President Trump, though often plumping for cheap manufacturers overseas when it comes to his own merchandise, has long blamed global trade arrangements for taking away American factory jobs: now the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, strongly endorsed by his predecessor, is going to lack US support, with NAFTA also in line for replacement by bilateral trade agreements. The BBC make the point that "[TPP] was a not-so-secret gambit to box in China, which is not part of the agreement....It included measures to enforce labour and environmental standards, copyrights, patents and other legal protections." A full 40 percent of the world's economy had signed up for the deal, with the idea being to create a single market along the lines of the Common Market as was formed in Europe in the late 1950s. With the stroke of a pen, the agreement seems now to be a dead letter.
The road to Brexit may still be daunting, but at least the route is better mapped out than it was this time yesterday, as the Supreme Court in London handed down its judgment in the case of Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The upshot is that an "Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give Notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union." Prime Minister May plans to formally notify Brussels of Britain's intention to withdraw by 31 March: this deadline should still be realistic, although both chambers in Westminster will have to debate and give their assent. However, there is no obligation to involve lawmakers in the regional assemblies and parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the triggering of Article 50. Commenting on the ruling, Alexander Pelopidas, partner at solicitors Rosling King LLP, said: "The government will need to tread carefully in respect of the bill that they propose to Parliament which opens the door potentially for politicking. Whilst a one-line bill could, legally, give the government the authority it needs, it could be open to further legal challenge on the basis that it does not provide enough detail. Conversely, a more detailed bill could open the door for MPs to propose various amendments to the bill which could delay its approval and ultimately delay the Prime Minister's current timetable for Brexit."
Meanwhile, far to the east, the last dictatorship in Europe is showing signs of opening up to modernity — and the realities of globalisation. The centralised economy of Belarus, starved of foreign investment, has moved to make it possible for citizens to hold money outside the totalitarian state's borders: "Belarus plans to scrap restrictions on people opening accounts with foreign banks, as part of a cautious drive to liberalise its economy and pull itself out of recession", reports Reuters.
China's oldest and largest P2P lender, Shanghai Paipaidai Financial Information Service (better known by its URL: Ppdai.com), is preparing for an Initial Public Offering in New York, reports the South China Morning Post. The stock offering might raise up to $200m, the report says. The unsecured P2P lending sector has come in for increased scrutiny from Beijing in recent years, as the authorities fears grow that the sums involved now threaten stability in the wider economy. New and stricter regulations are being implemented this year.
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