Euro Change: Getting in Touch with the Euro via the Web
In this column, I wanted to share some places on the World Wide Web where you can find a good deal of information on the euro. Most U.S. companies will need to adjust the business they do over the next two years and these contacts may provide the necessary guidance in that transition.
One of the sites I found particularly useful, ironically, was news about Y2K and the euro from the CIA. Of particular interest is an address given on the topic of how prepared the world is for Y2K (www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/nic_speech_012099.html).
At this site, you’ll find a rather imposing title: Testimony of Lawrence K. Gershwin, National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology, National Intelligence Council, Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
While the title is bit stiff, the information presented is pretty straightforward and may be helpful background if your company relies on technology outside the U.S. There is some fascinating (and comforting) information about the exposure of Russian missiles to Y2K threats.
Even if your business operates exclusively in the UK and not throughout Europe, the changes will nevertheless impact how you do business. You will still need to understand how the UK will respond to the euro. If this applies to you, there is an informative Web site developed by the government of Great Britain (www.euro.gov.uk).
According to the site information, you can also contact a local Business Link (Tel: 0345 567765). In Scotland, Scottish Trade International (Tel: 0141 228 2812) or your local Export Partnership can help. In Wales, Business Connect (Tel: 0345 96 97 98) may be a source of useful information. In Northern Ireland, the Local Enterprise Development Unit is worth a call (Eleanor Butterworth: 01232 491031).
The site provides a handy table (see Table 1) that holds a good deal of contact information on how other EU Member States are approaching the introduction of the euro.
EURO INQUIRY POINTS
00 43 1 514 33 2226
Tel: 00 32 2 287 4008
Fax: 00 32 2 287 4010
Denmark (not joining in first wave)
Tel: 00 45 33 92 49 62
Fax: 00 45 33 92 41 63
(Ministry of Economic Affairs)
Tel: 00 358 969 69 69
Fax: 00 358 965 03 03
(Central Chamber of Commerce)
Tel: 00 358 9 1992
Fax: 00 358 20 469 55 35
(Finnish Foreign Trade Associations)
Minitel 3615 EURO 99
00 49 0228 1040
(German Industrial and Trade Association)
Greece (not joining in first wave)
[not yet available]
[ not yet available ]
00 353 1 607 3299
Forfas: general information for business
00 353 1 679 2777 (x4817/4148/4146)
information on tax and customs aspects of the switchover, tax receipts
00 39 6 48 82 118
00 352 478 2641/2608
00 31 70 342 7542
(Ministry of Finance Information Centre)
Tel: 00 01 882 40 00/1/2/3
Fax: 00 01 882 40 10/15
00 341 902 11 2002
Sweden (not joining in first wave)
00 46 8 405 1497
(Ministry of Finance, Euro
08456 01 01 99
Table 1: How the EU is approaching the euro.
Getting the Numbers
Another interesting site is produced by I.E.S. S.p.A. The company, headquartered in Italy, produces photoelectric sensors, safety products and temperature controllers. While the English on the site is a little fractured, it is nonetheless readable. The item that caught my eye was the handy euro calculator IES placed on its page. Using the calculator, people can figure out how the euro translates in value from any source currency. This is a good marketing strategy for any company that wants to build confidence with its clients by demonstrating that it has a handle on the euro.
My final recommended site is http://188.8.131.52/ts/cics/euro/. It is IBM’s status report on CICS euro-readiness. For the euro "not ready" products, replacement products are indicated. According to the site, where function has been added or corrected via the service channel, then that information will be called out, otherwise all the capability discussed in the following sections are part of the base product. There are links on the site for information on euro product readiness and a very attractive IBM euro site (www-5.ibm.com/euro/index.html).
As the euro becomes more commonplace, we will see the number of euro information sites and business sites increase. It is a good idea to keep your eye on the Web and stay current on what is new on the euro scene.
About the Author: Bill Pike, President of PIKE Communications (a Los Angeles business communications firm), can be reached at (310) 391-1862 or via e-mail at Pikecom@earthlink.net.