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DMCC, Asia House host ‘The Future of Trade’ conference

DMCC, a leading global free zone for commodities trade and enterprise, in partnership with Asia House, the centre of expertise on trade, investment and public policy, today (March 24) hosted the ‘The Future of Trade: The Middle East’s Pivot to Asia’ conference, in Dubai, UAE.

The conference welcomed over 250 leading figures from government, trade, investment and technology to discuss, debate and analyse the latest shifts in the world economy, said a statement.

Held in association with the Government of Dubai and sponsored by HSBC and ABP London Royal Albert Dock, the discussions at the conference focused on the anticipated trends in the future of trade, renewable energy and digital technologies.

The conference keynote speech was delivered by Abdulla Al Saleh, undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economy, who said: “The UAE and Asia have long enjoyed strong bilateral trade relations. Asian countries account for 60 per cent of the UAE’s non-oil trade while 55 per cent of the UAE’s imports come from Asia.”

“For example, the UAE’s strategic location and ease of doing business play a critical role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with 4,000 Chinese companies already operating in the country. As the UAE’s largest partner for non-oil imports, India remains a core market for us, also offering significant growth opportunities,” he added.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer, DP World, said: “Despite ongoing concerns around the US and China trade, and the uncertainties brought about by Brexit, we recognise that trade remains inevitable and vital for global economic growth.”

“The UAE is uniquely positioned to capitalise on opportunities even where challenges exist. We have attracted an impressive pool of talent carrying creative ideas that have placed us at the forefront of innovation,” he added.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman at DMCC, said: “Despite subdued global growth figures, this event highlighted that there is cause for optimism for those of us in the region. The world’s economic gravity continues to shift eastwards and as a natural corridor, Dubai’s ability to link Asia with the Middle East, Europe and Africa has never been more important.”

“DMCC sits at the heart of Dubai’s global hub status, and will continue to promote the growing UAE-Asia trade and investment ties that will usher in the next wave of growth,” he added.

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, chairman of Asia House, said: “It is clear that Asia will play an increasingly important role for the Middle East as the region seeks to diversify away from energy exports.”

“We are already seeing new trade relationships grow. Research by our company last year demonstrated a clear pivot towards Asia from markets in the Middle East, and this trend seems set to continue,” he said.

“We are delighted to have brought key figures in global trade together for today’s dialogue here in Dubai – a city which stands to benefit greatly from Asia’s ascendance. The conference marks an important contribution to the Middle East’s ongoing engagement with Asia,” he added. 

The conference kicked-off with a panel on “The Future of Trade”, addressing the challenges and solutions amid dramatic changes in the global economic landscape, with emphasis on the Middle East’s growing relationship with Asia.

The key takeaways from the panel revolved around the pressure on the US and China to reach an agreement, which would put an end to the trade tensions. The discussions also highlighted the importance of finding alternative partners in emerging Asian markets in the short term, which would contribute to diversifying the supply chain across the region.

Next on the agenda was a fireside chat on the latest Brexit discussions between Lord Green, Chairman of Asia House and Anne Ruth Herkes, Former State Secretary at German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The immersive dialogue focused on the difficulty of securing a deal before the extended deadline and the potential impact that exiting the EU will have on the UK’s power in trade negotiations.

The next panel explored how FinTech, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionising international trade and ease of doing business. Technology and finance experts from across the Mena region discussed means of collaboration between private companies and government entities to help foster innovation and identify growth opportunities across various trade routes.

The last panel, titled ‘Shifting Energy Trends: The Rise of Renewables’, debated the ongoing challenges for major oil economies with the continuous growth in the renewable energy sector. With China’s growing importance as a pivotal player in renewable technology, the debate circled around the Middle East Markets’ natural shift towards Asia to help expedite their diversification efforts.

Other conference speakers included: Kyle Boag, regional head of International Subsidiary Banking Menat, HSBC; Neil Cuthbert, senior legal advisor Middle East, Dentons & Co; Flynt Leverett, Professor of International Affairs and former US Government senior director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council; Sunil Veetil – regional head of trade and receivables finance, HSBC Mena; Anthony Butler, chief technology officer for IBM’s blockchain practice, Middle East and Africa; Andrew Sims, chief executive officer of NEC Payments and an executive director of Bahrain FinTech Bay; Luan Tian, director of global incubation, Innoway; Michelle Davies, head of Clean Energy and Sustainability, Eversheds Sutherland; and Daniel Calderon, co-founder and chief executive officer, Alcazar Energy. – TradeArabia News Service


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Foreign exchange questions and answers

Michael zhou. Status: ResolvedAnswers: 3Foreign trade – MCQs with answershttps://www. The solutions will be available for downloading Each …


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China risks 'the legitimacy of the Communist Party's regime' without changes, says law professor

Central to the ongoing trade war with the United States have been issues raised by US President Donald Trump surrounding forced technology …


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Trump wants China to raise its offer to buy US goods to strike a trade deal, sources say

U.S. officials seeking a China trade deal are focused on long-term changes to that nation’s economy. But President Donald Trump is set on reducing the trade deficit, and is pushing his negotiators to get China to agree to purchase more goods, according to two people briefed on discussions.

China has offered to purchase up to $1.2 trillion in U.S. energy, agriculture and aircraft products over a period of six years. When the offer was first reported – a month and a half after it was discussed by President Trump and President Xi Jinping at the G20 in Buenos Aires – the market jumped, a signal that investors viewed the offer as a substantial bargaining chip to win over the president.

But Trump has long wanted a number “double or triple” China’s $1.2 trillion proposal, these people said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the discussions. He renewed his desire for a larger purchase deal in recent weeks, they said, following data that revealed the U.S.-China trade gap was widening.

In 2018, the U.S. posted a record $891 billion trade deficit with China, according to figures released March 6 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The deficit of U.S. goods – the metric of most importance to Trump and his China hawks – reached a record $419 billion. The data showed a sharp decrease in China’s import of U.S. goods in the fourth quarter as trade tensions escalated.

Closing the trade deficit was a pillar of Trump’s 2016 campaign and a promise he wants to keep before he enters re-election season. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No.2 House Democrat, seized on the data, saying Trump “flunked the test he set for himself.” A White House official declined to comment.

The worry, two sources said, is that a ballooning trade deficit would dwarf even a trillion-dollar investment that’s spread over a number of years. But assembling an exponentially larger proposal would face challenges.

Brad Setser, senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, said China could boost the total figure in its offer if it further opened up its market to U.S. pork, beef, rice or corn, where there’s already existing demand.

But unless China dramatically and permanently shifts its sourcing of goods, or repackages previously disclosed orders, it would be “impossible” to reach a figure in the trillions.

“It’s a little hard to see how you get big numbers with honest accounting,” Setser said.

Further complicating any purchase offer is the limit to the items that could potentially be included. Boeing jets are the biggest-ticket items the Chinese could add, but China’s appetite to buy more has stalled with the global grounding of the 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets. And while China wants to buy more semiconductors and advanced technology, U.S. officials have raised security concerns about allowing them to do so.

“If China’s not able to buy more Boeing jets – and China’s not allowed to buy sensitive technology and defense products – there’s not a lot of room to increase the preferred shopping list,” said Gene Ma, head of China Research at the Institute of International Finance.

President Trump’s advisors have sought to steer his focus in negotiations to the long-term, or so-called structural, change issues in China’s economy that must be fixed to rebalance the trading relationship going forward. In Congressional testimony, television interviews and briefings with reporters, they’ve consistently said no deal will happen without sustainable, enforceable changes.

Chinese officials have continued to propose offers that play to President Trump’s deficit desires. Sitting across from Pres. Trump in the Oval Office in late January, Vice Premier Liu He announced that China would buy 5 million metric tons of soybeans – an announcement that Amb. Lighthizer later told reporters took him by surprise.

“The answer is yes – it was a surprise announcement, in the sense that I didn’t know about it until a very short time before,” Lighthizer said on Jan. 31.

In a hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee a month later, Lighthizer talked about the views of Chinese Americans on existing tensions, and the areas where they agree with his own personal stance on talks.

“I have found that Chinese Americans… will say, ‘Hang tough, we need structural change, this is the only way we are going to get structural change,'” Lighthizer told lawmakers. “‘Don’t cave; don’t sell out for soybeans.'”


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World trade by country

If your business is Trade Shows, Customs, Trade Finance, Inspection, Insurance, Trade Laws, Trade Solutions, Translation or involves in foreign trade …


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Hungary Opens Foreign Trade Mission in Jerusalem

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened Hungary’s foreign trade mission in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Szijjártó emphasised Hungary and Israel’s “true friendship”, saying that the trade mission and the organisation of a Hungarian cultural year in the country were signs of the significance Hungary attaches to its relationship with Israel.

The global economy and world politics are undergoing major and swift changes, Szijjártó said, adding that these changes were having a big impact on small open economies like Hungary.

The Hungarian economy, he said, “is entering a new dimension” in which the focus would be on innovation.

Israeli companies develop and use the most state-of-the-art technologies, and it is in the interest of Hungary and Hungarian firms to cooperate closely with them, the minister said. This is why, he said, Hungary had decided to open a trade mission in Jerusalem.

Szijjártó said Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 555 million euro credit line to promote bilateral business ties.

As regards the two countries’ friendship, the minister said Hungary had always fought for a “fair and balanced approach” to Israel on the part of the international community.

Szijjártó added that Hungary will not implement the European Commission’s decision to label products from Israeli settlements. Hungary believes that closer and more dynamic cooperation is needed between the European Union and Israel, he said.

Foreign Minister: ‘Israeli Companies Satisfied with Hungarian Environment for Doing Business’

Netanyahu also underscored the significance of the trade mission, noting that the announcement of the mission’s opening had been made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán when he visited Jerusalem last month.

Netanyahu said the two countries’ friendship and trade relations were closer than ever before.

The prime minister expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support for Israel at international forums and its strong stand against anti-Semitism.

On the featured photo: Péter Szijjártó and Benjamin Netanyahu opening the trade mission. Photo by Mitko Sztojcsev/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade


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Margins improve for DHL Global Forwarding | Brazil Modal

DGF trades air and ocean freight market share for higher profitability as division seeks to match ‘conversion ratio’ of better-performing peers.

Deutsche Post DHL group’s freight management business DHL Global Forwarding (DGF) today reported significant improvements in its gross profit margins as the unit continued with its strategy to trade market share for higher profitability in order to match the ‘conversion ratio’ margins of its better-performing peers.

It said the Global Forwarding, Freight division “can look back on a successful year in 2018”, in which the division increased revenues by 3.4% to €15 billion, “despite focusing on only high-margin business”. Adjusted for negative currency effects, revenue improved by an even more substantial 6.7%.

“Gross profit, an important performance indicator for Global Forwarding, Freight, also performed strongly with an increase of 3.9% over the prior year to €3.6 billion,” the company highlighted, with the division registering gross profit margin improvements in both air and ocean freight. Road and rail transport in Europe “also showed a positive development”.

As in the first nine months, the division “succeeded in translating its upward trend in gross profit into a significant EBIT increase”, the company said, noting that “operating profit surged 48.8% to reach €442 million in the full year 2018, thus demonstrating that the initiatives to improve cost efficiency are taking effect.”

Drilling down into the various business activities, the company’s air freight volumes dropped by 3.9% in 2018, “due mainly to structural adjustments in the customer portfolio”. Revenue increased by 6.9% compared with the previous year, thanks to rising freight rates worldwide. Gross profit from air freight improved by 9.2%.

Air freight revenue rose by 10.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018, while gross profit improved by 14.6%, despite a volume decline of 3.6% versus the exceptionally strong prior-year fourth quarter for the air freight market.

Meanwhile, ocean freight volumes managed by DHL in 2018 were 1% below the level of the previous year. “Here, too, we focused increasingly upon a high-margin volumes,” the company explained.

Revenue from ocean freight remained at the previous year’s level, while gross profit improved slightly by 0.9%. Ocean freight revenue rose by 4.5% and ocean freight volume by 0.5% in the fourth quarter.

The performance of DGF’s industrial project business “improved significantly compared with the previous year. The share of revenue related to industrial project business and reported increased from 25.6% in the prior year to 30%. Gross profit improved by 9.4%,” DGF said.

Revenue in the Freight business unit, the group’s European overland transport business, rose by 2.3% to €4.45 billion in the year under review, and increased from €4.35 billion in 2017, despite negative currency affects of €84 million. The 6.5% volume growth was mainly driven by e-commerce-based business in Sweden and less-than-truckload business in Germany. The business unit’s gross profit raised by 3.4% to €1.117 billion.

In terms of outlook, the company highlighted a number of global economic risk factors weighing on expected growth, noting: “After two strong years in succession, we expect growth in the global trade flows relevant to us (air and ocean freight shipped in containers) to slow somewhat in 2019. All in all, we anticipate an increase of 3.6%.”


Source: Lloyd’s


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Saudi Arabia and Iran vie for influence in Iraq with competing trade delegations

A joint Iraqi-Saudi coordination council meeting will convene in April to enhance economic and commercial ties between the neighbouring nations, a statement by the Iraqi Presidency said on Saturday.

A delegation led by Saudi Minister of Trade Majid Al Kassabi arrived in Baghdad on Thursday, meeting with several top Iraqi officials to discuss the council’s next steps.

“Iraq seeks to create a system of common economic interests with the Kingdom and the countries of the region in general,” the statement said.

Baghdad wants to become a “platform for the achievement of prosperity and progress for the region,” said the statement.

In October 2017, two months before Iraq declared victory over ISIS, the two nations decided to establish the council to help rebuild devastated areas retaken from the militants in Iraq.

During his visit, Mr Al Kassabi held talks with Iraqi President Barham Salih to discuss how how Saudi businesses can support development projects in Iraq.

The meeting between the two officials touched upon the memorandum of understandings that will be signed during next month’s meeting in Baghdad.

Mr Al Kassabi said the Kingdom is ready to cooperate with Baghdad in the fields of economy, oil and electricity.

The Saudi trade minister also said the Arar border crossing is expected to re-open for the first time since 1990 by the end of this year, in an effort to boost trade ties.

Relations between Riyadh and Baghdad became limited following the 1991 Iraq invasion of Kuwait. It wasn’t until the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 that a new political opening appeared.

For war-torn Iraq, the Kingdom’s investment could be crucial for spurring economic growth.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is expected to visit Saudi Arabia soon.

The Kingdom views efforts to strengthen relations with Iraq as a way to curb Iran’s influence in the region.

The 2015 opening of the Saudi embassy in Baghdad and consulates in the cities of Najaf and Basra were key developments in this policy. This was followed in 2017 by a visit by then Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir to Baghdad and resumption of regular flights between the two countries.

Meanwhile officials from Tehran were also in Baghdad last week in a bid to strengthen trade and economic ties.

A delegation led by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Baghdad last Monday for a three-day visit that saw the signing of multiple preliminary deals.

Updated: March 17, 2019 05:46 PM


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Swedish ports strike averted after labour deal | Brazil Modal

Decade-long conflict ends and nationwide port strikes halted, as the Swedish Dockworkers Union and Ports of Sweden sign off on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The long-running Swedish waterfront saga has finally been resolved after port employers and unions agreed a new collective bargaining deal for dockworkers.

With the threat of nationwide strikes looming, the Swedish Dockworkers Union (Hamnarbetarförbundet), which represents around half of workers across the country’s wharves, signed off an eleventh-hour deal with the Ports of Sweden employer association.

Swedish ports have been subject to significant disruption over the past few months. The SDU had demanded a new collective bargaining agreement for its members similar to the existing arrangement in place with the Swedish Transport Workers’ Union (Tjänstemannaförbundet), which it shares Sweden’s port labour workforce alongside.

In the absence of its own deal, the SDU had been at loggerheads with port employers in Sweden for decades.

Labour disputes flared up on numerous occasions and at various ports, causing major cargo disruption.

Most notably and as recent as 2016 was at APM Terminals Gothenburg, Sweden’s largest box hub, where sporadic walkouts ensued for more than a year and were estimated to have cost the country’s economy more than $500m.

There was cause for optimism in January when mediators and Ports of Sweden agreed on a draft CBA for SDU members. However, this was rejected by the SDU, which claimed it ignored pleas for future contract negotiations and legal representation of members at a local level.

In response, the SDU notified employers of a series of intermittent strikes, which was met with subsequent lockouts.

By the end of February, more than 120 strikes had been held at facilities across the country, including at the largest port, Gothenburg, as well as at Malmö and Halmstad.

After rejecting a second proposal put forward by mediators last month, the SDU informed employers of a full-scale walkout by all its members from March 6, which had the potential to bring Sweden’s ocean gateways to a standstill.

However, the conflict came to an end last night after Ports of Sweden and the SDU agreed a deal within the mediatory framework.

“This is a secondary contract, which means that the terms of employment for all port workers in the ports will continue to be regulated by our collective agreement with the STWU, which is the first signed agreement in the industry,” said Ports of Sweden head negotiator Joakim Ärlund.

SDU president Eskil Rönér told Lloyd’s List that the new CBA has been nearly 50 years in the making, yet crucially gives its members the security and rights it has long fought for.

“Our struggle has finally paid off and the members I have spoken to so far are very happy,” said Mr Rönér.

The dispute has been resolved as Port of Gothenburg appointed a new chief executive, according to Swedish media. Elvir Dzanic, vice-president of CEVA Logistics, which is currently in the process of being taken over by CMA CGM, will replace Magnus Karestedt in June. Mr Karestedt has spent more than 15 years at the port.


Source: Lloyd’s


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2018 German trade with Russia up 26%


The German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Trade [ANK] sees good prospects in Russian business despite sanctions.

We note: The German-Russian Chamber of Foreign Trade is the representative of German companies in Russia and Russian companies in Germany. It currently has 874 member companies, making it the largest foreign trade association in Russia. The number of companies with German equity participation in Russia at the end of 2018 was 4,461.

Facts on the ground give a reality that is in stark contrast to the EU Parliament’s passage of the Latvian resolution: “Today [March 12], five years after the occupation of Crimea, we stress that there is no return to business as usual until Russia fully restores the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We need to reassess the basis of our relations with Russia as it can no longer be considered a strategic partner.”

The ANK report follows:

German companies invested so heavily in Russia last year that their net direct investment increased by 26% to € 2 billion compared to the previous year. This is evident from statistics of the German Federal Bank, which were analyzed by the AHK.

Broken down by quarters, the following picture emerges:

1st quarter: 1.035 billion euros
2nd quarter: – 140 million euros
3rd quarter: 1.621 billion euros
4th quarter: – 438 million euros

The fourth quarter saw an investment decline as cash flows tended to be lower in recent months. In addition, profits generated at the end of the year will be transferred back to the parent companies in Germany.

“The total value is one of the highest since the collapse of the Soviet Union,” said AHK CEO Matthias Schepp. “Russia is a big market and an interesting land for investment.” The low ruble exchange rate and a high level of education are good prerequisites for building or buying a factory in the largest country in the world. In the Doing Business Index of the World Bank, Russia has improved from 124th place to 31st place since 2011.

“The economic reform movement has not derailed despite the internal political hardening and the ongoing confrontation with the West,” says Matthias Schepp. “In some areas, under pressure from relatively low oil and gas prices and Western sanctions, the Russian government has succeeded in significantly improving the investment climate.”

According to the latest business climate survey conducted by the AHK and the East-East European Association (OAOEV), 56% of German companies operating in Russia have increased their turnover and one in three plans to invest further in 2019.

German-Russian trade also rose by 8.4% to € 61.9 billion in 2018, returning to its highest level of € 81 billion in 2012. The positive development is also reflected in the number of members of AHK, which has grown by 10% to 874 companies over the past two years.



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