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.
Hong Kong (CNN) - For Renault-Nissan, relativity may help manage expectations for a 2013 already predicted to end in the red.
“The (automobile) market in Europe continues to decline and the contraction is even bigger than what we have foreseen,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn to CNN’s Richard Quest.
“Even with this very bad start to the year… we’re going to go from a very bad market to a bad market. Instead of having an 8% decline, we’re going to probably see something like (a) 3% to 5% decline for the year.”
The Brazilian-born auto chief made the forecast at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. The annual event opens to the public Thursday.
European governments can help automakers, Ghosn added, by bringing predictability to the economy and “eliminating uncertainty”.
“One of the reasons consumers are not buying cars or other goods is because they are uncertain about the future.”
As head of Japan’s Nissan Motor Company since 1999, Ghosn said he hopes the country’s new government of Shinzo Abe will bring the currency to a “historic level” of 110 to the dollar.
Since October 1, the yen has already risen nearly 20% and currently hovers near 93 yen to the dollar thanks to Abe's promises for a weaker yen, looser monetary policy and pledges of fiscal stimulus.
“Finally we have a government which has a vision and trying to do something about deflation (in) Japan.”
(CNN) – Not even six months ago, eurozone watchers had been prognosticating a breakup of the 17-member bloc of nations as the euro plunged to a 25-month low against the U.S. dollar last July.
But since then, the euro has appreciated nearly 11% as its member countries battled to contain sovereign debt crises, rising unemployment and social unrest. The euro now stands at a 13-month high against the greenback.
And flying in the face of last year’s critics, Jean-Claude Trichet, the former chief of the European Central Bank told CNN’s Nina dos Santos that the euro “was never about to collapse” and that its viability as a currency is solid.
“The euro as a currency has never been put in question,” asserted Trichet while at the same time admitting the euro area’s financial stability and credit worthiness had been tested.
But as G20 finance ministers head to Moscow this week for another summit, fears of a currency war continue to loom large. Read more here to find out the details of what Trichet calls a euro "recipe for catastrophe".
(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.
(CNN) – If you’re not South Korean, it may surprise you to know that Samsung is not just about smartphones. The hugely successful multinational has business investments in everything from military hardware to shipbuilding and hospitals. If you’re in the market for a new house you can buy a Samsung apartment. If you want to go to an amusement park there’s one made by Samsung outside the capital Seoul.
Daniel Tudor, author of Korea: The Impossible Country, tells CNN’s Matthew Chance that South Koreans view Samsung’s success with mixed emotions. On one hand, they are proud of a home-grown brand rising in prominence at home and abroad. On the other hand, Samsung has enormous economic, and thus, political clout which can lead to problems. Based on revenue, Samsung and all its interests account for a full one-fifth of South Korea’s entire economy.
(CNN) – On January 30, a Hague ruling found that a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary was in part to blame for oil pollution of the Niger Delta. Shell had alleged that criminals – who dug up its pipelines and drilled holes to steal product – were the root of the problem.
Peter Voser, Royal Dutch Shell CEO, spoke with CNN’s Nina dos Santos with his reaction to the court finding that all “all four cases were sabotage” and “not done by Shell”. Voser added the company applies global standards to its operations and the Nigeria incident “will not change the way we do business”.
(CNN) - This week the European Union Chamber of Commerce released this survey on Chinese investor perceptions of Europe.
The study, which drew responses from 74 Chinese enterprises that have already invested in the EU, found that a full 97% would make future investments in the region; however 78% of those surveyed said they faced operational difficulties, mostly related to bureaucracy and high costs.
Pauline Chiou, CNN’s World Business Today anchor, spoke with Davide Cucino for his own reflections on the survey. The President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce said a transparent regulatory framework, good opportunities for merger and acquisition operations and a large market of 500 million potential consumers makes Europe an “ideal place to do business”.
While China demands more than a 50% stake in any Western company that sets up operations in Asia’s largest economy, the EU’s Cucino says the business environment of Europe will be “resiliently open”.
(CNN) – The role of women in economic decision-making, religious tolerance in the 21st Century and the future of the eurozone stand out as a few of the must-watch panels Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
While thousands of global economic, political and civil leaders have paid tens of thousands of dollars to personally attend this year’s summit, you can watch many sessions online and on-demand – without breaking the bank.
Friday’s highlights include the following:
1. “The Economic Malaise and Its Perils”
As the global economy continues its slow crawl back to health, this session looks at the impacts it has left in its wake including high unemployment, loss of wealth and political instability.
2. “Women in Economic Decision-making”
With women still greatly under-represented at the highest levels of global economic decision-making, this panel looks at ways to encourage more females to pursue degrees in business and economic-related fields and how to overcome mid-career development hurdles.
Featured speakers include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
3. “Open Forum: Is Religion Outdated in the 21st Century?”
While religions are the oldest institutions in the world, they are the slowest to respond to modern issues such as drugs, homosexuality and family relationships. This session questions whether the world is becoming more or less religious, asks if religion teaches tolerance and delves into the balance of freedoms of speech and religion.
Speakers include Chief Rabbi of the Conference of European Rabbis (Russia) Pinchas Goldschmidt, U.K. National Office for Vocation Director Christopher Jamison, U.S. Catholic Health Association President Carol Keehan and Jakarta Globe Group Chief Editor Shoeb Kagda.
(CNN) – While thousands of global economic, political and civil leaders have paid tens of thousands of dollars to personally attend this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with an internet connection you can watch many sessions online and on-demand – with a click of a button and without breaking the bank.
Wednesday’s highlights include the following: FULL POST
(CNN) – While some babies in India are snapped on smartphones the second they are born and their pictures shared on Facebook, others never get access to the internet in their lifetime.
Bangalore is known as India's Silicon Valley because the city is a hub of technology entrepreneurs and home to some of the world's top global software companies, but the paradox is that many of its residents have never surfed the Web.
India might have the world's second highest number of Facebook users, but according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Internet penetration across the entire population is still below 10 percent.
In the UK and U.S. it is 80 percent.
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