EGS Biweekly Global Business Newsletter Issue 20, Monday, December 28, 2020

By William (Bill) Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)

 “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”, President Harry Truman

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people”, Eleanor Roosevelt, compliments of Jeff Bevis

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”, Peter Drucker


Best wishes to our readers in 20 countries for the holidays and a calmer, healthy and prosperous 2021. Our biweekly newsletter focuses on what is happening around the world that impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment and travel. This is our 20th edition, 40 weeks since the COVID crisis formally hit.

A few highlights in issue #20:

  • Three vaccines have now been approved and two are being distributed in the EU, USA and the United Kingdom – a global vaccine update
  • The United Kingdom and the European Union have an agreement to part ways as of January 1, 2021
  • Nobel Perspectives & Economic Views: Asking the questions that matter. A UBS current knowledge resource
  • The Impact of Covid-19 on Global & Local Supply Chains
  • McDonald’s China releasing Oreo, Spam burger for limited time…..seriously!
  • A bit of fun: Stroll down memory lane with a 1996 instructional video on “How to Internet”

For our biweekly newsletter, we monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries.

Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.

 First, a few Personal Comments

The world is a mixed place at the time of this holiday season report. Multiple vaccines are being deployed. Businesses are open in Asia but not as much in Europe and the USA. Cross border travel and tourism remains constrained, but airlines and governments are seeking ways to get planes flying long hauls once again. Predictions for the world’s economy for 2021 are optimistic. Let’s start with a vaccine update.

A COVID Vaccine Update

Astra Zeneca’s Soriot says vaccine has a “winning formula’: After the strangest festive period many of us have lived through, there is a rare dose of good news in today’s section – one has the potential to make a lot of difference to all our lives. It’s contained in Sabah Meddings’ interview with Pascal Soriot, the boss of Astra Zeneca. He has won our award for businessperson of the year – thanks to the drugs giant’s work tackling Covid-19. Soriot reveals that its vaccine – which we have bought 100 millions doses of – should work against the new strain of the virus, and that it should be just as effective as the other jabs being developed.”, The Sunday Times of London, December 27, 2020

“’The beginning of the end’: Europe rolls out vaccines to fight pandemic: Europe launched a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday with pensioners and medics lining up to get the first shots to see off a pandemic that has crippled economies and claimed more than 1.7 million lives worldwide.”, Reuters, December 27, 2020

EU Begins Covid-19 Vaccinations After Clearing Pfizer Shot: European Union countries began vaccinating against Covid-19 as members of the 27-nation bloc struggle with a rising death toll from the virus. The coordinated rollout launched on Sunday is getting underway less than a week after the EU cleared a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. Several European countries, including Germany, have imposed tougher restrictions in an effort to contain a winter surge in infections and deaths.”, Bloomberg, December 27, 2020

The COVID-19 vaccines are here: What comes next? Countries must prepare now for the largest simultaneous public-health initiative ever undertaken”, McKinsey & Co., December 9, 2020

The United Kingdom and the Remaining 27 EU Countries reach an Agreement

“’Parting is such sweet sorrow’: EU and UK clinch narrow Brexit accord: Britain clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, just seven days before it exits one of the world’s biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of empire.”, Reuters, December 23, 2020

The European Union and the United Kingdom have a final agreement to separate as of January 1, 2021. This is what the regional alliance map looks like post January 1, 2020.

Some Interesting Year End Data

“The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects that after a 4.2% drop this year, the global economy will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2021. This chart, which uses data from the OECD, shows which countries will recover the fastest from the global recession in 2020”, Visual Capitalist, December 15, 2020

Bill Gates: These breakthroughs will make 2021 better than 2020. The latest on the innovations that will let us go back to normal.” GatesNotes, December 22, 2020

Global cargo logjam deepens, delaying goods bound for retailers, automakers: A surge in demand for furniture, exercise equipment and other goods for shoppers sheltering at home in a worsening COVID-19 pandemic has upended normal trade flows. That has stranded empty cargo containers in the wrong places, spawning bottlenecks that now stretch from factories to seaports.”, Reuters, December 23, 3030

A Bit of Fun in these Times

Stroll down memory lane with this 1996 instructional video on How to Internet: Everything You Need to Know About… Introduction to the Internet is on the Internet Archive.”, Ars Technica, December 13, 2020

Global and Regional Travel Updates

“US to Require Negative COVID-19 Test for UK Arrivals Tomorrow: The US is set to require a negative COVID-19 test for travelers arriving from the UK starting December 28, 2020. Following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in the UK, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on December 25 approved the order requiring the negative tests. Canada itself, along with over 60 other countries, have virtually shut their borders to the UK while New York City has imposed a 14 day quarantine for international arrivals.”, Airways Magazine, December 27, 2020

“Will you need an immunity passport to fly? How the COVID-19 vaccine will restart travel: The majority of travelers say a proven vaccine will make them feel safe enough to hit the road again, according to a survey by the travel insurance provider Allianz. But vaccines won’t just change the way people feel about traveling: they could completely alter the entire travel experience.”, The Points Guy, December 27, 2020

How Airlines Are Trying to Get Passengers Back on Long-Haul Flights: From virus-sniffing dogs to new testing requirements. Along with COVID-19 testing areas and sanitizer dispensers, air travelers in Dubai or Helsinki might notice another pandemic-era addition to airports: a station where specially trained dogs can detect the presence of coronavirus in arriving passengers.”, The Condé Nast Traveler, December 14, 2020

“Tried and true tricks for getting over jet lag: Here, from the editorial staff of Fortune, is a roundup of the best tips and tricks for going the distance.”, Fortune, December 27, 2020

Qantas Set to Form a Joint Business Agreement With Japan Airlines: Following the drastic reduction in the number of passengers flying this year, many airlines are seeking new ways to attract travelers on board in time for next summer. Australian flag-carrier Qantas is negotiating with Japan Airlines to increase travel between Australia and Japan by a new “joint business.” The two carriers, members of the Oneworld alliance, already have a close partnership with many mutual benefits for its frequent flyers.”, Airline Geeks, December 25, 2020

“XpresCheck, JetBlue Offer Rapid-Tests at Boston Airport: On Monday, XpresSpa Group’s subsidiary XpresCheck announced a partnership with New York-based JetBlue Airways to build a COVID-19 testing site at Boston’s Logan International Airport, reported by GlobeNewswire. The “pop-up” facility will aim to give passengers a convenient place to get tested before or after travel. Currently, officials in Massachusetts require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of entering the state to avoid quarantine.”, Airline Geeks, December 22, 2020

Your next hotel check-in may include a COVID-19 test: Are COVID-19 tests the latest resort welcome amenity? It’s starting to seem that way.”, The Points Guy, December 17, 2020

“British Airways to restore service in first and business class: Currently, all meals are served in snack boxes and there is no hot meal service (with the exception of international first-class cabins). It’s nice to see British Airways — which was one of the airlines to most drastically reduce in-flight services — start reintegrating a more full-service flight experience for business and first-class passengers.”, The Points Guy, December 19, 2020

Asia Pacific Countries

Emerging stronger, fitter, faster: The rise of the Asian corporation: Leading CEOs in Asia explain how COVID-19 has accelerated five business trends in the region and why they’re confident that unprecedented opportunities lie ahead.”, McKinsey & Co., December 17. 2020


“Melbourne reaps festive benefits from its hard lockdown: Decision to close its borders, however, means many expatriates are stuck abroad for Christmas.  Restaurants, pubs and cafés expect a busy Christmas after Australia’s second most populous city emerged from a strict 112-day-long lockdown in late October. Victoria’s state government recently dropped requirements to wear face masks when dining, removed a ban on dancing and is allowing up to 30 people to visit private homes. In a symbolic moment for a nation hooked on cricket, the Boxing Day Test match between India and Australia will welcome 30,000 spectators — the first time fans will be allowed to attend the Melbourne Cricket Ground since the virus began spreading rapidly in March.”, The Financial Times, December 21, 2020

Flights cancelled, holidays in disarray as Sydney battles pre-Christmas COVID-19 outbreak: Dozens of domestic flights due to leave Sydney were cancelled on Monday and authorities issued more health alerts across the city, as Australia battled to contain a fresh COVID-19 outbreak in its largest city four days before Christmas.”, Reuters, December 20, 2020


Chile becomes first South American country to start COVID vaccination: Chile became the first country in South America to begin coronavirus vaccinations on Thursday after receiving its first 10,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses, Reuters reports….The country bought 10 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and is expected to receive 240,000 doses in January, per Reuters. It has secured 36 million doses overall, Bloomberg writes.”, Axios, December 25, 2020

Mainland China

“Chinese consumers are spending again—but they remain wary of restaurants: As the first in and the first out of the pandemic, China’s economy has staged a dramatic recovery this year. It surged 3.2% and 4.9% in the second and third quarters, respectively, after plunging 6.8% in the first, compared with the same periods last year. But spending at restaurants has been especially slow to bounce back.”, Fortune, December 17, 2020

“McDonald’s China releasing Oreo, Spam burger for limited time: The fast food chain is only making 400,000 of the burgers. The fast food chain announced the limited-time menu item on Chinese social media platform Weibo earlier this week.  On Friday, video game analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted pictures of the ‘Oreo x Spam’ burger, which shows a layer of crumbled Oreos on top of two slices of Spam.”, Fox News, December 19, 2020

Dr. Zhang Wenhong Talks COVID-19 and Vaccines: Greg Gilligan, Chairman of AmCham China and Dr. Zhang Wenhong, Professor and Head of the Center for Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, discussed the current global fight against COVID-19 during a fireside conversation with member companies.”, AmCham China, December 10, 2020

Sinopec Yijie and Lian Coffee set up a joint venture to push gas station coffee: Yijie has 27,800 convenience stores nationwide, covering more than 90% of Sinopec’s gas stations. Yijie Coffee will rely on Yijie convenience stores to open stores in the future. ) Sinopec entered the coffee market. December 22, Sinopec convenience stores Express announced a partnership with Internet coffee brand ‘even the coffee’ joint venture. “, Caixin, December 22, 2020, compliments of Paul Jones, Jones & Co., Toronto


India’s Domestic Passenger Air Traffic Grows in November: The demand for air travel during the holidays has helped India’s air traffic recover after a dark period. Indeed, passenger volume saw sequential growth of 22% in the previous month, India’s ICRA rating agency NSE said Wednesday. The ICRA also said that November domestic passenger traffic was close to 50% of domestic air travel demand in November 2019.”, Airways, December 23, 2020


COVID-19 clampdown: Japan closes borders to foreign nationals: Effective on Monday, Dec. 28, the Japanese government will bar most foreign nationals in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Entry bans were already in place for international travelers from more than 150 countries all over the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom. The latest move, which will last until at least the end of January, simply builds upon the nation’s already strict entry requirements, and even Japanese nationals and foreigners with residency returning from short business trips, according to Bloomberg, must now comply with a 14-day quarantine, along with multiple COVID-19 tests.”, The Points Guy, December 26, 2020


S. Korea to accelerate virus vaccine efforts as first U.K. variant detected: South Korean officials are vowing to speed up efforts to launch a public coronavirus vaccination programme as the country on Monday announced it had detected its first cases of the virus variant linked to the rapid rise in infections in Britain.”, Reuters, December 28, 2020

New Zealand

“New Zealand’s ‘go hard and early’ Covid policy reaps economic rewards: New Zealand’s economy has accelerated out of a coronavirus-induced recession to grow a record 14 percent in the third quarter, reflecting authorities’ adept handling of the pandemic.”, The Financial Times, December 16, 2020


“Singapore To Open For Business Travel In January Under ‘Bubble’ Arrangement: Singapore will allow a limited number of business, official and high economic value travelers from all countries to come to the city-state and stay at dedicated facilities under a “bubble” arrangement. Applications for the new travel arrangement, which was announced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Tuesday, will open next month. Travelers who qualify will be allowed into Singapore from the second half of January for up to 14 days.”, Forbes, December 15, 2020


“AmCham Spain in 2020: A Year in Review”, compliments of Angela Turrin, International Trade Advisor, U.S. Commercial Service, Madrid, December 16, 2020


“With Ski Resorts Closed Across Europe, Die-Hards Descend on Switzerland: Resisting pressure to close resorts in pandemic, the country says it can make skiing safe. Switzerland is holding out against pressure from other European countries to shut down its ski lifts, even though the country is struggling with one of Europe’s highest Covid-19 infection rates. Like elsewhere in Europe, anti-contagion measures punctuate Swiss daily life: Face masks are obligatory almost everywhere, large gatherings are banned, and restaurants and bars have limited hours. But Swiss authorities say skiing is safe.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2020

United Kingdom

“Britain is fifth-largest economy in world again after leapfrogging India: Britain has retaken fifth place in the rankings of the world’s biggest economies despite suffering one of the deepest recessions in the pandemic. According to the annual league table produced by a leading British economics consultancy, the UK has leapfrogged India and will accelerate away from France in the decade after Brexit.”, The Sunday Times of London, December 26, 2020

Brexit: EU ambassadors approve EU-UK trade deal: Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states have unanimously approved the EU-UK post-Brexit trade deal, paving the way for it to take effect. The deal is likely to become law on 1 January, as the UK Parliament is expected to approve it on Wednesday.”, BBC News, December 28, 2020

United States

U.S. Starts Delivery of Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine: Trucks carrying the shot will start rolling out Sunday, with injections slated to commence Monday. Immunizations using the newly authorized Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. are slated to start Monday, boosting the mass inoculation campaign that was launched just last week.”, The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2020

TSA screens highest number of travelers since pandemic began: The Transportation Security Administration screened 1,284,599 people at airport checkpoints around the U.S. on Sunday, according to agency data.  It’s the highest number of travelers the TSA has recorded since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March. It’s also the sixth day in the last 10 that more than a million people have flown….”, Axios, December 28, 2020


Vietnam prepares for supply chain shift from China: Multinationals look to build up bases despite infrastructure and labour issues. Veteran business people in the region like to compare its rising economy and exuberant business climate to Thailand’s during its foreign investment-driven boom that began in the 1980s, or China’s 20 years ago when its manufacturing sector was taking off.  The boosters point to Vietnam’s solid record in making products to global standards, and to a widening network of free trade agreements, including recently with the EU and the UK.”, The Financial Times, December 27, 2020

Brand News

Domino’s launches ‘press for pizza’ button service for people bored of Christmas leftovers: The fast food chain has launched the “Turkey Panic Button” on 27 December in the hope that it will appeal to consumers who have tired of traditional Christmas foods.

Those who volunteer for the service will receive their own button and be able to push for pizza at their leisure. The pizza will then be delivered for free.”, The Independent, December 26, 2020

8 Things You Probably Never Knew About the Dairy Queen Blizzard: Only the biggest Dairy Queen fans will know these fun facts about the iconic Blizzard treat.”, Taste Of Home, December 21, 2020

Coronavirus lockdowns ‘accelerated’ innovation, Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons parent say: ‘Despite the challenges we’re facing, there’s hope,’ Restaurant Brands International CEO said. although coronavirus lockdowns have been difficult for many restaurants and small businesses, Jose Cil, Restaurant Brands International CEO told ‘Mornings with Maria’ they have helped with innovation. Leading Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons, Cil said drive-thru service and delivery has increased significantly over the last 10 months and he expects it to continue when the pandemic is over.”, Fox Business, December 2020

Casual Dining – Alive and Well: Casual dining has been around as long as the concept of eating out has existed.  It has always held a large market share, falling nicely between fine dining and quick service restaurants.  So, let’s look at what casual dining really is, why some question its sustainability after 2020, why people go out in the first place, and how casual dining restaurants must adapt to be successful in 2021.”, Sean Ngo, VF Franchise Consulting, Ho Chi Minh City

Articles and Charts About Doing Business in The Times Of COVID-19 and Beyond

“Nobel Perspectives & Economic Views: Asking the questions that matter. In a global, forward-thinking future, knowledge holds the key. That’s why UBS offers you the credible source of information, Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences, who answer the questions that shape our world. Invest in knowledge, learn from the smartest minds in science, and be better prepared for the future., UBS, December 26, 2020

The Impact of Covid-19 on Global & Local Supply Chains: The coronavirus pandemic has become a “black swan” event. Its presence has shaken things up globally across all industries, particularly the global freight field, resulting in significant impacts to the world economy. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of numerous companies, especially those that rely on global supply chains, as well as international trade.”,, December 22, 2020

“The biggest small business trends and challenges of 2020: Each year, SmartCompany surveys its readers to understand what they’re focusing on and investing in, and this year’s Reader Survey provides a snapshot of what the ‘new normal’ looks like after a year that has fundamentally changed the way we do business.”, Smart Company Australia, December 2020

Guide to investment trends 2021: We assess the investment opportunities thrown up by the pandemic – the possibility of battered companies and share prices making a comeback – as well as the themes that have leapt up the agenda in 2020, such as ethical investing and technology, or are set to emerge in 2021, such as healthcare.”, The Times of London, December 214, 2020

“This way out: How leading companies chart a full-potential COVID-Exit: Half measures and incrementalism won’t work when your company emerges from a crisis. Here’s jhow leading organizations are thinking about holistic transformation to go all in”, McKinsey & Co., December 15, 2020

Buy into themes accelerated by COVID-19: Technology disruption as the world undergoes a digital transformation has been accelerated by COVID-19. Trends that are here to stay….”, UBS, December 2020


Who We Are and What We Do for Companies ‘Going Global’?

Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for U.S. businesses Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving. around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries.

Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) takes U.S. businesses global and currently has activity in 25 countries.  Our Clients are all consumer-faced brands.  Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence

Find out more about the services we provide U.S. companies Going Global at:

Download our 4th quarter 2020 GlobalVue™ 40 country ranking chart at this link:

To download our latest published article, “2021 International Outlook – Mixed Prospects Amid Global Uncertainty”, go to this link:

William Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He has 46 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East.  Mr. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.


For market research, operations and development support on taking your business global, contact Mr. Edwards at or +1 949 224 3896.