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11 Pacific nations decide to salvage TPP – but no firm timetable

Japan and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed on May 21 to pursue their trade deal – but were vague on the detail of what “pursue” meant.
A planned meeting in Hanoi of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum failed to agree on its usual joint statement after US opposition to commitments on fighting protectionism.

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“Confidence collapsed” in key UK Customs project for Brexit

The Chair of a UK Parliament Treasury Committee said on March 31 that “confidence had collapsed” in Britain’s having essential Customs IT infrastructure ready to handle the expected fivefold increase in Customs declarations in time for its planned Spring 2019 EU exit date.

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Burma best-performing major 2016 supplier: Cambodia, India, Philippines and Morocco do worst

Burma showed the strongest growth among apparel suppliers to developed countries in 2016, as the total volume shipped worldwide fell for the first time in five years .

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UK Customs admit: “Any form of customs controls will increase costs”

An internal March 2016 document within the UK Customs Administration (known locally as HMRC), leaked by Britain’s Sunday Times on March 26, admits that “Any form of customs controls will increase the costs to businesses and consumers of imported and exported products. These costs can be both financial and measured in time/delays.”

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EU warns Bangladesh of duty free suspension over labour rights

The European Union was reported on March 23 to have warned Bangladesh of suspending duty-free access unless Bangladesh makes progress in the implementing worker rights.

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French constitutional court bans mandatory “duty of vigilance” penalties

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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UK hit by EU’s €2 bn bill for “repeatedly ignoring warnings” over trouser tax fraud.

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.

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Dutch election result undermines fears of imminent EU collapse

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.

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Wilbur Ross, sceptical about border taxes, outlines priorities for NAFTA renegotiation

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in a March 3 interview, offered insights into general trade priorities and his priorities for the NAFTA renegotiation.

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