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Lupicinio International Law Firm is pleased to launch this Newsletter with the latest news on international trade by region, prepared and organised by our team. We are passionate about foreign trade because we firmly believe that international business is the only way for the economic development of any person in any country.
TOP EU COURT GIVES BROAD PROTECTION TO TERM “CHAMPAGNE”.
The top European Union court backed French champagne makers on Thursday who had argued that their protection under EU law should extend far beyond banning rival sparkling wine producers from putting the word “champagne” on their bottles.
The champagne makers’ association (CIVC) is seeking to prohibit a chain of tapas bars in Spain from using “champanillo”, Spanish for “little champagne”, on signs and on social media.
The commercial court of Barcelona rejected the CIVC’s claims since the Champanillo sign was not intended to designate an alcoholic beverage, but rather catering premises where champagne is not sold, and so products other than those protected and targeting a different market.
The CIVC appealed to Barcelona’s provincial court. That court sought guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on whether protected designations of origin (PDO), such as champagne, covered services as well as products.
The CJEU said they did cover services and were designed to offer a guarantee of quality due to geographical provenance and to prevent third parties seeking to profit from the reputation such products had acquired.
RUSSIA AND BELARUS AGREE CLOSER ENERGY, ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.
The leaders of Russia and Belarus on Thursday agreed to set up a unified oil and gas market and to deepen economic integration in the face of what they regard as unjustified Western sanctions on both their economies.
The West has hit Belarus with sanctions to punish the authorities for the crackdown. Russia is under Western sanctions too for its treatment of Ukraine.
Moscow and Minsk have long been formally part of a “union state” and held talks about further integration. That has prompted concerns from the beleaguered Belarusian opposition that Lukashenko will trade off chunks of sovereignty in return for even more backing from the Kremlin against the West.
The two leaders told a news conference that they had agreed to 28 integration road maps that covered common approaches to macro-economic policies, including monetary policy, taxes and custom rules.
EU rejects reworking of Northern Ireland deal and urges de-escalation of tensions.
The European Union rejected a British demand to renegotiate their deal governing the trading position of Northern Ireland, saying that to do so would only bring instability and uncertainty.
European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, who oversees EU relations with post-Brexit Britain, said on Friday that the Northern Ireland protocol needed to be properly implemented.
“A renegotiation of the protocol – as the UK government is suggesting – would mean instability, uncertainty and unpredictability in Northern Ireland,” he said in a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast.
Under the protocol, Britain agreed to leave some EU rules in place in Northern Ireland and accept checks on goods arriving from elsewhere in the United Kingdom, in order to preserve an open land border with EU member state Ireland.
LENGTHENED COVID RESTRICTIONS COULD CAUSE BUSINESSES TO LEAVE VIETNAM: EUROCHAM.
European firms still show strong confidence in Vietnam’s ability to control the pandemic and for the Southeast Asian economy to pull off a strong recovery in the near future, heard an online conference organized by the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Vietnam on September 9.
The firms stressed the importance of mass vaccination drives and an uninterrupted flow of goods and services, as well as shorter processing times for foreign workers’ entry to Vietnam, said Alain Cany, Chairman of EuroCham, according to VNA.
“There is no disguising the fact that this fourth wave outbreak is having a dire impact on business. The EuroCham Business Climate Index is now recording the lowest sentiment in more than a decade,” he said.
However, continued restrictions and delayed vaccination could cause a continuation of these conditions. “If these conditions persist for too much longer, new investment projects could be put at risk and companies could consider relocating elsewhere in the region,” the business group’s chairman, Alain Cany, told the media on Thursday after a meeting he and other European business executives in Vietnam held with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other top government officials.
Almost a fifth of European companies in Vietnam have temporarily shifted some production overseas, with another 16 percent considering similar action, he said. The EuroCham Business Climate Index is now at its lowest in more than a decade. It has dropped to 15.2 points out of 100, continuing a declining trend since the second quarter when the fourth Covid wave began, VN Express said.
“What our members need now is a clear roadmap out of these current measures; one which resolves the roadblocks to their commercial operations and gives them a predictable path on which to plan the reopening of their businesses,” he said.
EUROPE NEEDS A LONG-TERM ENERGY PLAN, ENI CEO SAYS.
Soaring gas prices as winter approaches are evidence that the European Union needs to work out a long-term energy security plan, the head of Italy’s Eni (ENI.MI) has told La Repubblica newspaper.
Claudio Descalzi noted that the EU imports almost all the natural gas and most of the oil it needs, making it structurally dependent on foreign supplies.
“Europe needs to have what it hasn’t got today, a structured and long-term energy security plan,” Descalzi said in an interview published on Saturday.
“I don’t think there will be problems with gas procurement, but it will cost more,” he said regarding this winter.
Eni has strategic long-term gas supply contracts with a series of gas-producing countries including Russia.
Households across Europe face much higher energy bills due to surging wholesale power and gas prices, and consumer groups have warned the most vulnerable could experience fuel poverty.
Spain has urged the European Commission to devise guidance to help member states react consistently to power price spikes without testing the rules of the bloc.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi this week also said Europe needed to act to diversify its energy supplies and strengthen the bargaining power of purchasing countries to help curb power and gas price rises.
A PROMISING FUTURE FOR SERBIA.
The measures taken by the Serbian government to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 were very ambitious. They ensured that the country suffered less than other European states from the effects of the pandemic, putting in place a comprehensive economic stimulus package and protection of businesses and workers worth more than 5.6 billion euros, representing a total of 12.5% of GDP.
Apart from this, other factors meant that the fall in GDP in 2020 was only 1%, making it one of the best economic performers in Europe during the health crisis. For a start, the Serbian economy was in an expansionary phase in the pre-pandemic period, with growth of over 4% in 2018 and 2019. Moreover, the tourism sector, which is key in other countries, is not in Serbia’s case. And both the IMF and other international organisations have applauded the government’s response to COVID-19.
SOUTH AMERICA AND CENTRAL AMERICA
URUGUAY AVANZA EN LAS CONVERSACIONES DE LIBRE COMERCIO CON CHINA Y ASPIRA A SER LA “PUERTA” DEL MERCOSUR.
Uruguay’s government is pushing ahead with free trade talks with China, hoping the small South American nation can become a “gateway” for the regional Mercosur bloc in negotiations with the Asian powerhouse.
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, who has long pushed for an agreement with China to boost exports of key products, such as beef, revealed late on Tuesday that China had made a “formal proposal” to push forward the process.
China is already Uruguay’s main trading partner, buying some 30% of its exports, including 56% of its meat, Uruguay’s main export.
MERCOSUR: REDESIGNING THE BLOC AS A LIVELIHOOD ALTERNATIVE.
The recent announcement by President Luis Lacalle Pou that Uruguay and China will carry out a pre-feasibility study to evaluate the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries was nothing more than the confirmation of insinuations made in recent months.
“Mercosur needs to be redrawn because technological evolution will demand it, not because of the ideology of those in power or the political mood of the business centres,” said Marcelo Elizondo during the International Trade Conference (CI21) organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Services.
AMERICAN AIRLINES INVESTS IN BRAZIL’S GOL AIRLINES WHICH HAS INTERLINE AGREEMENT WITH CUBANA DE AVIACIÓN. OFAC PERMITS THIS TYPE OF NON-CONTROLLING INVESTMENT
Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, Inc. (2019 revenues approximately US$45.7 billion) has purchased a 5.2% shareholding for US$200 million in Sao Paulo, Brazil-based GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (2019 revenues approximately US$2.7 billion).
In December 2015, GOL reported including Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in the Republic of Cuba among destinations. HAV is not currently listed among GOL destinations.
On GOL’s website:
“Interline: GOL has partnerships with many airlines that can issue your tickets and allow you to make one or more connections without you having to check-in or check your bags again. Learn about the partner airlines with which we have this agreement known as an interline agreement: Cubana de Aviación”
On 4 March 1994, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury, based in Washington DC, issued a ruling stating that a US company or an individual subject to US jurisdiction may make a secondary market investment in a third country company doing business in the Republic of Cuba, provided that the investment does not result in de facto control of the third country enterprise by the US investor and that the third country enterprise does not derive the majority of its income from doing business in the Republic of Cuba. Secondary market investment that does not amount to a controlling interest in such an enterprise is not prohibited.
THIRTEEN MONTHS AGO, 2020 DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM APPROVED POSITION ON CUBA. PRESIDENT BIDEN HAS THUS FAR IGNORED IT.
Democratic Party Platform 2020
The platform was considered by the 2020 Platform Committee at its meeting on July 27, 2020, and was approved by the Democratic National Convention on August 18, 2020.
Page 87 (2020 Platform)
“Democrats will also move swiftly to reverse Trump Administration policies that have undermined U.S. national interests and harmed the Cuban people and their families in the United States, including its efforts to curtail travel and remittances. Rather than strengthening the regime, we will promote human rights and people-to-people exchanges, and empower the Cuban people to write their own future”.
“Democrats believe the Western Hemisphere is America’s strategic home base—a region bound together by common values, history, and vision of a more prosperous, democratic, and secure future. When the United States hosts the region’s leaders at next year’s Summit of the Americas—the first to be held here since the 1994 inaugural meeting in Miami—we will turn the page on the Trump Administration’s denigration and extortion of our neighbors, and we will chart a new era of cooperation based on partnership and shared responsibility for the region we all call home.
[…] we will work with our partners to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused the biggest economic decline in history across Latin America and the Caribbean.
[…] Democrats will also move swiftly to reverse Trump Administration policies that have undermined U.S. national interests and harmed the Cuban people and their families in the United States, including its efforts to curtail travel and remittances. Rather than strengthening the regime, we will promote human rights and people-to-people exchanges, and empower the Cuban people to write their own future”.
DHL “TEMPORARILY” SUSPENDS DELIVERIES TO CUBA – IT MEANS EVEN LESS MEDICINES.
On August 23rd, the international courier and package delivery company DHL decided to temporarily suspend its delivery services to Cuba, without any notice, with the exception of documents.
The measure didn’t have any public repercussions until September 25th, when user Roberto Garces Marrero posted on Twitter that it was now impossible to send medicines to Cuba from Mexico, using this company. The news came crashing down like a bucket of cold water on hundreds of Cubans living in Mexico, who have been organizing the sending of humanitarian aid parcels to Cuba during the current health crisis.
While this information wasn’t communicated by any official source beforehand, Yelanys Hernandez – a Cuban journalist living in Mexico and coordinator of one of the aid projects – verified this by calling DHL branches, who said the suspension would be in force “until further notice” and that the company would only be providing delivery services for documents to the island for the time being.
“With this news from DHL, who provide a swift, efficient and expensive but very secure service, we have very few options left to send medicines regularly to the island,” Hernandez said, who hadn’t received any details about the reasons that led to this decision, although she was told that it was due to matters “in situ”; that is to say, in Cuba, without any further details.
CUBA HAS NICKEL AND COBALT. VEHICLE ELECTRIC BATTERIES USE NICKEL AND COBALT. CUBA SHOULD BENEFIT.
The era-defining shift from fossil fuels to clean energy will deliver an unprecedented new boom for commodities—and an opportunity for investors—as a range of relatively obscure materials become essential to delivering emissions-free power, transport and heavy industry.
The transition could require as much as $173 trillion in energy supply and infrastructure investment over the next three decades, according to research provider BloombergNEF, and will reverberate from lithium-rich salt flats in Chile to polysilicon plants in China’s Xinjiang region.
As electric vehicles supplant gas guzzlers, and solar panels and wind turbines replace coal and oil as the world’s most important energy sources, metals like lithium, cobalt and rare earths are on the brink of rapidly accelerating demand, along with more familiar industrial materials like steel and copper.
Prospects for technology manufacturers, metals producers and energy traders are immense, while regular investors are already benefiting. Numerous clean-energy stocks have more than doubled in value since the start of 2020, and the emergence of futures contracts for battery materials and a proliferation of initial public offerings in the sector will extend options to gain exposure.
US SUBSIDIARY REQUESTS 30-DAY COURT DELAY IN LIBERTAD ACT LAWSUIT. WILL US COURT APPROVE? OTHER REQUESTS WERE FROM EU-BASED DEFENDANT PARENT COMPANIES. IBEROSTAR WAITING 528 DAYS FOR EC GUIDANCE.
From Court Filing: “CMA CGM S.A. is entangled between two conflicting legal systems and therefore AMERICA seeks a stay until thirty (30) days after CMA CGM S.A. receives authorization from the EU… The duration of the requested stay is reasonable and will be further limited if Defendant’s request for authorization is granted prior to the stay’s expiration date… The European Commission has received at least two comparable requests for authorization to participate in lawsuits under the Helms-Burton Act. The two requests are currently pending before the European Commission and have been pending for at least 17 months. Given the circumstances and overlapping policy considerations, AMERICA anticipates that the European Commission will act on its authorization in a much shorter period of time than with the prior applicants.”
“There are currently two such requests pending from other cases filed under the Helms-Burton Act in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Honorable Robert N. Scola Jr. and the Honorable Darrin P. Gayles both granted motions to stay the proceedings under similar circumstances. See Order Granting Iberostar’s Motion to Stay, Marti v. Iberostar Hoteles y Apartamentos S.L., No. 20-CV-20078-Scola (S.D. Fla. Apr. 24, 2020), [D.E. 17]; Paperless Order Granting Motion to Stay, Rodriguez et al. v. Imperial Brands PLC, et al., No. 20-CV-23287-Gayles (S.D. Fla. Sept. 23, 2020), [D.E. 49].“
“The Commission is actively considering these requests. Just two weeks ago, the Secretary General of the European Commission issued a report specifically confirming the Commission is currently assessing an application for authorisation in one of the two cases stayed in the Southern District of Florida.”
YELLEN SEES PROGRESS ON U.S. TAX REFORMS, URGES SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE COUNTRIES
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday underscored the importance of finalizing and swiftly implementing new international tax rules agreed by 134 countries, and said the U.S. Congress was making progress on strengthening U.S. international tax rules, her office said.
Yellen told her counterparts from the Group of Seven advanced economies that the Biden administration was seeking to achieve a U.S. minimum tax rate on foreign earnings of at least 21% on a per-country basis.
She also emphasized the need for continued G7 efforts to enhance support for low-income countries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged major economies to lend their newly allocated Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund to further support vulnerable countries.
NEW YORK EXTENDS POST-BREXIT GAINS IN EURO SWAPS TRADING
New York has increased its market share in trading euro interest rate swaps at London’s expense, data group OSTTRA said on Thursday, in the latest sign of how global financial markets are being permanently fragmented by Brexit.
Trading in euro rate swaps began leaving London for the European Union and United States after Britain fully left the bloc on Dec. 31.
EU banks could no longer trade euro swaps in London and must use a platform in the bloc or those approved by EU regulators, such as in the United States and Singapore.
PDVSA BEGINS U.S. TRIAL OVER CLAIM SANCTIONS PREVENTED DEBT PAYMENTS
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA will make its case at a U.S. trial beginning on Tuesday that it is not liable for nearly $150 million in debts owed to a unit of Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE) because U.S. sanctions prevented it from making payments.
In January 2017, cash-strapped PDVSA issued a promissory note to oilfield equipment provider Dresser-Rand for some $120 million, plus interest. PDVSA made the first two payments of around $4 million, but defaulted after Washington in August 2017 issued sanctions preventing trade in the company’s new debt..
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in May 2020 entered a $149.5 million judgment in Dresser-Rand’s favor.
PDVSA, in a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton, will present evidence it says shows attempts to pay were blocked by banks wary of sanctions. It wants the judge to find it is no longer obligated for the debt.
“Sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on PDVSA … made it impossible or objectively impracticable for PDVSA to make the requisite payments,” attorneys for PDVSA wrote in a pre-trial brief filed on March 29.
U.S. REVIEWING WAIVER ON IRANIAN FUEL EXPORTS TO AFGHANISTAN AFTER TALIBAN TAKEOVER
An unnamed State Department spokesperson told London-based Middle East Eye online news outlet that the waiver put in place by former president Donald Trump’s administration “remains under active review” after the overthrow of the Afghan government last month.
An amendment to repeal a part of the waiver reached the House Foreign Relations Committee last month but was blocked by the committee chairman Gregory Meeks, the report said.
According to Alex Zerden, who led the Treasury Department’s office at the U.S. embassy in Kabul from 2018 to 2019, the sanctions waiver on Iranian fuel exports to Afghanistan was intended at the time to protect Kabul even as Washington was pushing ahead with its “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran.
“There were real concerns about Iran sanctions harming Afghanistan’s economy and a waiver to import Iranian fuel was seen as crucial,” Zerden noted.
Trump left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 and returned the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.
EXCLUSIVE: UNDER U.S. SANCTIONS, IRAN AND VENEZUELA STRIKE OIL EXPORT DEAL – SOURCES
According to the sources, the deal between state-run firms Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) deepens the cooperation between two of Washington’s foes.
One of the people said the swap agreement is planned to last for six months in its first phase, but could be extended. Reuters could not immediately determine other details of the pact.
The oil ministries of Venezuela and Iran, and state-run PDVSA and NIOC did not reply to requests for comment.
U.S. sanctions programmes not only forbid Americans from doing business with the oil sectors of Iran and Venezuela, but also threaten to impose “secondary sanctions” against any non-U.S. person or entity that carries out transactions with either countries’ oil companies.
Secondary sanctions can carry a range of penalties against those targeted, including cutting off access to the U.S. financial system, fines or the freezing of U.S. assets.
TRANSATLANTIC TRADE DEAL RISES FROM THE GRAVE TO FIGHT CHINA
The attempt to build a common U.S.-EU front could hardly come at a more sensitive moment politically, as the American retreat from Afghanistan has blown a hole in European faith in the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.
Brussels had originally hoped to pressure the Americans into following Brussels’ regulatory line on tech and trade, building on more than a decade of digital policymaking that spanned competition enforcement to global privacy rules.
But now, the big fear among European officials is that the EU could well come off second best in this process and cede power to the U.S. after Washington flexed its muscles in early-stage talks around the upcoming trade and tech summit to focus on priorities for Biden’s administration.
Both the U.S. and the EU have announced plans to bring semiconductor manufacturing back home, and the hope is to allow U.S. firms to participate in Europe’s efforts, and vice versa with EU chipmakers
EVERGRANDE INVESTORS FACE 75% HIT AS COMPANY EDGES CLOSER TO RESTRUCTURE
The troubled Chinese property group Evergrande has edged closer to a government-engineered restructuring which could see bondholders take huge losses as Beijing’s price for saving millions of homeowners from financial ruin.
With the likelihood increasing every day that the massively indebted group will be dismantled to avoid triggering a market-wide panic, trade in one of its bonds was suspended in Shanghai on Monday after it plunged 25%.
Shares in the group founded by billionaire Xu Jiayin in the 1990s slipped 6% on Monday to sit below their 2009 float price of HK$3.5.
Evergrande has been struggling to manage its enormous $300bn debt pile for several years but tougher regulations about debt levels brought in last year as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive against inequality has accelerated its crisis. A firesale of its properties has failed to dent the debt pile despite generous discounts, a strategy further undermined by falling house prices.
A disorderly failure of Evergrande would represent a serious risk to the whole Chinese economy, with the risk of contagion in the rest of the world.
Xi seems determined to target some of China’s billionaires in his drive to create a more equal society, as Alibaba founder Jack Ma found to his cost last year. In a harbinger of the “three red lines” introduced to toughen up balance sheet requirements for property firms, Xi said two years ago that houses were for “living in, not for speculating”.
Evergrande said two weeks ago that its total liabilities had swelled to 1.97tn yuan ($305bn) and warned of risks of defaults on borrowings.
It issued a profit warning at the end of August in which it admitted that it could default on debt payments. The warning came days after Xu, the third richest person in China, resigned as chairman of its real estate arm.
CHINA EVERGRANDE’S RISING DEFAULT RISKS SHIFT FOCUS TO POSSIBLE BEIJING RESCUE
Analysts play down the threat of Evergrande’s problems becoming China’s “Lehman moment”, although concerns remain about the risks of a disorderly collapse of China’s once-largest property developer.
In an effort to revive confidence in the company, Evergrande’s chairman said in a personal letter that it “will emerge from its darkest moment”. In the letter, he also said that Evergrande will fulfil its responsibilities to property buyers, investors and the partners of related companies.
However, Evergrande shares fell 7 per cent after plunging 10 per cent in the previous trading day on fears that the company would be unable to meet its $305 billion debt.
This opportunity has been seized by BlackRock and investment banks such as HSBC and UBS, which have decided to buy the real estate company’s debt. BlackRock added 31.3 million notes of Evergrande debt between January and August 2021, while HSBC increased its position by 40% until July.
‘GAME-CHANGER’: CHINA TO STOP FUNDING OVERSEAS COAL PROJECTS
Xi’s announcement on Tuesday followed similar moves by South Korea and Japan earlier this year.
“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said in a pre-recorded video address at the annual UN gathering.
The pledge came hours after United States President Joe Biden announced a plan to double financial aid to poorer nations to $11.4bn by 2024 to help those countries switch to cleaner energy and cope with global warming’s worsening effects.
Climate campaigners also welcomed the pledge from the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
From 2013 to 2019, data shows that China was financing 13 percent of coal-fired power capacity built outside China – “far and away the largest public financier,” according to Kevin Gallagher, who directs the Boston University centre.
The climate advocacy movement 350.org called Xi’s announcement “huge,” saying it could be a “real game-changer” depending on when it takes effect.
Helen Mountford, the vice president for climate and economics at the World Resources Institute, said it was “a historic turning point away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.”
“China’s pledge shows that the firehose of international public financing for coal is being turned off,” she said but noted that Beijing continued to invest in coal at home.
China brought 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired power into operation last year – more than three times what was brought on line globally.
Some experts have criticised the targets as not ambitious enough, although the pledges allowed Beijing to claim the moral high ground on the issue after then-US President Donald Trump, who called climate change a “hoax”, withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.
TAIWAN CENTRAL BANK SAYS CURRENCY STABLE, FLAGS MORE MODEST INTERVENTION
The Taiwan dollar’s exchange rate with the U.S. dollar has been stable this year without large fluctuations, Taiwan’s central bank said on Tuesday, adding it had intervened in the market this year but at a more modest rate than last year.
The strength of the currency has been a concern not only because it makes exports from the trade-dependent economy more dear but also because in December the U.S. Treasury added Taiwan to a “monitoring list” of countries whose currency practices have caused concern
In a report to parliament ahead of governor Yang Chin-long taking questions from lawmakers on Thursday, the central bank said that in the first half of this year it bought a net $8.73 billion to intervene and “avoid serious disorder” in the currency market.
By comparison, the central bank purchased a net $39.1 billion for all of 2020.
It said the Taiwan dollar had so far appreciated around 2.8% since the end of last year which was “stable compared to other currencies’ exchange rates”.
Taiwan’s managed floating exchange rate system has served it well, with the currency fluctuating less than the Singapore dollar, Euro, Yen or South Korean Won, good both for Taiwan’s exporters, financial stability and economic growth, the bank added.
Taiwan is a small and open economy with a high reliance on trade, so it is necessary to maintain the currency’s “relative stability”, the bank said. Last week, the central bank revised Taiwan’s economic growth outlook for the year.
EU WOULD BE OUR TRADE PRIORITY, UK OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY SAYS
The Labour Party is using its annual conference in the south of England to put pressure on Boris Johnson by taking advantage of shortages of fuel, foodstuffs and rising energy prices.
Since leaving the EU, British exporters in some sectors have been shut out of EU markets or excluded altogether by the demands of the new customs rules.
Thornberry’s first step would be to reach an agreement with the EU to resolve food transport problems between Britain and the EU, and between Britain and Northern Ireland.
The UK government has said it wants to find solutions to these problems, but will not permanently link its food regulations to EU law.
EUROPE’S LOOMING TRUCK DRIVER GAP UNDERMINES UK APPEALS
The UK is facing a shortage of lorry drivers. The first measures taken by the UK have focused on offering short-term visas to lorry drivers, but to no avail.
This problem has led to fuel shortages for UK citizens. The panic among the population has led to a mass buying of basic necessities, leaving the shelves of major supermarkets empty. Much of the blame has been placed on the outflow of foreign drivers due to Brexit and the pandemic, as well as a delay in driving tests.
However, the UK’s intention to issue 5,000 visas to drivers for temporary work has not attracted much attention. A situation that has already occurred in other countries such as Poland in 2019, which experienced a lack of fuel supplies for its citizens.
UK TO START TALKS ON JOINING TRANS-PACIFIC TRADE PACT
Britain will begin talks on Tuesday with the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to join the pact it regards as an important part of its future post-Brexit trade plans.
The UK’s intention is to carve out a niche in international trade as an exporter of services and premium products. The International Trade Secretary describes the importance of the Agreement in the following words: “The Agreement will allow us to forge stronger links with our old friends and with some of the fastest growing economies in the world”.
Accession to the CPTPP Agreement will be worth some £1.8 billion and will secure market access for legal, financial and professional service sectors. However, the key factor lies in gaining influence in regions where China is increasingly influential.
FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN THE UK FELL BY 57% IN 2020
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report shows that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has fallen by 57% in the UK during 2020. The main factors behind this decline are Brexit and the pandemic.
According to the analysis conducted by The FinTech Times, China consolidates its position as the largest beneficiary of FDI inflows during 2020, increasing by 14% compared to 2019.
Behind and in second position is the United States. Although it has experienced a 35% drop in FDI in 2020 compared to 2019, it will consolidate its position in second place in 2020.
With respect to Europe, Luxembourg is the best ranked country, occupying fourth place in the world due to its fiscal policies.