UK demands EU agree to new post-Brexit deal for N.Ireland

UK demands EU agree to new post-Brexit deal for N.Ireland
Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis giving a statement on the Northern Ireland protocol. UK government Wednesday demanded EU re-negotiate post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland after rioting and business disruptions. (AFP)
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Updated 21 July 2021

UK demands EU agree to new post-Brexit deal for N.Ireland

UK demands EU agree to new post-Brexit deal for N.Ireland
  • European Union has long insisted that it is up to London to implement what it agreed in their drawn-out Brexit divorce
  • US administration is also looking on warily at the UK manoeuvres

LONDON: The UK government on Wednesday demanded the EU re-negotiate post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland after rioting and business disruption hit the restive province.
The European Union has long insisted that it is up to London to implement what it agreed in their drawn-out Brexit divorce, and the US administration is also looking on warily at the UK maneuvers.
London stopped short of suspending the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, which requires checks on goods crossing over from mainland Britain.
But Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told parliament that while the UK had negotiated the protocol “in good faith,” its real-world application by the EU had entailed “considerable and continuing burdens.”
“Put simply, we cannot go on as we are,” he said.
Rather than ad-hoc grace periods for border checks, Lewis said the UK was seeking a “standstill period” for the protocol including legal action by the EU.
He pressed for a new dialogue “that deals with the problems in the round.”
“We urge the EU to look at it with fresh eyes and work with us to seize this opportunity and put our relations on a better footing.”
The protocol was painstakingly negotiated to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market.
Northern Ireland, which suffered three decades of sectarian conflict until a peace agreement in 1998, has been rocked by violence this year, in part against the protocol.
Many pro-UK unionists see it as creating a de facto border in the Irish Sea with mainland Britain and say they feel betrayed.
In its proposals, Britain urged the EU to stop broad checks and focus more squarely on goods “genuinely” at risk of entering its single market via Northern Ireland.
The government insisted that for all other goods, a light touch was needed to preserve Northern Ireland’s integral status as part of the UK.
It also wants the removal of any oversight role by the European Court of Justice.
Frustrated at the new red tape since the UK left the EU fully at the start of this year, several UK companies have already suspended sales to Northern Ireland, or are offering a reduced choice.
Retail chain Marks and Spencer said that in the protocol’s current guise, there will be “gaps on the shelves” in Northern Ireland this Christmas.
In a phone call Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Irish counterpart Micheal Martin the protocol was “causing significant disruption” and changes were essential, according to Downing Street.
But the EU, seeking to preserve the integrity of its single market, says Britain has been acting in bad faith, knowing full well what it signed up to.
There was no immediate comment from Brussels, but European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last week denied the EU was being dogmatic in its application of the protocol.
Ireland’s European affairs minister Thomas Byrne said Dublin would “listen carefully to what the British government have to say,” but insisted that any remedies must respect the hard-fought pact.
“We’re willing to discuss any creative solutions within the confines of the protocol,” he told BBC radio.
“But we have to recognize as well that Britain decided itself to leave the single market of the European Union, to apply trade rules, to apply red tape to its goods that are leaving Britain, to goods that are coming into Britain.”
The protracted rows over the protocol are drawing concern further afield from President Joe Biden’s US administration.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters the administration wanted both sides “to negotiate within the existing mechanisms when differences do arise.”
John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy and a former secretary of state, told BBC radio that the Irish-American president was “deeply immersed in the issue.”
Both he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are “deeply committed in making certain that the (Good Friday) agreement holds and there is peace ultimately,” Kerry said.


Fashion firm Rent the Runway aims for nearly $1.3bn valuation in U.S. IPO

Fashion firm Rent the Runway aims for nearly $1.3bn valuation in U.S. IPO
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Updated 7 sec ago

Fashion firm Rent the Runway aims for nearly $1.3bn valuation in U.S. IPO

Fashion firm Rent the Runway aims for nearly $1.3bn valuation in U.S. IPO
  • Rent the Runway plans to sell 15 million shares priced between $18.00 and $21.00 apiece in its IPO

Rent the Runway is aiming for a valuation of nearly $1.3 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, as the fashion rental company looks to cash in on the rising interest in pre-owned clothing.


The company, founded in 2009, lets users rent and shop second-hand clothes and accessories such as handbags and jewelry in over 18,000 styles from more than 750 designer brands. It also allows customers to rent and shop home goods.


Rent the Runway plans to sell 15 million shares priced between $18.00 and $21.00 apiece in its IPO, raising $315 million, according to a filing.


Earlier this month, the Brooklyn, New York-based company disclosed a near 39 percent drop in revenue for the fiscal year 2020. Its top line also took a hit in the first half of this fiscal year, with revenue down 9 percent for the period ended July 31.


Rent the Runway said its active subscribers more than doubled to 111,732 in the first nine months of 2021.


Demand for second-hand clothes has jumped in recent months as customers become increasingly conscious about their carbon footprint, boosting revenues at styling service Stitch Fix and online resale shop ThredUp.


Goldman Sachs & Co, Morgan Stanley and Barclays are the lead underwriters for the offering. Rent the Runway will list its stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol "RENT".


Bitcoin nears record high ahead of futures ETF listing

Bitcoin nears record high ahead of futures ETF listing
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Updated 22 min 45 sec ago

Bitcoin nears record high ahead of futures ETF listing

Bitcoin nears record high ahead of futures ETF listing
  • ProShares' Bitcoin Strategy ETF is expected to list on Tuesday under the ticker BITO

Bitcoin hit a six-month high and was within striking distance of a record on Tuesday as traders bet an anticipated listing of a futures-based U.S. exchange traded fund could herald investment flows into bitcoin and cryptocurrency assets.


Bitcoin, the world's biggest cryptocurrency by market value, rose as far as 1.5 percent during the Asia session to $62,991, its strongest level since the record peak of $64,895 in April.


It is up some 40 percent in October on hopes that the advent of bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETF), of which several are in the works, will allow billions of dollars managed by pension funds and other institutional investors to flow into the sector.


ProShares' Bitcoin Strategy ETF is expected to list on Tuesday under the ticker BITO, provided the U.S. regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, does not object.


Analysts cautioned that the fund will not invest directly in bitcoin - rather in Chicago-traded futures - and so may not have any immediate implications for flows. But speculators have been wagering its launch is a positive signal for spot prices anyway.


Bitcoin futures rose on Tuesday, last trading at $62,690, and spot prices could rise if cash keeps flowing in, said cryptocurrency analysts at Arcane Research.


"This could lead to more constant buying pressure on CME, causing the open interest to rise. This will attract more cash and carry opportunities, leading to buying pressure in the spot market," they said in a note.


Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe amid surging interest in digital assets. VanEck and Valkyrie are among fund managers pursuing U.S.-listed ETF products, although Invesco on Monday dropped its plans for a futures-based ETF.


The Nasdaq on Friday approved the listing of the Valkyrie Bitcoin Strategy ETF and Grayscale, the world's largest digital currency manager, is planning to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust into a spot bitcoin ETF, CNBC has reported.


ProShares ETF is set to begin trade on Tuesday after a 75-day period during which the SEC could object to its listing elapsed on Monday.


Ether the second-largest cryptocurrency, has tracked bitcoin's rise and also traded firmly on Tuesday. It was last up 1.2 percent at $3,790.
 


ACWA Power among bidders of 1,200 MW Saudi renewable energy projects 

ACWA Power among bidders of 1,200 MW Saudi renewable energy projects 
Updated 19 October 2021

ACWA Power among bidders of 1,200 MW Saudi renewable energy projects 

ACWA Power among bidders of 1,200 MW Saudi renewable energy projects 

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Energy announced the list of candidates for bids received from developers, participating in the third phase of renewable energy projects in the Kingdom, consisting of four independent generation projects (IPP) for solar photovoltaic energy with a total capacity of 1200 MW.

French Total Solar and ACWA Power are both candidates for the Wadi Al-Dawasir project with a capacity of 120 MW, while ACWA Power and AlFanar Energy Company are candidates for the Laila project with a capacity of 80 MW, under Category A.


What is the future of food? Dubai forum talks answers

What is the future of food? Dubai forum talks answers
Updated 19 October 2021

What is the future of food? Dubai forum talks answers

What is the future of food? Dubai forum talks answers
  • The UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam bint Al-Mheiri is opening the first day of the 2-day forum

DUBAI: High-profile personalities in the food and beverage sector gathered at the Dubai Exhibition Center on Tuesday to talk about the future of food. 

The UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam bint Al-Mheiri is opening the first day of the 2-day forum addressing government efforts in supporting manufacturers. 

Other top executives — from organizations such as Pepsico, Kellogs, and Agthia — will also take the stage to answer questions in food sustainability, supply chain challenges, and other crucial topics in the region’s F&B scene. 


Saudi holdings of US treasury bills fell to lowest in 14 months

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills fell to lowest in 14 months
Updated 19 October 2021

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills fell to lowest in 14 months

Saudi holdings of US treasury bills fell to lowest in 14 months

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's holding of US Treasury securities decreased by the end of August to $124.1 billion, the lowest since May 2020, according to new data from the US government.

The Saudi holdings in August were down by 3.1 percent or $4 billion compared to the previous month.

The holdings declined by 4.5 percent equivalent to $5.9 billion on an annual basis, compared to August 2020, the data showed.