Brussels, Oct 1 (AP/UNB) — The Irishman set to take over as the European Union's top trade official on Monday urged the United States not to launch an economically damaging tariff war with the bloc over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.
The World Trade Organization ruled in May that Europe illegally subsidized Airbus, hurting U.S. competitor Boeing. The WTO is set shortly to allow President Donald Trump to slap tariffs worth billions of euros on European products — including wine, cheese and olives — in response. The EU has brought a similar case at the WTO accusing the U.S. government of illegally subsidizing Boeing, and a ruling in its favor is expected, but is still months off.
"I would ask the United States to negotiate with us rather than having a tit-for-tat trade war that only does damage to both economies," Phil Hogan told EU lawmakers at a hearing assessing his suitability for the post of EU trade commissioner. If endorsed by the European Parliament, he would take office along with the rest of the new European Commission team in November.
Hogan said "it doesn't make sense" for the Trump administration to launch a tariff war "seeing that they're going to have to deal with the issue if it goes badly wrong for them on Boeing."
"Europe has to stand up for itself as well, in terms of the products that we will identify in return," he added.
Trans-Atlantic trade tensions soared after Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from the EU last year. He said the move was to protect U.S. national security interests, but the Europeans claim it is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.
In response, the EU introduced "rebalancing" tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros ($3 billion) worth of U.S. steel, agricultural and other products. Trump has also threatened to slap duties on European automakers.
In an attempt to head off a tariff war, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker traveled to Washington to meet Trump, and a sketchy and very limited trade deal on industrial products emerged. But little progress has been made, and both sides accuse each other of dragging their feet.
Questioned by the lawmakers over how he would handle trans-Atlantic trade ties, Hogan said that "unfortunately we have not seen much movement on that agenda," but, he insisted, "we must not lose sight of the big picture" given the huge volume of U.S.-EU trade.
Before Trump came to office, the Europeans had been trying for three years to conclude a more wide-ranging Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact with the United States. The pact was meant to lift trade barriers between the world's biggest trading partners, spark sorely-needed economic growth and create new jobs.
Hogan also urged Washington to work with the Europeans on reforming the WTO, particularly its appellate body.
"We need the U.S. at the WTO," Hogan said, but he added that "we have no indication whatsoever from the United States that they are willing to work with the European Union or any other partner in order to deal with the reform that's necessary."
Beijing, Sep 30 (AP/UNB) — China's top trade negotiator will lead an upcoming 13th round of talks aimed at resolving a trade war with the United States, a senior Chinese official said Sunday.
Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington for the negotiations, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said. He didn't give exact dates, but said the talks would be after China's National Day holiday, which runs through Oct. 7.
"The two sides should find a solution through equal dialogue in accordance with the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit," Wang said at a news conference with other officials, including Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.
The Trump administration first imposed tariffs on Chinese imports last year in a bid to win concessions from China, which responded with tit-for-tat tariffs. The escalating dispute between the world's two largest economies has depressed stock prices and poses a threat to the global economy.
Both sides have made conciliatory gestures ahead of the next round of talks, but a deal remains elusive.
The U.S. postponed a further tariff hike on Chinese goods, and China lifted punitive duties on soybeans. The move helps both American farmers and Chinese pig breeders, who use soy as feed and are struggling with a devastating outbreak of African swine fever.
The Chinese government released a third round of 10,000 tons of pork from its reserves Sunday to try to stabilize rising prices ahead of the holiday, Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at the news conference.
China also has increased pork imports 40 percent in the first eight months of this year, as well as those of other meats.
Qian said the average wholesale price of pork had edged down slightly during the week of Sept. 16-22 to 36.4 yuan ($5.11) per kilogram.
Beijing, Sep 10 (AP/UNB) — Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, who helped launch China's online retailing boom, stepped down as chairman of the world's biggest e-commerce company Tuesday at a time when its fast-changing industry faces uncertainty amid a U.S.-Chinese tariff war.
Ma, one of China's wealthiest and best-known entrepreneurs, gave up his post on his 55th birthday as part of a succession announced a year ago. He will stay on as a member of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of the company's board of directors.
Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 to connect Chinese exporters to American retailers.
The company has shifted focus to serving China's growing consumer market and expanded into online banking, entertainment and cloud computing. Domestic businesses accounted for 66% of its $16.7 billion in revenue in the quarter ending in June.
Chinese retailing faces uncertainty amid a tariff war that has raised the cost of U.S. imports.
Growth in online sales decelerated to 17.8% in the first half of 2019 amid slowing Chinese economic growth, down from 2018's full-year rate of 23.9%.
Alibaba says its revenue rose 42% over a year earlier in the quarter ending in June to $16.7 billion and profit rose 145% to $3.1 billion. Still, that was off slightly from 2018's full-year revenue growth of 51%.
The total amount of goods sold across Alibaba's e-commerce platforms rose 25% last year to $853 billion. By comparison, the biggest U.S. e-commerce company, Amazon.com Inc., reported total sales of $277 billion.
Alibaba's deputy chairman, Joe Tsai, told reporters in May the company is "on the right side" of issues in U.S.-Chinese trade talks. Tsai said Alibaba stands to benefit from Beijing's promise to increase imports and a growing consumer market.
Alibaba is one of a group of companies including Tencent Holding Ltd., a games and social media giant, search engine Baidu.com Inc. and e-commerce rival JD.com that have revolutionized shopping, entertainment and consumer services in China.
Alibaba was founded at a time when few Chinese were online. As internet use spread, the company expanded into consumer-focused retailing and services. Few Chinese used credit cards, so Alibaba created the Alipay online payments system.
Ma, known in Chinese as Ma Yun, appears regularly on television. At an annual Alibaba employee festival in Hanzhou, he has sung pop songs in costumes that have included blond wigs and leather jackets. He pokes fun at his own appearance, saying his oversize head and angular features make him look like the alien in director Steven Spielberg's movie "E.T. The Extraterrestrial."
The company's $25 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014 was the biggest to date by a Chinese company.
The Hurun Report, which follows China's wealth, estimates Ma's fortune at $38 billion.
In 2015, Ma bought the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's biggest English-language newspaper.
Ma's successor as chairman is CEO Daniel Zhang, a former accountant and 12-year veteran of Alibaba. He previously was president of its consumer-focused Tmall.com business unit.
Alibaba's e-commerce business spans platforms including business-to-business Alibaba.com, which links foreign buyers with Chinese suppliers of goods from furniture to medical technology, and Tmall, with online shops for popular brands.
Alipay became a freestanding financial company, Ant Financial, in 2014. Alibaba also set up its own film studio and invested in logistics and delivery services.
Ma faced controversy when it disclosed in 2011 that Alibaba transferred control over Alipay to a company he controlled without immediately informing shareholders including Yahoo Inc. and Japan's Softback.
Alibaba said the move was required to comply with Chinese regulations, but some financial analysts said the company was paid too little for a valuable asset. The dispute was later resolved by Alibaba, Yahoo and Softbank.
Corporate governance specialists have questioned the Alibaba Partnership, which gives Ma and a group of executives more control over the company than shareholders.
Ma has said that ensures Alibaba focuses on long-term development instead of responding to pressure from financial markets.
Yokohama, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa tendered his resignation Monday after acknowledging that he had received dubious income and vowed to pass the leadership of the Japanese automaker to a new generation.
Board member Yasushi Kimura told reporters at an evening news conference at company headquarters in Yokohama that the board has approved Saikawa's resignation, effective Sept. 16, and a successor will be appointed next month. A search is underway, he added.
Calls for Saikawa's resignation, which arose after the arrest last year of his predecessor, Carlos Ghosn, on various financial misconduct allegations, have grown louder after Saikawa acknowledged last week that he had received dubious payments.
The income was linked to the stock price of Nissan Motor Co., and he has said his pay got inflated by illicitly adjusting the date for cashing in.
The automaker's board met to look into the allegations against Saikawa, as well as other issues related to Ghosn's allegations and corporate ethics at the company.
Kimura said the income Saikawa had received was confirmed as "not illegal."
Ghosn, who is out on bail and awaiting trial, says he's innocent.
Kimura and three other board members, who all have backgrounds outside the company, said their investigation of the scandal over Ghosn's arrest found that alleged misconduct by Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former board member who was also arrested, had caused 35 billion yen ($350 million) in damage to the company.
Nissan will seek a repayment of the damages, Kimura said.
The board said about 10 candidates are being considered as a replacement for Saikawa. They did not identify them, but said outsiders and non-Japanese are on the list. Until a successor is decided, Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi will serve as interim chief, the board said.
Saikawa has not been charged.
"I have been trying to do what needs to be done so that I can pass the baton over as soon as possible," he told reporters earlier in the day, referring to his willingness to leave his job.
Saikawa did not appear at the news conference initially, but the four board members who led the event said he would later.
Saikawa has said he didn't know about the improprieties, promised to return the money and blamed the system he said Ghosn had created at Nissan for the dubious payments.
Japanese media reports said Saikawa had received tens of millions of yen (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in extra compensation.
Ghosn has been charged with falsifying documents on deferred compensation, which means he did not receive any of the money.
Nissan's profits and sales have tumbled over the past year. Investors are also worried about Nissan's relationship with alliance partner Renault SA of France, which owns 43% of Nissan. Ghosn was sent in by Renault to lead Nissan two decades ago.
Dhaka, Sept 2 (UNB) – Filipino stakeholders are keen to develop the economic ties between Bangladesh and the Philippines viewing Bangladesh as a promising market.
They expressed the view at a seminar on “Promoting Bilateral Trade and Investment between Bangladesh and Philippines” organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in collaboration with Bangladesh Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BPCCI) in the city on Monday.
Jeremiah C Reyes, Philippines Commercial Attache, said that the economic ties between both countries should be closer. “Bangladesh is a potential market. So we want to explore this promising market,” he said.
DCCI also hosted a B2B matchmaking between the visiting Philippines trade team and their Bangladeshi counterparts.
Agnes Perpetua R. Legaspi, Assistant Director, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Republic of the Philippines, led the delegation.
Presiding over the seminar, DCCI President Osama Taseer said that the bilateral trade till now has been insignificant in terms of both value and share, hovering around $65 million during FY2017-18.
“Bangladesh can develop its agriculture with the knowledge transfer from Philippines, skills in food production, processing, canning and packaging, IT, Business Process Outsourcing (BOP), electronics, tourism, etc. On the other hand, the Philippines can collaborate with Bangladesh’s RMG, pharmaceuticals and ceramics sector,” he said.
He underscored the importance of direct flights between Bangladesh and the Philippines for increasing people-to-people contacts. Moreover, preferential trade agreements leading to bilateral free trade agreement could open up substantial economic gains for both countries.
Ambassador of the Philippines in Bangladesh Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo could not attend the seminar but sent his written speech through Leo Marco C. Vidal, Charge D’ Affaires, Embassy of the Philippines in Bangladesh.
The Ambassador said in his written speech that the Philippines would like to export more to Bangladesh. They would like to see more Filipino companies taking advantages of the opportunities in Bangladesh for trade and investment. They will welcome more Bangladeshi exports to Philippines.
He also invited Bangladeshi companies to invest in Philippines to boost bilateral trade volume.
Engr. Akber (AL) Hakim, President of BPCCI and Director of DCCI said that its time for Asia. Asia is going to overtake the rest of the world by 2020 on PPP basis. Contribution of Asia in the world GDP is 42% in terms of PPP basis.
“The size of economy of Bangladesh and Philippines will reach around US$ 3 trillion and 3.3 trillion respectively,” he said.
He urged the businessmen of Philippines to import RMG, leather and leather goods, jute and jute goods, vegetables from Bangladesh.
He said Philippines can help Bangladesh in skill development, training for skill development, IT and IT enabled services, Business process Outsourcing (BPO), hospitality and nursing. The Philippines receives $30 billion as remittance every year through their skilled workforce, he said.
Agnes Perpetua R. Legaspi, Assistant Director, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Republic of the Philippines urged increasing the existing bilateral trade.
DCCI’s former President R M Khan, Directors Alhaj Deen Mohammad, Enamul Haque Patwary, Hossain A Sikder, Engr. Md. Al Amin, Nuher L. Khan, Shams Mahmud, former Director Rizwan Ur Rahman were also present on the occasion.