Sunday, December 04, 2005

America's $225 Billion Image Makeover

Photo by Keith Stanley

From The San Francisco Chronicle

"A year ago, Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service reported on a survey of 8,000 international consumers released by Global Market Institute Inc. of Seattle. The survey noted that "one-third of all consumers in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom said that U.S. foreign policy, particularly the war on terror and the occupation of Iraq, constituted their strongest impression of the United States."

In another blow to President Bush's vision of staying the course in Iraq, US business leaders are recognising that beyond the staggering direct costs of the war in Iraq, they are also paying an increasing toll in their international sales profits.

"Unfortunately, current American foreign policy is viewed by international consumers as a significant negative, when it used to be a positive," said Mitchell Eggers, Global Market's chief operating officer and chief pollster.

Brands the survey identified as particularly at risk included Marlboro, America Online, McDonald's, American Airlines, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, United Airlines, Budweiser, Chrysler, Mattel, Starbucks and General Motors.
If you want to get the attention of a businessman, the surefire method is to hit him in the pocketbook. Increasingly the fallout over this war is doing just that.

/snip/ A U.S. Banker magazine article in August relaying the results of an Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that 41 percent of Canadian opinion leaders were less likely to purchase American products because of Bush administration policies, compared with 56 percent in the United Kingdom, 61 percent in France, 49 percent in Germany and 42 percent in Brazil.

/snip/ "Hundreds of companies blame the Iraq war for poor financial results in 2003, many warning that continued U.S. military involvement there could harm this year's performance.

/snip/ "The war in Iraq created a quagmire for corporations," David Galvan, a portfolio manager for Wayne Hummer Income Fund, says

/snip/ (T)he diverse businesses in the tourism industry have taken a huge blow. JetBlue, Orbitz, Priceline.com, Morton's steakhouses and Host Marriott, to name just a few, have blamed disappointing returns on the war.

Travel industry leaders have warned that the United States is losing billions of dollars as international tourists are deterred from visiting because of a tarnished image overseas and bureaucratic visa policies.

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