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"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London



Toyota and Suzuki agree to begin formal talks on partnership www.reuters.com

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Suzuki Motor Corp (7269.T) on Monday said they have agreed to begin formal talks aimed at forging a partnership between the two Japanese car makers in shared procurement, green vehicles, IT and safety technologies.
Toyota and Suzuki said in October they were exploring a partnership, citing technological challenges facing automakers and the need to keep up with consolidation in the global auto industry.


Mazda, Subaru brace for Trump's trade policies www.asia.nikkei.com

TOKYO -- With U.S. President Donald Trump demanding that even Japanese automakers put "America first," Mazda Motor and Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries are growing concerned over the potential impact of tariffs and other trade protections that could limit access to the world's largest car market.
"We don't know what direction things will go," Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai told reporters Sunday when asked about Trump's pledge to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. "What's important for us is to develop more attractive products and boost sales."
Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields, one of the loudest critics of the Japanese auto market, had once served as president and CEO of Mazda as part of the companies' past partnership. "I have no particular comments" regarding Fields, Kogai said.
Mazda expects to sell 1.55 million cars worldwide for the fiscal year ending in March, with the U.S. accounting for 15%, or about 230,000 units. But roughly 80% of the vehicles it sells in the country are shipped from Japan and the rest from Mexico. Exchange rates have a huge impact on sales.
Trump is calling for a 35% tariff on cars made in Mexico, which would make it a significant burden to build vehicles in the country. For an automaker of Mazda's size, building a new plant in the U.S. will be a challenge. It could face a tough decision depending on what Trump's policies shape up to be.
Six Japanese companies -- Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, Fuji Heavy and Mazda -- currently sell autos in the U.S. market. Toyota had previously promised to invest $10 billion in the country, and made another announcement Jan. 24 on its roughly $600 million investment in a plant in Indiana. President Akio Toyoda has also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Fuji Heavy's only overseas factory is located in Indiana. The automaker just doubled annual output capacity there in December to around 400,000 vehicles, hiring an additional 1,500 or so workers and bringing the total to about 5,500. It plans to ramp up capacity to 440,000 units by fiscal 2018.
Fuji Heavy has doubled annual sales in the U.S. to about 615,000 units in the five years through 2016, accounting for 60% of global sales. Its exports from Japan were hit hard by the strong yen earlier this fiscal year, but the recent softness in the currency is expected to mitigate the expected drop in profits. The company is hoping to sell up to 670,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2017. But it is looking to produce just around 60% of the vehicles locally -- less than Toyota and other big automakers. It will be affected significantly by any tariffs or movements in the exchange rate.
Japanese autoparts makers face uncertainties as well. The Japan Auto Parts Industries Association says that the number of Mexican production bases operated by its members had doubled in five years to 109 as of March 2016.
Yorozu, which supplies suspensions and other parts to Nissan, is expanding two plants in Mexico and plans to have the added production up and running by the end of the year. "We will consider a response if the U.S. takes further steps toward protectionism," said Chairman and CEO Akihiko Shido.
Smaller automakers more exposed due to limited US production
U-Shin, which makes parts for Mazda and other companies, has moved production from the U.S. to a Mexican plant set up in 2012. "We will consider reassigning some production back to the U.S.," a company representative said.


Areva deal signals chilled French-Chinese nuclear partnership www.asia.nikkei.com

PARIS -- Troubled French reactor builder Areva has agreed to accept equity stakes from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel. But missing from the list is a Chinese backer, signaling cooling Sino-Franco relations in the nuclear sector.
Reforms, including the injection of fresh capital, are essential for growth of Areva, CEO Philippe Knoche told a shareholders meeting Friday. Shareholders are expected to approve a capital increase of some 5 billion euros ($5.39 billion).
The French government will provide 4.5 billion euros of that. Mitsubishi Heavy and Japan Nuclear Fuel will pick up the rest in exchange for separate 5% stakes in nuclear fuel reprocessing unit NewCo.
After cost overruns while constructing a reactor in Finland, the French group had posted its fifth straight annual net loss through the year ended December 2015. The cumulative losses for the five years reach well north of $8 billion, prompting the company to seek capital relief.
The group courted China National Nuclear Corp. to invest in NewCo, but talks apparently fell through in late January. According to a person close to the matter, the Chinese side wanted to acquire a larger stake than the Japanese contingent as well as install a director -- terms Areva was not willing to swallow.
Many within Areva and state-owned utility Electricite de France, which is acquiring reactor-building unit Areva NP, have argued that the Chinese market should be a priority. The world's No. 2 economy will account for most new nuclear plants through 2040, meaning growth would be impossible without Chinese orders. But both Washington and Tokyo have raised security concerns, forcing Areva to give up accepting an investment, according to French media.
Now the French are worried about frosty business relations with China. The two sides have been building new plants in the mainland and sharing nuclear fuel reprocessing technology. But now new orders from China may be hard to come by. Fissures may also appear in the Franco-Sino partnership in the U.K. EDF and a Chinese company have purchased stakes in the Hinkley Point C nuclear station in southwestern Britain. In the southeast, EDF is providing support for the Bradwell plant being developed by the Chinese.
China is one of the few partners French companies rely on when it comes to finances. The French have not yet closed the door on an eventual sale of an equity stake in NewCo.
The French nuclear industry is home to between 300,000 to 400,000 workers. Facing high unemployment rates, the government has led the rescue efforts at Areva, highlighting the urgency of overhauling the nuclear sector. Areva is spinning off its nuclear fuel business into NewCo. Areva NP will severe the Finland reactor project and go under the umbrella of EDF. The French government is looking for international investors in Areva NP. Mitsubishi Heavy has shown interest, but the failure at NewCo may cloud discussions with potential Chinese suitors.


Freedom House rates Mongolia ‘Free’ www.en.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ US based NGO Freedom House revealed ‘Freedom in the World 2017’, an annual report on global political rights and civil liberties, and Mongolia received 85 scores to be rated a Free country.
Of the 195 countries assessed, 87 (45 percent) were rated Free, 59 (30 percent) Partly Free, and 49 (25 percent) Not Free.
With aggregate score 85, Mongolia ranks after Japan (96) and Taiwan (91) in Asia. However, it is notable that Mongolia’s Freedom of the Press 2016 status is Partly Free.
The report finds 2016 to mark the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom, wrote Freedom House.


Apple to start making iPhones in India, says state government www.bbc.com

Apple is to start making iPhones in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, the state's government has said.
Ministers said Apple would start an initial manufacturing operation in the state, whose capital is the tech hub Bangalore, in April.
The tech giant has a 2% share of India's mobile phone market, well behind South Korean rival Samsung.
Apple has yet to officially confirm the plan, saying only that it is keen to "invest significantly" in India.
But Priyank Kharge, minister of information technology and biotechnology in Karnataka, told the AFP news agency: "We have an understanding with Apple and we expect them to start manufacturing in Karnataka by the end of April."
Reports said the plant is being set up by Taiwanese manufacturing company Wistron Corp.
Despite the low percentage of sales, Apple has almost half of the market for premium phones, which start at around $450 an item, and its sales are growing fast.
Apple has held a series of meetings with government representatives at both state and national level and is understood to be pressing for concessions before going ahead with such a move.
Apple's biggest manufacturing partner is Taiwanese giant Foxconn, which runs the biggest iPhone factory in the world in China.
Apple is currently unable to set up its own branded stores in India, which has a raft of rules to curb the activities of foreign companies.
Rising sales
For it to be able to sell direct to customers in India, Apple would have to source 30% of the components of its products locally.
Earlier this week, Apple reported its first rise in sales in nine months after strong Christmas sales of the iPhone 7.
The firm had suffered three quarters in a row of falling revenues as mounting competition, particularly from Chinese rivals, hit sales of the iPhone.


Rolls-Royce faces civil service inquiry over UK state funding www.theguardian.com

Civil servants are carrying out an internal inquiry to establish whether the engineering giant Rolls-Royce fraudulently obtained financial support worth hundreds of millions of pounds from the government.
The inquiry was launched after the multinational manufacturer admitted last month it had used multimillion-pound bribes to secure export orders across the world over four decades.
Rolls-Royce has apologised and is paying £671m in penalties after the endemic corruption, implicating senior employees, was exposed by anti-corruption investigators in the UK, US and Brazil.
The internal review is being conducted by officials at the UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s credit agency which gives financial support to British exporters to help them win contracts around the world.
Rolls-Royce is one of the biggest customers of UKEF which extends loans to purchasers and their banks, and guarantees to step in and pay outstanding debts if buyers default on export contracts.
The inquiry is understood to be scrutinising whether Rolls-Royce complied with UKEF’s anti-bribery rules when it received financial support from the credit agency.
UKEF has the power in certain circumstances to force firms to repay money if they have broken the anti-bribery rules. Rolls-Royce said it did not anticipate having to repay money.
These rules require firms applying for financial backing to declare that they have not used corrupt payments to win export orders, or channelled payments through agents.
Sue Hawley, the policy director of Corruption Watch, said: “This is a key test of how robust UKEF’s anti-corruption procedures are and how willing UKEF is to enforce them.
“UKEF must get to the bottom of how much Rolls-Royce lied to them and look seriously at whether Rolls-Royce has defrauded the taxpayer.”
She added that Rolls-Royce should be blocked from receiving any support from UKEF for three years after confessing to the bribery.
Rolls-Royce struck deals with the Serious Fraud Office and prosecutors in the US and Brazil last month to end long-running investigations.
As part of the deals, which included paying the penalties, Rolls-Royce admitted that it had used a variety of corrupt schemes and cover-ups in 12 countries between 1989 and 2013 in what amounted to “egregious criminality”.
In four of these countries, Rolls-Royce had won contracts that were given financial support by the UKEF or its predecessor agency.
Rolls-Royce has told the Guardian that in three of these cases, it had declared to UKEF at the time it applied for financial support that it had not used corrupt methods to secure the orders.
UKEF backed a £330m contract for Rolls-Royce to supply the Russian state-owned company Gazprom with gas compression equipment in 2008. Rolls-Royce paid an £8m bribe to a Gazprom official to win the contract.
UKEF had also supported a £54m contract in 2004 to supply engines to Thai Airways which was won through a $7m bribe to middlemen. Bribes were also paid to land a £32m contract in 2005 to supply power generation equipment to Brazil.
Rolls-Royce also received financial support from the British government’s credit agency when it paid a $2m bribe to win a contract to supply aircraft engines to Indonesia in 1991. In this case, it was working in conjunction with another firm which had the responsibility of applying for support and making any necessary declarations.
Rolls-Royce said: “The behaviour uncovered in the course of the investigations by the Serious Fraud Office and other authorities is completely unacceptable and we have apologised unreservedly for it.
“The past practices that were uncovered do not reflect the manner in which Rolls-Royce does business today.
“We have taken extensive action to strengthen our ethics and compliance procedures so that high standards of business conduct are embedded as an essential part of the way we do business. We have co-operated fully with the authorities and will continue to do so.”
Anti-corruption campaigners have long argued that the government is allowing bribery to flourish by failing to uncover potentially improper payments when it gives financial backing to exporters.
Details of the corruption were published in legal documents when the settlements bringing an end to the investigations were announced in January. The documents, which are being examined by UKEF officials, did not identify who had organised the illicit payments, nor who had received them.
A UKEF official said:“While UKEF is not a law enforcement agency and has no statutory investigatory powers, we rigorously follow Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development standards and take all possible precautions to avoid supporting transactions that may be tainted by corruption.”


Toshiba begins negotiation for sale of chip unit www3.nhk.or.jp

Struggling electronics giant Toshiba has launched negotiations over the sale of its flash memory business.
Toshiba plans to spin off its profitable chip unit and sell a stake in the new company to help cover the huge losses from its nuclear power business in the United States.
Investors, including US investment funds and other chip manufacturers, took part in the first round of bidding on Friday.
Informed sources say Toshiba asked the bidders to consider investing in not only the new chip firm but also Toshiba itself for several billions of dollars.
The request is viewed as Toshiba's attempt to prevent debt from exceeding assets in its financial statements for the current business year that ends in March.


Coking coal price finally breaks fall www.mining.com

On Friday, Chinese traders returned to financial markets after the lunar new year break welcomed by a surprise interest rate announcement from the People's Bank. It's the latest sign that Beijing's stimulus efforts are coming to a close and that stoking economic growth is no longer the number one priority.

Friday's Caixin manufacturing PMI reading was also a disappointment showing Chinese manufacturing activity are losing some momentum at the start of 2017. The reading came in at 51.0 in January, down from the near four-year high of 51.9 that it hit in December and below expectations.

Nevertheless after 12 weeks of non-stop declines traders on Friday finally pushed the price of coking higher, albeit only by a few cents. The steelmaking raw material broke its fall at $167.80 on Friday, still $140 below its multi-year high of $308.80 per tonne (Australia free-on-board premium hard coking coal tracked by the Steel Index) hit in November.

Indian consortium plans to restart Benga mine in Mozambique bought from Rio Tinto for a fraction of Melbourne company's original purchase price
There was a more than $100 differential between the spot price average and the fourth quarter contract benchmark, but that situation has now completely reversed. Benchmark contract prices for the Q1 2017 were settled between Australian miners and Japanese steelmakers at $285 a tonne.

While the rally and subsequent pullback has created uncertainty in the market, supply is beginning to respond to higher prices.

Earlier this week International Coal ventures (ICVL), a consortium of five state-run coal mining operations, announced plans to restart operations at the Benga mine in Mozambique according to a report in the Financial Express.

ICVL acquired control of Benga mine and two green-field coal assets (Tete East and Zambezi) in 2014 from Rio Tinto. The assets have an estimated coal resource of 2.6 billion tonnes and in its current form Benga can produce 5.3 million tonnes per year. Mining was suspended in May when met coal was trading below $100 a tonne.

Rio Tinto acquired the Benga mine and other coal projects in the Southern African country’s Tete province in 2011, after buying Australia's Riversdale Mining for $3.7 billion. But in 2013 the Anglo-Australian giant took an asset impairment charge of $3 billion on the coking coal venture citing challenges in building the necessary infrastructure to bring the project on stream. A year later Melbourne-based Rio sold the assets to an Indian company for just $50 million.

Mozambique's central Tete province is believed to hold one of the world's largest untapped coal reserves that has been compared with Australia's coal-rich Bowen Basin.

The US is also expected to increase its coking coal production in 2017 and that around 9 million tonne of US met coal will be added to the export market. Companies such as Warrior Met Coal, Rosebud Mining and Ramaco already plan to start operations in the new year.

Australian coking coal mines owned by miners South32 and Anglo American are expected to once again produce at full capacity in 2017 following force majeure stoppages in late 2016, while Conuma Coal Resources is restarting production at its Wolverine mine in BC, Canada exporting around 1.5 million tonnes of coking coal a year starting in April.

Despite the pullback metallurgical coal had more than doubled from multi-year lows reached in February last year. Coking coal averaged $143 a tonne in 2016 (about the same as it did in 2013). Consensus forecast is for the price to average about the same in 2017.

In 2011 floods in key export region in Queensland saw the coking coal price briefly trade at an all-time high $335 a tonne.



Trump's travel ban has revoked 60,000 visas for now www.reuters.com

About 60,000 visas were revoked under U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, the State Department said on Friday, in one of several government communications clarifying how the order is being rolled out.

The revocation means the government voided travel visas for people trying to enter the United States but the visas could be restored later without a new application, said William Cocks, a spokesman for consular affairs at the State Department.

"We will communicate updates to affected travelers following the 90-day review," he said.

Earlier news reports, citing a government attorney at a federal court hearing, put the figure at more than 100,000 visas.

The government issued over 11 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas in fiscal year 2015, the State Department said.

The immigration executive order signed by Trump a week ago temporarily halted the U.S. refugee program and imposed a 90-day suspension on people traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump said the measures would help protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

Under President Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor, the United States added those seven countries as "countries of concern" under its visa waiver program, effectively toughening U.S. visa procedures for individuals who visited those places during the past five years.

Trump's executive order was at least in part informed by those restrictions. The new president, who took office on Jan. 20, went further by temporarily barring passport holders from those seven countries.

The State Department first issued the guidance about revoking the visas on Jan. 27, the day Trump signed his executive order, according to a memo filed in a court case in Massachusetts.

But confusion about the roll out of the order sparked protests at airports across the country where people had been detained and led to a wave of lawsuits filed by individuals, states and civil rights groups.

To further clarify how the order should be applied, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sent out a letter to all of its employees on Feb. 2, according to a copy of the memo seen by Reuters.

The memo said the agency was continuing to process all applications and petitions for people inside the United States regardless of their country of origin. It also said all applications for permanent residency and adjustment of status can move forward.

USCIS said they could not discuss internal employee communications.

The Department of Homeland Security had earlier clarified, after some initial back-and-forth, that the order would not apply to green card holders. Also people from the seven countries who hold dual citizenship are allowed to enter the United States on the passport of a non-restricted nation when eligible, according to Feb. 2 guidance posted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection's website.



54TH ANNUAL ACADEMY OF AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW (Save the date) www.mongolianbusinessdatabase.com

May 21 - June 23, 2017

The Center for American and International Law | Plano, Texas USA

Registrations are now being accepted for the 2017 Academy of American and International Law, which will be held May 21 - June 23 in Plano, Texas.

Why should you participate (or send a colleague)?

This question is answered in the 2017 Academy Brochure, but we also want to share the answers of some of our recent alumni:

Mary Hennessy, Gordon Dadds, United Kingdom

“The Academy gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the best professors and legal practitioners in the U.S., as well as my classmates. I came home from Dallas feeling more motivated and confident, inspired by the wonderful people I had met.

The Academy was an invaluable opportunity to meet people from all over the world, many of whom will remain important contacts in my professional career and great friends for the rest of my life."

Rodrigo Lepervanche Rivero, EY Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela

“The Academy was definitely a landmark for my personal and professional life. The experience helped me to understand the law from a worldwide perspective, by having the opportunity to engage with more than 60 lawyers from 25 different jurisdiction, and the opportunity to be taught by the best professors in the U.S..”

Diego Rodríguez Ariztía, Guerrero, Olivos, Novoa Y Errázuriz, Santiago, Chile

"The 2016 Academy program was my personal best study experience. Not only because we learned lots about international related subjects with world-known teachers from some of the best U.S. universities, but also because of the people we met.

Meeting distinguished lawyers from all around the world gave me perspective, interaction and friends for life. I totally recommend the program, the experience, and Dallas itself. Take the chance and the opportunity and you will never regret it."

Please join us for a world-class learning experience. You will:

Learn about American and international business law from an all-star faculty

Develop a network of in-house counsel and law firm practitioners from more than 20 countries

Gain practical insights that will help you represent your clients

Be introduced to the people and the culture of the U.S. through a wide variety of out-of-class activities

We promise you an experience that you will never forget.


Please contact Jasmine Hunt jhunt@cailaw.org directly or Ser Od Ichinkhorloo Country Coordinator of CAILAW at serod@b2bmongolia.com and 976 99066062 mobile for an additional inquiry.