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IPU Inter Parliamentary Union : MPs at world trade conference urge strong action to boost development

Geneva, 15 June 2016The MPs want urgent action to implement fairer agriculture trading for the developing world. ©AFP/Henri Tabarant/Only World/Only FranceA global meeting of MPs specializing in international trade has called for urgent action to implement multilateral agreements which benefit the developing world.More than 400 parliamentary delegates from around 60 countries attended the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (WTO), co-chaired by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the European Parliament. The event, held in Geneva on 13-14 June, covered a wide range of topics under the theme What Future for the WTO?The conference stressed it was of ‘utmost importance’ for all WTO Members to implement decisions on the Doha Round already taken at Ministerial Conferences in Nairobi and in Bali, including swift ratification and entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, creation of new export opportunities for service-providers from the Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) and simplification of regulations governing rules of origin.The MPs highlighted the key role of trade as a tool for development, stressing the need to link multilateral agreements with the international development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The trade in services was hailed as a new frontier for boosting development, and the MPs urged greater efforts to achieve rapid progress in market access, domestic regulations and other outstanding issues. On food security – also of key significance to developing countries – the MPs called for a permanent solution on public stockholding, stressing that WTO rules should support efforts to combat hunger.The MPs highlighted the need for more transparent and inclusive WTO negotiations, suggesting a review of working practices to achieve greater efficiency and accountability. They stressed the crucial role of MPs as bridges between the WTO and the people they were aiming to serve, and of the Parliamentary Conference itself.The conference also urged policymakers to ensure that gender issues took centre-stage in economic policies to help empower women, achieve equality and eradicate poverty,Other major topics covered included the proliferation of mega-regional trade agreements – deep partnerships between countries or regions with a major share of world trade and foreign direct investment. The MPs warned that any regional or bilateral deals should not undermine the role of multilateral accords.Specialist parliamentarians led discussions on how to progress global trade action after the decisions taken at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi last year, while ambassadors from Sweden, the European Union, Egypt, Japan and Mexico focused on mega-regional trade agreements.The annual Parliamentary Conference gives MPs first-hand information on recent developments in trade talks and facilitates contact with government negotiators, WTO officials and civil society representatives. It was set up to enhance the WTO’s external transparency and hold it accountable to MPs as representatives of the people.For further information, please contactSheila Barter
email: shb@ipu.org
IPU – Inter-Parliamentary Union published this content on 15 June 2016 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 15 June 2016 08:04:01 UTC.
Original documenthttp://www.ipu.org/press-e/pressrelease201606151.htm

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مويت هينيسي ترحب بسولار إمبالس في نيويورك

نيويورك، 14 يونيو، 2016/PRNewswire/ — بعد اجتياز الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، وصلت سولار إمبالس إلى أكبر مدن أمريكا لتوصيل رسالة نصها “Future is Clean” ومعناها أن (المستقبل نظيف). لاستعراض البيان الصحفي متعدد الوسائط، يُرجى النقر على الرابط التالي: http://www.multivu.com/players/uk/7813551-moet-hennessy-solar-impulse/ وبصفتها شريك سولار إمبالس الرسمي والشريك المضيف لمركز التحكم في المهام في موناكو، تصحب مويت هينيسي سولار […]

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The Financial Plan for a ‘Brexit’? Cross Your Fingers

Among those who manage gobs of money, the possibility that Britain might actually disavow the European Union seemed until recently like a remote and even outlandish possibility.

But about a week before voters go to the polls to determine their future, masters of finance are suddenly absorbing the prospect that Britain might really walk, unleashing anxiety and uncertainty throughout the global economy.

Like local responders readying sandbags as a hurricane menaces their shores, financial industry overseers have been quietly drawing up contingency plans while surveying the expensive havoc a so-called Brexit is already wreaking. Central bankers from London to Washington have been monitoring the tempest while making preparations to unleash credit should markets seize with fear.

Angst has seeped into the calculations. As investors digest the possibility that the largest marketplace on earth may be days away from a messy alteration, they have been yanking money out of riskier storehouses like stocks and putting it into safer instruments like bonds. The British pound and London stocks have been falling in frenzied trading.

The conversation is now focused on managing the risks of Brexit. The trouble is that the worries are so diffuse and rife with unknowns that any attack plan amounts to an exercise in guesswork and hope. Executives, bankers and bureaucrats are grappling with something that could be minor or momentous and has never happened before.

Maybe the Brexit — for British exit — would merely lop value from the pound before traders turned their attention to a more consequential plot twist elsewhere. Perhaps it would inspire separatist movements from Scotland to Spain, embolden anti-trade populists across the Continent and reinvigorate existential questions gnawing at the common euro currency. That could sow fear across world markets.

A Brexit might spook investors into entrusting their money only to the safest repositories like American Treasuries. That could strengthen the American dollar and weaken American exports, while starving riskier emerging markets of investment.

Whatever stories policy makers and businesspeople tell themselves, the only certainty is a surplus of uncertainty. Whatever provisional plans they sketch, they will find themselves mostly just wishing that nothing terrible happens.

“On the financial markets, there is nothing they can do; it will just hit them,” said Adam S. Posen, a former member of the rate-setting committee at the Bank of England and now president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “If my house is going to catch on fire, I can plan to have some water on hand, but there’s only so much you can do.”

If you run a central bank, water comes in the form of liquidity. Most experts assume the Bank of England and its counterparts have readied plans to lend to financial institutions that could face cash shortages. In recent days, European Central Bank officials have signaled readiness to inject money into the financial sphere. In a speech last week, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, warned that a Brexit could have “significant economic repercussions.”

Much of the business world once shrugged off the Brexit vote as noisy political theater that would eventually be muted by economic common sense. But recent polls have showed the “leave” camp slightly ahead.

“That kind of threw the cat among the pigeons and panicked everyone,” said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, a London company that manages foreign exchange for multinationals. “We’ve seen a pickup in client hedging.”

A company that, say, imports goods from China to sell in Britain fears that the pound is about to drop, making those Chinese goods more expensive. So it buys contracts that essentially lock in today’s exchange rate for the future.

According to Laurence Wormald, head of research at FIS, which provides technology and market intelligence to financial services companies, British stocks would most likely fall 15 percent after a Brexit, with the pound dropping by a similar proportion.

If a Brexit vote hurts the British economy, the central bank might feel compelled to lower rates to motivate businesses and households to borrow and spend. But the bank might well do the opposite, raising rates to stop a currency slide.

The most nettlesome variable may be trade. Britain sells nearly half its exports within the European Union. Multinational corporations have set up headquarters in Britain, using those bases to serve customers across the Continent.

Those campaigning for a Brexit assure that a vote to leave would change nothing right away. Britain would remain a fully fledged member of Europe’s marketplace for two years as it negotiated a new arrangement with the 27 remaining members of the union.

Interactive Feature | Explaining ‘Brexit,’ Britain’s Vote on European Union Membership Britain will hold a referendum on June 23 on whether to leave the European Union, a decision nicknamed “Brexit.”

But if Britain failed to secure a deal, commerce with Europe could be governed by the terms of the World Trade Organization, which gives member nations the authority to impose potentially steep tariffs on imports.

The debate over the Brexit is full of references to sundry alternative models. Norway enjoys access to the European market although it remains outside the union. Switzerland has achieved similar status through a thicket of treaties. But in both cases, they must accept something supporters of Brexit want to eliminate — European rules that allow people to move liberally from country to country.

Those urging a Brexit insist Britain can negotiate a tailor-made deal. Many economists describe that notion as somewhere between fanciful and delusional. Eager to discourage other members from considering an exit, Europe would seek to ensure that Britain paid a price.

If Britain dumps Europe, “they are not going to say, ‘Well, O.K., here’s a good deal,’” said Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent research institution in London.

Nowhere are preparations more intense than in finance. London has parlayed expertise in banking and inclusion in Europe to secure dominance over large areas of trading. As the referendum approaches, financiers are now consumed by a jigsaw puzzle of diabolical complexity: They are mapping out what assets they hold and where, seeking to anticipate what jurisdictions and rules might apply post-Brexit.

“Investment banks and asset managers are pre-booking law firms, consulting firms and accounting firms for July,” said William Wright, managing director of New Financial, a research institution in London. “If we do vote to leave on June 23, no one is going to have the faintest idea what impact it will have.”

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, recently visited Britain with a pointed warning. “If the U.K. leaves the E.U., we may have no choice but to reorganize our business model here,” he said. “Brexit could mean fewer JPMorgan jobs in the U.K. and more jobs in Europe.” Citigroup offered a similar caution.

If the sun rises on June 24 with Britain on its way out, such a shift could happen sooner rather than later. At a time of crippling uncertainty, banks would feel a compulsion to at least eliminate variables by quickly announcing their plans, moving people within the European Union — to Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris.

In the end, contingency plans may be devised more as salves for frayed nerves than bona fide operational blueprints. Britain may be on the verge of refashioning the world map. If that happens, the vote will set off proceedings so complex that the only guaranteed winners are the lawyers.

All plans will be subject to change.

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Alcoa winds up HUF 350 mln global service center in Hungary


 Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 08:50

U.S.-based aluminium firm Alcoa yesterday inaugurated a global service center with a focus on financial services in Hungary through an investment of HUF 350 million, according to reports.

(Photo: MTI/János Marjai)

The investment is expected to create 100 jobs in Hungary, raising the current staff in the country to 2,200 and placing the company among the top 100 biggest firms here, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at the inauguration. 

The firm is planning to split its business into two parts in the second half of the year, and will operate two separate service centers in Székesfehérvár, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

A service center with 440 employees will support the newly formed Arconic company while the other center with a staff of 150 will provide services for Alcoa, MTI added.

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