China importers seek to lift tariffs on US farm goods: State media

US and Chinese trade officials recently had their first contact in months. (Reuters)
Updated 22 July 2019

China importers seek to lift tariffs on US farm goods: State media

  • Reducing America’s soaring trade deficit with China has long been a principal aim in Trump’s trade battle with Beijing, which he also accuses of stealing US technology and unfairly intervening in markets

SHANGHAI: Chinese importers are applying to their government to lift tariffs on some US agricultural imports, state media reported on Sunday, three weeks after the two sides reached a truce in their trade war.
The unnamed importers were talking to US suppliers about potential pricing and have applied to a Chinese government body with oversight of tariffs to lift the levies, the nearly identical reports in various media outlets said.
The importers were acting “according to the needs of the domestic market,” the reports said.
No further details were given, such as which products might be affected. The move may be a goodwill gesture after the US earlier this month was reported to have removed 110 Chinese export items from its own tariffs list.
The two economic giants have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade since US President Donald Trump launched a trade war last year, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific. But Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce and to revive fractious trade negotiations when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 29.
The Chinese media outlets on Sunday did not cite a specific source for the reported request to lift the tariffs on US goods.

FASTFACT

The move may be a goodwill gesture after the US earlier this month was reported to have removed 110 Chinese export items from its own tariffs list.

The reports come just a few days after Trump accused China of backsliding on promises to increase purchases of American farm exports.
Following the Osaka summit, Trump announced that, in return for Washington’s pledge to suspend a planned tariff increase on $300 billion in Chinese imports, Beijing had offered to buy “a tremendous amount of food and agriculture product” from the US.
“Mexico is doing great at the Border, but China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” Trump said Thursday on Twitter. “Hopefully they will start soon!”
Last week, US and Chinese trade officials had their first contact in months in an effort to revive negotiations that nearly collapsed in May. Reducing America’s soaring trade deficit with China has long been a principal aim in Trump’s trade battle with Beijing, which he also accuses of stealing US technology and unfairly intervening in markets.


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.