Insights

General Politics

Italy, and why not all political negotiations are equal

General Politics

Signs are clearly pointing to the two winners of Italy’s 4 March election – the Five Star Movement and Lega – being able to work together, and it is looking increasingly likely they will seek to reach some sort of governing arrangement. But, despite successfully reaching an agreement on the speakers for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate last week, they will find that…

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The Trump trade gamble

Trade & Manufacturing

For all of Donald Trump’s flexibility on policy issues, US-China trade is one area where he has demonstrated surprisingly constant views over the years. Unlike the Washington political establishment, Trump and his group of trade advisers not only believe that the integration of the American and Chinese markets since China’s 2001 entry into the WTO has not benefited both…

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Rules of origin in an EU-UK FTA: A ‘hidden hard Brexit’ for food and drink exporters?

Trade & Manufacturing

The imposition of rules of origin on trade between the EU and the UK is often poorly understood as an important factor in managing the impact of a UK exit from the EU. While it is generally expected that the UK and the EU will ultimately trade with each other on a largely or completely tariff-free basis via a preferential trade agreement, accessing the preferential terms…

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Mutual recognition – mutual incomprehension?

General Policy

The UK government has finally started to flesh out what sort of future trade and regulatory relationship it wants to negotiate with the EU. Central to this are a revised set of market access and product standard recognition rights in the EU single market based on what the UK often calls ‘mutual recognition’. This suggestion has been rebuffed in a number of places and ways…

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General Politics

Global Counsel Brexit dashboard Q1 2018

General Politics

This is the first issue of the Global Counsel Brexit dashboard. 21 months on from the vote – and with just 12 months before the UK leaves the EU – we can now take the macro pulse of the economy, using a balanced set of 15 indicators, each quarter. We are not attempting to isolate the impact of Brexit from all the other factors affecting the economy, as that is near…

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General Politics

Xi’s next term, or is it his last?

General Politics

At the China Entrepreneurs Conference in Yabuli last week (see my previous blog for reflections), the theme was 40 years of reform and opening up of China’s economy. Earlier in the week, news seeped out that China’s two-term leadership rule was about to be scrapped, allowing Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond 2023. Commentary flooded the international media, but…

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General Politics

Germany’s fiscal trilemma: why Europe could lose out

General Politics

Sunday’s result of the SPD membership vote has been welcomed across Europe. Many, from Paris to Rome and Madrid, are relieved that the SPD will be part of the next government (and the FDP in opposition). What makes Social Democrats so attractive is their commitment to ‘more Europe’ and eurozone reform, and their openness to put additional German money on the table to…

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Yabuli: where Chinese businesses move and shake

General Policy

Most Davos regulars will not know of the town of Yabuli, a remote town in northern China closer to Vladivostok than Beijing. But, having spent much of last week trekking to and from Yabuli, I have realised both towns have something in common. I was there to attend the annual China Entrepreneurs Forum (think the World Economic Forum but with no politicians or NGOs). Yabuli…

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Pricing sustainability: the financial sector’s role in green finance

Financial Services

Sustainable finance refers to a financial service that incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into business and investment decision-making.While market-driven initiatives currently set the metrics for this area, its uptake by financial regulators has been slow. In the year following the 2008 financial crisis, sustainability rested on the periphery…

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Foreign Investment: Rising Tides of Politics in Regulation

Financial Services

Recent years have seen important global shifts in both the policy frameworks for screening inward foreign investment and the way in which they are applied. These shifts come against a backdrop of protectionist political rhetoric and anxieties about the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) in traditionally open economies. The new landscape is exemplified by the…

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How can Chinese investors and entrepreneurs navigate populism in the West?

General Policy

Inequalities are increasing amongst people in Europe and the US; this is having a profound impact on politics, creating resentments and instability; and this is impacting the way in which policymakers see China. It is putting trade and investment relations with China under closer scrutiny. This is creating a more complicated environment for Chinese businesses in Europe…

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The illusion of managed divergence

Trade & Manufacturing

The Institute for Government’s model of managed divergence for the UK and EU economies has been influential in shaping the UK government’s position. It’s an ingenious attempt to address some of the thorniest economic and political challenges presented by Brexit. But while it may provide a basis for the UK cabinet ministers to bridge their differences, it is unlikely to be…

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When the regulator is a competitor

Financial Services

Transport for London (TfL) is the city’s transport regulator, responsible for operating multiple modes of transport for 1.3bn passengers a year, such as the Tube, the Emirates Air Line and London’s 700 different red bus routes. In addition to this operational role, TfL has a legal duty to grant – and police – the licences of private hire operators, traditional taxis and…

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General Politics

The “cost” of Labour’s nationalisation agenda

General Politics

The nationalisation of several utilities and rail franchises is a key plank of the UK Labour Party’s policy platform. To the dismay of implicated business leaders, it is also relatively popular, according both to the 2017 general election result and to separate polling. But how much would it cost - is Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell right to claim, as he did in a speech…

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Outsourcers' struggles in the UK are an opportunity for the mid-market

General Policy

Capita’s profit warning is yet another sign of the growing fragility of the large, generalist outsourcing sector in the UK. That no bail-out was forthcoming for Carillion showed that such firms are not too big to fail. Indeed, the question seems to be whether they are too big to survive. This should imply significant opportunities for smaller, specialist firms, and…

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Fear and loathing in data protection

TMT

All eyes in the tech community in Europe and beyond are fixed on 25th May 2018 when the EU’s General Data Protection Agreement (GDPR) finally enters into force. But many are misunderstanding what is driving the agenda here - focusing on the apparent loathing of big tech in Brussels when, in truth, the European Commission is driven more by fear of failure.

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Sizing up the British economy

Financial Services

Are economic statistics – such as for inflation, growth and productivity – no longer reliable? And if not, what does this mean for economic policy and for businesses?

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Supporting Europe’s Economies and Citizens - A modern approach to financial services in an EU-UK Trade Agreement

Financial Services

In September 2017, Global Counsel and Clifford Chance published with UK Finance a detailed set of proposals for the financial services content of a possible future EU-UK FTA.

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