Europe to Impose New Tariffs on US Goods

The European Union is set to impose tariffs Friday on billions of dollars worth of American goods — including jeans, bourbon and motorcycles.

The action is the latest retaliation against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to slap import tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the globe.

The U.S. is scheduled to start taxing more than $30 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks.

China has promised an immediate retaliation, a measure that would put the world’s two largest economies at odds.  

John Murphy, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products could be subjected to new foreign tariffs by the end of July.

“The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world.” said a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry.

“Clarity (is) still lacking about how far things will ultimately go between (the) U.S. and China and the potential ripple effect for world trade,” said financial analyst Mike van Dulken.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to apply tariffs because he said countries around the world had been exploiting the U.S.

The European stock market was bracing itself in the face of the new tariffs .  

In early Friday trading London’s FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip firms rose 0.2 percent to 7,571.78 points (compared with Thursday’s closing level.)

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was unchanged at 12,507.72, while the Paris CAC 40 gained almost 0.3 percent to 5,330.5 points.

But that could all change after the reality of the tariffs takes hold.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” at least not since the Great Depression, said Syracuse University economist Mary Lovely.

A former White House trade advisor says Trump “has been so belligerent that it becomes almost impossible for democratically elected leaders – or even a non-democratic leader like (Chinese President) Xi Jinping – to appear to kowtow and give in.”  Phillip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said, “The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants.”

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АМКУ оштрафував 16 компаній через підвищення цін на скраплений газ у серпні 2017 року

Антимонопольний комітет України оштрафував 16 постачальників скрапленого газу за цінову змову на майже 41 мільйон гривень. 

Як йдеться у повідомленні комітету, антиконкурентні дії цих компаній полягали у схожому підвищенні цін на скраплений газ під час продажу у роздріб.

Аналіз ситуації на ринку спростовує наявність об’єктивних причин для підвищення тоді цін, додають в АМКУ. 

Влітку минулого року в Україні подорожчав скраплений газ. Антимонопольний комітет почав розслідування.

Читайте також – Дорогий автогаз: Гройсман заявив про диверсію. Винна Росія і Медведчук?

У Мінекономрозвитку тоді пояснювали, що українські виробники скрапленого газу – «Укргазвидобування», «Укрнафта», «Укртатнафта» і приватні компанії – покривають не більше ніж 20% потреб ринку, а решту Україна імпортує з Росії, Білорусі, Казахстану, а обмеження з боку Росії призвели до зменшення імпорту скрапленого газу в Україну і його дефіциту, що вплинуло на ціну.

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Turkey Joins Nations Placing New Tariffs on US Products

Turkey announced Thursday that it would impose tariffs on $1.8 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The World Trade Organization said the new Turkish tariffs would amount to $266.5 million on products including cars, coal, paper, rice and tobacco.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said in a statement that Turkey would not allow itself “to be wrongly blamed for America’s economic challenges.”

He continued, “We are part of the solution, not the problem.”

On Wednesday, the EU announced that it had compiled a list of U.S. products on which it would begin charging import duties of 25 percent, a move that could escalate into a full-blown trade war, especially if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through with his threat to impose tariffs on European cars.

“We did not want to be in this position. However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.

The commission, which manages the daily business of the EU, adopted a law that places duties on $3.2 billion worth of U.S. goods, including aluminum and steel products, agricultural products, bourbon and motorcycles.

Malmstrom said that the EU response was consistent with World Trade Organization rules and that the tariffs would be lifted if the U.S. rescinded its metal tariffs, which amount to $7.41 billion.

Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on the EU, Canada and Mexico, which went into effect at the beginning of June.

Canada said it would impose retaliatory tariffs on $12.5 billion worth of U.S. products on July 1.

Mexico imposed tariffs two weeks ago on a range of U.S. products, including steel, pork and bourbon.

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UN: 40M in US Live in Poverty

A report by the U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights finds 40 million people in the United States live in poverty, 18.5 million live in extreme poverty and more than 5 million live in conditions of absolute poverty. 

Special Rapporteur Philip Alston called the United States the most unequal society in the developed world. He said U.S. policies benefit the rich and exacerbate the plight of the poor.

He said the policies of President Donald Trump’s administration stigmatize the poor by insisting those receiving government benefits are capable of working and that benefits, such as food stamps, should be cut back significantly. He said the government’s suggestions that people on welfare are lazy and do not want to work misrepresent the facts.

“The statistics that are available show that the great majority of people who, for example, are on Medicaid are either working in full-time work — around half of them — or they are in school or they are giving full-time care to others,” Alston said.

He said 7 percent of people were not working.

Worst of the West

In his report, which will be delivered Friday to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Alston noted the United States had the highest rate of income inequality among Western countries, with the top 1 percent of the population owning more than 38 percent of total wealth. He said the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion in tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and would worsen the situation of the poor.

The U.N. investigator told VOA that at the completion of each of his country fact-finding missions, he issues what he calls an end-of mission statement. That, he said, gives some governments the opportunity to immediately respond.

“The U.S. chose not to do that, and since then there has not been any official response to either that end-of-mission statement or to the final report, which has now been out for a couple of weeks,” he said.

As is common practice, after Alston formally presents his report to the Human Rights Council, the concerned country has a right of reply. Though the United States has withdrawn as a member of the council, it still has the right to respond to the report as an observer country.

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Рівень тіньової економіки України зменшився у 2017 році – МЕРТ

Рівень тіньової економіки в Україні зменшився у 2017 році на чотири відсоткові пункти, до 31% ВВП, повідомило Міністерство економічного розвитку і торгівлі України.

У відомстві зазначили, що детінізація української економіки стала можливою завдяки збереженню відносної макрофінансової стабільності в умовах реалізації політики, спрямованої на розширення внутрішнього попиту, а також диверсифікації ринків збуту продукції українських виробників; збереженню високого рівня ділової активності бізнесу в умовах покращення очікувань та рівня сприйняття українських реформ у світі; зниження інвестиційних ризиків на тлі відносної макрофінансової стабілізації та продовження процесів реформування економіки.

У МЕРТ підкреслили, що водночас динаміка стримується, зокрема, низькою довірою до інститутів влади; збереженням значних викликів стабільності фінансової системи країни; наявністю непідконтрольних владі територій, утворених у ході військової агресії на території країни.

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India, Top Buyer of US Almonds, Hits Back With Higher Duties

India, the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. almonds, raised import duties on the commodity by 20 percent, a government order said, joining the European Union and China in retaliating against President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on steel and aluminum.

New Delhi, incensed by Washington’s refusal to exempt it from the new tariffs, also imposed a 120 percent duty on the import of walnuts in the strongest action yet against the United States.

The move to increase tariffs from Aug. 4 will also cover a slew of other farm, steel and iron products.

It came a day after the European Union said it would begin charging 25 percent import duties on a range of U.S. products on Friday, in response to the new U.S. tariffs.

India is by far the largest buyer of U.S. almonds, purchasing over half of all U.S. almond shipments in 2017. A kilogram of shelled almonds will attract duty of as much as 120 rupees ($1.76) instead of the current 100 rupees, the Commerce Ministry said.

Last month, New Delhi sought an exemption from the new U.S. tariffs, saying its steel and aluminum exports were small in relation to other suppliers. But its request was ignored, prompting India to launch a complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organization.

“India’s tariff retaliation is within the discipline of trade tariffs of the World Trade Organization,” said steel secretary Aruna Sharma.

Trade differences between India and the United States have been rising since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Bilateral trade rose to $115 billion in 2016, but the Trump administration wants to reduce its $31 billion deficit with India, and is pressing New Delhi to ease trade barriers.

Earlier this year, Trump called out India for its duties on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to cut the import duty to 50 percent from 75 percent for the high-end bikes.

But that has not satisfied Trump, who pointed to zero duties for Indian bikes sold in the United States and said he would push for a “reciprocal tax” against countries, including U.S. allies, that levy tariffs on American products.

In the tariff rates issued late on Wednesday, the commerce ministry named some varieties of almonds, apples, chickpeas, lentils, walnuts and artemia that would carry higher import taxes. Most of these are purchased from the United States.

Walnuts have gone from 100 percent duty to 120 percent, the government note said.

India also raised duties on some grades of iron and steel products. In May it had given a list of products to the WTO that it said could incur higher tariffs.

An official from the steel ministry said at the time that the new tariffs were intended to show displeasure at the U.S. action.

“It is an appropriate signal. I am hopeful that all of this (trade war) will die down. In my view this is not in the interest of the global economy,” said Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of the Indian government’s policy thinktank Niti Aayog.

Rising trade tensions between the United States and some major economies have threatened to derail global growth.

Officials from India and the United States are expected to hold talks on June 26-27 to discuss trade issues, local daily Times of India reported on Thursday citing Press Trust of India.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday announced a preliminary finding that imports of large-diameter welded pipe from China, India, South Korea and Turkey were subsidized by those countries, and said it was imposing preliminary duties that could top 500 percent.

In a separate trade dispute, Trump threatened on Monday to hit $200 billion of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs if Beijing retaliates against his previous announcement to target $50 billion in imports. The United States has accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property, a charge Beijing denies. ($1 = 68.1700 Indian rupees)

 

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For Tanzanian Farmers, Grain Harvest Is in the Bag

Maize farmers are preparing as the harvest season approaches in Tanzania’s Kondoa District.  The weather has been good and most farmers here expect bumper yields.

Amina Hussein, a mother of four in Mnenia village, is testing a new way to store her harvest.

 

“In the past, we used to store our produce in normal bags, we would buy them three times a year because we faced the risk of losing harvests to pest infestation,” Hussein said.  “But since the introduction of this new technology, using the hermetic storage bags, we are not incurring huge costs anymore to buy chemicals to preserve the maize.”

 

The bags keep grain dry and fresh, and keep bugs and mold out.

 

Amina, who is the chairperson of a local farmers’ association, says she used to spend precious cash on pesticides to preserve her maize.  The new bags cut that cost.

 

Grain Losses

 

About 85 percent of Tanzania’s population lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for a living.  Small-hold farmers constitute the majority of the population.

 

Here, post-harvest losses are a major concern, especially for grains, which form the base for nutrition and income for Tanzania’s rural communities.

 

Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture estimates that small farmers lose between 15 percent and 40 percent of their harvests each year to mold, mildew, bugs, rats and other causes, says Eliabu Philemon Ndossi, a senior program officer at the ministry.

 

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste globally every year.  That’s about a third of the food produced for human consumption around the world.

 

And post-harvest loss reduces the income of small-hold farmers by 15 percent.

 

Food Security

 

Researchers from the University of Zurich and their partners are looking to cut those losses.  Their project in Tanzania is looking at ways to help farmers keep more of their grain.

 

It’s a collaborative effort bringing together government agencies, businesses and international development organizations.

 

More than 1,000 small-scale farmers in two regions in central Tanzania are involved in the project, which in part uses air-tight and water-tight storage bags instead of normal plastic or cloth bags.

 

The study is conducted within a larger project that Swiss development agency Helvetas runs to help increase farm income.

 

But reducing losses is more than an issue of farmers’ income, says Rakesh Munankami, a project manager at Helvetas.

 

“If we can reduce post-harvest loss, there wouldn’t be any problem with the food security.  This study is important because we would like to see what’s the impact at the broader level, how does it affect the price volatility of the crop as well as how does it affect the food security of the smallholder farmers,” he said.

 

And the study has proven a success.  Initial findings show that improved on-farm storage sharply cut the number of food insecure households, said Michael Brander, one of the lead researchers from the University of Zurich.

 

“We are now one year into the study and the most astonishing finding so far is that we see that the number of people that go hungry has reduced by one third,” he said.  “That’s especially astonishing because the intervention has worked very fast.”

 

Munanakami says he thinks the results can be replicated elsewhere.  And the project’s partners hope that will encourage policy makers and aid organizations focus on preventing harvest losses.

 

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