France’s Macron Calls for World Trade Discussion in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for trade discussions to be held between the U.S., Europe, China and Japan in November in Paris.

In a speech to French ambassadors Monday, Macron said world trade rules aren’t currently working but “unilateralism and trade war is the worst response.”

He proposed to organize a meeting on the issue on the margins of World War One commemorations on Nov. 11 in Paris, since he has invited dozens of world leaders to the event including U.S. President Donald Trump, who said he would come.

“I think we can build a fairer and more efficient system. I think we should not give in to one’s hegemony and everyone’s division”, Macron said in a reference to Trump’s trade policies to impose tariffs on countries like China.

China Disputes Latest US Tariffs at World Trade Organization

China is challenging the latest round of U.S. tariffs against Chinese goods through the World Trade Organization.
The Chinese government on Monday formally requested “dispute consultations” with the United States over the Trump administration’s imposition of $16 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods last week. China has responded with similar taxes on U.S. goods.Its request to the World Trade Organization opens a 60-day period for the two countries to hold talks.China already is holding talks with the U.S. about its previous tariffs on both Chinese steel and aluminum products and over alleged Chinese violations of U.S. intellectual property protections.All told, the administration is preparing tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products. China has vowed to retaliate on American goods worth $60 billion.

UK’s May to Visit Africa to Boost Post-Brexit Fortunes

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to visit Africa on a trade mission aimed at boosting the U.K.’s post-Brexit fortunes.

May will visit Cape Town in South Africa on Tuesday, where she will give a speech on trade and how British private sector investment can be brought into Africa. She will visit Nigeria and Kenya later in the week.

May will be accompanied by a 29-strong business delegation on the trip, which aims to “deepen and strengthen” Britain’s global partnerships as it prepares to leave the European Union next year.

Security issues will also be on the agenda. May is expected to discuss threats such as Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Trade Cease-Fire With Trump Boosts German Business Optimism

The trade cease-fire between the European Union and U.S. President Donald Trump boosted optimism among German business executives heavily dependent on trade for their profits, a closely watched economic index showed Monday.

The Ifo institute index rose to 103.8 points from 101.7 in July. The result was better than the 101.8 expected by market analysts.

Ifo President Clemens Fuest said Monday that “aside from a strong domestic economy the cease-fire in the trade conflict with the U.S. contributed to the better mood.”

Trump had threatened to impose new tariffs, or import taxes, including on new cars and car parts. That raised fears of a cycle of retaliation that could hurt trade and growth. But Trump agreed to hold off after talks with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, gets much of its growth from exports. Its strength is one reason the European Central Bank remains confident it can end its bond-purchase stimulus program at the end of the year. The monetary stimulus involves the central bank for the 19 countries that use the euro purchasing government and corporate bonds from banks with newly printed money, a step which is aimed at increasing credit, growth and inflation.

Fuest said in a statement that the August reading was consistent with third-quarter growth of 0.5 percent quarter on quarter. That would match the 0.5 percent figure from the first quarter.

Average US Price of Gas Drops 2 Cents Per Gallon to $2.91

The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has dropped two cents a gallon over the past two weeks, to $2.91.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says that’s more than 50 cents a gallon higher than at this time last year.

Lundberg said Sunday it is likely that gas prices will continue to drop slightly. She says that’s because refiners have increased capacity and current demand is weak.

In California, the average price was $3.61 per gallon, down a penny from two weeks earlier.

The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states and Hawaii is $3.69 in the San Francisco Bay area.

The lowest average is $2.51 in Jackson, Mississippi.

France Lowers its Growth Forecast for 2019 to 1.7%

The French government has lowered its economic growth forecast for next year to 1.7 percent and unveiled plans to cut public spending in an effort to stay in line with European Union budget commitments.

In an interview Sunday with Le Journal du Dimanche, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government will base its 2019 budget on that reduced estimated growth, down from the previous estimate of 1.9 percent. He said France is still committed to be in line with European Union rules regarding public deficits.

“If growth slows down, there will naturally be an impact,” he said. “But that will not prevent us from sticking to our commitments on cutting taxes while controlling public spending and debt.”

Philippe explained some measures included in the 2019 budget, which is to be formally presented at the end of September. He said pensions and family and housing benefits will not be pegged to inflation anymore — meaning they will increase at a more moderate pace.

He promised that the government would not cut down benefits aimed at helping the poorest.

He said the French government will cut 4,500 public service jobs next year and 10,000 in 2020.

President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to pursue labor changes in the coming months, with a focus on small businesses, in an effort to boost growth.

Philippe also unveiled plans to reduce taxes paid by workers on overtime hours, starting from September 2019. He said the measure will provide an additional 200 euros ($233) per year to workers who earn the French minimum wage.

Foxconn, UW-Madison Leaders to Make Announcement

Leaders of Foxconn Technology Group and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are planning to make what they call a “major announcement” on campus Monday.

Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou was to join with UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank for the announcement at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

Foxconn is developing a site in southeast Wisconsin for a display screen factory and campus. But it’s also talked about opening a medical manufacturing facility and met with UW officials to discuss that possibility.

Foxconn leaders also previously met with officials at UW-Madison’s Carbone Cancer Center.

Foxconn’s Gou has supported cancer research in Asia. Both his first wife and his younger brother died of cancer.

Disney Offers 46% Raises, Could Use More Part-Timers

The proposed contract Walt Disney World’s unionized workers will vote on next week would increase the starting minimum wage by at least 46 percent over three years to $15 an hour, while enabling Disney to use more part-time workers and require new workers to stay in their positions longer before transferring.

The new details emerged Monday about the proposal, which would raise wages for existing workers by at least $4.75 an hour over three years. The contract ends in 2022.

The deal covers more than half the Florida resort’s 70,000 workers. It was reached late last week after about a year of negotiations.

If the contract is ratified, Florida workers each will receive a $1,000 bonus that Disney had paid to other workers following last year’s tax cut by Congress.

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