Britain eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU, UK finance minister says

British finance minister Philip Hammond said the UK would develop a trade deal that is not a ‘Canada model.’ (Reuters)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Britain eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU, UK finance minister says

BEIJING: British Finance Minister Philip Hammond said it is likely Britain will want to negotiate a bespoke arrangement for future trade deals with the EU.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin, Hammond said he expected that the UK would develop a trade deal that is not a “Canada model.”
Hammond, who is in China on an official visit, was referring to a deal similar to the one the EU agreed to last year with Canada.
Shi told reporters that China believes Britain and the EU are able to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both sides.
The European Union agreed on Friday to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact but some leaders cautioned that the final year of divorce negotiations before Britain’s exit could be fraught with peril.
EU leaders, who had offered British Prime Minister Theresa May a rare summit round of applause over dinner in Brussels the night before, took just 10 minutes to agree that she had made “sufficient progress” on divorce terms last week and to give negotiators a mandate to move on to the main phase of talks.
Summit chair Donald Tusk said the world’s biggest trading bloc would start “exploratory contacts” with Britain on what London wants in a future trade relationship, as well as starting discussion on the immediate post-Brexit transition.
The Brexit negotiations have been a vexed issue for the global economy as markets feared prolonged uncertainty would hit global trade and the growth.
A transition period is now seen as crucial for investors and businesses who worry that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would disrupt trade flows and sow chaos through financial markets.
Hammond’s China visit is the latest instalment in long-running economic talks between the two states but it has now taken on new importance for Britain as it looks to re-invent itself as a global trading nation after leaving the EU in 2019.


Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

Updated 24 June 2018
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Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

  • Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years
  • The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer

DUBAI: Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years, according to an internal Etihad email seen by Reuters, as the downsizing of the Abu Dhabi carrier’s operations helps fill a pilot shortage for Dubai’s Emirates.
Etihad, which last week reported a $1.5 billion annual loss, has been overhauling its business since 2016, replacing its top executive, dropping unprofitable routes and shrinking its fleet.
The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer. Management had said the shortage was a short-term issue.
In the email, Etihad said pilots who join Emirates on a two-year secondment would be placed on a leave of absence, retain seniority at Etihad, and receive their salary and full benefits from the Dubai airline.
Pilots were asked in the email to register a non-binding expression of interest and told that Emirates’ recruitment team would meet with pilots at Etihad’s offices.
Two sources separately told Reuters that Etihad had emailed staff announcing the agreement with Emirates.
An Etihad spokesman told Reuters secondment programs were common practice among airlines, enabling the effective management of pilot resources.
“This is something Etihad Airways has done for several years with partner airlines around the world,” the spokesman said.
An Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters the airline was “working with Etihad on a secondment program for some of their pilots.”
It was not immediately clear how many pilots would be offered temporary employment at Emirates and the email stated that any pilots applying for the secondment would need to complete Emirates’ training program.
Etihad employs 2,200 pilots, according to the airline spokesman. Reuters reported in January that Etihad had offered up to 18 months unpaid leave to pilots.
Emirates and Etihad have been exploring closer ties and signed a security pact in January, the first agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airlines. Emirates has since said that a closer relationship was not about a merger.
Emirates and Etihad, backed by their state owners, have competed developing global networks from their respective hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are just 128 kilometers apart.
Emirates is owned by the government of Dubai, and Etihad is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.