Global Cooling

One of the unusual characteristics of our business is our strong ties with customers outside of the U.S. Just in the past few weeks, we have shipped Pretzel Pete to customers in Japan, UK, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Philippines and Indonesia.  Our import partners in those countries then sell our items into grocery stores in their respective countries.  Export is an important part of what we do.

As part of those efforts, I have spent considerable time traveling overseas and in fact have just returned from a quick trip to visit some of our importers in Europe.  It was hardly surprising that the level of angst prevalent in almost all countries was higher than I have ever experienced.  The cloud of Brexit is hovering over all of Europe especially our friends in the UK.  There is also a general sense of unease due to the apparent weakening of the long-standing special U.S.-western Europe relationship; both economically and politically.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, our business in China is suffering from the U.S.-China trade war.  Much attention has been paid to the damage the tariffs have caused U.S. importers but exporters to China have been harmed in equal measure by the retaliatory tariffs. China has long been a major target for us but the prospect of the trade war escalating further could cause us to lose this market entirely.

As we take pause during the holidays to enjoy the season and plan for 2019, I am hopeful that our leaders will find solutions to ease these tensions and allow markets to return to normal.  If the economic correction occurs as many predict, we will all need as many friends as possible overseas to help lessen the blow.