Posts tagged ‘Brussels’

04/11/2016

The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

WHEN Britain eventually leaves the European Union it will prosper by trading farther afield. So argues Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, ahead of her first big bilateral trip abroad, a three-day visit to India, which begins on Sunday, November 6th. She talks of forging a “new global role” with this trade mission, hobnobbing with Indian leaders and championing free trade in general. The idea is to promote ties between small and medium businesses in the two countries. Yet creating a stronger economic relationship with India will prove much tougher than Mrs May and her colleagues expect.

On the face of it, the signs are good. India has nearly 1.3bn people. Many are emerging as middle-class consumers for the first time. The country is creating a single market for goods and services, reducing internal and external barriers to trade and tackling some corruption and bureaucracy. Its economy, worth over $2trn, is the fastest-growing large one in the world. It is likely to rattle along quickly for many years to come; by 2030, India could rank as the world’s third-largest. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to make it less difficult for businesses to operate there, and to win more foreign investment and trade deals. British firms are already among the biggest investors. Now India is opening up for foreign activity in sectors that might suit British firms especially: notably in insurance, defence, railways and some retail. At the same time, large Indian firms—such as Tata, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, as well as Tata Steel—are in Britain. London has also become a base for Indian firms, for example in business consulting, that tap the wider EU market. A common language, shared cultural, historic, legal and sporting ties, plus the influence of the Indian diaspora in Britain, bode well for closer ties.

Mrs May is thus right to reach out. But anyone expecting quick gains will be disappointed. One of India’s priorities, for example, is avoiding complications over a long-stalled free trade agreement with the EU, which has been under negotiation since June 2007. After 12 rounds of talks, some consensus has been found on issues including trade in rice, sugar, textiles and pharmaceuticals. It is not clear that India’s overstretched trade negotiators will see much benefit in being diverted to work on a deal with Britain alone, especially if that makes it harder to complete one with the bigger EU market. Even if they do decide to talk biltaterally, among the sticking points has been India’s 150% tariff on imports of whisky from Scotland. Future British negotiators would struggle to be more effective than their European counterparts at getting that scrapped. The biggest concern, however, is about Britain’s ever colder shoulder towards Indians who want to travel and study there. Under the Conservatives, Britain has in the past six years become less welcoming to foreigners, notably from South Asia, who hope to attend university and then work. Eye-wateringly expensive visas, increasingly hostile rules to get them, official talk of cracking down on foreign students in Britain, and graduates who lose the right to work after finishing a degree in Britain all leave Indians feeling unwelcome. Anecdotes abound of bright Indian students who win places at the best British universities but are refused visas to travel. Perceptions of generally rising xenophobia in Britain are discouraging to Indians too.

For Mrs May to win a warm welcome in India she needs to offer a message that is not only about investment and trade, but also sets out that Britain—in particular its universities—will again become more open to Indian visitors, migrants, students and their families. America is proving far more successful at attracting the highest-skilled migrants, especially software and other engineers. Other countries, including some in Europe, are rolling out policies to attract more Indian students to their universities. Yet Britain appears more hostile to migrants than it has in many decades. Within a few years, it is worth remembering, India’s economy will be bigger than Britain’s. Welcoming more exchanges of people, as well as encouraging higher levels of trade and investment, would make sense for both sides.

Source: The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

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04/08/2016

Rude Chinese banned from going on holiday | The Times & The Sunday Times

“Uncivilised” Chinese tourists who commit such crimes against etiquette as asking foreigners for selfies, throwing nut shells around or defacing historical sites may find themselves stuck at home because their names are on a travellers’ blacklist.

Authorities in China have been cracking down hard on individuals who sully the country’s name abroad by acting rudely or violently, and the national tourism administration introduced a blacklist for the worst offenders last year.

A draft regulation released this week will, if passed, allow government agencies and tour companies to share blacklists and bar trouble-makers from future trips.

As well as travel companies, government organisations such as customs control, quarantine and border protection bodies would potentially be able to access the blacklist and take measures against those on it.

So far the blacklist contains only 19 names. The administration said that behaviour that could lead to a tourist being blacklisted included “damaging public facilities or historical relics, ignoring social customs at tourism destinations and becoming involved with gambling or prostitution”.

The regulation draft, which is in its public comment phase, stated: “Punishments can be imposed by travel agencies or other related agencies or organisations based on the record.

”Some analysts questioned how effective implementation of the rule could be. Liu Simin, of the China Society for Futures Studies research group, said: “If tourism authorities want to restrict blacklisted tourists from travelling overseas, they can do this only through travel agencies. If travellers plan their own trips and skip the agencies, they’re out of reach.

”The introduction of the blacklist came after President Xi told Chinese tourists in 2014 to clean up their act when abroad to help to dispel negative stereotypes about them.

Talking in a light-hearted fashion, he said: “Do not litter water bottles everywhere. Do not damage coral reefs. Eat less instant noodles and more local seafood.

”The year before the president’s comments, Chinese tourists spent more than £14.5 billion on holidays abroad — more than any other country.

Badly behaved Chinese tourists have continued to make headlines since the introduction of the blacklist.

Last week a Chinese woman was arrested for common assault after throwing orange juice at a flight attendant on a flight from Dubai to Hong Kong. She is understood to have been angry because meals for her children had not been prepared by airline staff in advance.

Source: Rude Chinese banned from going on holiday | World | The Times & The Sunday Times

08/07/2015

Greece and China expose limits of ‘whatever it takes’ | Reuters

For a world so confident that central banks can solve almost all economic ills, the dramas unfolding in Greece and China are sobering.

“Whatever it takes,” Mario Draghi‘s 2012 assertion about what the ECB would do to save the euro, best captures the all-powerful, self-aware central bank activism that’s cosseted world markets since the banking and credit collapse hit eight years ago.

From the United States to Europe and Asia, financial markets have been cowed, then calmed and are now coddled by the limitless power of central banks to print new money to ward off systemic shocks and deflation.

But even if you believe central banks will do whatever it takes – to save the euro, stop the recession, create jobs, boost inflation, prop up the stock market and so on – it doesn’t necessarily mean it will always work.

Draghi himself merely pleaded for faith on that score three years ago when he added, “Believe me, it will be enough.”

Critically, given the direction of events in Athens, his celebrated epigraph was preceded by “Within our mandate…”

And so the prospect of the European Central Bank potentially presiding over, some say precipitating, the first national exit from a supposedly unbreakable currency union will inspire a rethink of the limits of Draghi’s phrase for all central banks.

Of course, the ECB does not want to push Greece out of the euro. But ‘whatever it takes’ may just not be enough to preserve the integrity of the 19-nation bloc if the ECB’s mandate prevents it from endlessly funneling emergency funding to insolvent Greek banks.

And as long as the Greek government is at loggerheads with its creditors, the central bank can’t wave a magic wand of monetary support without breaking its own rules.

The ECB continues to insist it will do all in its power to prevent contagion to other euro zone markets and there’s little doubt it will make good on that. But the problems stemming from a Greek exit are not of financial seepage but of political contagion to other euro electorates tiring of austerity. And that sort of contagion is beyond ECB control.

via Greece and China expose limits of ‘whatever it takes’ | Reuters.

22/07/2014

BRICS Summit: A Show of Economic Might Is Nothing to Fear – Businessweek

As Brazilians were recovering last week from the World Cup, the country held another global event: the BRICS summit, a gathering of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The outcome was no doubt more pleasing to Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff than her country’s soccer performance. The countries agreed to set up a $50 billion “BRICS bank” to invest in development projects in the developing world, alongside a $100 billion pool of reserve currencies earmarked as “a kind of mini-IMF,” according to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. It was a strong statement of the grouping’s growing global economic heft and a challenge to the order established by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

China President Xi Jinping being welcomed by President Rousseff at Planalto Palace in Brasilia

Some in the West have perceived that challenge as a threat. The U.S. has veto power over major decisions at the International Monetary Fund. Without European or American backing, it is almost impossible to get a loan through the World Bank. The North Atlantic powers will have no such say in the operations of the BRICS bank, another sign that the global balance of economic and financial power is shifting.

The BRICS do pose a threat, but their own development bank isn’t it. The more worrisome risk is that the BRICS won’t grow as quickly as they have in the past, that the grand plans hatched in Brazil will dwindle along with the economies supporting them. If pessimistic forecasts of Asian and Latin American economic performance turn out to be justified, that’s no reason for cheer in Washington or Brussels—collapsing growth in the developing world would be terrible news for the West.

via BRICS Summit: A Show of Economic Might Is Nothing to Fear – Businessweek.

17/09/2012

* China, EU face dumping claim

China Daily: “Beijing said Brussels has agreed to begin dialogue and cooperation to resolve the multi-billion-dollar anti-dumping investigation towards China’s solar panel manufacturers.

But Brussels refused to go into details of such a stance, revealed by Chong Quan, China’s deputy representative for international trade talks, after three-hour intensive talks with senior officials of European Commission on Friday afternoon.

“They (Brussels) agreed (to hold dialogues) – and I found they are very candid and pragmatic,” Chong told China Daily. “I respect my negotiation partner.”

But when asked how strong Brussels’ intention is, Chong said: “I don’t know.”

Brussels was part of Chong’s three-stop mission to send a clear message from Beijing, which wants to solve this dispute through “consultation, dialogues and cooperation.” Before holding talking with Jean-Luc Demarty, the European Commission’s director general for trade, he was negotiating in Germany and has now moved on to talks in France.

EU trade spokesperson John Clancy refused to elaborate about the three-hour discussion in Brussels. Clancy said the European Commission has begun an “open” anti-dumping investigation on China’s solar panel exports, as it is required to do under the WTO framework and EU law.

He said input “from all stakeholders” is now welcome.

Clancy also confirmed that EU and Chinese trade officials discussed preparations for next week’s EU-China summit in Brussels.

Chong confirmed that China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming will be in Premier Wen Jiabao’s delegation that will attend the summit during a one-day visit to Belgium.

Wen and Chen are expected to urge Brussels to negotiate. Chong said both sides are eager to resolve this dispute through dialogue and both sides need to make every effort to avoid a trade war.

In the face of a severe economic slowdown and the magnitude of this dispute, Chong said: “Both of us will become losers if a trade war occurs and the situation is out of control.””

via China, EU face dumping claim |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn.

27/04/2012

* China’s vice-premier starts landmark European mission

Li Keqiang, Chinese politician

Li Keqiang, Chinese politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China Daily: “Visit covers Russia, Hungary, Belgium and EU headquarters

Business opportunities will emerge from the economic development of China and Russia and both countries will benefit from increasing prosperity and global influence, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday. “The two countries are in total agreement on this point,” Li said in a Russian newspaper article.

The vice-premier started a 10-day visit on Thursday, to promote trade and investment. He will visit Russia, Hungary, Belgium and EU headquarters in Brussels.”We view each others growth as opportunities because both nations share similar targets,” Li said.”

via Chinas vice-premier starts landmark European mission|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn.

The wooing continues unabated; Premier Wen visits Iceland, Sweden, Germany and Poland, then VP Li visits Russia, Hungary, Belgium and EU.

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