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Europe

‘Fully informed man’ says Trump won’t impose tariffs on European cars

Outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker does not believe US President Donald Trump will impose tariffs on imported European cars next week, he told Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

“Trump is going to make some criticism, but there won’t be any auto tariffs,” Juncker told the Sueddeutsche in pre-released extracts of an interview to run in its Friday edition. “He won’t do it. … You are speaking to a fully informed man.”

The US Commerce Department declined to comment.

Juncker’s comments were the most definitive sign to date that Washington will hold off on imposing tariffs on imported vehicles that would have a huge ripple effect on European carmakers and many suppliers in the United States.

The United States must decide by 14 November whether to impose threatened US national security tariffs of as much as 25% on vehicles and parts under a law known as Section 232. The tariffs have already been delayed once by six months, and trade experts say that could happen again.

[Euractiv]

Johnson: We will get Brexit done in January

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday promised to take Britain out of the European Union in January, speaking at a campaign rally he used to frame the country’s Dec. 12 general election as the most important in a generation.

“It great to see so many of you here … at the beginning of what I think is the most important election our country has faced for a generation,” he told the rally in the central English city of Birmingham.

He pledged that if re-elected he would begin passing his Brexit deal through parliament straight away “so we get Brexit done in January and we put the uncertainty behind us.”

[Reuters]

Middle East

Sohar Port and Freezone in Oman contributes 4.8 per cent of the Sultanate’s GDP

Dr Mohammed Nasser al Zaabi, Chairman of the Board of Sohar Port and Freezone said, “Sohar Port has created a remarkable footprint and made its presence recognized, both in the region and globally. We are also proud to be ranked as one of the fastest-growing port and free zones in the world, with investments exceeding RO 10 billion. With our strategic geographical location, providing us access to global markets with an outreach of over 2 billion people, Sohar Port has played a vital role in line with the national Logistics Strategy 2040.”

“Over the past 15 years, Sohar Port and Freezone has emerged as a global logistics and industrial hub. Looking ahead, we continue to align ourselves with Oman’s diversification and logistics strategies, attract foreign direct investment and increase employment and SME opportunities in Suhar. We are confident that by employing a young and capable workforce, while simultaneously investing in innovative solutions, we will be able to achieve our strategic objectives,” Omar Mahmood al Mehrzi, DCEO of Sohar Port and Freezone — CEO of the Freezone concluded.

[Oman Observer]

 

Africa

Africa offers a test to von der Leyen’s ‘geopolitical Commission’

The challenge for Ursula von der Leyen, who has billed her new European Commission as a ‘geopolitical Commission’, is that the EU will have to improve its offer to African leaders, and quickly. Even though her team is yet to formally take office, the annual EU-Africa business summit hosted in Morocco at the end of November, will be one of the first opportunities for the EU to make an impression with their African counterparts in the new legislative term.

The early signs are that the new Commission will seek to develop a more strategic relationship with the African continent and individual countries, with the rhetoric focusing on ‘partnerships with’ Africa rather than programmes ‘for’ it.

Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission took four years to devote much time to EU-African trade, surprising many when he offered the prospect of a ‘partnership of equals’ with the African ‘sister continent’ based around a continent-to-continent trade deal in his final ‘State of the Union’ speech in September 2018.

The African Union in the process of drawing up regulatory standards for the African Continent Free Trade Agreement, a project for which the EU executive has provided €50m to fund technical support.

[Euractiv]

Automotive market in Egypt anticipates impacts of eliminating customs on Turkish-origin cars

The car market is anticipating the impacts of eliminating customs on Turkish-origin cars, as part of the Free Trade Agreement between Egypt and Turkey.

The agreement will eliminate the remaining 10% customs on Turkish cars. Many debated on the economic feasibility of activating the agreement. Toyota Corolla, Fiat Tipo, and Renault Megane are the top brands to be affected by the deal.

Egypt has signed several free trade agreements with various countries that allow the free exchange of industrial goods and products without customs that may hinder trade.

Cars are considered among these products. According to these agreements, some cars will be exempted from customs duties completely, especially since some of these agreements have already been fully implemented, such as the Egyptian-European Association Agreement between Egypt and the European Union.

The exemption will not be limited to those cars, but will also include cars from South American countries like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

[Zawya]