Insights

General Politics

Top Trumps: thirteen takes‎ on a Trump presidency

General Politics

Following the result of the US presidential election, we ask thirteen of our policy specialists for a first take on a Trump administration and its implications for policy and politics.

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Modi’s cash call: political genius or recklessness?

General Policy

It is an interesting week to be in Delhi. While everyone is trying to work out the implications of Donald Trump’s shock victory, Indians are also coming to terms with their own domestic political earthquake.

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What is the point of equivalence in EU financial services?

Financial Services

UK commentators have spent recent weeks debating the opportunities offered by the EU’s ‘equivalence’ regime for companies outside the single market. The concept was significantly expanded by Michel Barnier to encourage global adoption of EU rules and simply commits the EU to go beyond its formal WTO commitments for countries that meet its regulatory standards. In the…

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General Politics

Sizing up soft political risk

General Politics

Soft political risks from changes to regulation, fiscal policies and the way legislation is enforced are now at least as important as hard risks from security threats, political instability and geopolitical tensions. Their prevalence in Europe and the United States means they are now a core issue for just about any investment thesis or corporate strategy. This is partly…

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General Politics

Berlin needs Oettinger

General Politics

Germany’s EU Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, is no diplomat. He has been accused of racism, homophobia and sexism following a speech he gave last week in which described Chinese diplomats as “slitty-eyed rascals”, joked that gay marriage might soon be made compulsory in Germany, and implied women only get jobs through quotas. It is not the first time he has been accused…

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Political support for the “gig economy”: nowhere left to hide?

TMT

Ed Vaizey made a splash at Global Counsel’s breakfast “Digital Tech: Bridge or Barrier to Social Mobility?” when he suggested that self-employed platform workers should receive the minimum wage. The former Minister of Culture and the Digital Economy was responding to a succession of controversies over working conditions in the so-called “gig economy”: Deliveroo riders…

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An £18bn misunderstanding

Trade & Manufacturing

A British think tank rather definitively announced last week that it had added up the potential tariff bill for EU-UK trade in a ‘hard Brexit’ scenario – and declared the EU the bigger loser by some margin. Applying the EU’s existing tariffs by tariff line to existing trade flows gave them a ‘bill’ for EU exports of around £13bn. The implied tax on UK exports to the EU…

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'Singapore of the North Atlantic': a viable option for post-Brexit Britain?

Financial Services

In the months since Brexit there have been murmurings about whether, post-Brexit, Britain could adopt a ‘Singapore model’. A number of Brexiteers in the financial sector have suggested that Britain could become a “super-duper Singapore” through deregulation and focusing on new markets in Asia.

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What kind of trade policy passes the Namur test?

Trade & Manufacturing

After a rough week in Namur, Wallonia’s capital, EU member states and EU trade policymakers will be reflecting on what CETA's near death brush with elected politicians means for future trade deals. So what are they likely to conclude?

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General Politics

Offshore Britain?

General Politics

According to one major newspaper, the UK Government is developing a “nuclear” Brexit negotiating threat in the form of a corporation tax cut to 10%. The logic goes that the prospect of an aggressively low-tax “offshore” UK on the doorstep would scare the EU into accommodating British preferences for the future UK-EU relationship. But as with all nuclear deterrents, the…

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General Politics

Spain will have a new government, but how much will it be able to do?

General Politics

After 10 months of political uncertainty and two general elections, Spain will now get a government, but one that will be severely constrained. Incumbent interim centre-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will now face, and win, an investiture vote in the Congress of Deputies at the end of the week. This follows the decision by the centre-left Socialist Party at the…

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CETA: What’s the matter with Wallonia?

Trade & Manufacturing

This has been a tricky week for EU trade policy. Up until last Friday, EU governments were largely expected to unanimously give their final greenlight in this week’s Council meeting for the signing and provisional implementation of CETA. However, this week the minister president of Belgium’s Wallonia Region Paul Magnette de facto ordered the Belgian federal government to…

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General Politics

Pravin Gordhan and what happens next in South Africa

General Politics

In his time, Pravin Gordhan has played many roles: pharmacist; anti-apartheid activist; prisoner; chief taxman; and finance minister not once, but twice. In South Africa’s current political morality play, he is cast as the martyr – fending off what many see as politically motivated accusations of fraud from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prevent him exposing…

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General Politics

Is Donald Trump about to become an exception to the ‘October 31 rule’?

General Politics

Donald Trump’s performance in the third and final presidential debate seems unlikely to do much to stem his plummeting popularity. It is not unusual for presidential campaigns to be tawdry affairs but the last couple of weeks has seen the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton shock even seasoned political commentators. The clip of audio revealing Trump’s amused…

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Marmite for banks

Financial Services

When British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed her Conservative Party conference earlier this month she railed against the side-effects of super-low interest rates and bemoaned the cost to savers. She promised to fix the problem “because that’s what a Conservative Government can do” raising concerns about whether a government that says it is “prepared to intervene”…

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Less taxation for… more representation

General Policy

The German federal election is less than a year away and strategists in the two large coalition parties are both preparing to answer the same question: how to change the subject from migration. This week hinted at the likely answer, and it is not a particularly novel one: money.

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The 100,000 person question

General Policy

Immigration is the simmering political issue at the heart of Brexit. Much of the debate has focused on how far the UK can reclaim control of EU migration into the UK, while retaining some form of participation in, or preferential access to, the single market. But what if we assume that full migration policy is back in the hands of the UK government. How does it meet…

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In the Brexit divorce, who gets custody of the EU’s FTAs?

Trade & Manufacturing

Like many divorces, Brexit is going to be a custody battle of sorts. UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox has warned (via his preferred UK newspapers) his EU counterparts that attempts to prevent the UK inheriting a large number of FTAs signed on the UK’s behalf by the EU could be met with retaliation by those EU trading partners. This is, in essence,…

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