Month: September 2023

Raimondo warns China patience of US business is ‘wearing thin’

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo vists China

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo attends a press conference at the Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services near the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, in Shanghai, China August 30, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song Acquire Licensing Rights

WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned China in interviews broadcast on Sunday that the patience of U.S. business was “wearing thin,” saying American companies deserved a “predictable environment and a level playing field.”

The two biggest economies in the world used to be each other’s largest trade partners, but Washington now trades more with neighboring Canada and Mexico, while Beijing trades more with Southeast Asia.

While in China recently, Raimondo had said there was strong appetite among U.S. businesses to make the relationship work and that, while some actions of the Chinese government were positive, the situation on the ground needed to match the rhetoric.

“China is making it more difficult,” Raimondo told CBS’s Face the Nation. “I was very clear with China that we need to – patience is wearing thin among American business. They need and deserve a predictable environment and a level playing field. And hopefully China will heed that message so we can have a stable growing commercial relationship.”

Raimondo has said U.S. firms faced new challenges, among them unexplained large fines, raids on businesses and changes to a counterespionage law.

“I was very clear, direct and firm in all of my conversations with my Chinese counterparts,” she told CNN. “I didn’t pull any punches. I didn’t sugarcoat anything.” Raimondo also said that she had brought up to Chinese officials that her email was hacked in advance of her late August trip to China.

“They suggested that they didn’t know about it and they suggested that it wasn’t intentional,” she told CNN. “But I think it was important

Toronto developer says Liberals’ GST break prompting it to build 5,000 units


A Toronto-based real estate company says it is planning to build 5,000 new rental units in urban centres across the country as a result of the federal government’s decision to eliminate GST charges on rental developments.

The CEO of Dream Unlimited Corp., Michael Cooper, says high interest rates and construction costs had put many projects on pause.

“A lot of projects that we had hoped to be able to start haven’t pencilled out,” Cooper said.

But the federal government’s announcement that it would eliminate GST charges off rental developments — and the expectation that provinces would follow suit — has changed the calculation for Dream.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced legislation last week that would provide a 100 per cent GST rebate for new rental developments. The measure has been called for by housing experts, advocates and developers who say more incentives are needed to spur purpose-built rentals.

Cooper says the full rebate is a game-changer because while retailers can pass on the cost of a sales tax to customers, rental developers have to pay the tax themselves.

“When you build an apartment, the person paying the rent doesn’t pay (sales tax),” Cooper said. “It makes a lot of apartments uneconomical.”

The announcement from the real estate company comes with a caveat: provinces would have to waive their sales taxes, too, and average interest rates would have to stay the same.

Dream plans to begin construction of more than 1,000 rental units in Ottawa, with one of the communities being built in partnership with the Multifaith Housing Initiative, a local non-profit affordable housing organization.

The two organizations were able to present the project together to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to take advantage of cheaper financing and

Pakistan’s foreign minister invites American business leaders to explore investment opportunities

200 Pakistani Taliban militants arrested by Afghan authorities, foreign minister confirms

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Thursday confirmed that 200 members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had been arrested by Afghan authorities, saying Pakistan would ask for them to be extradited if they were not Afghan citizens.

Pakistan says the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, have become emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Authorities say the insurgents, who are allied but separate from the Afghan Taliban, have found sanctuaries and have even been living openly in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.

The TTP has stepped up its attacks on Pakistan since November last year when it unilaterally called off a tenuous peace deal that had been brokered by Kabul.

The Afghan government says it does not permit its soil to be used by armed groups against other nations.

“During our last meeting, they [Afghan Taliban] have told us about it [arrests] and we expect these [TTP] people will be kept behind bars and dealt with according to the law,” Jilani told reporters, adding that Islamabad would ask for them to be extradited if they were not Afghans.

A spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban did not respond to request for comment on the arrests.

Taliban security personnel stand guard at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Torkham on September 15, 2023. (AFP/File)

Jilani said Pakistan’s position on Palestine had not changed, amid US-sponsored efforts to normalize Israeli relations with Muslim states, including Saudi Arabia.

Israel has moved closer to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco following a US-driven diplomatic initiative in 2020 which pushed for normalization of relations. Expectations that

Breaking down barriers | Business Travel News Europe


Meanwhile, in her most recent academic study, Karl makes four recommended actions to improve service for disabled employees. These are:

Pay for the difference: From favouring direct over indirect flights to using taxis instead of public transport and needing specialised hotel rooms, travel is often more expensive for disabled travellers, thereby potentially making it non-compliant with company travel policy. It may seem common sense that exceptions can be assumed for disabled employees but in reality, says Karl, they may find seeking exceptions stressful and also not wish to advertise their disability to their line manager.

Consequently, says Karl, “We found in our study that the traveller would cover themselves the additional costs they incurred for business travel to accommodate their special needs.” The solution, she wrote in the study, is that “Each employer needs to establish central funds to cover the additional costs often borne by disabled workers when travelling for work-based purposes.”

Use specialised trip booking assistance: This could be a specialist travel agent, or either an internal assistance desk or dedicated desk at the TMC. American Express Global Business Travel consulting manager Kayleigh Rogers said her company is now making its accessibility desk created originally for the tech company client available to the rest of its customer base.

CWT is also enlarging its specialist care team because of more clients showing “a strong focus on the wellbeing of all employees”, says traveller experience vice president Ann Marie Stone. “Our intent is not to label the disability. We ask to understand the needs that are required, not necessarily the disability.”

Respect disabled travellers’ privacy: “A process by which an individual can disclose their disability to their employer without informing the direct supervisors and those in their immediate workplace needs to be created,” Karl wrote. An assistance desk

Canada’s economy shrinks, mortgage balances grow and Freeland imposes measures on Wealth One Bank: Business and investing news for Sept. 3

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The Canadian economy fell at an annualized rate of 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, bolstering the case for the Bank of Canada to hold interest rates steady next week.Chris Wattie/Reuters

Getting caught up on a week that got away? Here’s your weekly digest of The Globe’s most essential business and investing stories, with insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and more.

Canada’s economy unexpectedly contracts in second quarter

Canada’s economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter of 2023. The economy fell at an annualized rate of 0.2 per cent, led by a drop in housing investment and a pullback in consumer spending, according to Statistics Canada. Mark Rendell reports the GDP numbers came in well below both Bank of Canada and Bay Street estimates, indicating that higher interest rates may be weighing on economic activity more than previously appreciated and bolstering the case for the Bank of Canada to hold interest rates steady next week.

Freeland imposes measures on founding shareholders of Wealth One Bank

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has imposed extraordinary national security conditions against the founding investors of Wealth One Bank of Canada over their alleged ties to Beijing, according to an exclusive report from Robert Fife and Steve Chase. The three businessmen – Toronto insurance executive Shenglin Xian, grocery tycoon Yuangsheng Ou Yang, and wealthy Vancouver property developer Morris Chen – were instructed to divest their shares in the Toronto-based bank. Wealth One has also been ordered to sever all ties with the three shareholders. Both the bank and shareholders have been under investigation by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service since 2021 amid concerns of Chinese government coercion and money laundering.

Another drop in job vacancies, another sign the labour market is cooling

Canada is

US news chain Gannett sues Google, alleges online ad monopoly | Business and Economy News

Google’s control over tools for buying and selling online ads forces publishers to sell more cheap ad space, Gannett says.

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States and publisher of USA Today, has sued Google, accusing it of trying to corner the market for online advertising by monopolising ad technology.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, Gannett, which owns more than 200 daily newspapers, said Google’s control over tools for buying and selling online ads forces publishers to sell more cheap ad space to the Alphabet Inc unit.

Gannett said this leaves Google with “exorbitant monopoly profits”, and “dramatically less revenue” for publishers and its ad technology rivals.

“Digital advertising is the lifeblood of the online economy,” Gannett Chief Executive Mike Reed said in an opinion published in USA Today. “Without free and fair competition for digital ad space, publishers cannot invest in their newsrooms.”

“The core of the case and our position is that Google abuses its control over the ad server monopoly to make it increasingly difficult for rival exchanges to run competitive auctions,” Reed wrote.

Gannett said it wants “very substantial”, actual, punitive and triple damages.

“These claims are simply wrong,” Dan Taylor, vice president of Google Ads, said in a written statement. “Publishers have many options to choose from when it comes to using advertising technology to monetize – in fact, Gannett uses dozens of competing ad services, including Google Ad Manager. And when publishers choose to use Google tools, they keep the vast majority of revenue. We’ll show the court how our advertising products benefit publishers and help them fund their content online.”

The lawsuit adds to legal pressure on Mountain View, California-based Alphabet, already in the crosshairs of regulators on two continents.

On Wednesday, the European Union brought

An Opportunity for American Business in Cambodia

The United States of America remains Cambodia’s largest export market, with 37% of total exports valued at $4.2 Billion in the first half of 2023. Underscoring the importance of this relationship, the Prime Minister met with senior members of the American business community on Friday at the US-Cambodia Business Forum in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly. This event was an important opportunity for American businesses to greet the new PM and, likewise, for the new Royal Government to show support for American companies and promote Cambodia to American investors.

Meeting with US businesses during the first 100 days of taking office sent a strong message that American companies are valued at a time when many are seeking opportunities to reposition overseas investments and supply chains. Equally as important, this event was attended by representatives from the largest US companies investing in Cambodia, including Visa, Mastercard, Chevron, Abbott, and AHF Products. The presence of several large investment banks and fund managers was notable, a first for a Cambodian private-sector event in the US.

American companies have a timely opportunity as the Royal Government works to diversify the economy, emphasizing higher-value manufacturing, agriculture, and food processing industries. US companies typically compete on quality, an attribute that favors higher value chain enterprises. An example trade deal is the SCAFCO Grain Systems’ rice silos in Battambang province, Cambodia’s first-ever private-sector recipient of a loan guaranteed by the US Export-Import Bank. On the investment side, AHF Products, Cambodia’s largest fully American-owned enterprise, employs approximately 700 people in manufacturing quality goods for the US market.

For US brands, the Cambodian market, while seemingly small, is a ready fit that has lower barriers to entry than many adjacent markets. American goods and services are highly valued by Cambodian consumers, evidenced by Ford’s status

The government’s new attack on Amazon could completely restructure the giant

The Amazon case is the most ambitious gambit yet by the Federal Trade Commission to rein in the power of large tech companies and a potentially decisive test of new liberal antitrust theories taken up by the Biden administration. It is also a crucial moment for Lina Khan, the FTC’s hard-charging 34-year-old chair, who is at the vanguard of a rising cohort of progressive antitrust lawyers who increasingly populate key federal agencies.

In the past, Khan has specifically called for breaking up Amazon. If successful, the FTC suit could lead to a court-ordered restructuring of the $1.3 trillion empire.

The case challenges a host of Amazon’s business practices, including rules that the FTC says block lower prices on competing websites and policies the FTC believes force merchants to use Amazon’s logistics and advertising services.

The FTC first began investigating Amazon in 2019 during the Trump administration. The probe accelerated once Khan took over the agency, and the FTC has been drafting a complaint since late last year, POLITICO previously reported.

“The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry, and have produced greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon’s store,” David Zapolsky, Amazon senior vice president of global public policy and general counsel said in a statement. “If the FTC gets its way, the result would be fewer products to choose from, higher prices, slower deliveries for consumers, and reduced options for small businesses—the opposite of what antitrust law is designed to do. The lawsuit filed by the FTC today is wrong on the facts and the law, and we look forward to making that case in court.”

Amazon’s dominance in “online superstore[s]” for consumers and “online

Canada-India tensions jeopardizing trade | CTV News


The escalating tension between Canada and India is jeopardizing delicate trade and investment relationships that the two sides have been working for years to advance, business leaders said.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of being involved in the killing of a man wanted by authorities in that country. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh activist and Canadian citizen, was gunned down in June outside a Sikh temple in suburban Vancouver.

The situation escalated in the following days, with both sides engaging in a diplomatic tit-for-tat by expelling one another’s representatives. India has also temporarily halted all visa services for Canadian citizens.

Victor Thomas, president and CEO of the Canada-India Business Council, said this country has been trying to grow its trade relationships with India, which is the world’s biggest country by population and the world’s fastest-growing large economy.

Now, trade talks are being affected as the two countries face off, with Canada’s trade minister postponing a planned October mission to India.

Business likes stability and predictability, said Thomas. This is anything but.

“In the midst of all this … we’re trying to see, you know, where things land and how we can actually navigate into the future.”

Just a few weeks ago, Thomas said Canadian business leaders had high hopes that Ottawa and India could ink an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), widely seen as an important step en route to a broader Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Negotiations for a deal covering specific industries began in 2010, were put on hiatus for five years and finally resumed in 2022, but Canada paused the process once again at the beginning of this month. The news was met with surprise and concern from the business community, with Saskatchewan

American husband is arrested for ‘beheading his father-in-law’ in Indonesia after their joint business venture began to fail

American husband is arrested for ‘beheading his father-in-law’ in Indonesia after their joint business venture began to fail

  • Arthur Leigh Welohr, 35, allegedly slit in-law’s throat and hacked his head off
  • Gruesome images showed the father-in-law’s lifeless and headless corpse 

An American husband has been arrested over the alleged beheading of his father-in-law in Indonesia.

Arthur Leigh Welohr, 35, had been running a business with his Indonesian wife’s dad Agus Sopiyan, 58, but their relationship allegedly soured as the venture began to fail.

The San Franciso native reportedly hatched a scheme to kill Agus, then allegedly attacked him at a house near his own residence in Banjar City, West Java, on Sunday, September 24.

Terrified neighbours heard the pair arguing, but dismissed it as an ordinary fight.

However, Welohr allegedly overpowered and knocked down Agus, before brandishing a knife and stabbing the older man. Horrific video footage from the scene shows the dead man’s head hanging from his shoulders.

Shocked onlookers subdued Welohr and called the police for help. They then shouted angrily at Welohr as he was frogmarched away in handcuffs.

Agus meanwhile was found ‘in a terrible condition’ behind his house, with his head severed from his neck.

Welohr was frogmarched away from the scene of the crime in handcuffs

Welohr was frogmarched away from the scene of the crime in handcuffs

Arthur Leigh Welohr, 35, had been running a business with his Indonesian wife's dad Agus Sopiyan, 58, but their relationship allegedly soured as the venture began to fail

Arthur Leigh Welohr, 35, had been running a business with his Indonesian wife’s dad Agus Sopiyan, 58, but their relationship allegedly soured as the venture began to fail

Welohr is seen alongside his Indonesian wife and family

Welohr is seen alongside his Indonesian wife and family

A local named Rizal said: ‘The neighbours here initially thought it was just an ordinary argument. But it turned out he pushed and slit his father-in-law’s throat.’

He added that the residents