Tag: companies

United States Sanctions a Slew of Chinese Companies

United States Sanctions New Chinese Companies

Yesterday, the United States Treasury initiated sanctions against many Chinese companies and individuals in an effort “to further degrade Russia’s ability to sustain its war machine, continuing a multilateral campaign to limit the Kremlin’s revenue and access to the materiel it needs to prosecute its illegal war against Ukraine.” The Treasury Department’s press release regarding these new sanctions can be found here.

This is a significant development, and it should be a wake-up call for businesses worldwide about the risks of doing business with China and with potentially sanctioned parties.

This blog post aims to dissect these developments, elucidate the risks involved, guide businesses on compliance international trade strategies, and emphasize the importance of legal expertise in international trade.

Understanding the New Sanctions

The sanctions announcement by the U.S. Treasury marks a pivotal moment, aiming to throttle the China-Russia “support network” sustaining Russia’s military capabilities. By targeting nearly 300 entities, including many Chinese companies and individuals, the U.S. seeks to tighten controls over Russia’s operational capacities amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

The Complexities of Screening for Prohibited Parties

When doing business with Chinese companies, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks associated with prohibited parties under U.S. export control and sanctions laws. The U.S. has strict regulations prohibiting engagement with certain foreign individuals and entities, including those listed on the Treasury Department’s SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) List and the Commerce Department’s Entity List, Denied Persons List, and Military End-User List. Moreover, import restrictions apply to products from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

Prohibited party screening requires more than just verifying names against lists; it requires extensive checks. For example, under OFAC’s “fifty percent rule,” any company owned 50% or more by an

AI boom’s secret winners? The companies expected to power it, Wealth

INVESTORS looking for a unique way into the stock market’s artificial intelligence (AI) boom are finding an intriguing bank shot in what’s traditionally the most boring corner of the equities universe: utilities.

AI is the buzzword these days, with everyone from chipmakers to computer equipment manufacturers to car companies trying to paint themselves in its hopeful colors. It’s also driving the latest stock market rally, as investors saw this past week.

On Thursday (Apr 25), Meta Platforms shares had their worst performance since October 2022 after the company said it would spend far more than expected on developing AI. Then on Friday, Google parent Alphabet soared past US$2 trillion in market valuation while Microsoft’s stock also gained after the firms showed progress on AI in their quarterly results.

But here’s the thing about AI technology: It requires an enormous amount of energy to develop and run. And that’s where utilities come in.

“Power demand from data centres has already been humongous, then came the AI hype and the need for power skyrocketed,” said Manju Naglapur, senior vice-president and general manager for cloud, applications and infrastructure solutions at Unisys. “With all the money spent on data centres, the power consumption will increase massively.”

The S&P 500 Index’s utilities sector fell 10 per cent in 2023, its worst year since 2008, making it the weakest group in the equities benchmark, which soared 24 per cent overall. That wasn’t exactly a shock considering the companies tend to do poorly during periods of persistently high interest rates.

The stocks have recovered somewhat in 2024, rising 4.4 per cent as cost controls offset higher

Adani Group to invest over ₹1.2 lakh crore across portfolio companies in FY25; 70% for renewable business

Adani Group is all set to exponentially boost its planned investments in the next fiscal year ending March 2025. As per the news agency PTI, Adani Group is expected to invest over 1.2 lakh ($14 billion) crore across its portfolio business with a special focus on green/renewable energy.

The investments are made in portfolio companies ranging from energy, airports, commodities, cement, and media.

The planned investments are 40% higher than the invested amount in the current fiscal year. The report claimed that by March 31 this year, Adani Group is estimated to have incurred a capex of around USD 10 billion. The company has doubled down on its $100 billion investment guidance for the next 7-10 years.

Adani Group is planning to allocate as much as 70% of this 1.2 lakh crore in the green energy business which includes renewable power, green hydrogen, and green evacuation. Out of the remaining 30%, the company will look to spend a big chunk to expand its airports and ports businesses.

The report claimed that Adani Group is expecting a big jump in profits after the execution of planned investments.

Major investments in the airport portfolio

The new set of planned investments comes after the Adani Group pledged to invest more than 60,000 crore in its airport business over the next 5-10 years.

Karan Adani, MD of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd said that the company is planning to pump half of the investments into the terminal and runway capacity over the next five years while the other half will be allocated for the city-side development of the airports over a period of 10 years.

“In coming times, we foresee non-metros bypassing hubs and providing flyers direct connectivity across the world. Their connectivity within the country will also improve,”

US court absolves top tech companies in Congo’s child labor case

LONDON — A U.S. court has absolved five of America’s biggest tech companies in a case over their alleged support of child labor in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday

The five tech giants — Apple; Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google; Dell; Microsoft; and Tesla — were accused of “knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children in the Democratic Republic of Congo to mine cobalt” in case documents seen by ABC News.

However, in a 3-0 decision on Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia held that the tech companies could not be held liable, with the court decision stating they did not have anything more than an “ordinary buyer-seller transaction” with suppliers in the DRC.

“Many actors in addition to the cobalt suppliers perpetuate labor trafficking, including labor brokers, other consumers of cobalt, and even the DRC government,” the decision read. “Issuing an injunction to the Tech Companies to ‘stop the cobalt venture from using forced child labor’ would not bind the direct perpetrators of the unlawful labor, who are not before this court.”

The case was brought by 16 plaintiffs in December 2022, including four former miners and legal representatives of child miners who lost their lives and suffered major injuries in cobalt mining operations in the DRC.

The defendants were accused of “knowingly benefitting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children in the DRC to mine cobalt,” and the case claims that the defendants “know and have known for a significant period of time” about the human rights violations in the DRC’s cobalt mining supply chain.

PHOTO: In this stock photo an aerial view of Artisanal Gold Miner, near Mongbwalu, Democratic Republic of the Congo is seen.

In this stock photo an aerial view of Artisanal Gold Miner, near Mongbwalu, Democratic Republic of the

Fortune 500 list: The top 10 companies ranking

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fortune 500, a list of the largest U.S companies ranked by revenue. The first edition was published in 1955, with companies like General Motors, Jersey Standard, U.S. Steel, and Chrysler topping the list. 

Today, a new cast of characters are dominating. In 2023, Chevron secured the 10th spot on the list, bumping off drugmaker Cencora, after the oil company recorded $36.5 billion in profits last year.

Here are the top 10 companies from the Fortune 500 list in 2023. Our 2024 list will launch in June. 

  1. Walmart

Walmart raked in over $611 billion in revenue last year to secure the first spot for 11 straight years. The company recently completed a $2.3 billion acquisition of TV maker Vizio, a move that experts say will help the company advertise to customers. 

The company, headquartered in Arkansas, is run by CEO Doug McMillon and employs over 1.6 million people.   

The company also bought entrepreneur Marc Lore’s startup, Jet.com, for $3.3 billion in 2016 and is running a pilot of Lore’s latest company, a restaurant concept called Wonder, in one of their supercenters. Walmart plans to open two to three more of Lore’s restaurants in their retail chains this year.

As one of several retailers, like Target and Home Depot, to report sales losses due to “shrink,” or inventory loss that includes theft, Walmart has recently posted limitations on self-checkout lines to alleviate shoplifting, which accounted for over $112 billion in industry losses in 2022, according to the National Retail Federation. 

  1. Amazon

Amazon, with a yearly revenue of nearly $514 billion, holds the number two spot on the list for the fourth year. 

Run by CEO Andy Jassy, the ecommerce giant also offers cloud services and digital advertising along with streaming platforms like Fire

China pledges to increase opportunities for foreign companies as it seeks to boost its economy

BEIJING — Chinese Vice President Han Zheng pledged Friday to provide more opportunities for foreign companies in China as the government tries to restore confidence in the world’s second largest economy.

Han told an audience of American business people in Beijing that the government would continue to open up more industries to foreign investment and create a market-oriented and law-based international business environment.

“China’s development achievements have been made through opening up,” he said at an American Chamber of Commerce in China banquet. “We will unwaveringly adhere to a high level of opening-up to the outside world.”

Chamber officials portrayed his appearance at the annual dinner as a positive signal that the government is serious about addressing the concerns of U.S. and other foreign companies about operating uncertainties and other challenges in the Chinese market.

The U.S. and China remain divided on a wide range of issues from trade and technology to the war in Ukraine, but they are at least talking again and seeking ways to manage their differences.

Both Premier Li Qiang and the commerce minister met this week with a visiting delegation led by Suzanne Clark, the head of the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“What I think the Chinese were trying to do is to reassure us that they know there are still things on the to-do list that need to get done and to reassure us that they will get done,” said the chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, Sean Stein, who joined the meeting with Li.

Progress has been made in some areas but not in others, Stein said before the dinner, adding, “it’s been a mixed bag.”

The American ambassador in China, Nicholas Burns, told the audience that several months of high-level meetings and exchanges had given a measure

Government should celebrate, not attack Canadian companies’ success

Ottawa says it wants Canadian businesses to invest in Canada, but warns those same companies returns on their investments may be capped

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It is politically expedient in Ottawa these days for the federal government to express disappointment that Canadian companies don’t invest more in Canada. Ottawa says it wants Canadian businesses to invest in Canada, but in the next breath, warns those same companies that returns on their investments may be capped.

This contradictory sentiment was taken to a new level last week when Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne confirmed the government wants to encourage business investment but, at the same time, “tackle” the profits of Canadian companies and entice new foreign competitors to reduce their total market share.

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What trends are driving cyber risk for North American companies?

What trends are driving cyber risk for North American companies? | Insurance Business America

Allianz Commercial head weighs in on the threat landscape

What trends are driving cyber risk for North American companies?

Generative artificial intelligence (AI), the resurgence of ransomware, an evolving regulatory environment, and a heated election year in the US are driving shifts in the cyber risk landscape for North American businesses this year.

That’s as cyber incidents remained the most significant global risk for the third year in a row, according to the 2024 Allianz Risk Barometer.

Cyber events are the top peril in 17 countries, including the US, and the second-biggest risk in Canada. Business leaders polled by Allianz were most concerned about data breaches (59%), attacks on critical infrastructure and physical assets (53%), and ransomware (53%).

“Unfortunately, I’m not surprised to see that cyber is still the highest risk on the list,” said Tresa Stephens (pictured), Allianz Commercial North America head of cyber. “It’s [no surprise] given how quickly those cyber exposures keep shifting alongside emerging developments in technology, like AI, and the regulatory landscape that must evolve to keep pace with how much we utilize technology and the new ways we use it.

“On top of that, cyber events are driven by threat actors with financial and political motives. So, in a tough economy or a challenging geopolitical or socio-political environment, you’ll see more individuals incentivized to participate in criminal activity online.”

‘Cat-and-mouse games’ – will ransomware surge continue in 2024?

The resurgence of ransomware attacks in 2023 helped stoke worries for US and Canadian organizations. Insurance claims activity linked to ransomware was up more than 50% last year compared with 2022, according to Allianz.

“Broadly speaking, I don’t think it’s likely to go away anytime soon. But we did see peaks

What are the best companies to work for in Canada?

A chocolate maker, a children’s hospital and several universities are among Canada’s top employers right now, according to a newly released ranking by Forbes.

The business- and lifestyle-focused media company released its annual list of Canada’s “best” employers Wednesday, a ranking based on factors including a competitive salary, opportunities for promotion and work-life balance.

Forbes’ editors said the ranking involved results of more than 40,000 survey responses.

They said they divided the respondents’ list into two categories: testimonies given by current employees and those who know the company through friends, family or industry connections.

Based on this criteria, Forbes gave the top spot to Hershey Co., noting its “family-friendly” work hours and training initiatives, and the added perk that employees get to sample “the newest chocolate creation.”

Also in the top five were the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Brock University, Elections Canada and Concordia University, which all scored high for their commitments to employee wellness, Forbes said.

Of the top 100 employers on the list, about 20 per cent are organizations in education, while 15 per cent are government organizations.

Here are Forbes’ picks for the top 25:

  1. The Hershey Company

  2. Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

  3. Brock University

  4. Elections Canada

  5. Concordia University

  6. Government of Prince Edward Island

  7. Hydro-Quebec

  8. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

  9. Parks Canada

  10. Fisheries and Oceans Canada

  11. Canadian Mental Health Association

  12. Carleton University

  13. The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

  14. Western Financial Group

  15. Bank of Canada

  16. Google

  17. Ville de Quebec

  18. WM (Waste Management Inc.)

  19. Mount Royal University

  20. Pratt

BOC finds companies’ sale growth to slow: survey


 Canadian business sentiment continued to weaken in the third quarter, according to the Bank of Canada’s latest business outlook survey, as companies said they expect sales growth to slow over the coming year.

The Bank of Canada said on Monday that its business outlook survey indicator came in at its lowest level in more than a decade, except for a brief period early in the COVID-19 pandemic when the economy was shut down.

“This slowdown in demand is … weighing on businesses’ plans for investment and employment,” the report said.

The survey found the negative effects of rising interest rates are spreading, with more businesses thinking higher rates will restrain both sales and investment plans.

A third of the firms responding said sales have fallen over the past year amid a widespread slowing of demand.

The survey also suggested that inflation expectations among businesses have edged down, though they remain above pre-pandemic levels. It noted that many expect it will take longer than three years for inflation to return to the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target.

The share of companies planning for a recession in the coming year held steady at about one-third.

Meanwhile, the bank’s Canadian survey of consumer expectations suggested expectations of inflation remain elevated. The report noted the gap between perception and actual inflation is unusually wide.

It said the rising cost of living remains the most pressing concern for consumers and that many expect the impact of higher interest rates on households is far from over.

“Those expecting more adverse effects ahead are less likely to plan major purchases,” the consumer report said.

“Overall, consumers reported that they are more likely to spend on discretionary items like vacations and concerts than