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Beijing warns of possible ‘trade war’ with Europe over EU tariffs

Beijing warns of possible ‘trade war’ with Europe over EU tariffs

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Beijing warns of possible 'trade war' with Europe over EU tariffs

Beijing warned on Friday that escalating frictions with the European Union over electric vehicle imports could trigger a trade war, as Germany’s economy minister arrived in the Chinese capital with the proposed tariffs high on his agenda.

Robert Habeck’s three-day trip to China is the first by a senior European official since Brussels proposed hefty duties on imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles to combat excessive subsidies. That has unleashed countermeasures by China and harsh criticism from Chinese leaders.

In an unexpected twist, Habeck – from the ecologist Greens Party which is a junior partner in Germany’s fractious three-way coalition – criticised Berlin’s 11-month-old China strategy document as too short-termist and not in sync with the China strategies of other EU countries.

This week alone, Chinese automakers urged Beijing to hike tariffs on imported European gasoline-powered cars and the government launched a dumping probe into EU pork imports in retaliation for the EU Commission’s move.

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“The European side continues to escalate trade frictions and could trigger a ‘trade war’,” a statement attributed to the Chinese commerce ministry’s spokesperson said. “The responsibility lies entirely with the European side.”

It said that with its dumping probe, the European side had “intimidated and coerced Chinese enterprises, threatened to apply punitive high [EU] tariff rates, and demanded overly broad information”.

OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLAIN

Habeck’s visit is seen as an opportunity for Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, to explain to Chinese officials the recent tariff announcement while allaying the risk of retaliation from China that could harm German businesses.

Germany’s voice carries particular weight, and leading German car manufacturers have vociferously opposed the EU tariffs. Berlin has urged dialogue while expecting China to compromise.

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The country’s carmakers would be the most exposed to any countermoves from China, as almost a third of their sales came from the $18.6 trillion economy last year.

The EU’s move on EV tariffs plunged trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy to a new low.
But Chinese state media portrayed his visit as a chance to defuse tensions. Germany should seek consensus, some experts said, according to state-controlled tabloid Global Times.

NEW LOW

On his arrival in Beijing on Friday, Habeck met ambassadors of several EU countries at the start of a trip what will include talks with Chinese officials and stops in Shanghai and Hangzhou. He had been expected to meet Premier Li Qiang, but sources from the German delegation said late on Friday it had not been possible to schedule that meeting before Habeck’s departure from Beijing.

At a reception at the German embassy in Beijing, Habeck expressed dissatisfaction with Berlin’s current China strategy as outlined by a document released last July after months of coalition wrangling.

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The 64-page document accused Beijing of increasing assertiveness and “unfair practises” but was vague on policy measures to reduce critical dependencies.

“A strategy means you have to look in the future and to describe at least a path to the future, even when it will never happen as it is described,” he said.

“This is a German government’s China strategy, so what is missing is the European approach,” he said, adding that an update would be required “sooner or later”. He did not spell out in exact terms how he saw Germany’s strategy evolving.

The German government did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Habeck’s statement, which adds to perceptions Berlin has yet to establish a clear path for the export-oriented German economic model in an era of rising protectionism.

Earlier on Friday, Habeck had tempered expectations for what could be resolved during his visit, saying he did not expect to reach a solution on trade tensions.

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Germany is also seeking to broaden access for its companies to the vast Chinese market, while also trying to “de-risk” its economy from being too reliant on any one country.

Trade experts say economic and political factors all increasingly favour the U.S.-German relationship.

Germany’s 60 billion euros ($64bn) of trade with China in the first quarter of 2024 was less than the 63 bn euro total volume of US-German trade. That snapped a trend that has ranked China as Germany’s top trading partner for eight years in a row.

Official figures released on Friday underlined the shift: German exports to China fell 14 per cent in May from a year ago while exports to the United States rose 4.1pc. 

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

 Punjab Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani said the livestock sector is a top priority of the government, and practical steps are being taken for its development.

He expressed these views during his visit to the sub-campus of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and the Buffalo Research Institute in Pattoki on Saturday.

The provincial minister inspected various departments of the institute, including the calves rearing centre, dairy section, and research laboratories.

The minister on this occasion said that institutions like the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences are providing such education and training to our youth that they can play their role in the livestock sector in their practical life.

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He said under the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, the government’s focus is on small farmers with land holdings ranging from one to twelve and a half acres, for whom various schemes are being launched in the agriculture and livestock sectors.

He said according to the vision of the CM, the Livestock Department is paying full attention to increasing milk and meat production and implementing body fattening programmes for livestock.

The minister said that for the first time in Punjab, a scheme called the Chief Minister Punjab Livestock Card has been introduced for small farmers, benefiting 80,000 farmers over two years.

Four lakh animals will be prepared for export through feed and fattening. Kirmani said that the Nili-Ravi breed is the pride of Punjab. The Livestock Department is striving to improve the Nili-Ravi breed of buffaloes in Punjab.

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Former Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce Gohar Ejaz has said the government has been purchasing electricity from a specific power plant at the rate of Rs750 per unit under IPPs contract deal.

“We have been paying Rs60 per unit due to these corrupt contracts. Out of total IPPs, 52 per cent belongs to the government while 28 per cent is being run by the private people of Pakistan,” Gohar disclosed.

“I have raised my voice against 40 families  and shared the data to save the country from them. It is surprising the government is paying Rs150 billion to a specific power plant which is generating merely less than 15 per cent of its capacity,” he said.

“Most IPPs are running at less than 20 per cent of their capacity while payments of Rs1.95 trillion have been made to these IPPs which have been confirmed.

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The former commerce minister reveled the government had been paying Rs370 billion to three IPPs which were generating less than 15 per cent of their capacity.

He says the solution to the problem is to pay to the IPPs ‘no capacity charges.

Read only: Gohar Ejaz urges Leghari to make IPP payment record public

“The IPPs must be paid for what they generate,” he highlighted.

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Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

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Nigeria's Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery is in talks with Libya to secure crude for the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant and will also seek Angolan oil, a senior executive said, as it seeks to overcome problems with domestic supplies.

The $20 billion refinery, built by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote on the outskirts of Lagos is Africa’s largest, and is designed to end Nigeria’s dependence on imported fuels because of insufficient refining capacity.

Since Dangote began operations in January, it has been unable to get adequate crude supplies in Nigeria, which, although Africa’s biggest oil producer, is struggling with theft, pipeline vandalism and low investment.

Dangote has resorted to importing crude from as far as Brazil and the United States.

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“We are talking to Libya about importing crude,” Dangote refinery senior executive Devakumar Edwin told Reuters late on Saturday. “We will talk to Angola as well and some other countries in Africa.”

He declined to give detail about the talks, but said international traders and oil companies were among the biggest buyers of Dangote’s gasoil, much of which was being exported.

“The biggest offtakers are the two big traders Trafigura and Vitol and BP and, to some extent, even TotalEnergies. But all of them are saying they are taking it to offshore,” Edwin said.

Traders and shipping data have shown that Dangote is increasing gasoil exports to West Africa, taking market share from European refiners.

Edwin said Dangote’s oil trading arm was operational, with staff in London and Lagos, to help manage supplies and sell products. Reuters first reported the planned trading arm in March.

Nigeria’s upstream regulator has clashed with Dangote, saying the sulphur content in its gasoil was above the required limits of 200 parts per million (ppm).

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Aliko Dangote has denied that, saying the sulphur level was higher when production started, but had fallen to 88 ppm and would sink to 10 ppm in early August as output rises.

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