TFG Trade Briefing, 9th December 2019

Your Monday morning coffee briefing from TFG. Here are some of the last week’s updates from the trade sector. The majority of EU citizens are positive about international trade. Japan ratifies US trade deal in record time (9 months). Ethiopia joined the Alibaba trade platform. EBRD doubles Ukraine’s trade finance by financing digital SME trade finance platform.

What happened last week?

Eurobarometer survey: Majority of EU citizens positive about international trade

The results of a special Eurobarometer survey published today by the European Commission show that 60% of Europeans feel that they personally benefit from international trade, 16 percentage points more than 10 years ago at the time of the previous poll. The survey also revealed that 71% of respondents believe that the EU is more effective in defending their countries’ trade interests than these countries acting on their own. Read more →

German car industry reels as Daimler cuts 10,000 jobs

Daimler said it would cut more than 10,000 jobs in the next two years, as the Mercedes-Benz owner added to a devastating series of job losses across the German car industry. The cost of investing in electric vehicles and pressure from falling sales and profits are spurring a severe overhaul of the entire industry, with 50,000 job losses announced this year so far. Read more →

Japan ratifies US trade deal in record time

The upper house completed ratification of the deal — which will slash Japanese tariffs on US beef — 10 weeks after it was first agreed and less than nine months since the start of negotiations. With no ratification needed in the US, the deal is set to come into effect on January 1. Read more →

Trump Signs Hong Kong Democracy Legislation, Angering China

President Trump on Wednesday signed tough legislation that authorizes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, signalling support for pro-democracy activists and escalating tensions with Beijing as Mr Trump tries to negotiate a trade deal with Chinese leaders. Read more →

UK services sector shrinks

The services sector in the UK has seen its sharpest fall in eight months, with the final IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index for services dropping to 49.3 in November from 50 a month earlier. A sub-50 figure marks contraction in the sector. Ruth Gregory, the senior UK economist at the consultancy Capital Economics, said services seemed to have “done no better than flatline” in the month, while IHS Markit economics associate director Tim Moore said the sector was “falling back into a decline after a brief period of stabilisation”. The UK economy is “staggering through the final quarter of 2019,” he added. Duncan Brock, group director at CIPS, said Brexit nerves have “descended over European clients,” leaving them “reluctant to commit until there is more clarity in the UK’s future direction”. Read more →

Ethiopia joins Alibaba trade platform

Ethiopia has become the second African country (after Rwanda), to join Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The platform aims to expand the reach for local SMEs. EWTP will connect Ethiopian-made goods to Asia and the rest of the East, as well as support smart logistics and talent enhancement. Read more →

EBRD doubles Ukraine’s trade finance

A new digital platform to support thousands of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been launched in order to boost businesses’ development opportunities through access to vital information. Read more →