NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - A spat between the world's most populous countries is holding up a pan-Asian trade agreement encompassing nearly a third of all global trade. Trade ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries this week hailed a "critical milestone" after seven years of talks and vowed to wind them up before a regional summit in November. But officials involved in the process say major sticking points remain around market access and the ability of workers to find employment in other countries. The main source of tension is between India and China over the amount of goods with preferential tariffs, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified. The person said India was also unhappy with the position of South-east Asian countries on the free movement of professionals, particularly in the IT sector, and is weighing whether to be part of the deal at all. Covering nearly half of the globe's population, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership … [Read more...] about India-China spat delays deal covering a third of global trade
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TOKYO - Japan looks set to strike South Korea off its trade white list after a public consultation drive which ended yesterday received more than 10,000 entries, an overwhelming proportion of which are said to be in favour of ending preferential treatment to Seoul, citing security concerns. Trade minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters in Tokyo yesterday, hours before a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Geneva discussed the issue, that matters of security should be decided on the discretion of each country. Hence, Japan has not run afoul of a global trading regime that frowns upon unilateral punitive trade measures. Meanwhile, South Korean industry minister Sung Yung-mo yesterday urged Tokyo to ditch the plan to remove Seoul off the white list, saying that the "very grave" act would undermine economic and defence partnerships of the two United States security allies. "The removal of South Korea from the white list of countries is against international norms and we are worried … [Read more...] about Japan set to strike South Korea off trade ‘white list’
NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - India plans to return to the negotiating table after President Donald Trump terminated a trade concession, which allowed the country to export almost 2,000 products to the US duty-free, people with knowledge of the matter said. While an option is to raise tariffs on a slew of US goods as retaliation, India might not choose that considering the benefits withdrawn by Trump were not mandated by any global pact and were offered voluntarily by Washington, said the people who asked not to be identified, as they aren't authorised to speak to the media. Any counter tariff measures could fall foul of World Trade Organization norms. The matter would be discussed when Piyush Goyal, India's new trade minister, meets local officials and trade bodies on June 6, the people said. India's commerce ministry spokesman Monideepa Mukherjee declined to comment. India last year announced higher tariffs on a clutch of items in retaliation to US imposing higher levies on some products … [Read more...] about Trump’s trade attack pushes India to the negotiating table
Former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke and his wife Blanche d'Alpuget arrive at the Australian Labor Party's campaign launch in Brisbane in September 2013. (AP file photo) CANBERRA: Bob Hawke, Australia's longest-serving Labor Party prime minister, whose charisma and powers of persuasion earned him near-folk hero status among many Australians, died on Thursday, his wife said. He was 89. The former union leader dedicated much of his political career to trade union issues, and he was widely regarded as a man of his people. He had a down-to-earth attitude, a passion for sports and legendary status among beer lovers — for once drinking himself into the record books. He won four terms as prime minister, serving from 1983 to 1991 before being ousted by his own party when the economy soured. Only two other prime ministers served Australia longer, and both were members of the conservative Liberal Party. He had been actively supporting Labor's campaign for elections on Saturday … [Read more...] about Ex-Australian prime minister Bob Hawke dies at age 89
THE US-CHINA TRADE IMPASSE The deadlock is not about to be resolved any time soon. We have not heard all that much from the Chinese government directly but editorials from Chinese media are now giving us a sense of the way Beijing is viewing the current impasse. The People’s Daily wrote that “at no time will China forfeit the country's respect” while The Global Times said “the perception that China cannot bear it (a trade war) is a fantasy and misjudgment”. So what? That the debate is now being framed, not in purely economic terms, but in terms of respect and dignity will make a deal that much harder to reach. There is very little room when one is negotiating with dignity on the line. Trade talks have come back from the brink before, but given the perception of Beijing in Washington is worsening, and vice versa, few are predicting a rapid end to the trade war. What if talks fail: Expect a significant fallout that will impact the global economy. The … [Read more...] about Asian Insider May 13: What if trade talks fail?