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Germany makes independent decisions: Merkel tells Trump

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Merkel's EU migration deal

BRUSSELS: Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said Germany makes “independent decisions”, firing back at US President Donald Trump after he accused Berlin of being a “captive” of Russia.

“I myself have also experienced a part of Germany being occupied by the Soviet Union,” Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, said as she arrived at a tense NATO summit. “I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions.”

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Merkel warns Trump

i) German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against unleashing an all-out trade war after he threatened to impose steep tariffs on cars from the European Union. Both sides were already locked in a “trade conflict” since Trump’s decision to slap punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, said Merkel, adding that “it is worthwhile to prevent this conflict from becoming a real war”. The EU has slapped tariffs on iconic US products including bourbon, jeans, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as a symbolic tit-for-tat response to the metals duties. Taking aim at Trump over his complaint that the EU, and in particular Germany, is running a massive trade surplus against the US, Merkel said that his calculation is skewed as it is based only on goods, not services. (Published on 4th July 2018) 

ii) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she would back opening talks with trading partners on lowering automobile tariffs, in what appeared to be an olive branch to US President Donald Trump as the EU battles to dissuade him from imposing hefty levies on European cars. But Merkel said that any negotiations on lowering tariffs in one area could only be conducted with “all the countries with which we have traded in cars,” rather than just with the United States. A deal with the US alone “would not conform with WTO” rules, she said. “We can either have negotiations about a wide range of tariffs, for 90 percent of goods,” Merkel said in a reference to the stalled talks for a transatlantic free-trade deal known as TTIP.

“Or we can talk about one type of goods, but then we must accord the same treatment to all trading partners of the world. That’s an option I could imagine,” she added. Merkel’s offer came after US ambassador in Berlin, Richard Grenell, hosted bosses of Germany’s biggest car firms for talks on Wednesday when he called on the EU to bring tariffs to zero on car imports — in exchange for equal treatment by the US. Noting that the EU will negotiate as a bloc, Merkel said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker would be heading to Washington for talks in a bid to head off a trade war with the US. Trump on Sunday charged that Europe is “possibly as bad as China” on trade, as he reiterated that he is mulling import taxes of 20 percent on EU cars, after having already imposed punitive duties on steel and aluminum. (Published on 6th July 2018) 

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Imran assures KCCI members of making business-friendly policies!

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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan today assured the business community that he would formulate short and long-term business-friendly policies with institutional reforms, if voted to power on July 25.
He said he was there to convey a message that after the success of PTI in the election, he and his team would make serious efforts to strengthen the economy and extend maximum support to the private sector. Addressing members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, Imran claimed that the PTI government would work on the national agenda of social and economic uplift of the country, not like the other parties, whose leadership pursued their personal agenda and interests.
He referred to the success stories of Dr. Mahatir Muhammad of Malaysia, Erdogan of Turkey and Nelson Mandela of Africa. He alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party leadership used their party governments for promoting their businesses and increasing their wealth. On the other hand, after forming the government he and his cabinet members would not be involved in any business or other activity which was aimed at earning money, he claimed. He said Pakistan was rich in resources and only their exploitation and better management was required. The PTI government would transform the country into a progressive, modern and welfare state, he added.
The PTI chief said unemployment was the number one issue of the country, which could be resolved through better economic planning and policies with a focus on rapid growth of the industry by the private sector. He said it was dire need to bring reforms in national institutions, especially in the Federal Board of Revenue which had failed to deliver. It had generated revenue by squeezing the business community instead of providing incentives to trade and industry for economic prosperity in the country.
Imran said the country would not forward unless there was a good governance and merit prevailed. He said the PTI government would construct five million low-cost houses in the country with the help of private sector. It would also give a boost to 50 other industries. ” We will encourage setting up of small construction companies to accomplish this task,” he said.
He recounted his party’s achievements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially in education, health sectors and reforming the police. Imran Khan said he was aware of Karachi’s social and economic issues. The city lacked ownership from major political parties in Sindh. However, his party would not only provide it ownership but would turn it into the best international city on the pattern of main cities of advanced countries. Like London, Karachi should have a directly elected mayor, he added. Karachi, he said, had big potential and had been contributing a lot towards the country’s prosperity.
The PTI chief urged the business community to be vocal against wrong policies or actions harming the country’s economy and interests. He assured full support to them on their genuine issues. The KCCI leadership apprised the PTI chief of the issues confronting the trade and industry.

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Food exports surge 29.28pc to over $4.797 billion

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ISLAMABAD: The food exports from the country surged by 29.28 percent during the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18 against the exports of the same period of last year.
The food exports from the country were recorded at $4797.936 million during July-June (2017-18) against the exports of $3711.159 million during July-June (2016-17), showing growth of 29.28 percent, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics(PBS).
Among the food products, the exports of rice increased by 26.78 percent by growing from $1606.834 million last year to $2037.075 million. Among the rice varieties, exports of basmati rice increased by 19.14 percent while the exports of other rice commodities increased by 29.78 percent.
Meanwhile, the exports of fish and fish preparations from the country increased by 14.57 percent by growing from $393.662 million to $451.026 million while the exports of fruits increased by 5.08 percent by going up from $184.016 million to $241.426 million.
Likewise, the exports of vegetables increased by 30.56 percent, from $184.916 million to $241.426 million whereas the exports of tobacco increased by 76.01 percent, from $14.813 million to $26.073 million.
Sugar exports from the country increased by 215 percent, from $161.039 million to $508.333 million while the wheat exports went up from $1.038 million to $236.339 million, showing growth of 22668 percent.
Exports of meat and meat preparation increased by 2.26 percent by growing from $220.662 million last year to $225.646 million during July-June (2017-18), the PBS data revealed.
The food products that witnessed negative growth in exports included leguminous vegetables, exports of which declined by cent percent. The exports of oilseeds, nuts, and kernels also decreased by 21.35 percent.
It is pertinent to mention here that the overall merchandise exports from the country surged by 13.74 percent during the fiscal year 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal year (2016-17).
The exports from the country during July-June (2017-18) were recorded at $23.228 billion against the exports of $20.422 billion in July-June (2016-17), showing growth of 13.74 percent, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
Imports into the country during the period also increased by 15.10 percent by going up from $52.910 billion in FY 2016-17 to $60.898 billion during FY 2017-18.
Based on the figures, the external trade deficit during the outgoing fiscal year 2017-18 increased by 15.95 compared to last year.
The trade deficit during FY 2017-18 was recorded at $ 37.670 billion against the deficit of $32.488 billion in FY 2016-17.

 

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Pakistan Business Council delegation meets Finance Minister

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ISLAMABAD: A delegation of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) led by Ehsan Malik and Bashir Ali Mohammad met Finance Minister, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar here on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by Secretaries of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform, Ministry of Energy and Chairperson Federal Board of Revenue and additional secretary of the Ministry of Commerce.PBC made a comprehensive presentation of the issues facing the corporate sector and shared proposals for strengthening the overall business environment and steps that could help boost different sectors of the economy.
Concern was expressed regarding the trend towards de-industrialization in the country as Pakistan industry lacked competitiveness given the high cost of power and gas and faces difficult business environment because of distortions in incentive framework and inconsistencies of policy regime.
The PBC delegation advocated for the provision of energy at competitive costs and addressing in a more holistic manner, the inefficiencies of DISCOs including their eventual privatization that has resulted in high cost of power to industry.
At the same time, PBC emphasized broadening of tax base, reduction in indirect taxes and cascading duty structure.
The delegates called for reduction and simplification and reduction in the number of taxes through the unification of multiple taxes and reduction in tax rates to strengthen tax compliance.
The delegation also laid emphasis on the provision of the level playing field with the informal sector, with focus on steps for ease of doing business that would ultimately revitalize growth of industry and thus generate jobs, exports, and revenues for the national exchequer to invest in social development.
The delegation observed that there was a need to effectively tap the potential in the country’s housing sector as it could help generate a large number of job opportunities annually.
PBC called for the establishment of a High-level Council including political leadership as well as independent and corporate experts tasked to develop deeper structural reforms and achieve broader acceptability and consensus from various quarters concerned.
Finance Minister appreciated the proposals put forth by the delegation, saying these would be valuable for the future elected government and PBC should send their detail tax and other proposals to the government so work can be launched by relevant ministries for consideration of the new government.
The Minister also stressed on lifting the quality standards of local products at par with international standards, saying this was necessary to discourage imports.
The minister agreed on the need for a more effective stakeholder consultation mechanism as it is critical that effective proposals offered to get adopted and implemented by the government.
Pakistan industry needs to examine all options of managing their competitiveness and she agreed on the need for dealing with root causes of the energy liabilities such as transmission and distribution losses that have aggravated the circular debt problem.
The Minister underscored private sector explores options for boosting exports and availing of the opportunity offered by the establishment of Special Economic Zones.
There was an agreement that in few areas PBC will send more detailed proposals, meanwhile, the Secretaries will work towards taking up the suggested reforms with new Government.

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