Business

Abkhazia and South Ossetia: Time to Talk Trade

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Informal trade is increasing between Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and between Abkhazia and countries outside the region. Trade alone cannot transform the parties’ core political differences. But talks among them on mutually beneficial commerce could open lines of communication long cemented shut. ICG What’s happening?  Informal trade is increasing between Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and between Abkhazia and countries outside the region. Formalising aspects of this trade is ... Read More »

How the wealth from Sierra Leone’s diamonds fails to enrich local communities

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Ever since diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in the 1930s, they have had a significant impact on the country – socially, politically and economically. Roy Maconachie The Conversation This is partly to do with how they are extracted from the ground. In countries in southern Africa, diamond mining is mostly undertaken by large-scale, mechanised companies, which monitor and control deep reserves. But in Sierra Leone, diamonds are more commonly dispersed close to the surface of river beds. They can ... Read More »

Iran’s stance affects the energy balance in East Med

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A new condition is expected to be formed in the Eastern Mediterranean region due to the Iran-centred crisis in the Middle East, incited by the new U.S. leadership. Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna Total’s decision to leave Iran due to Washington’s sanctions at the expense of the country seems to favour Cyprus at the moment. A senior executive told the Associated Press that Total intends to expand its operations in the Republic of Cyprus’s EEZ by proceeding with new gas exploration surveys. In ... Read More »

Are the Balkans the Next Big Thing?

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Does your company strategy call for a European manufacturing base but you worry you have missed the boat in terms of accessing lower-cost opportunities created when eastern European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic came into the E.U.? Stuart Burns MetalMiner Lower land and labour costs, aligned with ample financial support from the E.U. to the poorer parts of Europe created a fertile investment environment for new business growth in these eastern European states. With a good standard of ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia: Back to Baghdad

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Saudi Arabia has been forging links to Iraq since reopening its Baghdad embassy in 2016. Its adversary Iran has strong Iraqi ties. ICG If Riyadh avoids antagonising Tehran, invests wisely and quiets anti-Shiite rhetoric, Iraq can be a bridge between the rival powers – not a battleground. What’s new? After a quarter-century of estrangement, Saudi Arabia has re-opened diplomatic relations with Iraq in an attempt to counter strong Iranian influence. The kingdom seeks a role in post-ISIS reconstruction and has ... Read More »

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

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What’s next for NAFTA?Negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are under the gun to make headway on a new NAFTA deal after passing the unofficial deadline of May 17, put in place to give Congress enough time to vote on it by the end of the year. The Canadian Press Winnipeg Free Press Canadian officials say a deal is “close” but issues such as auto-sector content rules and a U.S.-proposed five-year sunset clause remain sticking points. Wholesale tradeStatistics Canada ... Read More »

Nicola Sturgeon: Independence debate to restart this week

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The SNP will fire the starting gun on a renewed debate around independence this week with the publication of a long-awaited report on the economy of an independent Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has signaled. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The First Minister said the report, expected this week after 18 months of work, will ignite discussion around Scotland’s constitutional future based on “ambition and hope”. The Growth Commission led by former SNP adviser Andrew Wilson, whose report has been repeatedly delayed and is ... Read More »

Varoufakis offers timely economic tidbits

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In his odd little book about capitalism and the global economy, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis attempts to explain the origins and evolution of market economies, including the seemingly inescapable tendencies of these systems to generate inequality among and within nations. Reviewed by: Scott MacKay Winnipeg Free Press Some readers will recall Varoufakis’ brief and tumultuous showdown with the global financial community during the Greek economic crisis of 2015 and his resulting bestselling memoir about these negotiations, Adults in ... Read More »

The Dirty Secret of Taiwan’s Fishing Industry

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Taiwan’s systemic inertia has created the perfect environment for the continued exploitation of migrant fishermen. James X. Morris The Diplomat In recent years an increasing number of reports have come out about migrant fishing labor violations occurring on Taiwanese-flagged vessels. These reports are part of a larger body of journalism focusing on the symptoms of a global fishing industry that has been largely left outside of world regulation standards and exists within an… The reports are the same: garnished and ... Read More »

Cryptos rise as Hong Kong regulators apply the brakes

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Are HK regulators striking a delicate balance, between staying on good terms with Beijing while staying relevant in Asia’s booming FinTech markets? Pete Sabine Asia Times Alarm bells have been ringing in the cryptocurrency industry in Hong Kong, with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) alerting investors to the risks of using cryptocurrency exchanges and… On these censures, law practice Charltons Quantum noted that: “Most of the Hong Kong ICO issuers and crypto exchanges contacted, however, confirmed that their activities ... Read More »

Turkey and Israel: Barking, biting, but still doing business

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While the recent diplomatic rift between Israel and Turkey indicates a further deterioration in relations, the Turkish government has avoided taking concrete steps that could directly hurt Israel, whereas the… Cengiz Candar Al-Monitor Israeli security forces have killed some 62 Palestinians and wounded scores of civilians by firing during demonstrations held on the Gaza border, which coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in… The carnage drew a harsh denunciation from Turkey’s sworn pro-Palestinian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Yet closer scrutiny ... Read More »

‘Measuring success differently’: New Zealand budget’s shift in economic thinking

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The Ardern government in New Zealand is articulating a bigger role for government in society, talking up wellbeing over traditional economic measures — while still playing on the standard “fiscal… David Donaldson TheMandarin New Zealand’s Labour-led coalition government has handed down its first budget, highlighting health, education and housing as areas of focus. “Our priorities are different from the previous government. We are determined to turn the page on the ideology of individualism and a hands-off approach to our economy ... Read More »

Exclusive: As Rosneft’s Vietnam unit drills in disputed area of South China Sea, Beijing issues warning

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HANOI (Reuters) – Rosneft Vietnam BV, a unit of Russian state oil firm Rosneft, is concerned that its recent drilling in an area of the South China Sea that is claimed by China could upset Beijing, two sources with direct knowledge of the… James Pearson Rosneft said on Tuesday its Vietnamese unit had started drilling at the LD-3P well, part of the Lan Do “Red Orchid” offshore gas field in Block 06.1, 370 kms (230 miles) southeast of Vietnam. The ... Read More »

The efficiency myth

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Heard the tale about the private sector always doing things better? Nick Dowson wonders why it still has believers New Internationalist The central myth of neoliberalism – ‘private sector good, public sector bad’ – persists in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The private sector is held up as better, more efficient, the way to modernize… Yet worldwide, hundreds of services are being brought back into public ownership, which suggests that people aren’t buying the hype around greater ... Read More »

Australia’s biggest solar farm switches on in Port Augusta

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Australia’s biggest solar farm – the 220MW (AC) Bungala solar project near Port Augusta in South Australia – has begun production marking the important first stage of the transformation of a former coal city into a… Giles Parkinson REnewEconomy The first output from Bungala – which could end up being a 300MW project if all three stages are built – was injected into the local grid last week, as final commissioning of the 110MW first stage continues. Bungala, located 12kms from ... Read More »

‘Walk away!’ City of London chief urges Theresa May to issue EU Brexit ultimatum

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A LEADING financial advisor in the City of London has urged Theresa May to get tough and “walk away” from Brexit negotiations until financial services are back on the negotiating table. David Dawkins Express Barney Reynolds, one of the UK’s leading voices on law and the City of London, has championed the need for the financial services to be the keystone feature of the final Brexit trade deal between the EU and the… With EU leaders increasingly reluctant to discuss the ‘Enhanced ... Read More »