The multiplying allegations about high-level Saudi military involvement in the abduction or murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi is placing an unprecedented strain on the close security and trade relationship between the UK and Saudi Arabia, which has been a pillar of British foreign policy. The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has in the past been willing to defend the relationship, saying it has prevented bombs from going off on the streets of London. It has also kept the Treasury coffers fuller. The red-carpet welcome for Mohammed bin Salman on his three-day visit to London in March was based on that longstanding relationship but also fortified by the hope that the crown prince was a reforming figure sidelining a conservative religious police. The visit led to 13 memoranda of understanding and the promise of £65bn of investment in the UK over the next decade. Privately, British diplomats have never harboured any illusions that Bin Salman’s social reforms, such … [Read more...] about Khashoggi case is test for UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia
Uk trade deficit with germany
If there’s one thing in Germany more resistant to change than the cult of a strong currency and a love of well-balanced accounts, it’s a foreign policy founded on the European project and strong ties with the US. Yet the map of major powers allied with Germany has changed dramatically in the last three years, as the list of satisfied friends has dwindled, and that of dissatisfied partners has grown. Relations with the US under President Donald Trump have gone from bad to worse; those with Turkey have come close to breaking down altogether; those with central Europe are stretched thin. The shock therapy inflicted on the Greeks in 2015 at Germany’s instigation gave Latin countries a chilling glimpse of the fate awaiting those who refuse austerity. And the UK vote for Brexit in June 2016 deprived Chancellor Angela Merkel of a European ally in favour of free trade. Germany’s strength lies primarily in trade, and the problem is best understood in those terms. Some of … [Read more...] about Germany alone within the EU
As concerns over Donald Trump’s import tariffs intensify and ministers renegotiate Britain’s trading relationship with Europe, the postwar consensus towards ever-closer economic cooperation between wealthy nations is being unpicked. Why is trade good? Economists argue about a lot of things, yet many would probably agree on the benefits of free trade, which generates wealth by allowing the free flow of goods across international borders, without taxes and other such barriers. The argument runs that billions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty by the combined power of capitalism and free trade. We are taught that the world’s most powerful nations spurred their advance by tearing down the castle walls of protectionism during the latter half of the 19th century – ending centuries of beggar-thy-neighbour economic nationalism – opening up new markets to boost the industrial revolution and drive forward the development of the middle class. … [Read more...] about Is free trade always the answer?
BRITAIN'S trade is booming as we prepare for Brexit - with exports hitting a record £616billion high. In the last year our trade balance has narrowed as more and more goods and services are being exported all over the world, fresh figures reveal. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Britain was continuing to defy the gloom mongers by proving critics wrong as we gear up for Brexit, Our top exports were cars, medicinal products, power generators and aircraft in the last 12 months, ONS figures showed. And more than half (55 per cent) of all our exports are shipped to places outside of the EU - which bodes well as we look for trade deals around the world. Overall goods rose by 13 per cent to £339billion, and services were up seven per cent to £277billion. The total trade deficit - the difference between our exports and imports - narrowed by £5billion. The USA remains our biggest export market - with around a fifth of all sales. That was followed by Germany and France. But … [Read more...] about UK’s trade exports hit record high of £616billion in fresh vote of confidence for Brexit
Donald Trump has continued his assault on the EU over trade by claiming the bloc is "possibly as bad as China". The US president, who has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, ratcheted up tensions with the 28-member bloc on Sunday by insisting European countries treated America "very badly".He told Fox News: "The EU is possibly as bad as China, just smaller, okay. It's terrible what they do to us."Take a look at the car situation, they send their Mercedes in, we can't send our cars in."Look what they do to our farmers, they don't want our farm products. In all fairness they have their farmers so they want to protect their farmers."But we don't protect ours and they protect theirs."Mr Trump repeated his frequent claim the EU, which has responded to the US tariffs with retaliatory measures, has a $151bn (£114bn) trade surplus with America.This appears to ignore trade in services which, when included, reduces the EU's trade surplus by more than $50bn to … [Read more...] about Donald Trump raises trade tensions with claim EU ‘as bad as China’