International Trade and Finance: A North American Perspective

By Khosrow Fatemi | Go to book overview

products distributed in North American markets tend to be arbitrary. In some cases they reflect elements of a competitive pricing strategy with respect to similar goods available on the market, but more likely the goods tend to be overpriced, considering the quality, even though actual retail prices may be lower than prices of competing goods. If this condition continues, it is likely that many of the marketing organizations from CMEA countries will be faced with major dumping suits by commercial competitors and governments.

Issues concerned with product development and modification are so extensive that we are only beginning to learn about them. In the case of marketing automobiles, it is not enough merely to have the product tested by the appropriate agency for safety and emission standards. The products must also meet additional requirements that are closely aligned with consumer psychology and not simply with marginal physical performance.

The first four problematic areas discussed above are reflected in the fifth area--lack of marketing research. The resident marketing organizations from CMEA countries do not have the necessary capabilities and experience to conduct meaningful marketing research in the North American markets. In addition, in their view funds spent on marketing research are wasted. Consequently, these organizations are faced with significant problems in marketing their products.

An examination of the five areas above clearly suggests that currently there are significant problems faced by the CMEA countries in marketing their products in North American markets. It is not expected that these problems will be solved soon in order that they will be more competitive in the future.


CONCLUSION

Based on an analysis of past trends related to the economic dynamics of CMEA countries and specific managerial areas, it can be concluded that their presence in North American markets in the late 1980s and early 1990s will not be significant. Although the present modernization effort in the Soviet Union and several of the other Eastern European economies is perceived as the major force that will provide Eastern European enterprises with the motivation to compete in North American markets, deeply rooted philosophical and ideological views among all levels of management simply do not allow it. Nevertheless, most of the current trade is being driven by the need for foreign exchange.

Experience clearly indicates that the previous "modernization" attempts in the form of economic reforms in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary have been less than successful. The Soviet Union has had even greater problems. Given the present managerial, educational, and training processes in all of the CMEA countries, it will be unlikely that well-educated and trained managers will be able to manage their marketing organizations in the host

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