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1. What are some actions Twelve Trees can take with regards to its interpreter to ensure the success of its business deal? 2. China is considered a “higher context” society. What qualities of such a culture have the potential to affect an international business relationship? 3. Although no one on the Twelve Trees trade mission team can speak Mandarin, team members can each pay close attention to non-verbal communications to “read” the general reception they are being given. List some non-verbal communications techniques, and explain why it is important to read and understand these symbols. 4. What steps can Twelve Trees take to ensure the agreem

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International Market Entry Strategies Module—Intercultural Competence Global Business Environment: Cultural Considerations Background Twelve Trees is a Scottish company that imports loose teas from China. It receives the tea in bulk from independent Chinese farmers, and packages the tea in 400g, 2000g and 5000g portions for distribution among its retailers, for the price of GBP 110, GBP 510 and GBP 1,180, respectively. Its suppliers reside in the Lingnan area (comprising the Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian provinces), and they specialize in Oolong tea, although some of the suppliers also grow green, black and white teas. During the past fiscal year, the number of retailers interested in purchasing the product in bulk has increased by 37 percent. Twelve Trees attributes its product’s rise in popularity to an increasing interest in alternative health treatments, particularly among young and middle-aged women, and to the fact that the teas are certified organic and grown in a socially responsible manner. While it is excited about the prospects of increased business, Twelve Trees is struggling to find enough Chinese farmers to fill its orders. There are several guidelines Twelve Trees requires its suppliers to meet. First, the tea must be grown in a way that maintains the long-term fertility of soils without using artificial inputs such as chemical fertilizers or insecticides. Second, the tea should be grown on an agriculturally diverse farm—a farm on which tea is not the only plant being produced. Third, the employees at the farms must be paid competitive wages, high enough to sustain a decent standard of living. This final point is dependent on the location of the farm—a “decent” standard of living is relative to the market forces of the region in which the farm is located. These three principles are ensured through regular visits to the farms by independent observers.

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