Author Archives: Evelyn Cheng

Since the start of the pandemic, financial institutions including the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – along with UN entities, regional organizations and country groups such as the G20 – have been examining the tools available to stabilize markets, prevent job losses and preserve hard-fought development gains. At a joint high-level meeting of the IMF and the World Bank on Mobilizing with Africa on Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres commended the bodies’ swift actions to support member countries, while emphasizing that more work will be needed. “We know this virus will spread like wildfire and there are no firewalls,” he said.  “Alleviating crushing debt is absolutely crucial.” The UN chief noted that in Africa, households and businesses were suffering liquidity challenges even before the virus gained a toehold on the continent.  As countries work to prevent millions from plunging into poverty, already unacceptable levels of inequalities are…

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Stronger worker and environmental protections top the changes to a new version of the North American trade deal signed by top U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials on Tuesday that clears the way for a long-delayed vote in the U.S. Congress. The full text of revisions has not yet been made public, but the following are some of the key changes, based on documents provided by House Democrats, industry executives and U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials for a deal that will underpin $1.2 trillion in annual trade and replaces the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. LABOR Democrats prioritized the stronger enforcement of worker rights in Mexico, even after Mexico passed a labor reform aimed at ensuring union independence, worker freedoms and higher wages. Mexico has agreed to increase its budget for labor enforcement. The new deal establishes a labor-specific enforcement mechanism that provides for facility-based enforcement of labor obligations in…

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As trade talks between the U.S. and China increasingly center on Chinese treatment of foreign companies, Beijing says major American complaints about structural aspects of its economy are running up against “core interests.” The implication: Those matters are not up for negotiation. Previously, the vague “core interest” term was generally understood as referring to Beijing’s territorial claims, such as those on Taiwan. But a commentary piece published this weekend by state news agency Xinhua emphasized that China will not yield on its prerogative about how to manage its economy. The Chinese-language article published Saturday claimed there were five ways in which the U.S. is harming the growth of the global economy by launching a trade war with the Asian giant. “At the negotiating table, the U.S. government has made many arrogant requests, including restricting the development of state-owned enterprises,” the commentary said, according to a CNBC translation. “Obviously, this is beyond the field and…

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