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Guidance for Successful Global Operations Planning

As you're planning your 2017 international projects and travel, we’re keeping an eye on several global trends. We're also offering guidance on how to overcome these potential new challenges in your international work and travel.

Global Trends We're Watching

Tightening international regulations

Countries are increasingly scrutinizing foreign organizations and how they should be taxed, who can work or visit their country, and how money and shipments enter and exit through their borders. Expect countries to potentially mirror or reciprocate any restrictions that the U.S. imposes.

Changes in the global political landscape

The new U.S. administration has pledged to re-evaluate many parts of the global political order, including NATO, the U.N., relations with Russia and China, and commitments to trade. These changes, when added to Brexit, European elections, instability in the Middle East, and the Chinese National Party Congress, may lead to dramatic global policy changes in 2017.

Impactful economic decisions

Countries will continue to reform their economic regulations. For example, India overhauled its currency and payment system, Brazil increased its minimum wage, Russia increased visa fees, and Colombia increased taxes on goods and services. Foreign organizations are frequently a target of additional regulation and fees. Expect operating costs to increase for international research and study.

Security instability in many regions

In 2016, we saw the security situation change in many parts of the world, with coup d’états in Africa, instability in Turkey, and terrorist attacks on nearly every continent. Unfortunately, we expect to see continued instability in 2017. While it's important to be prepared, keep in mind the low likelihood of being involved in a terrorist incident.

How to Prepare for Change

  1. Prioritize: You may not be able to accomplish all of your project goals due to circumstances out of your control; determine exactly what needs to be accomplished and what is secondary.
  2. Be flexible: Through a nimble approach and thinking outside the box, we can help you find solutions to complex challenges. How can we help programs fully use local gifts if the cash has to remain in-country? What is an alternative solution for a long-term program if Harvard is unable to open a bank account? These are just two examples of questions we enjoy tackling.
  3. Plan ahead: If you know changes are looming, start making contingency plans now. We’re already looking for alternative options for E.U. and U.K. employment before the U.K. officially exits, and we’re working to prepare the University for a more coordinated and restrictive environment, particularly in developing countries.
  4. Stay informed: Much like the U.S. may see new laws and regulations enacted in 2017, the same is true abroad. Being aware of current regulations for areas such as employment, taxes, and visas can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Laws can change frequently or without notice. Our office can work with you to track these changes and help you work through them.
  5. Ask for help: Our office leverages the collective wisdom of other Harvard departments and peer institutions. We can accomplish more by working together than by working as one project or program; so the next time you need help, just ask.

How can we help you in 2017? Let us know what you’re working on and contact us if you have any questions.