May 19, 2020

Is Trump ready to embark on a trade war?

trump
WTO
World Trade Organisation
Fragkiskos Filippaios
3 min
Is Trump ready to embark on a trade war?

Recently, the US administration decided in favour of the introduction of trade barriers on the imports of washing machines and solar products. This move was based on a World Trade Organisation rule that allows countries to re-introduce trade barriers in those cases where evidence clearly suggests that “a domestic industry is injured or threatened with injury caused by a surge in imports”.

It is the first move that will be, possibly, followed by the introduction of trade barriers to other industries such as steel and aluminium. The introduction of these tariff barriers was heavily criticised by China and South Korea the two most important exporters of washing machines and solar products to the US.

Although they have both claimed that they will seek to resolve this issue through the mechanisms offered by WTO it is still not certain that they might not decide to take other actions in imposing trade barriers themselves to products, but primarily services, originating from the US. This could possibly lead to a domino effect with bilateral attempts to retaliate.

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This is not the first time a Republican president introduces trade barriers. George Bush in the early 2000s introduced tariffs on the imports of steel. The matter was raised from other countries to WTO and the ruling of the international organisation led to the immediate withdrawal of the measures.

It is highly likely that this is going to be the outcome in the washing machines and solar products case. Donald Trump will have gained brownie points internally by fulfilling his promise to put “America First” but at the same time will put the blame on WTO and its rulings for not being able to maintain the trade restrictions.

But what if this case does not go smoothly and we end up in a trade war? The main losers will be consumers in the US that will have access to a smaller range of products (especially in the case of washing machines) and potentially higher prices. Whirlpool has already announced an additional investment creating 200 new jobs but these will come at a significant cost to the average American consumer.

It is worth examining whether the US administration has performed a cost-benefit analysis of the additional cost for the average consumer against the benefit of protecting the white goods industry and the additional jobs created. In the solar products case things become even more complicated as quite a wide range of these products are not final products sold to consumers but intermediate ones that eventually go as inputs in the production of American firms that either sell in the US or re-export the final goods abroad. These companies will face a steep rise to their costs and will lose in the short term any price/cost related competitive advantage.

You might end up with the opposite of the desirable effect, i.e. losing instead of creating jobs. The US administration makes the over-simplistic assumption that production in the US of solar products can increase overnight at a cost and quality that is competitive to the currently imported goods. This is an assumption that is far from true.

In conclusion, the Trump move, although politically positive for his own profile, could have not only geopolitical implications but also implications for US businesses and consumers. Nowhere in the rhetoric justifying the introduction of tariffs have we seen a solid economic impact analysis or a cost-benefit analysis and therefore both the political and economic outcomes are ambiguous.

By Dr Fragkiskos Filippaios, Reader in International Business at Kent Business School

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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