France’s Constitutional Council declared on March 23 that penalties of up to €30 million agreed by its Parliament for major corporations’ human rights violations were unconstitutional.
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The UK is facing a €1.98 bn bill from the EU for “repeatedly ignoring warnings” of tax frauds on imported Chinese shoes and apparel. The case highlights grave systemic complications in Britain’s handling of trade which threaten to complicate further its preparations for leaving the EU.
Results of the March 15 election for the Dutch House of Representatives seem to kill worries the EU is about to collapse. But, though those worries have never had any real justification, the Dutch election still emphasises the declining support in mature democracies for some traditional policies.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in a March 3 interview, offered insights into general trade priorities and his priorities for the NAFTA renegotiation.
The UK government was reported on March 1 to have instructed its departments to have plans ready for governing if Britain fails to secure an adequate free trade deal with the EU after leaving in spring 2017.
Late February Senate confirmations and ad-hoc appointments now give the US a reasonably clear, though possibly temporary, senior trade team.
Although in January Donald Trump summarised his objectives as “Buy American, hire American”, major policy priority summaries now almost ignore trade programmes.
It remains unclear which countries are attending the meeting called for March 14-15 in Viña del Mar, Chile, to discuss options for trade co-operation after US withdrawal from the TPP.
Mexico’s top trade negotiator said in an interview published on February 27 that he would walk away from the table if US negotiators threatened 20% duties on cars.
Towards the end of February, more clarity began to emerge about the UK’s policy on migration from the EU after it leaves in spring 2019.
The government in Myanmar has set up a new committee on minimum wages, local media reported on February 23.
A possibly unscripted February 13 remark by Donald Trump might indicate he wants to break up NAFTA, not merely renegotiate it.
Li&Fung will be dropped from Hong Kong’s Han Seng index of leading quoted businesses from March 6, the index compilers announced on February 12.
US apparel imports (in square metres) grew 3.4% in December 2016 over December 2015, though falls in the previous six months a 2016 annual fall of 1.1%.
The EU appears to be accepting greater political variation between its members, as the leading candidate in the French Presidential elections announced her policy of calling a referendum on EU membership.