Global Business Daily: APEC calls for 'openness,' Carrefour suspends 'Black Friday'
Arij Limam

"Asia-Pacific cooperation has entered a new historical stage at a time when the world is facing multiple challenges."

That was China's President Xi Jinping speaking at a virtual meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, in which he called for openness and cooperation, ahead of the APEC leaders' summit tomorrow. APEC countries are working on a "post-2020 vision," for which they say multilateral trade and investment are key.

Read our interview below with Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, for more on all things APEC.

In other news, shoppers in France waiting to bag pre-Christmas bargains have been left disappointed after retailer Carrefour said it decided to suspend "Black Friday" sales, which were to take place from November 27 to 29, after a call from the government to cancel the event this year because of lockdown measures.

As the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe battles another wave of lockdowns and restrictions hitting economies particularly hard – leading to more bad news for struggling German steel and industrial engineering conglomerate Thyssenkrupp, which has announced yet another bout of job cuts to stem its losses.

For our graphic today, we look at how the UK's progress towards greener roads measures up against the EU, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced his plan to ban the sale of all but electric cars in just 10 years' time.

Enjoy reading,

Arij Limam

Digital correspondent

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Asia-Pacific leaders have called for open and multilateral trade, for their post-2020 vision, to support a global economy battered by COVID-19, and some hoped for more engagement with the U.S. under a new administration. Chinese President Xi Jinping, among the leaders at a virtual meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, said China will continue to cut its tariffs and expand imports of high-quality goods and services.

Ailing German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp has said it plans to cut another 5,000 jobs to stem losses across its sprawling empire after posting a $1.9 billion operating loss in its latest financial year. The new job cuts come on top of 6,000 layoffs announced last year, 3,600 jobs of which have already been shed, meaning another 7,400 jobs will have to go over the next three years from a total workforce of 104,000.

Europe's biggest retailer Carrefour is to suspend its "Black Friday" sales event due to take place from November 27 to 29, following calls from France's finance minister for supermarkets and online retailers to postpone the sales as shops selling non-essential goods remained closed during lockdown.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks, and a sign that the resurgent outbreak of COVID-19 is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.

The global economy is recovering from the depths of the coronavirus crisis, but there are signs of slowing momentum in countries with resurging infection rates, the International Monetary Fund said in a new report for the G20 group of major economies. Last month, the IMF forecast a 2020 global contraction of 4.4 percent, with the global economy expected to rebound to growth of 5.2 percent in 2021, but said the outlook for many emerging markets had worsened.

China's surging economy is expected to raise the country 56 places in the world's per-capita income rankings between 2000 and 2025 and rank it 70th out of 191 measured countries and regions in 2025, according to IMF projections. The IMF said only China, Vietnam and Egypt will achieve growth in per-capita GDP in the coronavirus-hit year of 2020.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has told European lawmakers it is ready to step in and help struggling economies as the continent battles a second wave of COVID-19. Responding to a question, Lagarde also said the ECB could "neither go bankrupt nor run out of money" even if it were to suffer losses on the multi-trillion-euro pile of bonds it has bought under its stimulus programs.

The UK government has announced a 300 million pound ($397 million) "winter survival package" – largely made up of loans – to help spectator sports impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this will not include the English football's Premier League or cricket.

German lawmakers today question the former boss of collapsed payments firm Wirecard about its contacts with the government, as they investigate Berlin's role in the biggest corporate fraud in post-war Germany.

One in seven UK companies say they have low or no confidence they will survive the next three months, according to a new survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS also estimated that 9 percent of the workforce was on furlough leave during the two weeks to November 1.

Nvidia Corp and Epic Games have said they are working together to put video game Fortnite back on Apple iPhones in the "near future" as part of Nvidia's streaming game service, after the popular game was removed from the App Store and blocked from Apple devices for "anticompetitive conduct" in August.

One of the world's leading investor groups pushing for more corporate action on climate change, Climate Action 100+, said it has added Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, to its list of target companies.



WATCH: UK ports are warning that border checks on fresh foods could be "completely impossible" if there is no post-Brexit trade deal.



Rajiv Biswas is executive director and Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit. He spoke to CGTN Europe about the APEC informal leaders' meeting taking place (virtually) from November 19 to 20.


Have APEC members really achieved what they set out to achieve all those years ago in another world, another time, 1994?

An Asia-Pacific region now accounts for about 36 percent of world GDP and the bigger APEC region, including the U.S., is about 60 percent of world GDP. So this is a tremendously important grouping of nations that's driving world growth and world trade.


This is also a reset moment, though, isn't it? What are the biggest challenges now facing APEC as it sets out on its new targets?

I think obviously the immediate front-and-center challenge is tackling the pandemic and trying to get the vaccines distributed and get the populations inoculated in 2021. 

But I think beyond the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for the APEC region is climate change, meeting the UN climate change targets. And that means a tremendous energy transition needs to happen in the APEC region, a shift towards renewable energy, and that requires very large amounts of investment. 


What are your major takeaways from China's president Xi Jinping's speech?

President Xi Jinping made a very strong commitment for China to remain very engaged on a multilateral approach to open up China in the future even more for trade and investment flows.


What might a Joe Biden presidency mean for APEC?

I think the expectations are that a Biden administration will take a more multilateral approach to relationships with other nations, including the nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

And one of the most important changes in policy that's likely to happen relatively early on, based on what Biden has been saying, is a commitment to rejoining the UN climate change agreement, and that will mean that the U.S. will then become a strongly engaged partner in global initiatives to advance climate change policy, to shift towards renewable energy.