#TTIP ‘ Dutch activists come out in force against secret trade deal #TTIPalarm

@AceFinanceNews – Featured Report: Update:June.09: Activists in the Netherlands on Tuesday started an online campaign against the controversial free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, a day before the European Parliament will vote on the deal.

#TTIPalarm
#TTIPalarm

Calls for ‘TTIP Light’ Amid Charges of Secrecy and Lack of Trust

MOSCOW (Sputnik) –  Opponents say that the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal will benefit big corporations rather than ordinary citizens, as the deal’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system would enable foreign investors to sue states for damages.

Several watchdogs called on Twitter users on Tuesday to urge Dutch members of the European Parliament to vote against the ISDS, using hashtag #TTIPalarm, according to the campaign’s Facebook page.

“We do not want companies and the US government to decide what our rules, laws and standards should look like. Such things threaten our democracy,” the rights groups said in a statement.

Following the start of the campaign, #TTIPalarm became one of the top trending topics in the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Over 2 million people have signed an online petition against TTIP and a similar deal with Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

On April 18, waves of protests against TTIP spread across Europe, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to express their dissatisfaction at the speed and secrecy of the treaty negotiations and the possible negative impact of the deal.

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#STOPTTIP ‘ Over 2-Million Europeans sign Petition over Agreement between EU & US ‘

#AceFinanceNews – Featured Report:MOSCOW:June.08: More than 2 million Europeans have signed a petition against the controversial free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, which critics say benefits big corporations, not citizens.

TTIP Protesters call Agreement a Trojan Horse'
TTIP Protesters call Agreement a Trojan Horse’

The Stop TTIP activists originally planned to reach the 2-million threshold by October 2015.

The European Commission is scheduled to vote on the TTIP resolution on Wednesday.

Last month, campaigners called on the European Union to vote down the investor-state dispute settlement, which has been their major concern in the draft deal as they say it favors foreign investors.

Anti-TTIP activists have repeatedly pointed out that the deal was negotiated in notable secrecy, without due government or expert oversight.

The Stop TTIP group also opposes a free trade deal with Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.

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GREECE: ‘ Tsipras rejects Samaras proposal to join Government ‘

#AceFinanceReport – Featured Update:June.06: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected opposition leader Antonis Samaras’ proposal to join the government and adopt a common stance on stalled debt repayment talks, Greek Deputy Defense Minister told Sputnik on Saturday.

' Greece Against them All '
‘ Greece Against them All ‘

“Mr. Samaras informed Mr. Tsipras through his speech that he would not accept any type of common front with Mr. Tsipras, unless Nea Demokratia became part of the government,” Costas Isychos said.

Tsipras addressed the Greek parliament on Friday after the latest failed attempt to reach an agreement on a bailout package with European lenders.

Samaras, former prime minister who lost this year’s election to Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza, lambasted Tsipras for lack of achievements in negotiations and called on him to “join the national consensus” offered by New Democracy.

“Mr. Tsipras did not agree on this,” the defense official told Sputnik.

Isychos added that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s plan was largely rejected by “most of the leaders of the opposition.”

“But at the same time [they] were in disagreement with Mr. Tsipras’ proposal to the institutions,” he told Sputnik.

Greece skipped a scheduled $330-million repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday, offering instead to make a single payment by the end of June.

Under Athens’ current bailout deal with IMF, expiring at the end of the month, Greece is expected to repay a total of $1.8 billion.

Ace Related News:

Tsipras Timeline of Debt Management

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BRUSSELS: ‘ European Commission Launch Probe into Amazons Tax Arrangements in Luxembourg ‘

#AceFinanceNews- BRUSSELS – October 08 – The European Commission will launch a probe into Amazon’s tax arrangements in Luxembourg, the EU’s competition chief has confirmed.

Amazon EU Sarl  Warehousing '

Amazon EU Sarl Warehousing ‘

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday (7 October), Joaquin Almunia said the investigation would examine whether Luxembourg had “granted a tax advantage to a large multinational … which constitutes state aid and would distort competition in the EU”.

In question is a tax ruling made by Luxembourg’s tax authorities in 2003 which, more than a decade later, is still being used to calculate the taxes paid by the on-line warehouse firm.

Most of Amazon’s €14 billion worth of European sales are recorded in Luxembourg but are not subject to corporation tax in the Duchy as the result of a scheme which allows the company to shift its profits by using royalty payments.

Instead, Amazon’s main European subsidiary, Amazon EU Sarl, pays fees to its parent company Amazon Europe Holding Technologies SCS, a tax exempt partnership, in return for using Amazon’s intellectual property.

“We are not calling into question the general tax policy of Luxembourg but whether tax authorities have been too accommodating to Amazon … and given them selective treatment,” added Almunia.

The investigation into Amazon follows decisions by the EU executive to examine the tax arrangements of car manufacturer Fiat in Luxembourg, as well as Apple and Starbucks in Ireland and the Netherlands, respectively.

The three ongoing cases are also focused on the use of subsidiary firms to minimise tax bills.

Under EU competition rules, special tax rulings for individual companies must not result in them getting preferential treatment, and paying less than rival firms.

If successful, the EU executive has the power to force firms to pay a sum equivalent to the “unlawful aid” they received from governments.

The ‘sweetheart’ agreements between multi-nationals and governments have been brought into the political spotlight as cash-strapped states try to increase their tax revenues.

Source: 

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‘ UK Commissioner Has Power to Control Bankers Pay Awards Removed ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 26 – The European Commission has played down suggestions that it had deliberately stripped the UK’s commission candidate of responsibility for policing the EU’s bank bonus rules.

Officials with Commission President designate, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the decision to put bank bonus rules in the hands of the bloc’s justice commissioner had been taken before Jonathan Hill, a British Conservative, had been nominated for the post of financial services chief.

“This was a decision that was made when forming the justice portfolio,” Juncker’s spokeswomen Natasha Bernaud told reporters on Friday (26 September).

“This was a decision that was taken and made public on 10th September…so it’s really nothing new,” she added.

Under the proposed division of competences within the EU executive, Hill will be responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets. Aside from financial sector regulation, the portfolio will include the completion of the EU’s ambitious banking union legislation.

Meanwhile, oversight of the bank bonus rules will be part of the portfolio of Czech politician Vera Jourova, the proposed justice commissioner, in the context of company law.

The UK is currently embroiled in a court battle with the European Commission over the bank bonus rules, one of three legal challenges to financial services rules that the UK has lodged with the European Court of Justice in the last three years.

The EU’s institutions passed several laws aimed at curbing excessive executive pay in the 2009-2014 term, instigated by outgoing single market commissioner Michel Barnier.

Under the latest capital requirements directive adopted in 2013, bank bonuses are capped at the same level of salary, although banks are permitted to pay bonuses worth up to twice basic salary levels following a shareholder vote.

However, Bernaud stated that the capital requirements rules for banks will form part of Hill’s portfolio.

Source:

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‘ EU Countries Planning to Tell Russia They Will Not Rewrite Ukraine Trade-Pact ‘

#AceFinanceNews BRUSSELS September 27 EU countries are planning to tell Russia it has no say on changing the Ukraine trade treaty despite its demand to rewrite the text.

The joint declaration, by the EU Council and European Commission, is to say the trade pact: “is a bilateral [EU-Ukraine] agreement and any adaptations to it can only be made at the request of one of the parties and with the agreement of the other”.

It notes Ukraine should “continue the process of envisaged reforms and economic modernisation” related to Titles III, V, VI and VII, of the pact.

It also says Ukraine should go ahead with “adequate preparation for the implementation of Title IV”.

Titles III, V, VI, and VII of the pact spell out reforms in the areas of justice and security, economic affairs, financial and anti-fraud matters, and institution-building.

Title IV deals with trade and the mutual lifting of tariffs on EU and Ukrainian exports.

The EU declaration is to be published in Brussels on Monday (29 September) by ministers at general affairs council.

Ministers will the same day adopt a legal act saying the bulk of the treaty is to be implemented “without delay”, but that article IV is to be implemented on 1 January 2016.

EU countries are also planning to extend “autonomous trade measures” – low or zero-rate tariffs for exports of most Ukrainian goods to Europe – from November until January 2016. But the legal text is not yet ready for adoption.

The delay of Title IV is in line with an EU-Russia-Ukraine deal on 12 September.

It comes after Russia threatened to impose trade sanctions on Ukraine on grounds it will be flooded by cheap EU goods re-exported from Ukraine.

The declaration on the “bilateral” mechanism for altering the treaty comes after Russia also demanded a role in altering the content of the text in the run-up to 2016.

Source:

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‘ Minimising Cost of Future Liquidity and Preventing Financial Crisis ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 22 – Implementing the EU response to minimising the public cost of future financial crises and getting banks to offer up loans top the agenda this WEEK it was reproted by EUobserver.  

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi on Monday (22 September) is set to debate the so-called targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) with MEPs in the committee on economic affairs.

The idea is to improve bank lending to the eurozone by offering banks extra liquidity at a fixed rate for up to four years.

But the scheme attracted just €82.6bn (out of the €400bn on offer) of interest from banks this month.

Draghi had earlier this month surprised analysts by slashing interest rates to a historic low in an effort to stimulate lending.

The ECB cut is part of a larger attempt by EU policy makers to kick start member states’ overall sluggish economies and put millions of unemployed back to work.

But with the prospect of possibly having to fend off another financial crisis, lawmakers also tasked the ECB to oversee the financial health of around 130 banks with the power to shut them down.

Also known as the single supervisory mechanism, the newly endowed ECB oversight of banks is part of the single resolution mechanism (SRM), which aims to minimize bank bailout costs to taxpayers.

SOURCE:

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BRUSSELS: Landmark Ruling Against Mastercard After 20-Years of Payment Fees ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 12 – Mastercard has lost its legal battle with the European Commission over payment fees following a ruling by the European Court of Justice.

Master Card loses 20 Year Battle over Payment Fees - 2014-09-11T115146Z_1_LYNXMPEA8A0JJ_RTROPTP_3_MASTERCARD_original

The verdict on Thursday (11 September) threw out the firm’s appeal against a commission decision dating back to 2007, in which the EU executive ordered Mastercard to repeal its cross-border card fees.

The fees – known as “multilateral interchange fees (MIFs)” – are paid between the banks of a retailer and customer every time someone pays for items by card. The fee is charged to the retailer’s bank who, in turn, normally factors it into the price paid by consumers.

At present, average fees range from around 0.2 percent in Denmark and the Netherlands, to over 1 percent in Germany, Hungary, and Poland, raking in around €6 billion per year to credit card giants across the bloc.

In its judgement, the EU court found that the fee structure could not be described as being “objectively necessary” as the system was “still capable of functioning without those fees.”

There was also an “absence of … appreciable objective advantages” to either retailers or consumers from the system.

The court ruling comes more than 20 years after the commission originally launched proceedings against Mastercard in 1992.

Antoine Colombini, the Commission competition spokesman, described the ruling as “a big win for European consumers who for too long have been paying unjustifiably hidden fees”.

Javier Perez, the president of Mastercard Europe said it would have “little or no impact on how MasterCard operates,” although he conceded that it was “disappointing”.

But the ruling was welcomed by consumer and retail groups.

Source: 

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‘ Twelve Countries Warn Investors Not to Do Business with Israeli Settlers and the Implications on Trade ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – July 05 – Twelve EU countries have warned investors not to do business with Israeli settler entities, amid a security crisis in Israel and Palestine.


​The group includes: Austria; Belgium; Croatia; Denmark; Finland; Greece; Ireland; Luxembourg; Malta; Portugal; Slovakia; and Slovenia.

Portugal published its statement on Wednesday (2 July) and the others came out on Thursday. France, Italy, and Spain put out similar communiques earlier this week. Germany and the UK already did it months ago. Poland is expected to publish a warning shortly.

The Irish foreign ministry said the action “has been coordinated at EU level”.

The 12 warnings make similar points, with the Irish one, for instance, saying that “economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks”.

It said investors could face lawsuits over “disputed titles to the land, water, mineral, or other natural resources”. It added that: “In case of disputes, it could be very difficult for [EU] member states to ensure national protection of their interests”.

The communique noted that Ireland does not endorse “any form of boycott directed against Israel”.

But it also said Irish businesses should beware of the “reputation that could be gained and implications” of indirect support for “possible abuses of the rights of individuals”.


​(English Ahram June 16 2014 ) – Magdy Tolba, the former head of the Egyptian clothes exports council and one of the major beneficiaries of a bilateral trade agreement with Israel has warned against the impact on Egyptian labour in the textiles sector "of things getting worse", in a reference to last week’s attack on the Israeli Embassy.


​The Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) agreement, according to Tolba, is a cornerstone of Egypt’s economic relations. Signed by the Nazif cabinet in 2005 without parliamentary approval, the agreement permits a zero-tariff access to the American market for Egyptian clothes that use 11.7 per cent Israeli inputs.


​To this day, 507 factories are operating under this agreement, employing some 100,000 workers, most of them Egyptians. Not all factories export to the USA.

According to Ministry of Trade, Egyptian exports under the QIZ programme amounted to $811 million in 2010, 60 per cent of which goes to the US market.


​For its part BDI Coface, the largest business information group in Israel, says the deteriorating of its relations with Israel could cost Egypt 70,000 jobs in QIZ -related factories. “Without this agreement,” Tolba told Ahram Online, “the cost of clothes exported by Egypt’s could rise by 16-38 per cent, due to imposed tariffs.”

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` European Union not Happy with Russia’s Uniform Gas Pricing as a One Price Suits All Policy ‘

#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – May 09 – Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said EU governments and energy companies are not happy with the idea of uniform price for Russian gas.

“EU Energy Commissioner [Gunther] Oettinger’s idea to fix a uniform gas price for all EU members does not make EU governments or companies very happy,” Chizhov told Russian reporters.

“Also, it contradicts the entire philosophy of the EU energy policy, about which Mr Oettinger makes constant and pretentious declarations concerning the need of competition on the European market,” the envoy said. “That is, he is opposed to Gazprom’s monopoly yet support the monopoly of the European Commission. That European consumers will find this price advantageous is far from certain.”

Russian Oil and Gas News Sources
Contributions from Tass

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