ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 07/03/2019

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South China Morning Post — Orange Wang / China to make forced technology transfer illegal as Beijing tries to woo back foreign investors

  • Beijing will make it illegal to force foreign investors to transfer their technology to Chinese partners while also lowering market barriers for foreign firms to enter the domestic market, a senior economic planning official said yesterday.
  • China is expected to pass a new law next week intended to protect the interests of foreign investors, both as a response to demands from the US and to help shore up economic growth.
  • Foreign investors will be allowed to set up ventures in which they have full ownership — instead of being forced into joint ventures with local partners — in more industries, said Ning Jizhe, a vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission.
  • However, the jury is still out whether Beijing’s promises of fair treatment, market access and protection for intellectual property rights will be enough to generate a steady inflow of hi-tech investment.
  • Financial Times – Michael Peel, et al. / EU seeks to hasten China investment deal to curb divisions
  • The New York Times – Jason Horowitz & Jack Ewing / Italy may split with allies and open its ports to China’s building push

Al-Monitor – Barbara Slavin / US government no longer excludes MEK as leadership option for Iran

  • The Trump administration no longer excludes the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), labelled by the US as a terrorist organization until 2012, as a potential replacement for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The group advocates the elevation of Maryam Rajavi, the wife of MEK founder Massoud Rajavi, as the new Iranian leader.
  • The MEK broke with the Iranian government after the revolution when it lost out in a struggle for power to supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Massoud Rajavi fled first to Paris and then to Iraq, where Saddam Hussein gave the group refuge. The MEK fought against Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, earning the enduring enmity of most Iranians.
  • Top officials close to Donald Trump — including national security adviser John Bolton and Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer — have taken tens of thousands of dollars from the MEK and its front organizations over the years to speak before rallies that promote Rajavi’s ambitions.
  • Some backers of regime change, particularly in the Iranian diaspora, have looked toward the son of the late Shah as a more plausible substitute for the Iran’s theocratic government. However, Reza Pahlavi said last year that he doesn’t see himself as a replacement for the current Iranian leadership, but as someone who could play a “guiding” role after that regime’s fall.

Euractiv / ‘Things not looking good’, EU diplomats say three weeks before Brexit day

  • Talks with the UK on amending its divorce deal with the EU have made no headway and no swift solution is in sight, EU officials said yesterday, one week before British lawmakers must vote on the plan to avoid a chaotic Brexit.
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May wants legally binding changes to the Irish backstop to ensure it will not be indefinite, to allay concerns among lawmakers that the UK could be locked in a continued customs union with the EU. Brussels has offered assurances the backstop would be temporary pending a future trade deal with Britain.
  • Last week, May opened the way to a short extension of the negotiating period, and the EU sees a delay until the end of June as relatively easy. But EU leaders have also mooted a longer delay, in part to help May coax the hardline Conservative eurosceptics to accept her deal.
  • British Trade Minister Liam Fox said yesterday that the government had reached an internal agreement on import tariffs in case of a no-deal Brexit, declining to give details. Fox spoke after Sky News reported that the government was planning to slash tariffs on 80-90% of goods if it left with no deal.

The Economist / Climate change will affect more than the weather

  • According to a report from the United States Global Change Research Programme, the burden of climate change is likely to be greatest on people who are already struggling economically.
  • In 2017, a team of scientists led by Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that three degrees of global warming would cost the median American county 4% of its GDP, relative to what that area would otherwise produce without any additional warming, by the end of the century. This figure would rise to a loss of 6% or more with five degrees of warming.
  • Why is warming likely to exacerbate regional inequality in America? The simplest explanation is that wealth tends to be correlated with latitude. Poor, rural parts of the South and Midwest rely on agriculture, and are already heavily exposed to the impact of heat on energy bills and heat-related mortality and crime.
  • All coastal regions will suffer from rising sea levels, but hurricanes are more common along the already-impoverished coastlines of the Gulf states, Georgia and the Carolinas than they are further north. Many American counties in the north are actually predicted to gain more than they lose from rising temperatures.

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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