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  • walking through trade treacle

    walking through trade treacle

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    15 May, 2014

    It has been a good week, on the whole, for trade, with ABAC urging APEC to progress FTAAP through amalgamation of ASEAN, the TPP and RCEP via the Bogor goals. Sorry, I couldn't resist that. The bottom line is...
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  • Take Your Hands Out Of Your Pockets!

    Take Your Hands Out Of Your Pockets!

    Global Tax Insights

    03 Mar, 2014

    Spain and Italy are both in tax-cutting mode this week, the former more convincingly than the latter. By the time you've climbed to the top of the greasy pole, you've probably had to shed most of your principles (if you ever had any) as "not wanted on voyage," and in any case you can only go as fast as your party and the economy you inherited will allow you.
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  • Prentice Progress

    Prentice Progress

    Global Tax Insights

    13 Jan, 2014

    It's nice to be able to welcome France's support for apprenticeship as a means for assisting youngsters into the workforce, even if the Constitutional Court had to stop the Government from doing a bit of gerrymandering by distributing its largesse mostly to friendly regions. The failure of other nations to copy Germany in its devotion to the concept of apprenticeship is nearly inexplicable. Actually, I can see where it's coming from: if you are a fan of equality, opportunity for all and the rest, then you want to give less bright children and those from poorer backgrounds the opportunity to shine at senior school, and go to University (to get a useless degree in media studies). Unfortunately, the result is to deprive the "old" industries of skilled workers, and to inflate the pool of unemployed and unemployable youth.
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  • Deutsche Bundesbank: The Germans are Poorer than the Italians and Spaniards

    Deutsche Bundesbank: The Germans are Poorer than the Italians and Spaniards

    Freemont Group

    01 Apr, 2013

    Net assets of German households are on average much lower than Italian or Spanish ones and the country is faced with serious impacts of the economic crisis. This startling conclusion is reached by the German central bank. Germany, the driver of the European economy.

    The main reason for this conclusion is the fact that the Germans own significantly less real estate than Southern Europeans.
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  • Just Throwing Good Money after Bad

    Just Throwing Good Money after Bad

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    21 Mar, 2013

    Two cheers for Spain, which has put in place a package of measures to do something about youth unemployment. Only two cheers, because normally you can't bribe firms to take on extra workers, or persuade young people to start businesses if they don't already plan to. What happens instead is that a firm will take on a young worker instead of an older one it was already planning to hire, or, worse, get rid of an older worker. Except in Spain it's probably quite hard to do that, which is exactly the kind of rigidity Spain ought to be dealing with. Germany showed how that problem can be dealt with, ten years ago, making a bonfire of many of its rigid employment rules. With youth unemployment at more than 50% in many parts of Spain, it's for sure that something has to be done, but make-work schemes are probably not the answer; it's just throwing good money after bad.
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  • Systematically Destroying Europe's Competitive Advantage

    Systematically Destroying Europe's Competitive Advantage

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    31 Jan, 2013

    As an ex-conference organizer myself, I can only eat my heart out at the franchise that Klaus Schwab has constructed on a snowy Swiss mountain; but now, as a humble journalist, I have to thank him for his annual newsfest. This year, the best moment may have been David Cameron's carefully calculated challenge to the EU. Let's leave aside the ritual attack on corporate tax avoidance; by now it's about equivalent to saying grace before a meal, and about as effective, some might think. More important is that he has been brave enough to throw down the gauntlet to the mad dogs of Brussels, who are systematically destroying Europe' competitive advantage, and need to be stopped. Of course everyone says that he is doing it for selfish political purposes, but it can happen that politics, national advantage and economic sanity may inhabit the same place at the same time; and that's the role that the UK can play in the next five years, if Cameron sticks to his last.
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