BRUSSELS: Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said Germany makes “independent decisions”, firing back at US President Donald Trump after he accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia.
“I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,” Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, said as she arrived at a tense NATO summit. “I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”
Relevant pieces published earlier:
i) German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against unleashing an all-out trade war after he threatened to impose steep tariffs on cars from the European Union. Both sides were already locked in a “trade conflict” since Trump’s decision to slap punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, said Merkel, adding that “it is worthwhile to prevent this conflict from becoming a real war”. The EU has slapped tariffs on iconic US products including bourbon, jeans, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as a symbolic tit-for-tat response to the metals duties. Taking aim at Trump over his complaint that the EU, and in particular Germany, is running a massive trade surplus against the US, Merkel said that his calculation is skewed as it is based only on goods, not services. (Published on 4th July 2018)
ii) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she would back opening talks with trading partners on lowering automobile tariffs, in what appeared to be an olive branch to US President Donald Trump as the EU battles to dissuade him from imposing hefty levies on European cars. But Merkel said that any negotiations on lowering tariffs in one area could only be conducted with “all the countries with which we have traded in cars,” rather than just with the United States. A deal with the US alone “would not conform with WTO” rules, she said. “We can either have negotiations about a wide range of tariffs, for 90 percent of goods,” Merkel said in a reference to the stalled talks for a transatlantic free-trade deal known as TTIP.
“Or we can talk about one type of goods, but then we must accord the same treatment to all trading partners of the world. That’s an option I could imagine,” she added. Merkel’s offer came after US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, hosted bosses of Germany’s biggest car firms for talks on Wednesday when he called on the EU to bring tariffs to zero on car imports — in exchange for equal treatment by the US. Noting that the EU will negotiate as a bloc, Merkel said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker would be heading to Washington for talks in a bid to head off a trade war with the US. Trump on Sunday charged that Europe is “possibly as bad as China” on trade, as he reiterated that he is mulling import taxes of 20 percent on EU cars, after having already imposed punitive duties on steel and aluminum. (Published on 6th July 2018)
Improving ease of doing business
ISLAMABAD: PM has today directed Board of Investment (BoI) chairman to present a comprehensive plan, listing all the issues in various sectors and their sub-sectors and how the processes could be streamlined to simplify procedures related to government approvals, addressing taxation issues, dispute resolution and facilitating investors/businesses.
He said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on improving ease of doing business and creating an enabling environment to facilitate the conversion of interest of the local as well foreign investors into actual investments in the country. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law Minister Dr. Farogh Naseem, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif, federal secretaries and senior officials.
BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif while briefing the prime minister about the steps taken so far said the Board would be serving as an agent of change for facilitating business transactions, removing impediments in the way to the materialization of investors’ interest into actual investments and smooth functioning of the businesses in the country. He also briefed about various issues being faced by the business community including taxation, access to finance, regulation and policy issues and red-tapism.
He said the BoI was also actively working with the provinces and relevant ministries for removing barriers in the way of establishing Special Economic Zones. He said special efforts were being made to bridge the gap between private and public sector and to reach out to the private sector to revive their confidence in government policies and put in place a framework that facilitates business community in its business pursuits. The BoI chairman also briefed about Naya Pakistan Diaspora Fund which was being set-up to promote SMEs and rural development in key areas of education, health, and infrastructure development.
He also apprised the prime minister of the investment framework which had been structured for attracting and materializing investment from UAE, KSA, China, Japan, and Malaysia. It was decided during the meeting that the prime minister would chair a review meeting every month on ease of doing business in the country.
KARACHI: Removal of encroachments
KARACHI: The Anti-Encroachment Department of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) demolished more than 35 shops and other constructions in front of shops and footpaths with the help of heavy machinery in district West and Korangi on Tuesday.
Metropolitan Commissioner Dr. Syed Saif-ur-Rehman who is monitoring anti-encroachments drive in the city, said that footpaths are for pedestrians and no one can be allowed to block the footpaths by extending shops or putting stuff to create problems for citizens, said a statement. He said that the anti-encroachment drive was meant to bring improvement to the city and make it clean and beautiful.
Traders community have so far cooperated with the KMC in its action against encroachments and removed their stuff and an additional portion of their shops.
He said that the city roads, streets, and footpaths are widened after the removal of encroachments. Meanwhile, senior director anti-encroachments Bashir Siddiqui with his team took action in districts West and Korangi.
They removed the encroachments from different areas including Pak Colony in district West and Malir Saudabad in district Korangi where walls, shops, and other structures were demolished.
Tokyo stocks close lower
TOKYO: Shares here closed lower today as uncertainty caused by factors including Brexit and trade tensions weighed on the market, wiping out early gains.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.34 percent or 71.48 points to 21,148.02 while the broader Topix index was down 0.91 percent or 14.50 points at 1,575.31. Tokyo shares opened higher, rebounding from sharp drops the previous day, with investors apparently relieved that Wall Street eked out gains after a volatile session.
“But sentiment worsened as investors remained cautious amid uncertain elements such as the postponement of Britain’s Brexit vote and the US-China trade war,” Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato told AFP. European stock markets and the pound slid Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was delaying a parliamentary vote on her deal to leave the EU after conceding it would not win sufficient support.
“The market is concerned that the postponement uses up valuable time before the 29th March exit date, and the risk of a no-deal scenario is growing,” David de Garis, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank said in a commentary. The dollar slipped to 113.10 yen in late Asian trade from 113.35 yen in New York Monday afternoon. In individual stocks trade, SoftBank Group jumped 2.44 percent to 8,827 yen after announcing Monday it aims to raise over $23 billion by listing its Japanese mobile unit next week.
Nissan kept falling, down 3.10 percent at 915.7 yen after tumbling 2.90 percent on Monday as ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn was charged and faced new allegations of alleged financial misconduct. Prosecutors also charged Nissan for filing documents that allegedly understated Ghosn’s earnings. The Nikkei daily reported Tuesday that Nissan plans to book years of under-reported compensation paid to Ghosn as expenses in the year to March 2019 all at once, a move that could worsen the automaker’s balance sheet. Toyota lost 1.09 percent to 6,745 yen but Sony rose 0.72 percent to 5,735 yen.