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SnapshotsMar 17, 2020 | 18:50 GMT
Europe Tries to Spend Its Way out of the Coronavirus Crisis
In recent days, Europe's five largest economies (Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain) have each unveiled various relief measures intended to mitigate the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, including cheaper credit lines, tax delays, and additional support for workers whose incomes have been affected. The measures all share the same goal: putting extra money in the pockets of companies and individuals struggling to make ends meet under increasingly strict quarantine measures. But it could take weeks, if not months, for the impact of such efforts to be fully realized. And in the meantime, many businesses across the Continent will go bankrupt, while others may be forced to permanently lay-off some of the workers they've suspended due to the outbreak.
AssessmentsFeb 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows fanned-out 50, 100, 200 and 500 banknotes of the euro, the currency of the eurozone.
The Eurozone Braces for a Rocky Year
Households, companies and investors alike should brace for a year of lackluster economic growth in the eurozone. The European Commission expects the 19-member currency area to grow by only 1.2 percent this year -- the same rate as 2019, but below the 1.9 percent and 2.5 percent growth seen in 2018 and 2017, respectively. While uncertainty about the future of global trade has taken a toll on Europe's economic climate and manufacturing sector, domestic consumption has nonetheless remained strong due to rising employment and modest increases in wages. The next few months, however, will present multiple sources of geopolitical risk that will continue to stall economic expansion across the eurozone, and could potentially lead to temporary recessions in countries such as Italy.
AssessmentsSep 28, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Rows of solar panels are seen at a Tekno Ray Solar farm on Sept. 13, 2018, in Konya, Turkey.
Why More Global Corporations Are Betting on Renewables
Facebook recently heralded that it will source 100 percent of its electricity consumption from renewables by 2020, representing the latest direct renewables purchase by a major global corporation. The social media site joins Apple and Google, which already power all their operations using renewable electricity. But while Silicon Valley's giants are clearly among the leaders in embracing green electricity, other industrial and commercial segments are not far behind. The materials segment, including metals, is the largest consumer of directly sourced renewable electricity. For instance, metals giant Alcoa sources 75 percent of the energy required for its smelters from renewables, while mining giant Rio Tinto acquires just under half of its energy from such sources. In telecommunications, AT&T and T-Mobile are pursuing aggressive renewables plans, and there are others on the cutting edge in retail, including Wal-Mart, Ikea, Nike and Starbucks. Volkswagen, in turn, leads the way for renewables in manufacturing
AssessmentsSep 18, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Workers assemble cars at the Nissan plant in Resende, Brazil, during February 2015. Most major automakers have factories in Brazil and Argentina.
For Mercosur, High Auto Tariffs Are All Part of the Game
U.S. auto tariffs will have little direct effect on the South American trade bloc Mercosur. The economic alliance, also known as the Common Market of the South, is insulated from the prospective fees because most of its vehicle production stays in the bloc. But the alliance, known for its own high tariffs on vehicles and auto parts, was already taking steps to open its automotive industry before the United States started threatening tariffs. Over the past two years it has been working on free trade agreements with Mexico, Japan, South Korea and the European Union, whose automakers may look to the bloc to make up for lost U.S. sales if the tariffs enter effect.
AssessmentsSep 11, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
A Fiat Chrysler plant in Michigan displays auto body parts.
The U.S. Would Share in the Pain of Auto Tariffs
The prospect of U.S. tariffs on automotive imports is looming large in the minds of carmakers around the globe, but the United States itself would feel some of their biggest effects. If the U.S. Department of Commerce determines that auto imports harm national security, then the White House can erect additional trade barriers -- tariffs on finished vehicles and perhaps their components -- that would raise prices for U.S. consumers. Depending on their severity, the fees could put hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers out of work, largely in automobile retail. But the fallout could be short-lived. The approach of the 2020 presidential vote would force President Donald Trump's administration to find a balance between its trade goals and the economic pain facing consumers and workers. By then, the administration may have gotten enough concessions from its partners in trade deals to opt for lighter tariffs -- or forgo them
AssessmentsAug 27, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Cars from German manufacturer Audi await transport in the German port city of Bremerhaven in July 2017.
What Higher U.S. Car Tariffs Could Mean for Europe
Trade friction between the United States and the European Union has de-escalated since late July, when they agreed to study ways to eliminate non-auto industrial tariffs and reduce non-tariff barriers. While the agreement defused the immediate danger of higher American tariffs on European cars, it did not eliminate the threat, and business and political leaders in the bloc remain nervous. The precedents don't allow for a lot of optimism either, because most of the trade negotiations that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has undertaken have either stalled or failed to produce a deal.
SnapshotsAug 24, 2018 | 20:09 GMT
U.S., Mexico: NAFTA Negotiators Agree to New Vehicle Tariff Rules
Negotiators from the United States and Mexico have reached a breakthrough on a key NAFTA sticking point. For months, Mexican and U.S. trade teams have been locked in talks in attempt to resolve demands from the United States that new automobiles contain a greater percentage of parts produced within the North American trade bloc and meet higher wage requirements in order to be traded without import tariffs under a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On Aug. 23, Mexican negotiators agreed that vehicles assembled at existing plants that do not meet new rule-of-origin percentages and wage requirements will be subject to a 2.5 percent tariff. Vehicles produced at yet-to-be-built factories will be subject to higher tariffs that will be determined by the White House upon recommendations by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
AssessmentsAug 13, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
Cars sit on an assembly line.
Why Hitting the Gas on Car Tariffs Could Stall Everyone
Today, much of the Western world is holding its collective breath, wondering what comes next as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to pummel the global auto industry with tariffs on imports. In 2017, the United States imported $350 billion worth of vehicles and parts, most of which came from Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Japan and South Korea – all U.S. allies. But just as he did with steel and aluminum, Trump is threatening to levy tariffs totaling as much as 25 percent on the vehicles and parts of his country's closest allies as part of a Section 232 national security investigation. In doing so, Trump is threatening to upend seven decades of consistent integration in the global automotive industry – something that could have grave ramifications for all.
AssessmentsJan 31, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Paraguay's lower cost of production has attracted manufacturers from Brazil and Argentina.
Paraguay Exploits Its Industrial Advantages
Paraguay's position as a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil means that it remains largely at the mercy of the governments in Brasilia and Buenos Aires on matters of trade. Now, however, it appears as if the government in Asuncion has found a way to make itself an industrial hub of Latin America's southern cone by encouraging companies from its large neighbors to ditch the comforts of home and set up shop in Paraguay.
AssessmentsJan 8, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
As a key component in lithium-ion batteries, cobalt has become an important commodity in the growing electronics and electric vehicle markets.
Cobalt: A Metal Poised to Peak
As the demand for electric vehicles increases over the coming decades, so, too, will the demand -- and the price -- for the raw materials required to produce them. Increased demand for elements such as lithium and cobalt will lead to potential supply bottlenecks over the course of the next several years. And while the media has touted the potential of lithium -- as the eponymous component of lithium-ion batteries -- to be the raw material that powers the gradual transition away from fossil fuel-reliant transportation, it has understated the significance of one element in the equation: cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries require lithium, yes, but they also require something else. Under the constraints of present technology, that something is more often than not cobalt.
SnapshotsJan 4, 2018 | 20:32 GMT
China: A Friendlier Environment for Green Initiatives
China is setting its sights on a new growth model, and putting environmental protection as one of the country's top priorities. In 2017, China focused intently on better enforcement of its environmental policies. From increasing inspections and fines throughout the industrial sector to setting new goals for integrating new energy vehicles into the domestic fleet, Beijing has worked to bring environmental protection measures under more national, centralized control. In 2018, China is poised to move full steam ahead in continuing this strategy.
AssessmentsSep 15, 2017 | 12:22 GMT
Governments and automakers are charting the transition from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles to electric ones, though it will be decades before all fuel pumps go the way of the dinosaur.
The Automotive Market Switches Gears
Over the past several decades, numerous technologies have emerged that could rival and eventually replace the internal combustion engine and, with it, oil. Though vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen are gaining ground, particularly in Asia, electric vehicles -- both hybrid and fully battery-powered models -- are poised to give gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles the biggest run for their money. Falling costs and rising energy density stand to level the playing field between electric cars and their more traditional counterparts. By 2040, researchers project that fully electric vehicles and hybrids will account for more than half of all new automobiles purchased worldwide. Government initiatives will be crucial to incentivize and facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, and countries such as France, the United Kingdom and China are doing their part to kick-start the transition.
AssessmentsSep 8, 2017 | 11:59 GMT
Chinese demand for commodities has made Beijing the main trade partner of some of Latin America's biggest economies, but the United States and Europe will continue to lead foreign direct investment in the region.
Economic Influence in Latin America Isn't All About Trade
Over the past decade, increased trade with China has helped fuel Latin America's economic growth. The country's demand for commodities has made Beijing the main trade partner of some of Latin America's biggest economies, including Brazil, Chile and Peru. China's growing presence in the region, particularly in South America, has raised alarms in Washington, which historically has considered Latin America its backyard. But to look at international trade alone would be to misrepresent the situation. When trying to understand Latin America's complex economic structures and international relations, foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the most important indicators to consider.
AssessmentsJan 21, 2017 | 14:18 GMT
Holding Europe Together in the Age of Trump
Holding Europe Together in the Age of Trump
Germany, like many of its European neighbors, fears that the next U.S. government's policies could change the global order -- and not for the better, from where Berlin sits. Chief among Germany's concerns are that U.S. President Donald Trump will make good on his campaign promises to improve relations with Russia, undermine the future of NATO, end Iran's nuclear deal with the West and ignore climate change. But what officials in Berlin may be most worried about hits a little closer to home: German exports. After all, the Trump administration has already threatened to impose protectionist trade measures (including a 35 percent tariff on U.S. automobile imports) that would deal a heavy blow to Germany's export-based economy. Either way, the prospect of a colder relationship with Washington is making Berlin nervous, particularly at a time when the European Union is mired in deep political crisis. In the coming months Germany
AssessmentsSep 18, 2016 | 13:15 GMT
In North America, the Three Amigos' Friendship Endures
NAFTA: Capitalizing on Natural Advantages
More than two decades after its signing, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is still a source of controversy. But the debates occurring in the bloc's member states -- the United States, Mexico and Canada -- are less about whether their experiment in integration was a good idea and more about how close they should get. The three were bound to merge in some respects, after all, considering that North America is one of the only major economic regions that can largely sustain itself without trading beyond its borders. Even so, the contention that surrounds the prospect of deeper ties among NAFTA's economies will likely prevent the bloc from seriously considering steps beyond the free trade agreement it already has in place. Instead, the geopolitical forces pulling the organization's members together will manifest in less formal links, such as the construction of connective infrastructure, tightening of regional supply chains and
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