Japan, China agree trade war will harm global economy

Top officials from the world’s third- and second-largest economies attended a high-level economic dialogue in Tokyo on Monday, April 16, and discussed the growing trade two between the US and China. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Japan, China agree trade war will harm global economy

TOKYO: Japan and China agree that a trade war will have serious consequences for the world economy, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Monday after a high-level economic dialogue between the world’s third- and second-largest economies.
Concern is growing about a trade row between China and the US in which the two nations have threatened each other with tariffs. Japan has been criticized by US President Donald Trump on trade and been hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum, but it has not yet threatened counter-tariffs.
“We have shared understanding that a trade war, no matter which country has brought it about, would have a very large impact on the prosperity of the international economy,” Kono told reporters after the first such dialogue in more than seven years.
Kono and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, co-chaired the Tokyo meeting. Wang is also foreign minister.
Financial markets have been roiled recently over fears that a full-blown US-China trade war could shatter global trade and economic growth.
Trade issues will likely be at the forefront of a summit between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump later this week. Tokyo is eager to avoid being pushed into talks on a two-way free trade agreement aimed not only at market access but at monetary and currency policies.
Kono also said it was possible that Japan works with China on Beijing’s Belt and Road projects.
“It is quite possible that Japan cooperates with China on various (Belt and Road) projects on a case by case basis where international standards are met,” Kono said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, unveiled in 2013, aims at building a modern-day Silk Road connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Abe and Xi pledged last year to reset the sometimes-touchy relationship between Asia’s two largest economic powers.
Wang, who spent eight years in Japan as a diplomat including three as ambassador, said the changing economic climate presented fresh opportunities.
“After reopening these talks, we’re both standing at new starting points to discuss future cooperation that will, I hope, lead to fresh economic growth for both nations,” Wang said at the start of the economic dialogue.
Wang is the first Chinese foreign minister to visit Japan in a bilateral context in nine years. He and Kono discussed a broad range of issues, including North Korea, on Sunday night.


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 21 March 2019
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.