Hong Kong (CNN) – The United States may be on the cusp of the cheapest stimulus package its citizens can imagine - in the form of a free trade agreement with the European Union across the Atlantic Ocean, according to Karel de Gucht, the EU’s trade commissioner.
But Mexico's candidate for the top job at the World Trade Organization said a deal between the two could pose problems in Geneva.
“The challenge that is posed by the negotiations between the EU and the US is enormous,” said Herminio Blanco.
“We think it's a no-brainer that the United States and Europe should be in negotiations to have a comprehensive, ambitious agenda to not only lower tariffs…but also to deal with regulatory issues, to deal with services,” said Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce to CNN’s Richard Quest.
Responding to Quest’s challenge that such an endeavor could not be achieved in “our lifetime”, Brilliant said he is mistaken.
“I'll tell you why you're wrong about that. The United States needs jobs. We have an OK economy. We've seen a resurgence in manufacturing. We've seen a potential for a reduction of energy prices, right? But we need a global economic agenda.”
In a lively exchange best watched in the video here or above, Brilliant said the biggest impediments to US-EU success for a free trade agreement - already valued at $5 billion - is regulatory.
(CNN) - In a first for a U.S. credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor's has received official notice from Washington that it will face a civil lawsuit over imprecise ratings - now criticized as being too high by analysts, U.S. lawmakers and even S&P itself - of mortgage-backed investments that eventually contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
Many of those investments received AAA ratings, a grade which implies highest safety and least risk, but imploded as the U.S. housing bubble burst.
As S&P awaits further word from the U.S. Department of Justice, ratings agencies Moody's and Fitch will be watching to see if they are next.
Chicago (CNN) – The first clue was in the window. The Obama-Biden poster told me that the Old Ale Town House in Chicago was not going to be a bastion of neutrality. But it got more extreme inside. There we were greeted by a subversive scene of anti-Republican sentiment. Every inch of wall space in this self-styled dive bar, with its local draft ales and a musty sense of history, was covered in bawdy caricatures of famous Republicans. In pride of place above the bar was a naked Sarah Palin, standing proudly on the skin of a polar bear and brandishing a rifle. But considering all this obvious partisan sentiment, the two dozen or so patrons who settled down to watch the vice-presidential debate were remarkably well behaved.
Japan has won back its top spot as the most important partner of the United States in Asia, moving China to the second spot, according to an opinion poll of the "general public" conducted in the United States.
The survey asked 1,200 people in the continental United States to select the most important U.S. partner from a list that included Japan, China, Russia, India, Korea and Australia.
Hong Kong (CNN) – When Internet giant Yahoo bought a 40% piece of Chinese business-to-business online company Alibaba in 2005, the $1 billion deal was hailed as a unique coup for the U.S. web site – and a quick way to get a stronger toehold among China’s then-100 million online users.
What a difference seven years makes.
In recent months Yahoo has seen its CEO Carol Bartz and founder Jerry Yang shown the door, followed this week of four board members – including the chairman – departing, as shareholders lose patience with the firm’s performance.
(CNN) – What does the U.S. Fed know that we don’t?
That is the question investors have been asking themselves ever since the central bank unveiled its intention to extend its plan to keep interest rates ultra low through late 2014. Why would they need to do that when the recovery seems to be picking up steam, as witnessed in the latest jobs report?
That is exactly what I put to Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker when I sat down with him in Washington D.C.
“It is not an unconditional pledge. I think that it is clear because everyone recognizes, on the committee and more broadly, if things pick up we can change paths and raise rates before that. Does this mean policy is easier than it otherwise would have been? I am not so sure,” said Lacker.
(CNN) – The global research department of HSBC has released a report predicting the rise and fall of the world’s economies in the next 40 years.
The world’s top economy in 2050 will be China, followed by the United States. No surprises there – since China’s reforms in the 1980s, economists have said it’s not a question of if, but when, China’s collective economic might will top the U.S.
But among the smaller, developing nations, there are several surprises by HSBC prognosticators:
Hong Kong (CNN) – China's mighty industrial machine is stalling. New figures today show something that will be worrying authorities.
First the broad numbers: An index put together by HSBC – with no government input - shows a reading in November of 48. Anything over 50 shows that factories are increasing production, under 50 they are cutting back.
The figure is perhaps not surprising given that China's two big export regions, Europe and the U.S., are in deep trouble. But it's not exports that are drying up, it is local demand. And that could be a problem.
Export orders actually grew in November, while domestic demand shrank as a result of all the moves taken by the Chinese authorities over the last 18 months to cool the overheating property market.
Hong Kong (CNN) – China has surpassed the U.S. last quarter to become the world’s largest market for smartphones, according to a report by Strategy Analytics.
In the third quarter of this year, smartphone shipments were just shy of 24 million units, up 58%, according to the report released Wednesday. In the same quarter, smartphone units shipped in the U.S. fell 7% to 23.3 million units.
Nokia leads the smartphone market with a 28% share in China, followed by Samsung with a 17.6% share. HTC is the top maker in the U.S. with 24% market share, followed by Apple with just over 20%, according to the report. The U.S. still leads the world in smartphone sales by revenue, the authors of the report note.
Cannes, France (CNN)- It wasn't the kickoff to the Cannes G20 summit that we'd expected.
The official opening Thursday was hijacked by an emergency meeting late Wednesday evening hastily arranged by host French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the dock: the Greek PM hauled in front of European leaders and banking chiefs to answer charges that he was jeopardizing the entire eurozone project after his shock announcement to call a referendum on the October 27 European Debt deal.
Things couldn't be worse, right?
Well maybe not. FULL POST
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