Every week we bring you the world’s biggest business, currency, and travel stories. This week: the CETA saga continues, AT&T thinks it’s the right Time to buy, Banks could leave the UK thanks to Brexit, and wine production has crashed – what does that mean for the price of your favourite red?
Second chance for CETA
Despite a Wallonia shaped wrench being thrown into the CETA trade deal when the French speaking Belgian region vetoed the deal, there is still hope. The EU has given Belgium until Monday to negotiate with Wallonia’s parliament. Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland was in tears early last week when the deal seemed to be dead. In order for the trade deal to pass, all 28 EU member parliaments must ratify the proposal, Belgium’s national government is unable to pass any legislation without approval from its regional administrations and thus far Wallonia has refused to sign. Wallonia’s opposition may be down to regional politics in Belgium’s dysfunctional and complex political system. Rumours suggest that EU officials may be willing to make concessions to Wallonia, or even tweak EU procedure to make the deal pass.
What are EU doing?
Failure to secure the CETA would be a blow to both Canada and the EU. The deal would remove 98% of tariffs between the two economies, boosting growth and increasing trade. Arguably the deal is more important to the EU, which has slogged through the euro crisis, uncertainty in Greece, Brexit and a massive influx of refugees. The EU had hoped that CETA would be the first of many international trade deals, but failing to close the deal with Canada may prove to be a serious concern to prospective trade partners in the future. After all if you can’t even come to an agreement with Canada, then who can you get along with, eh?
American Telecoms superpower AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for a staggering US$86 billion. The deal will combine the distribution network of AT&T with the content of Time Warner which includes Warner Brothers studios, HBO and CNN. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and critics argue that it could fall foul of anti-trust laws designed to prevent monopolies. Others take the move as a sign that traditional media is feeling the pressure from new mediums like Netflix and consolidating to better their position and increase efficiency. AT&T bought the satellite provider DirecTV last year.
The British Bankers Association has warned that banks will start looking to pull out of the UK in the coming year as a result of Brexit. London is arguably the world’s finance capital with banking one of Britain’s most important industries. Currently the UK’s membership in the EU allows banks to operate throughout the continent, but a “hard Brexit” could result in the revocation of this privilege for banks based in Britain.
Wine now (get it, like why now?)
Global wine output is expected to fall 5% compared to last year due to adverse weather conditions in France and South America. French production looks set to drop 12% due to frost and hailstorms in spring, followed by a summer drought. Italian production will fall 2%, but the country will remain the largest global producer. Producers in South America will be the hardest hit with a fall of 35% in Argentina, 21% in Chile, and a devastating 50% decrease in Brazilian production. South Africa too is expecting a 19% plunge. Australia, the US and New Zealand however all expect increases of 5%, 2% and 34% respectively. Despite the fall in global output, you don’t have to fear a price rise any time soon.
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