrease the need for expatriate managers, the increase in international trade and communications will surely result in a much greater proportion of Australian managers who must be able to effectively deal with foreign customers, suppliers and joint venture partners.
Succeeding in the emerging global economy will require understanding the economic and managerial intricacies of international business, as well as the political, social and cultural factors that influence one’s business partners.
The Challenge for International Educators:
The primary challenge for international language educators is to lead rather than to follow industry. In the rapidly changing pace of business, practitioners may not have the luxury to look ten years into the future and think about what type of graduate they will need at that time. This is the domain of educators, and we must take the initiative now to design programs that integrate area studies, economics, languages and business curricula to better prepare our graduates for the global business climate they will face. We must also strive to cultivate alliances between our universities, foreign institutions, between academia, industry and government to bring to bear the international education, training and research capabilities of universities for the benefit of the private sector. We must marshal new communications and information technology to exploit and develop more efficient and effective pedagogical methods.
Finally, educators must motivate their students toward a career-oriented, long-term focus, and encourage the best and brightest to seek meaningful international experiences which will serve them throughout their lifetimes.
To thrive in the intercontinental marketplace, companies must be able to maintain a global perspective while preserving the capacity to respond to local conditions in each of their markets. The challenge for Australian business schools is to provide the educational opportunities to create tomorrow’s leaders with a good knowledge and business skills without to forget that ‘language proficiency’ can enhance broadly global markets and improve trades for doing better business globally.