Foreign policy

Gavin Williamson at centre of row over chancellor’s cancelled China trip | Politics – Business Article

The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, was at the centre of a growing cabinet row on Saturday night as senior government sources blamed him for offending the Chinese and causing the cancellation of a crucial trade visit to Beijing by the chancellor, Philip Hammond. Senior Conservatives said it was time to rein in Williamson, who has earned the nickname Private Pike in Whitehall after a series of gaffes. Treasury insiders said comments the defence secretary had made in a speech last…

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Phew, the Bank would deploy common sense on no-deal Brexit | Nils Pratley | Politics – Business Article

A no-deal Brexit, in economic terms, would be a trip into the unknown and would very likely involve a severe shock. Even the sober sub-set of Brexit promoters concedes the latter short-term point. But at least one likely outcome is becoming clearer: the Bank of England would not make things worse by cranking up interest rates. The idea that it might was a strange notion entertained by Threadneedle Street last November as it sketched various scenarios for the UK’s departure…

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Brexit: UK has rolled over just £16bn out of £117bn trade deals | Business – Business Article

The government’s push to roll over EU trade deals from which the UK currently benefits has yielded agreements covering just £16bn of the near-£117bn of British trade with the countries involved. Despite frenetic efforts by ministers to ensure the continuity of international trade after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March, the trade secretary, Liam Fox, has so far only managed to secure deals with seven of the 69 countries that the UK currently trades with under preferential EU…

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Business leaders demand May answers 20 questions on trade | Politics – Business Article

Business leaders have demanded the prime minister answer 20 crucial questions before the 29 March deadline to prevent a chaotic no-deal Brexit. The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), the UK business trade body, said that without greater clarity over import and export duties, border controls and customs procedures, Theresa May risked thousands of companies suffering a potentially catastrophic shock when the UK quits the European Union. Adam Marshall, the BCC’s director general, said British firms could face the biggest change…

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No-deal Brexit: UK exporters risk being locked out of world’s harbours | Business – Business Article

British exporters sending goods to far-flung destinations in the coming days risk being locked out of harbours around the world as a no-deal Brexit looms, business leaders have warned. The Confederation of British Industry, the EEF manufacturers’ lobby group and trade experts said exporters could be dispatching goods from UK ports imminently which would not arrive until after the 29 March deadline – raising the prospect of goods being stuck in ports or facing hefty additional costs in the event…

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Nissan was offered secret state aid to cope with Brexit, minister concedes | Business – Business Article

The business secretary has been forced to admit the existence of a previously secret package of state aid to Nissan that could have been worth up to £80m had the carmaker gone ahead with plans to manufacture a new model X-Trail in Sunderland after Brexit. Greg Clark released a letter dated October 2016 in which he pledged tens of millions of taxpayer support and promised the Japanese company it would not be “adversely affected” after the UK left the EU.…

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Billions of UK aid failing to reduce poverty, report finds | Global development – Business Article

Too much of Britain’s aid budget is being spent poorly by Whitehall departments on projects that fail the test of reducing poverty in the world’s poorest countries, a campaign group has said. The One Campaign – an advocacy organisation set up by the U2 singer Bono – said the huge gulf in standards across government was undermining the battle to build public trust that taxpayers’ money was being well spent. The UK is one of only a handful of countries…

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Falling diesel sales more than Brexit behind Nissan’s X-Trail decision | Business – Business Article

When Nissan announced its intention to build the new X-Trail in Sunderland in October 2016, it was hailed by the government as a vote of confidence in Britain, so soon after the referendum result that had shocked Japanese carmakers. Theresa May was personally involved in lobbying the company, giving assurances to Nissan’s ousted chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, shortly before the decision. The government’s promises that Nissan would not be harmed by Brexit included pledges to ensure supply chains were not…

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We must rule out a hard exit. Business is at breaking point | Politics – Business Article

The clock is ticking. In the House of Commons, MPs spend hours debating points of parliamentary procedure, but are unwilling to take real decisions about our country’s future. Negotiations between the prime minister and EU leaders seem to have reached an impasse. But in the real world, businesses are at breaking point. I know from my own business career that – above all – what business needs is certainty. Certainty about the terms on which they will be able to…

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No-deal Brexit: UK firms ‘praying’ for article 50 extension, says KPMG | Business – Business Article

British firms are “praying for an extension to article 50” rather than face a no-deal Brexit as it emerged that foreign investment has fallen steeply and the outlook for growth has slumped to a six-year low. The Confederation of British Industry said that firms’ reported growth prospects were at their weakest for almost six years, while other research shows the number of acquisitions of UK companies by foreign buyers is falling 11% year on year. The warnings emerged after the…

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UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts | Politics – Business Article

The UK will be unable to have frictionless, tariff-free trade under World Trade Organization rules for up to seven years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to two leading European Union law specialists. The ensuing chaos could double food prices and plunge Britain into a recession that could last up to 30 years, claim the lawyers who acted for Gina Miller in the historic case that forced the government to seek parliament’s approval to leave the EU. It…

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UK firms plan mass exodus if May allows no-deal Brexit | Politics – Business Article

Thousands of British companies have already triggered emergency plans to cope with a no-deal Brexit, with many gearing up to move operations abroad if the UK crashes out of the EU, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. Before a crucial week in parliament, in which MPs will try to wrest control from Theresa May’s government in order to delay Brexit and avoid a no-deal outcome, the BCC said it believed companies that had already gone ahead with their plans…

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