British auto production dropped for a third straight year in 2019, as carmakers continued to hold off on investment amid uncertainty over the country’s departure from the European Union.
The anemic figures announced Thursday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders will increase the pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work out a favourable trade deal with the EU because the industry directly employs 168,000 people and contributes 6 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) a year to the economy. There are fears things will only get worse if carmakers, who rely on just-in-time supply chains, lose the ability to participate on an equal footing in the European single market.
After more than three years of protracted negotiations about how to leave the EU following the June 2016 referendum, Britain is finally set to do so on Friday. Though it won’t be an EU member after, it enters a so-called transition period that will allow current trading rules to remain in effect until the end of the year. Auto executives are pushing for a free-trade deal as soon as possible to prevent them from closing plants and moving elsewhere.
Figures released Thursday show total production fell 14.2% last year to 1.3 million vehicles, the lowest since 2010. Production for export markets declined 14.7% to 1.06 million vehicles — the majority of which went to the EU.
Though investment in the industry almost doubled to 1.1 billion pounds, the figure was less than half the 2.7 billion pound average over the past seven years. A single large investment by Jaguar Land Rover, which is building electric cars in the Midlands, accounted for most of the 2019 figure, the SMMT said.
Mike Hawes, CEO of the trade organization, said the decline in manufacturing was a “grave concern.”
“Given the uncertainty the sector has experienced, it is essential we re-establish our global competitiveness,” he said. “And that starts with an ambitious free-trade deal agreement with Europe — one that guarantees all automotive products can be bought and sold without tariffs or additional burdens.”
The figures come as the car industry convulses with change — and it isn’t just about Brexit, which has weighed on the industry since the 2016 vote.
The growth in electric cars, the shift away from diesel and increasing competition from countries like China is causing turmoil as people think about making big changes to their plants and supply lines.
David Bailey, an auto industry expert at the University of Birmingham and author of “Carmaggeddon? Brexit & Beyond for UK Auto,” said the government needs to clarify its plans for an EU trade deal, or risk losing even more investment.
“The clock is ticking,” he said. “There’s a real danger we will be timed out.”
Shenzhen Holds 2022 Global Investment Promotion Conference to Build a Magnet for International Investors – Yahoo Finance
SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Shenzhen welcomes outstanding investors from all over the world. The 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference will be held in Shenzhen, China on December 9. A number of major projects in the fields of information technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new energy, new materials, high-end equipment, and environment protection will be signed to contracts.
With the theme ‘Spur Opening Vitality, Gather Innovation Momentum — Invest in Shenzhen, Build a Winning Future’, the conference will award certificates to outstanding introduced businesses, multinational corporate headquarters, and investment consultants. The conference demonstrates Shenzhen’s determination to promote a high level of openness and present its top business environment, according to the Commerce Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality.
Shenzhen’s appeal to investors has not only been shown in China, but also worldwide. There have been 16 sessions of the 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference held in 16 cities worldwide, including New York, Detroit, Paris, Dublin, Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane, Johannesburg, Moscow, etc. Through online investment and online signing, Shenzhen has deeply connected with global investors, invited overseas businesses and talent to invest and set up companies in Shenzhen.
The session in Rio de Janeiro received nearly 100 attendees, including Tian Min, the Chinese Consul General to Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Li Ke, the Executive Vice President of BYD, and representatives of well-known local trades, technology companies, and trade associations. Participants have expressed their hopes that Brazilian and Shenzhen businesses will conduct further exchanges and benefit from each other’s strengths, continue to explore new grounds for cooperation, and promote the in-depth development of China–Brazil economic and trade relations.
The Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference has been held for three years with more than 600 projects signed to contracts involving a total intended investment of over 2 trillion yuan. The conference has become a major representation of Shenzhen’s achievements of high-level opening up, high-quality economic and social development, and a world-class business environment. The conference is a major investment platform for gathering global investors and a major exchange platform for investment promotion.
An optimal business environment has made Shenzhen a popular destination for global investors. From January to October 2022, the actual use of FDI in Shenzhen was nearly 10 billion USD, and foreign investor confidence has been strengthened. Up until now, a total of over 170 countries and regions have invested in Shenzhen.
Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in China, stated, “The experience of Shenzhen, as a hub for investment and being ranked as a top city of Chinese mainland for overall economic competitiveness by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, can serve as an example both for other cities within China that seek to attract more foreign investment, and for cities and countries around the world.”
SOURCE The Commerce Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality
Canada proposes overhauling foreign investment rules to tackle security risks
OTTAWA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – (This Dec. 7 story has been corrected to delete the phrase saying that only one deal had been previously blocked under the Investment Canada Act, in the ninth paragraph)
Canada on Wednesday proposed beefing up its foreign investment rules to give the government greater power to scrutinize and potentially block overseas deals that bring national security risks.
The proposed amendments would be the biggest overhaul to the Investment Canada Act (ICA) since 2009 and come at a time when the country’s rich deposits of critical minerals, which are crucial to the green transition, are in hot demand.
“These proposed changes will ensure that foreign investments in Canada are not only to the net benefit of Canadians, but are not detrimental to our national security,” Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said at a press conference announcing the proposal.
Champagne said the proposed changes are country-agnostic, though his ministry last month ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canadian critical minerals after a national security review.
The government also took aim at Beijing in its Indo-Pacific strategy launched last month and said it would tighten foreign investment rules to protect intellectual property and prevent Chinese state-owned enterprises from snapping up critical mineral supplies.
The proposed amendments to ICA include a requirement for foreign investors in some Canadian industries to notify the government before finalizing deals.
It would allow the government to impose interim conditions to prevent acquirers from accessing trade secrets, intellectual properties and sensitive personal information, and the authority to accept undertakings to mitigate national security risk.
It would also allow greater exchange of information with allies to better address common national security challenges.
The ICA became law in 1985 and has had several updates.
The sectors impacted by the early disclosure rule have not yet been determined, but Champagne said the targeted industries are going to be linked to sensitive technologies, critical minerals and those dealing with personal information.
Ottawa sees the critical minerals sectors as vital to Canada’s economic prosperity and outlined rules earlier this year to protect the country’s critical minerals resources from foreign state-owned companies.
Initiative to protect Hudson Bay Lowlands to benefit from $800M investment
An Indigenous-led initiative to protect northern Ontario’s Hudson Bay Lowlands is one of four projects to receive a total of $800 million from the federal government over a seven-year period.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new funding at the United Nations’ Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in Montreal on Wednesday.
The four projects, which also include conservation of lands and waters in the Northern Shelf Bioregion in British Columbia, in Qikiqtani Region in Nunavut, and in the Northwest Territories, could protect up to one million square kilometres.
“Our government is here as a partner,” Trudeau said in a press release following the announcement.
“And today, we took an important step forward – together – to deliver a vision of conservation that has partnership and reconciliation at its core. I’m looking forward to our shared work to deliver results for communities and for the nature that sustains us all.”
Vern Cheechoo, the director of lands and resources with Mushkegowuk Council, said the council is “quite happy with the announcement.”
Mushkegowuk Council represents seven First Nations around northern Ontario’s James Bay Coast. The council also works with Weenusk First Nation and will collaborate with Fort Severn First Nation on a marine conservation initiative tied to the new funding.
In a press release, the council said the federal government’s announcement sets the stage to protect a territory that represents almost one third of Ontario’s land mass.
The Hudson Bay Lowlands are home to one of the largest peatland complexes in the world and store an estimated 30 billion tonnes of carbon. The region is also an important habitat for billions of migratory birds.
“It’s important in terms of cooling Mother Earth,” Cheechoo said. “The elders called it the breathing lands.”
Cheechoo said Mushkegowuk Council is still waiting to have more discussions with the federal government to find out what portion of the $800 million it will receive.
But whatever amount it gets, he said it will help build capacity and infrastructure, such as office space, to support researchers, stewards and guardians who will protect the land.
Cheechoo said he hopes the support from the federal government can lead to more long-term funding to permanently protect the area.
He added the new funds will also help promote conservation-based economic activity for the region. He said British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest serves as an example where economic development can also protect the environment.
“The work that they are doing out there, they’ve created like 1,200 jobs, started 200 new businesses,” Cheechoo said.
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