Росія та Саудівська Аравія домовилися разом «балансувати ринок» нафти

Росія та Саудівська Аравія повідомили про домовленість про розширення співпраці на ринках нафти та газу. Це сталося після того, як ці країни об’єдналися в межах угоди між членами і нечленами ОПЕК (Організації країн-експортерів нафти), яка допомогла збільшити ціни на нафту.

За офіційними даними, президент Росії Володимир Путін та саудівський принц-мусульманин Мухаммад бін Салман, а також міністри енергетики обох країн провели переговори в Москві 14 червня, перед початком першого матчу чемпіонату світу з футболу.

Міністр енергетики Саудівської Аравії Халід аль-Фаліх та його російський колега Олександр Новак вказали у спільній заяві, що два найбільші виробники нафти в світі продовжуть свої зусилля з управління ринком, прагнучи «до збалансованого ринку, який підтримується надійною та достатньою пропозицією».

Угода 2016 року про заморожування видобутку нафти була укладена в умовах різкого падіння цін на нафту, що спричинило економічний спад у нафтовидобувних країнах. На початку 2016 року котирування нафти впали нижче 30 доларів за барель. Але після відновлення і стабілізації в 2017 році на рівні близько 50 доларів за барель у цьому році вони підскочили до майже 80 доларів.

Очікується, що наступна зустріч ОПЕК відбудеться 22 червня у Відні, а Росія, Казахстан та іншими партнери, які не є членами ОПЕК, приєднаються до переговорів наступного дня.



Trump OKs Plan to Impose Tariffs on Billions in Chinese Goods

President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China’s support in his negotiations with North Korea.

Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans. The amount of goods could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.

Stage set for retaliation

If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies.

The decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications, “I have to do what I have to do” to address the trade imbalance.

Trump, in his press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, said the U.S. has a “tremendous deficit in trade with China and we have to do something about it. We can’t continue to let that happen.” The U.S. trade deficit with China was $336 billion in 2017.

Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. China has targeted $50 billion in U.S. products for potential retaliation.

​Pompeo in China

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the trade issue directly with China Thursday, when he met in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and other officials, the State Department said. Officials would not say whether Pompeo explicitly informed the Chinese that the tariffs would be coming imminently.

“I stressed how important it is for President Trump to rectify that situation so that trade becomes more balanced, more reciprocal and more fair, with the opportunity to have American workers be treated fairly,” Pompeo said Thursday during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law last year.

“If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown,” Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said at an event sponsored by The Washington Post.

Bannon: Trump economic message

But Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House and campaign adviser, said the crackdown on China’s trade practices was “the central part of Trump’s economic nationalist message. His fundamental commitment to the ‘deplorables’ on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia.”

In the trade fight, Bannon said, Trump has converted three major tools that “the American elites considered off the table” — namely, the use of tariffs, the technology investigation of China and penalties on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

“That’s what has gotten us to the situation today where the Chinese are actually at the table,” Bannon said. “It’s really not just tariffs, it’s tariffs on a scale never before considered.”

Chinese counterpunch

The Chinese have threatened to counterpunch if the president goes ahead with the plan. Chinese officials have said they would drop agreements reached last month to buy more U.S. soybeans, natural gas and other products.

“We made clear that if the U.S. rolls out trade sanctions, including the imposition of tariffs, all outcomes reached by the two sides in terms of trade and economy will not come into effect,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday.

Beijing has also drawn up a list of $50 billion in U.S. products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump’s supporters in rural America.

Scott Kennedy, a specialist on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Chinese threat was real and helped along by recent strains exhibited among the U.S. and allies.

“I don’t think they would cower or immediately run to the negotiating table to throw themselves at the mercy of Donald Trump,” Kennedy said. “They see the U.S. is isolated and the president as easily distracted.”

Ron Moore, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans in Roseville, Illinois, said soybean prices have started dropping ahead of what looks like a trade war between the two economic powerhouses. 

“We have to plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best,” said Moore, who is chairman of the American Soybean Association. “If you look back at President Trump’s history, he’s been wildly successful negotiating as a businessman. But it’s different when you’re dealing with other governments.”

The U.S. and China have been holding ongoing negotiations over the trade dispute. The United States has criticized China for the aggressive tactics it uses to develop advanced technologies, including robots and electric cars, under its “Made in China 2025” program. The U.S. tariffs are designed specifically to punish China for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

The administration is also working on proposed Chinese investment restrictions by June 30. So far, Trump has yet to signal any interest in backing away. 



AT&T to Close Time Warner Deal, But Government May Appeal

AT&T Inc may close its $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc under an agreement reached on Thursday with the U.S. government, which might still appeal a case seen as a turning point for the media industry.

AT&T said it could close the deal by Friday. The government has not ruled out an appeal and has 60 days to file.

AT&T agreed to temporarily manage Time Warner’s Turner networks separately from DirecTV, including setting prices and managing personnel, as part of the deal approved by Judge Richard Leon late Thursday.

The conditions agreed to by AT&T would remain in effect until Feb. 28, 2019, the conclusion of the case or an appeal.

Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Tuesday that the deal to marry AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law. The Justice Department had argued the deal would harm consumers.

U.S. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of Time Warner’s CNN coverage, denounced the deal when it was announced in October 2016.

The fact that Turner, which includes CNN, will be run separately from DirecTV makes a stay unnecessary, said Seth Bloom, a veteran of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division who is now in private practice.

In its lawsuit aimed at stopping the deal, filed in November 2017, the Justice Department said that AT&T’s ownership of both DirecTV and Time Warner, especially its Turner subsidiary, would give AT&T unfair leverage against rival pay TV providers that relied on content like CNN and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

“This is clearly leaving open the door for the DOJ (Justice Department) to appeal,” Bloom said. “If Turner is run separately, they don’t really need a stay.”

The AT&T ruling is expected to trigger a wave of mergers in the media sector, which has been upended by companies like Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

The first to come was Comcast Corp’s $65 billion bid on Wednesday for the entertainment assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

AT&T had been worried about closing its deal ahead of a June 21 deadline if the government won a stay pending an appeal. Any stay could take the deal beyond a June 21 deadline for completing the merger, which could allow Time Warner to walk away or renegotiate the proposed transaction with AT&T.

The government may have a difficult time winning on appeal because of the way Judge Leon wrote his opinion, four antitrust experts said.

“I don’t think this would be overturned. It is so rooted in the facts that I would be surprised if an appellate court overturned such a fact-laden opinion,” said Michael Carrier, who teaches law at Rutgers.

In a scathing opinion after a six-week trial, Leon found little to support the government’s arguments that the deal would harm consumers, calling the evidence for one argument against the deal “gossamer thin” and another “poppycock.”

The merger, including debt, would be the fourth largest deal ever attempted in the global telecom, media and entertainment space, according to Thomson Reuters data. It would also be the 12th largest deal in any sector, the data showed.



Supreme Court Answers Question of Foreign Law in US Courts

Nyet. Non. Nein. No. That’s the answer the Supreme Court gave Thursday to the question of whether federal courts in the United States must accept statements from foreign governments about their own laws as binding.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous court that a “federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government’s submission,” but is not required to treat it as conclusive.

Given “the world’s many and diverse legal systems and the range of circumstances in which a foreign government’s views may be presented,” there is no single formula on how to treat the information a foreign government provides, Ginsburg wrote.

Ginsburg said the appropriate weight given to a government’s statement in each case will depend on the circumstances. Among the factors that U.S. courts should weigh in looking at what a foreign government has said about its own law are: the statement’s clarity, thoroughness and support as well as the transparency of the foreign legal system and the role and authority of the statement’s author.

Trade case

The ruling came in a case that involves trade with China, a class action lawsuit filed by two U.S.-based purchasers of vitamin C: Nacogdoches, Texas-based Animal Science Products and Elizabeth, New Jersey-based The Ranis Company. The companies sued vitamin C exporters in China. They alleged the exporters had violated U.S. antitrust laws by fixing the prices and amounts of vitamin C exported to the United States.

The vitamin C exporters argued that Chinese law had required their actions and that the lawsuit should therefore be dismissed. China’s Ministry of Commerce filed a brief arguing the same.

US rulings

A federal trial court said the ministry was entitled to “substantial deference” in its interpretation of its own law but didn’t find its statements conclusive. The judge ruled that Chinese law did not require the companies to fix the price or quantity of vitamin C exports, and after a jury found against the exporters, the judge awarded the U.S. companies $147 million.

The New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reversed the award and dismissed the lawsuit, saying when a foreign government participates in U.S. court proceeding and submits a statement about its laws and regulations the U.S. court is “bound to defer to those statements.” The Supreme Court disagreed.

The Trump administration had urged the court to side, as it did, with the Vitamin C purchasers.

The case is 16-1220, Animal Science Products v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co.



Омелян підписав меморандум з Нyperloop Transportation Technologies про спільну роботу

Міністр інфраструктури України Володимир Омелян та виконавчий директор Нyperloop Transportation Technologies Дірк Алборн підписали меморандум про співпрацю над розробкою і тестуванням цього транспортного проекту в Україні, повідомляє Мінінфраструктури на своєму сайті.

«Ми чітко домовилися об’єднати зусилля, по-перше, ми будемо спільно розробляти технологію, по-друге, ми домовилися про спільний пошук інвесторів для цього проекту, він повинен бути комерційно успішним, це не повинна бути чергова ідея, яка дотується урядами. Це має бути абсолютно прозора бізнес-модель, яка генерує прибуток», – заявив Омелян за результатами зустрічі.

За його словами, є намір заснувати спільний центр у Києві або Дніпрі, який би займався розробкою нових типів управління логістикою.

22 лютого Омелян заявив про заснування Центру транспортних інновацій Hype.ua. Він додав, що тестовий майданчик для українського Hyperloop збудують у Дніпрі наступного року.

Hyperloop – це проект вакуумного потяга, розроблений Ілоном Маском. Це транспортна система, яка складається зі сталевих труб, всередині яких рухається потяг – герметична капсула на аеродинамічній подушці. Швидкість такої капсули може перевищувати 600 кілометрів на годину.



Розгляд оскарження у справах про топ-корупцію у звичайних апеляційних судах є кроком назад – Ситник

Норма нового закону про антикорупційний суд про можливість розглядати вже розпочаті антикорупційні провадження у апеляційних судах загальної юрисдикції є спробою реваншу та «кроком назад», заявив очільник НАБУ Артем Ситник на конференції Консультативної місії ЄС в Україні про реформу правоохоронних органів.

Ситник наголосив, що таку норму виявили у перехідних положеннях закону, який вже підписали президент і голова Верховної Ради.

«Мені відомо, що багато депутатів святкувало ухвалення норми про те, що апеляції у справах, розпочатих до запуску Антикорупційного суду, не розглядатиме апеляційна палата цього суду. А це – справи про топ-корупцію, провадження щодо Насірова, Розенблата тощо. Це крок назад. Але це ще не пізно виправити», – заявив він.

Таку оцінку згаданій нормі закону дали і деякі депутати парламенту. Зі свого боку, голова Представництва ЄС в Украіні Юґ Мінґареллі відмовився на прохання Радіо Свобода дати оцінку цій нормі та ризиків, пов’язаних із нею. За його словами, Консультативна місія ЄС в Украіні нині вивчає текст ухваленого закону, і лише після цього даватиме оцінку. 

Ухвалений Верховною Радою та підписаний президентом України закон «Про Вищий антикорупційний суд» 14 червня набрав чинності.

Офіційне видання Верховної Ради, газета «Голос України» оприлюднила цей документ 13 червня. Згідно з прикінцевими та перехідними положеннями, «цей Закон набирає чинності з дня, наступного за днем його опублікування».

Закон, ініційований президентом України Петром Порошенком, Верховна Рада ухвалила 315 голосами 7 червня, а 9 червня, його підписав голова парламенту Андрій Парубій. Президент підписав документ 11 червня.

Ухвалення закону про антикорупційний суд домагалися від України її західні партнери, воно було однією з умов продовження співпраці Києва з Міжнародним валютним фондом.

Створення спеціалізованого антикорупційного суду передбачив закон про судоустрій і статус суддів, ухвалений 2016 року. Проте досі не був схвалений спеціальний закон щодо такого суду.




CES Asia Opens in Shanghai

Judging by the size of the crowd and the number of exhibitors at the fourth annual Consumer Electronics Show Asia, which opened Wednesday in Shanghai, China is well on its way toward catching up with the United States in consumer technology. A mirror image of the older and bigger sister show in Las Vegas, CES Asia 2018 presents the latest hardware and software for everyone. VOA’s George Putic has more.