ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 12/03/2018

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Financial Times – Anjli Raval, et al. / Saudi Aramco IPO delayed until 2019, UK officials told

  • Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) is unlikely to go ahead this year. London still has a good chance of securing the listing, but any foreign flotation is now expected to happen in 2019 at the earliest.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ambitions to list Saudi Aramco in New York and is hoping US officials will make regulatory concessions. An alternative solution – besides London – would be Hong Kong, where cornerstone investors in China could have a big role.
  • Delays on IPO decision-making come as advisers have struggled to achieve the $2tn valuation that Prince Mohammed wants.
  • UK officials said if Riyadh decided to list abroad they expected a domestic and foreign listing to take place around the same time.

Project Syndicate – Dani Rodrik / Trump’s trade gimmickry

  • Many commentators have overreacted to the possibility of tariffs imposed by the US. President Trump’s trade measures actually pale in comparison to the scale and scope of the protectionist policies of Ronald Reagan, which incidentally did not have terrible consequences.
  • But Trump’s trade restrictions have more of a unilateral quality. While much of Reagan’s protectionism was negotiated, Trump’s unilateralism will cause greater anger among trade partners, and thus is more likely to generate retaliation.
  • Trump’s tariffs are likely to benefit a small minority of workers in protected industries at the expense of a large majority of other workers in downstream industries and elsewhere.
  • The imbalances and inequities generated by the global economy cannot be tackled by protecting a few politically well-connected industries, using manifestly ridiculous national security considerations as an excuse.
  • Sooner or later, the disastrous nature of Trump’s domestic agenda will become evident even to his voters. At that point, a trade war may seem irresistible, to provide distraction and political cover.

The New York Times – David E. Sanger / How Trump’s disdain for the Iran deal makes a North Korea pact even harder

  • President Trump must decide by May 12 whether to make good on his threat to exit the Iran deal. In the same month, he intends to meet North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
  • If Trump pulls out of the Iran deal, Kim may wonder why he should negotiate with the United States if a subsequent president can simply pull the plug on any agreement.
  • CIA Director Mike Pompeo acknowledged that Trump, given his disparagement of the Iran deal, will have to get a better deal out of Kim. This will be very difficult to achieve, given the circumstances – Pyongyang, unlike Tehran, actually possesses nuclear weapons.
  • “If the president gets the North Koreans just to stop what they are doing, and perhaps get a timetable for future action, that would be a huge step in slowing the North Koreans’ program,” said Christopher Hill, who negotiated the last major deal that the United States had with North Korea. “But it still wouldn’t be close to what Iran agreed to do.”

South China Morning Post – Jun Mai / China sets up new super agency to fight corruption

  • As well as repealing the presidential term limit, China’s legislature added on Sunday a Constitutional clause to establish the National Supervisory Commission – a new super anti-graft agency.
  • The commission is Beijing’s answer to controversy over the current shuanggui system, which allows the Central Commission for Discipline (CCDI) Inspection to summon and detain without charge any member it suspects of breaching party rules and regulations.
  • The party is seeking to boost the legitimacy of its anti-corruption campaign by setting up the commission, said Xiao Pei, a deputy secretary of the CCDI. “It will definitely give anti-graft work a legal and standardised basis,” added Xiao.
  • A new supervision law detailing how the new super agency will operate is to be put to a vote on March 20, the last day of the legislative meeting.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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