The Financial Times – Hudson Lockett / China to cut tariffs on US goods as coronavirus threatens economy.
China announced it would halve tariffs on some goods imported from the US in a move expected to bolster market sentiment that has been hit by the coronavirus epidemic.
This week Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, acknowledged that China’s large-scale purchases of US goods could be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The epidemic has prompted concerns it could hit growth in the world’s second-biggest economy, which slowed to a three-decade low last year. The virus has resulted in widespread factory closures in China, disrupting the region’s supply chains. China’s central bank this week pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into its financial system to support the economy.
Beijing’s decision to reduce tariffs comes weeks after it signed a “phase one” deal with Washington that paused the two countries’ trade war. The agreement prevents further tariffs from being imposed by either side, but left the bulk of US tariffs on $360bn of Chinese goods in place.
South China Morning Post – Victor Ting / Coronavirus: why won´t Carrie Lam shut Hong Kong´s border with mainland China?
The New York Times – Nicholas Fandos / Trump acquitted of two impeachment charges in near party-line vote
After five months of hearings, investigations and revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.
The verdicts came down — after three weeks of debate — almost entirely along party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge. Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr Trump guilty of abuse of power.
Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested cover-up by Republicans, and promised to continue their investigations of Mr Trump. The president’s Republican allies excoriated Democrats for a proceeding they said had damaged the country and its institutions in the name of saving them. But in a stinging rebuke of the country’s leader aimed at history, Mr Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said that Mr Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was “the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.” Though he voted against the second article, Mr Romney became emotional on the Senate floor in the hours before the verdict on Wednesday as he described why he deemed Mr Trump guilty of abuse of power, calling it a matter of conscience. He was the first senator ever to vote to remove a president of his own party.
Reuters – Paul Carrel & Joseph Nasr / ´Taboo broken´ as far right becomes German state kingmaker
A German state premier was elected with the support of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Wednesday, shattering the post-war consensus among established parties of shunning the far right.Thomas Kemmerich, a little-known liberal.
Free Democrat (FDP), became the first state premier elected with the support of the AfD, with whom Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) sided to the disgust of her national coalition partners. Merkel’s Social Democrat (SPD) national coalition allies accused her CDU of backtracking on a pledge never to cooperate with a far-right party. The CDU rejected the accusation, saying it was not responsible for how AfD lawmakers voted. Wednesday’s ballot was secret. The SPD is unlikely to ditch Merkel’s national coalition over the vote in Thuringia but the centre-left party said its supporters would hold a protest outside the CDU headquarters in Berlin.
The Guardian – Luke Harding / Turkish Cypriot leaderwarns Cyprus is facing permanent partition
The Financial Times – Martin Sandbu / This could be Spain´s chance to take a lead in Europe
EURACTIV – Frédéric Simon / Offshore wind boom ´not enough´ to reach EU climate goals
A record 3.6 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity was added across Europe in 2019, but the pace of deployment is still too slow to reach Europe’s ambitious climate targets, according to new industry figures published on Thursday (6 February).
Ten new offshore wind farms came online last year, bringing the total to 22 GW, according to figures published by WindEurope, a trade association. The UK accounted for nearly half of the newly-installed capacity, with 1.7 GW, according to WindEurope. Second came Germany (1.1 GW), followed by Denmark (374 MW) and Belgium (370 MW). Portugal was next with 8 MW of newly installed floating offshore wind. However, in spite of solid growth, new offshore wind projects are falling short of what’s needed to meet the EU’s climate targets for 2030. And they are far behind the pace required to keep up with Europe’s long-term climate neutrality objective for 2050. The European Commission says Europe needs between 230 and 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050 to decarbonise the energy system and deliver on the objectives of the Green Deal, WindEurope points out. This, it adds, requires building 7 GW of new offshore wind a year by 2030, and ramping up to 18 GW a year by 2050. Those concerns are shared by Eurelectric, the EU power sector association. “Manufacturing more wind turbines is not an issue, you can ramp up production pretty fast,” said Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric secretary-general. “The problem is installing the grids that go along with them, getting the permits and the buy-in of local populations to this additional capacity. This is where the challenges are”.
The Financial Times –Gregory Meyer / Coal producer axes dividend as industry woes mount
S&P Global – Brian Scheid / US weighing sanctions on Rosneft for Venezuela trade
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.