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Chance of no-deal Brexit rises as Johnson leads Hunt: poll

The chance that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal is the highest since October 2017, economists polled by Reuters say, as arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson looks set to take over as prime minister.

Johnson was the face of the 2016 campaign to quit the EU and has said he would be willing to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal. The median forecast of that happening was 30% in the July 15-18 poll, up from 25% last month and 15% in May.

With Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for the premiership, also keen to display his credentials as a hard Brexiteer, sterling has plunged to lows not seen in over two years as investors price in the growing risk of a disorderly Brexit.


Steven Mnuchin warns Europe not to breach U.S. sanctions on Iran

Germany, France and the U.K. created a financing vehicle known as Instex in January to allow companies to do some trade with Iran without the use of U.S. dollars or American banks — thus allowing them to get around wide-ranging American sanctions that were imposed after the Trump administration abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year.

The U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made clear that participating in the U.S. financial system means abiding by its sanctions amid a European effort to sidestep American economic pressure on Iran to continue trade.

He said that Instex should be “careful on diligence.”

[Yahoo News]

US ambassador calls on von der Leyen to revive trade talks

Washington is hopeful that European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen can inject new life into deadlocked transatlantic trade talks, U.S. President Donald Trump’s man in Brussels said Thursday (July 18).

However, the U.S. administration remains ready to impose auto tariffs, or other actions, with “immediate financial consequences” for the EU if there is no progress in negotiations, or if countries like France and Britain progress with digital services tax plans, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland told POLITICO.



Middle East

Jordan government searching for methods to more strictly regulate e-commerce sales

The government is currently studying how to better regulate e-commerce to mitigate losses to traditional brick-and-mortar shops, a member of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday (July 17).

The government also plans to regulate virtual shops using social media by ensuring people selling on the sites have obtained permits from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply and are licensed businesses with actual locations and phone numbers, without which, they will not be allowed to carry out their sales, according to Asaad Qawasmi, a representative of the clothes, garment and jewellery sector at the chamber of commerce.

[The Jordan Times]

Cigarettes not bearing red digital tax stamps to be prohibited across the UAE local markets as of August 1

The UAE Federal Tax Authority cautioned that owning or selling cigarettes not bearing the ‘Red Digital Tax Stamps’ will be prohibited across local markets as of August 1, 2019, as per the timeline for the ‘Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme’, which went into effect on January 1, 2019.

Red Stamps have been issued for tobacco products traded in local markets, while Green ones were designated for tobacco products traded at duty-free in departure lounges.




Regional standards woes pose non-tariff barrier in Africa push for free trade area

Differences in standards applied by member states of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) can dampen a noble idea on the free movement of goods and services in the continent.

In light of this, World Trade Organization (WTO) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) have started harmonizing standards to break the bottlenecks that might hinder free trade of goods among member states.

[Business Daily]