World Flower Forum needed

    The news is dominated by President Trump these days. I wonder if he really is such a political fool, or whether this seasoned dealmaker is just playing a game with the aim to achieve as much as possible, as quickly as possible, for his own personal gains (America first).

    I found an old book about negotiating, by professor Mastenbroek, in my bookcase. It includes a model with different characteristics. There’s always a dependency between the mutual interests and personal interests of the parties involved.

    Mastenbroek presents four styles in a graph that consists of two axes that are crossing each other. One of the axes indicates the level of collaboration, from cooperative collaboration to arguing, and the other one the level of interest, from exploring (alternatives) to avoiding (holding off).

    This leads to a happy cooperative style, an ethical convincing style, an analytical aggressive style and an agile aggressive style. Each style has its own strategic and tactical tools, including emotional manipulation.

    Trump has been demonstrating a negotiation style that is rather un-American and which is characterised by aggression, personal interest and negative emotional manipulation.

    The international responses indicate that people are still searching for a suitable reply. Should they fight back, avoid, go along in a cooperative way? Interesting questions, which aren’t all that easy to answer. What’s clear, is that Trump has been eliciting a whole range of responses so far.

    Union Fleurs represents the interests of the international floricultural trade at a global level. How are these developments going to impact the sector? Will the hard-won trade agreements of the past 50 years survive? What are the effects on the production in exporting developing countries? What’s going to happen in Europe, the biggest importing continent? Is the sector going to shift its focus towards South East Asia?

    Challenging questions, which are relevant throughout the chain, from breeder to retail. In the past, the sector has shown agility, resilience, determination and courage in its response to global dynamics. Will we be able to maintain that approach?

    A good topic to discuss in the autumn, at the World Flower Forum; an initiative of cooperating international trade organisations Ciopora, AIPH, FloraHolland, Union Fleurs and Florint.

    Watch this space!

    Herman de Boon, President of Union Fleurs