U.S. President Donald Trump notified Congress on Friday of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico after talks with Canada broke up earlier in the day with no immediate deal to revamp the tri-nation North American Free Trade Agreement.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said U.S. officials would resume talks with their Canadian counterparts next Wednesday with the aim of getting a deal all three nations could sign.
All three countries have stressed the importance of NAFTA, which governs billions of dollars in regional trade, and a bilateral deal announced by the United States and Mexico on Monday paved the way for Canada to rejoin the talks this week.
But by Friday the mood had soured, partly on Trump’s off-the-record remarks made to Bloomberg News that any trade deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He later confirmed the comments, which the Toronto Star first reported.
“At least Canada knows where I stand,” he later said on Twitter.
Ottawa has stood firm against signing “just any deal.”
But at a news conference Friday afternoon, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed confidence that Canada could reach agreement with the United States on a renegotiated NAFTA trade pact if there was “goodwill and flexibility on all sides.”
“We continue to work very hard and we are making progress. We’re not there yet,” Freeland told reporters.
“We know that a win-win-win agreement is within reach,” she added. “With goodwill and flexibility on all sides, I know we can get there.”
The Canadian dollar weakened to C$1.3081 to the U.S. dollar after The Wall Street Journal first reported that the talks had ended Friday with no agreement. Canadian stocks remained 0.5 percent lower.
Global equities were also down following the hawkish turn in Trump’s comments on trade.
Lighthizer has refused to budge despite repeated efforts by Freeland to offer some dairy concessions to maintain the Chapter 19 independent trade dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA, The Globe and Mail reported Friday.
However, a spokeswoman for USTR said Canada had made no concessions on agriculture, which includes dairy, but added that negotiations continued.
The United States wants to eliminate Chapter 19, the mechanism that has hindered it from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico had agreed to cut the mechanism. For Ottawa, Chapter 19 is a red line.
Trump argues Canada’s hefty dairy tariffs are hurting U.S. farmers, an important political base for his Republican Party.
But dairy farmers have great political clout in Canada too, and concessions could hurt the ruling Liberals ahead of a 2019 federal election.
At a speech in North Carolina on Friday, Trump took another swipe at Canada. “I love Canada, but they’ve taken advantage of our country for many years,” he said.
Coca-Cola is hoping for a caffeine-fueled boost with the acquisition of British coffee chain Costa.
Costa is Britain’s biggest coffee company, with over 2,400 coffee shops in the U.K. and another 1,400 in more than 30 countries, including around 460 in China, its second-biggest market. Coca-Cola said Friday it will buy the Costa brand from Whitbread for 3.9 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) in cash.
The deal, expected to close in the first half of 2019, comes on the heels of Coca-Cola’s announcement earlier in August that it was buying a minority ownership stake in sports drink maker BodyArmor for an undisclosed amount. Coca-Cola’s other investments in recent years have included milk that is strained to have more protein and a push into sparkling water.
The move is Coca-Cola’s latest diversification as health-conscious consumers, at least in America, move away from traditional soda.
Rival PepsiCo, meanwhile, recently bought carbonated drink maker SodaStream, which produces machines that allow people to make fizzy drinks in their own homes.
Coca-Cola already owns the Georgia and Gold Peak coffee brands, which make bottled and canned drinks, but the purchase of Costa could allow it to compete with brands like Starbucks.
Coffee is growing by 6 percent a year, making it one of the fastest-growing beverage categories in the world, said James Quincey, Coca-Cola president & CEO.
“Hot beverages is one of the few remaining segments of the total beverage landscape where Coca-Cola does not have a global brand,” he said.
Coca-Cola has over 500 brands in its stable including Fanta, innocent smoothies and Powerade sports drinks. In 2017, it generated operating income of $9.7 billion on revenues of $35.4 billion.
Without being specific about expansion plans, Quincey said in a video posted on Coca-Cola’s website that the company would “over time” look to take Costa “to more people in more places.”
Costa doesn’t currently have a presence in North or South America, but Quincey indicated that one potential early expansion route would be to use Costa’s vending operation and grow the company’s ready-to-drink products. In addition to its shops, Costa has self-serve coffee machines in grocery stores and gas stations.
Whitbread bought Costa for 19 million pounds in 1995, when it had just 39 shops. In recent years, Whitbread has invested heavily in Costa’s expansion overseas, but had been looking to siphon off the business to generate funds for the expansion and for its other business, the budget hotel chain Premier Inn.
Then Coca-Cola got in touch with what Whitbread said was a “highly compelling” offer. The Whitbread board unanimously backed the deal.
Whitbread will use a “significant majority” of the net cash proceeds — around 3.8 billion pounds after taking into account such things as transaction costs — returning cash to shareholders. Some will be used to pay down debt and to make a contribution to the pension fund.
Doing so, Whitbread said, would “provide headroom” to further expand the Premier Inn budget hotel chain in Britain and Germany.
Whitbread’s share price soared 17 percent in early afternoon trading in London.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at London-based stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, said Costa will get “lots of care and attention” from Coca-Cola.
“Its global reach should turbo-charge growth in the years to come, and hot drinks are one of the few areas of the wider beverages sector where the soft drinks giant doesn’t have a killer brand,” he said.
Ports and ground terminals in nearly every state handle goods that are now or will likely soon be covered by import tariffs. Port executives worry that this could mean a slowdown in shipping that would have ripple effects on truckers and others whose jobs depend on trade.
The Associated Press analyzed government data and found that from the West Coast to the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, at least 10 percent of imports at many ports could face new tariffs if President Donald Trump’s proposals take full effect.
Since March, the U.S. has applied new tariffs of up to 25 percent on nearly $85 billion worth of steel and aluminum and various Chinese products, mostly goods used in manufacturing.
Trump said in a recent tweet, “Tariffs are working big time.” He has argued that the tariffs will help protect American workers and force U.S. trading partners to change rules that the president insists are unfair to the United States.
In New Orleans, port officials say a tariff-related drop in shipments is real, not merely a forecast. Steel imports there have declined more than 25 percent from a year ago, according to the port’s chief commercial officer, Robert Landry.
The port is scouting for other commodities it can import. But expectations appear to be low.
“In our business, steel is the ideal commodity,” Landry said. “It’s big, it’s heavy, we charge by the ton so it pays well. You never find anything that pays as well as steel does.”
The port of Milwaukee imports steel from Europe and ships out agricultural products from the Midwest. Steel imports haven’t dropped yet because they are under long-term contracts, said the port director, Adam Schlicht. But there has been “an almost immediate halt” in outbound shipments of corn because of retaliatory duties imposed by the European Union on American products.
Much of the corn, he said, “is just staying in silos. They are filled to the brim.”
Many other ports have been humming along and even enjoyed an unexpected bump in imports during June and July as U.S. businesses moved up orders to ship before the new tariffs took effect. That started with manufacturing goods and is now spreading to retail items for back-to-school and Christmas.
“Some of my retail customers are forward-shipping the best they can to offset proposed tariffs,” says Peter Schneider, executive vice president of T.G.S. Transportation, a trucking company in Fresno, California.
Port officials were encouraged by this week’s announcement that the United States and Mexico had reached a preliminary agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, hoping it might lead to reduced trade barriers. Canada’s participation in any new deal to replace NAFTA, though, remains a major question mark.
The port officials continue to worry, though, that Trump will make good on a plan to expand tariffs to an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports — a list that includes fish and other foods, furniture, carpets, tires, rain jackets and hundreds of additional items. Tariffs would make those items costlier in the United States. And if Americans buy fewer of those goods, it would likely lead to fewer container ships steaming into U.S. ports.
The impact will be felt keenly at West Coast ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, relying on information from his port officials, said his port — the biggest in the United States — could suffer a 20 percent drop in volume if the additional $200 billion in tariffs are imposed against Chinese goods.
Jock O’Connell, an economist in California who studies trade, said he doubts a downturn would be so severe — that would match the slump that accompanied the global recession of 2008 — “but we will see a definite impact.”
Here are some of the key findings from the AP analysis:
– U.S. tariffs will cover goods that are imported at more than 250 seaports, airports and ground terminals in 48 states.
– At 18 of 43 customs districts — including those representing ports around Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Houston — at least 10 percent of their total import value could be covered by new tariffs if all Trump’s proposals take effect.
– Retaliatory duties by China and other countries cover $27 billion in U.S. exports.
Eugene Seroka, executive director of the Los Angeles port, worries that “if tariffs make it too expensive to import, there will be an impact on jobs.”
Seroka and others don’t expect layoffs on the docks. Union longshoremen — whose average pay last year on the West Coast was $163,000, according to the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates for the ports — often have contract provisions ensuring that they are paid even if there’s no work. And there are fewer of them than there were a few decades ago because the advent of shipping containers has reduced the need for people on the docks.
Dwayne Boudreaux, an International Longshoremen’s Association official in Louisiana, said, though, that his stevedores are handling about 10 percent less steel from Japan because of the new tariffs.
“We don’t think it’s going to [get] worse,” he said. But, he added, “who knows — that could change from the next press conference.”
The impact might be greater on truck drivers and warehouse workers. Fewer will be needed, according to O’Connell.
Many drivers who deliver shipping containers from the dock to warehouses are independents contracted by trucking companies, and they don’t get paid if there is nothing to haul. Some might leave the profession, said Weston LaBar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association in Long Beach, California.
“It’s hard to retain drivers,” he said. “If we don’t have work for those drivers, we’re worried they will leave for some other segment of the trucking business or go into another business, like construction.”
Less shipping means less revenue for the ports — something that could limit their ability to pay for expansion and improvement projects, according to Kurt Nagle, president of the American Association of Port Authorities. He said U.S. ports are in the midst of a planned $155 billion in infrastructure spending from 2016 through 2020.
The current trade war was foreshadowed in January by steep U.S. tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines. It exploded with the U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Then came two rounds of duties targeting about $50 billion in imports from China — punishment against that country for pressuring U.S. companies to transfer technology and intellectual property to Chinese companies.
Along the way, China, the European Union, Turkey, Canada and Mexico imposed retaliatory duties on U.S. goods including farm products and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
This week, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office finished six days of hearings on a plan to hit another $200 billion in Chinese imports with 10 percent duties. Trump has said that if China continues to retaliate he could eventually add tariffs on $450 billion in Chinese goods, nearly 90 percent of that country’s 2017 exports to the U.S.
Trade wars are usually temporary. President George W. Bush abandoned his steel tariffs after less than two years.
Milwaukee’s port director worries, however, that damage from the current trade dispute could linger. Canada is increasing corn exports to Europe, and Brazil is trying to pick up the slack in soybean exports to China.
“Others are already picking up that business,” Schlicht said.
«Укрзалізниця» оголосила, що з 1 вересня знижує вартість проїзду в пасажирських поїздах далекого сполучення, що курсують територією України. Перевізник пояснює це тим, що в перший день осені вступає в дію нижчий коефіцієнт індексації до тарифів на перевезення пасажирів у внутрішньому сполученні.
«Наприклад, вартість проїзду 31 серпня за маршрутом Київ – Львів у вагоні купе поїзда № 141 коштує 347,92 гривні, а на наступну п’ятницю аналогічний квиток коштуватиме 333,92 гривні, у вагоні купе поїзда № 29 Київ – Ужгород коштує 728,19 гривні, а коштуватиме 696,39 гривні», – інформує «Укрзалізниця» і анонсує, що з жовтня діятиме ще нижчий коефіцієнт.
У період з 1 червня по 31 серпня діяв календарний період з коефіцієнтом 1,07, з 1 вересня він становитиме 1,02, з 1 жовтня – 0,93. Міністерство інфраструктури України від 20 квітня 2018 року визначило 13 різних календарних періодів, які впливають на вартість проїзду. Також на ціну квитка впливає і день тижня, у який пасажир розпочинає подорож.
Top NAFTA negotiators from Canada and the United States increased the pace of their negotiations Thursday to resolve final differences to meet a Friday deadline, with their Mexican counterpart on standby to rejoin the talks soon.
Despite some contentious issues still on the table, the increasingly positive tone contrasted with U.S. President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of Canada in recent weeks, raising hopes that the year-long talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement will conclude soon with a trilateral deal.
“Canada’s going to make a deal at some point. It may be by Friday or it may be within a period of time,” U.S. President Donald Trump told Bloomberg Television. “I think we’re close to a deal.”
Trilateral talks were already underway at the technical level and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo was expected to soon rejoin talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, possibly later on Thursday, people familiar with the process said.
Trump said in a Bloomberg interview: “Canada’s going to make a deal at some point. It may be by Friday or it may be within a period of time,” Trump said. “I think we’re close to a deal.”
Negotiations entered a crucial phase this week after the United States and Mexico announced a bilateral deal on Monday, paving the way for Canada to rejoin talks to modernize the 24-year-old accord that underpins over $1 trillion in annual trade.
The NAFTA deal that is taking shape would likely strengthen North America as a manufacturing base by making it more costly for automakers to import a large share of vehicle parts from outside the region. The automotive content provisions, the most contentious topic, could accelerate a shift of parts-making away from China.
A new chapter governing the digital economy, along with stronger intellectual property, labor and environmental standards could also work to the benefit of U.S. companies, helping Trump to fulfill his campaign promise of creating more American jobs.
Trump has set a Friday deadline for the three countries to reach an agreement, which would allow Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign it before he leaves office at the end of November. Under U.S. law, Trump must wait 90 days before signing the pact.
The U.S. president has warned he could try to proceed with a deal with Mexico alone and levy tariffs on Canadian-made cars if Ottawa does not come on board, although U.S. lawmakers have said ratifying a bilateral deal would not be easy.
Dairy, dispute settlement
One sticking point for Canada is the U.S. effort to dump the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism that hinders the United States from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico had agreed to eliminate the mechanism.
Trump also wants a NAFTA deal that eliminates dairy tariffs of up to 300 percent that he argues are hurting U.S. farmers, an important political base for Republicans.
But any concessions to Washington by Ottawa is likely to upset Canadian dairy farmers, who have an outsized influence in Canadian politics, with their concentration in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
“Ultimately, we’ve got huge issues that are still to be resolved,” said Jerry Dias, head of Canada’s influential Unifor labor union. “Either we’re going to be trading partners or we’re going to fight.”
Microsoft will begin requiring its contractors to offer their U.S. employees paid leave to care for a new child.
It’s common for tech firms to offer generous family leave benefits for their own software engineers and other full-time staff, but paid leave advocates say it’s still rare to require similar benefits for contracted workers such as janitors, landscapers, cafeteria crews and software consultants.
“Given its size and its reach, this is a unique and hopefully trailblazing offering,” said Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women and Families.
The new policy affects businesses with at least 50 U.S.-based employees that do substantial work with Microsoft that involves access to its buildings or its computing network. It doesn’t affect suppliers of goods. Contractors would have to offer at least 12 weeks of leave to those working with the Redmond, Washington-based software giant; the policy wouldn’t affect the contractors’ arrangements with other companies. Leave-takers would get 66 percent of regular pay, up to $1,000 weekly.
The policy announced Thursday rolls out over the next year as the company amends its contracts with those vendors. That may mean some of Microsoft’s costs will rise to cover the new benefits, said Dev Stahlkopf, the company’s corporate vice president and general counsel.
“That’s just fine and we think it’s well worth the price,” she said.
Microsoft doesn’t disclose how many contracted workers it uses, but it’s in the thousands.
The new policy expands on Microsoft’s 2015 policy requiring contractors to offer paid sick days and vacation.
Other companies such as Facebook have also committed to improve contractor benefits amid unionization efforts by shuttle drivers, security guards and other contract workers trying to get by in expensive, tech-fueled regions such as the San Francisco Bay Area and around Washington’s Puget Sound.
Facebook doesn’t guarantee that contract workers receive paid parental leave, but provides a $4,000 new child benefit for new parents who don’t get leave. A much smaller California tech company, SurveyMonkey, announced a paid family leave plan for its contract workers earlier this year.
Washington state law
Microsoft said its new policy is partially inspired by a Washington state law taking effect in 2020 guaranteeing eligible workers 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child. The state policy, signed into law last year, follows California and a handful of other states in allowing new parents to tap into a fund that all workers pay into. Washington will also require employers to help foot the bill, and will start collecting payroll deductions next January.
A federal paid parental leave plan proposed by President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, could rely on a similar model but has gained little traction.
“Compared to what employers are doing, the government is way behind the private sector,” said Isabel Sawhill, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who has urged the White House and Congress to adopt a national policy.
Sawhill said it is “very unusual and very notable” that Microsoft is extending family leave benefits to its contract workers. Microsoft already offers more generous family leave benefits to its own employees, including up to 20 weeks fully paid leave for a birth mother.
Pushing the feds
Microsoft’s push to spread its employee benefits to a broader workforce “sends a message that something has to happen more systematically at the federal level,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a program director for employment and earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Until then, she said, it’s helpful that Microsoft seems willing to pay contracting firms more to guarantee their workers’ better benefits.
“Paid family leave is expensive and they acknowledge that,” Hegewisch said. Otherwise, she said, contractors with many employees of child-bearing age could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage to those with older workforces.
Republican state Sen. Joe Fain, the prime sponsor of the measure that passed last year, said Microsoft’s decision was “a really powerful step forward.”
By applying the plan to contractors and vendors around the country, “it really creates a pressure for those state legislatures to make a similar decision that Washington made.”
Argentina’s Central Bank on Thursday increased its benchmark interest rate to 60 percent — the world’s highest — in an effort to halt a sharp slide in the value of the peso, which plunged to a record low.
The peso fell more than 13 percent against the dollar, closing at an all-time low of 39.2 per greenback, after slipping about 7 percent the day before.
The Central Bank said in a statement that it was hiking its benchmark interest rate by 15 percentage points to 60 percent in response to the currency problems and the risk of greater impact on local inflation, which is already running at about 30 percent a year.
The tumult in the exchange market came a day after President Mauricio Macri said he was asking for an early release of some International Monetary Fund money under an $50 billion backup financing arrangement approved earlier.
Some experts said the announcement, combined with the interest rate hike, had the unintended effect of fueling the crisis of confidence.
“I think today’s interest hike announcement will do nothing but leave investors even more jittery,” said Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
“I’m finding it difficult to understand why, after yesterday’s announcement about front-loading more of the IMF funding, the government thought the hike was warranted,” she said. “Hyperactivity starts to look like desperation.”
Macri has struggled to calm markets and bring confidence to Argentines who continue to lose purchasing power. Many are frustrated with layoffs, higher utility rates and a rise in poverty levels.
Many also have bad memories of the IMF and blame its free-market economic policies for contributing to the country’s worst crisis in 2001-02, when one of every five Argentines went unemployed and millions fell into poverty.
Seeing journalists filming screens showing the exchange rates in downtown Buenos Aires, Ruben Montiel, 55, burst out: “Macri is an embarrassment!”
“You can’t live like this. The prices of everything go up on a daily basis,” he said. “There’s no work, utility rates have gone through the roof … people are sleeping on the streets.”
Macri, a pro-business conservative who came into office in 2015, had promised to trim Argentina’s fiscal deficit, reduce poverty and curb inflation. He cut red tape and tried to reduce the government’s budget deficit by ordering layoffs and cutting utility subsidies, but it triggered labor unrest.
Then in December, officials announced a rise in the inflation target, which caused investors to begin doubting Macri’s commitment to taming price rises.
Meanwhile, the peso slumped against the dollar as rising U.S. interest rates lured investors to pull greenbacks out of Argentina.
That caused jitters among Argentines, who have been used to stashing away dollars as a cushion since the 2001 crisis, when banks froze deposits and put up sheet-metal barricades as thousands of protesters unsuccessfully tried to withdraw their savings. Dozens died in protests and looting in December 2001 as the economy unraveled and Argentina eventually suffered a record $100 billion debt default.
“The government will need to shuffle its cabinet and strike deals with provincial governors for next year’s budget,” said Argentine economist Marcos Buscaglia. “In the short-term, the government just needs to stop this crisis.”
President Donald Trump informed Congress on Thursday that he was canceling pay raises due in January for most civilian federal employees, citing budget constraints. But the workers still could see a slightly smaller boost in their pay under a proposal lawmakers are considering.
Trump said he was axing a 2.1 percent across-the-board raise for most workers as well as locality pay increases averaging 25.7 percent and costing $25 billion.
“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course,” said Trump, who last year signed a package of tax cuts that is forecast to expand the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Trump cited the “significant” cost of employing federal workers as justification for denying the pay increases, and called for federal worker pay to be based on performance and structured toward recruiting, retaining and rewarding “high-performing” workers and “those with critical skill sets.”
His announcement came as the country heads into the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Democrats sound off
The Democratic Party immediately criticized the announcement, citing the tax cuts Trump signed into law last December. The law provided steep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and more modest reductions for middle- and low-income individuals and families.
“Trump has delivered yet another slap in the face to American workers,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.
Under the law, the 2.1 percent raise takes effect automatically unless the president and Congress act to change it. Congress is currently debating a proposal for a slightly lower, 1.9 percent across-the-board raise to be included in a government funding bill that would require Trump’s signature to keep most government functions operating past September.
Unions representing the 2 million-member federal workforce urged Congress to pass the 1.9 percent pay raise.
“President Trump’s plan to freeze wages for these patriotic workers next year ignores the fact that they are worse off today financially than they were at the start of the decade,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 700,000 federal workers.
“They have already endured years of little to no increases and their paychecks cannot stretch any further as education, health care costs, gas and other goods continue to get more expensive,” added Tim Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
Cox said federal worker pay and benefits have been cut by more than $200 billion since 2011, and workers are currently earning 5 percent less than they did at the start of the decade.
Higher deficit estimates
In July, the Trump administration sharply revised upward its deficit estimates compared to the estimates in the budget proposal it sent Congress in February. The worsening deficit reflects the impact of the $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax cuts, as well as increased spending for the military and domestic programs that Congress approved earlier this year.
The administration’s July budget update projected a deficit of $890 million for the fiscal year that ends September 30, up from the February estimate of $873 billion. The $890 billion deficit projection represents a 34 percent increase from the $666 billion deficit the government recorded in 2017.
For 2019, the administration is projecting the deficit will again top $1 trillion and stay at that level for the next three years.
The only other period when the federal government ran deficits above $1 trillion was the four years from 2009 through 2012, when the government used tax cuts and increased spending to combat the 2008 fiscal crisis and the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
Representative Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who represents many federal workers, blamed what he said was Trump’s mismanagement of the federal government.
“His tax bill exploded the deficit, and now he is trying to balance the budget,” Connolly said.
U.S. President Donald Trump threatened in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday to withdraw from the World Trade Organization if “they don’t shape up,” in his latest criticism of the institution.
Such a move could undermine one of the foundations of the modern global trading system, which the United States was instrumental in creating.
“If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,”Trump said.
Trump has complained the United States is treated unfairly in global trade and has blamed the WTO for allowing that to happen. He has also warned he could take action against the global body, although he has not specified what form that could take.
Hmong farmers in St. Paul, Minnesota have the best advocate for their business enterprises: themselves, working together.
Originally from China, the Hmong are an Asian ethnic group that migrated to Vietnam and Laos in the 18th century. They have never had a country of their own. After the Vietnam War ended, many resettled in the U.S., giving the U.S. the largest Hmong population outside of Asia. The population in Minnesota is more than 60,000, second behind the state of California.
The Hmong, who are long time farmers, did what they knew best when they got to Minnesota. And by the late 1980’s they spearheaded the revitalization of local farmers’ markets, making them some of the most vibrant in the city.
But the Hmong also discovered that as immigrant farmers, they faced barriers in buying land, obtaining financing, accessing markets and building sustainable family businesses. They were struggling. To combat all that, a group of Hmong farmers established the non-profit Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) in 2011.
“One of the reasons HAFA was created was because Hmong farmers were experiencing so much uncertainty. They didn’t always have access to land,” HAFA co-founder Pakou Hang explained. “So when you don’t have land tenure or land certainty you can’t actually invest in organic certification, you can’t invest in perennials, which actually have higher profit margins.”
HAFA’s intent was to “advance the prosperity of Hmong American farmers through cooperative endeavors.” At the center of the association is a 63-hectare (155-acre) farm outside St. Paul where member farmers have long-term leases on two to four hectare (five to 10-acre) parcels to grow their vegetables and flowers.
How HAFA helps
On a recent Friday, Mao Moua and her husband were harvesting vegetables at their plot – for a Saturday farmer’s market.
The Mouas were among the mass exodus of Hmong people fleeing Laos for Thailand and eventually the U.S. in the 1970s. Ever since they arrived, they have been farming in Minnesota and in recent years on the HAFA membership farm.
“I like farming on the HAFA farm because this is a Hmong association,” Moua said. “There are Hmong workers who help us. They are like our hands, eyes and ears. I like there is also water, electricity and the food hub.”
She added proudly, “[I grow] corn, sweet potato, cherry, snap pea, cucumber, and a little cherry tomato. That’s all.”
HAFA’s alternative markets program is called Food Hub.
“Our Food Hub is the place where we aggregate HAFA farmers’ produce and we distribute, sell it to different institutions such as schools, co-ops, or restaurants. And then we also have a CSA program or community supported agriculture that we have about 350 currently members. They get a weekly subscription of produce,” explained Operations Manager Kou Yang.
And if any of the farmers need micro loans to buy tractors or new farming equipment, HAFA’s business development programs are there to help. But Hang said all the programs are not just for income generation.
“What we’re really interested in, what we are focused on is actually wealth creation not just intergenerational wealth but community wealth,” Hang said.
Today, Hmong American farmers make up more than 50 percent of all produce growers selling at area farmers’ markets.
“The Hmong growers’ participation in the farmers’ market has really revitalized the farmers’ market,” said David Kotsonas a director of the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association.
The Hmong are also at the center of a Minnesota-based local foods economy that has changed the way Minnesotans eat.
“Hmong farmers are major contributors to our local food economy and to our overall economy,” Hang said. “I mean studies have shown that they produced over $250 million in sales.”
Hang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to the U.S. with her parents in 1976.
“During the Vietnam war in Laos my father joined actually a secret army that was allied with the United States CIA. When the Vietnam War ended and the communist faction came into power in Laos they actually began to target Hmong soldiers,” she said.
Hang has big dreams for the HAFA farm which in addition to enabling farmers, conducts research and fosters community ties.
“A hive of learning. A hive of community building,” Hang described it.
«Польська нафтогазова компанія» (PGNiG) бере участь у чергових переговорах щодо постачання газу в Україну. Про це повідомив заступник голови PGNiG Мацей Возняк, передає «Польське радіо».
Повідомляється, що компанія PGNiG в першому півріччі поточного року надала Україні майже 220 мільйонів кубометрів газу.
«Це трішки менше, ніж торік, але ми сподівалися більшої турбулентності після рішення Стокгольмського арбітражу між «Газпромом» і «Нафтогазом». До кінця року ми очікуємо стабілізації і домовляємося про чергові контракти на постачання газу», – сказав представник компанії.
Як повідомляє польський портал Money.pl, обсяг реалізації газу PGNiG в Україну в 2017 році становив більш ніж 700 мільйонів кубометрів на рік.
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З кінця листопада 2015 року Україна не імпортує газ із Росії.
Поставки газу з Європи в Україну здійснюються за трьома напрямками: з Польщі, Угорщини та Словаччини.
28 лютого 2018 року компанія НАК «Нафтогаз України» повідомила про перемогу в Стокгольмському арбітражі над російським газовим монополістом, компанією «Газпромом» у суперечці щодо компенсації за недопоставлені «Газпромом» обсяги газу для транзиту. «Газпром» заявив про незгоду з рішенням Стокгольмського арбітражу.
1 березня у компанії «Укртрансгаз» заявили про низький тиск у магістральних газопроводах на вході в українську ГТС і додали, що падіння тиску на вході системи ускладнює його транзит і споживання.
Вже вранці 2 березня польська компанія PGNiG почала постачати газ «Нафтогазу України».
Національний банк України 30 серпня відреагував на продовження знецінення гривні на міжбанківському валютному ринку, повідомляє сайт «Мінфін». Опівдні регулятор оголосив про намір продати до 50 мільйонів доларів, у підсумку продана сума склала 49,4 мільйона доларів за мінімальною ціною 28 гривень 27 копійок.
Це дозволило припинити падіння гривні, яке на піку сягало 28 гривень 30 копійок (купівля) – 28 гривень 33 копійок (продаж).
Перед закриттям міжбанку котирування опустилися до рівня інтервенції НБУ – 28 гривень 25 копійок (купівля) – 28 гривень 29 копійок (продаж).
Нацбанк встановив на 31 серпня курс 28 гривень 28 копійок за долар, це на 16 копійок більше за курс, встановлений на день раніше.
Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, India’s reserve bank has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people.
Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.
In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”
“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”
But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.
The reserve bank report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.
“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.
“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said.your ad here
Росія мала найбільші обсяги прямих інвестицій в Україну в першому півріччі – Держстат
By : ProdusE -
Росія мала найбільші обсяги прямих інвестицій в Україну в період від січня до червня 2018 року, повідомляє Державна служба статистики України.
Загальна сума російських інвестицій до України становила 436 мільйонів доларів США (34,6%). На другому місці – Кіпр (219 мільйонів доларів), на третьому – Нідерланди (207,7 мільйона доларів).
До переліку найбільших країн-інвесторів також увійшли Австрія (58,7 мільйона доларів), Польща (54,1 мільйона), Франція (46,9 мільйона) та Велика Британія (43,4 мільйона).
Найбільший обсяг інвестицій спрямований на фінансову та страхову діяльність (750,5 мільйона доларів).
U.S. President Donald Trump has signed proclamations permitting targeted relief from steel and aluminum quotas from some countries, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
Trump, who put in place tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March, signed proclamations allowing relief from the quotas on steel from South Korea, Brazil and Argentina and on aluminum from Argentina, the department said in a statement.
“Companies can apply for product exclusions based on insufficient quantity or quality available from U.S. steel or aluminum producers,” the statement said. “In such cases, an exclusion from the quota may be granted and no tariff would be owed.”
Trump, citing national security concerns, placed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports.
The tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico took effect June 1, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said May 31 that arrangements had been made with some countries to have non-tariff limits on their exports of the two metals to the United States.
Ross said the arrangement with South Korea was for a quota of 70 percent of average steel exports to the United States in the years 2015 to 2017.
The Brazilian government said at the time the U.S. quotas and tariffs on Brazil’s steel and aluminum exports were unjustified but that it remained open to negotiate a solution.
Brazilian semi-finished steel exports to the United States are subject to quotas based on the average for the three years from 2015-2017, while finished steel products will be limited to a quota of 70 percent of the average for those years.