5G Espionage (II)

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BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) – An opening is emerging for Berlin to be able to include Huawei in Germany’s 5G grid installation – contrary to the massive US campaign. The President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) Arne Schönbohm declared that “an anti-espionage treaty” between Germany and China could help, open the possibility of Huawei’s participation in setting up the grid. Chancellor Angela Merkel is currently seeking to conclude such an agreement. The industry is in favor of using Huawei Technology, because it promises to be the fastest and most cost-effective construction of the strategically important 5G grid. Experts warn that without Huawei, Germany could lag at least two years behind in the development. Meanwhile it has become known that for years, the NSA has been eavesdropping not only on China’s president but on Huawei as well. Allegedly, US spies cannot show any evidence of Huawei being involved in espionage operations – even after having read the emails of numerous employees and those of the company’s board chair.

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Three Blocs

BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is proposing a new industrial strategy to shield German companies from takeovers by foreign corporations, while facilitating mergers of large German and EU corporations. The “National Industrial Strategy 2030” presented yesterday, by Germany’s Minister of the Economy Peter Altmaier intends to enable the German industry to prevail in global competition against Chinese, as well as, US corporations. So-called “national” or “European champions” are needed, even if they do not comply with current anti-trust regulations. This has been a proposal in Berlin for quite awhile. Measures are needed “to secure” or “regain Germany’s and the European Union’s economic and technological leadership.” This is also in response to a protectionist race to reindustrialize the USA and the EU, which was launched under Barack Obama and is now being accelerated by the Trump administration.

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The Core of Europe

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the growing rivalry with China, business officials and foreign policy makers in Germany are warning against the performance of EU critical forces in the European elections in May. “Alone, no individual European country” could “play a major role” in the global competition, says Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). German companies need the EU’s single market, the “core of Europe,” as an economic foundation, to assert themselves on a global level against companies from the People’s Republic of China and the USA. Should EU critical “populists” – regardless of their political orientation – obtain more influence in the European Parliament, “the future of the German economy” would also be at risk, according to DIHK Chief Executive Martin Wansleben. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) is pleading for business representatives to commit themselves “audibly in favor of an open Europe.” At the same time, German businesses are openly demanding that their interests be imposed within the EU – a main reason for the growth of influence of “populists” in other EU member countries.

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The Battle Over Huawei (II)

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BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) – Strong criticism is coming from Germany’s business community, as the German government prepares to exclude the Chinese company Huawei Technologies from the development of Germany’s 5G network. According to media reports, the government tender for the 5G will be formulated in such a way that Huawei cannot apply. This is based on allegations of espionage by US intelligence services, for which, not a single piece of evidence has been presented anywhere in the world. The Trump administration is seeking to shut Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies out of the US market, to drive them bankrupt. The US is calling on its allies to join; and in mid-December, a US delegation visited Germany’s foreign ministry to apply pressure. This aggression is aimed at halting China’s ascendance. Protest is being raised from Germany’s business community: Huawei is leading in 5G technology and a functioning 5G network is imperative for using state-of-the-art technologies of the future. Managers warn that excluding Huawei would mean higher costs and a painful setback in Germany’s 5G development.

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The Chicago Boy and His President

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BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) – German business circles are placing high hopes on Brazil’s President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro pointing to the economic program of Paulo Guedes, designated to head a super ministry. During Augustino Pinochet’s military dictatorship, he was a professor at the University of Chile and his program resembles the economic policy of the Chilean Junta. Since about a year, Guedes has been Bolsonaro’s advisor. The Brazilian business community is hailing Bolsonaro, particularly the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), where German businesses hold strong positions. CNI is the Brazilian partner of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). German companies had already cooperated with the Brazilian military dictatorship. Bolsonaro’s victory is a deathblow to the policy of cautious redistribution in favor of impoverished segments of society, pursued by Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. This policy was essentially ended with the May 2016 cold putsch – under applause of German business representatives.

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On a State Visit to Berlin

 

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – Turkish President Recep Tayyig Erdoğan’s arrival in Berlin on a state visit amid media reports of arms cooperation with his country and of state-sponsored denunciation, using a smartphone app of those – also in Germany – critical of his government. Erdoğan will be received with all protocolary state honors, since the German government wants to strengthen its ties to Ankara at all costs. There is a growing risk that Ankara will turn its back on the West. Germany seeks to strengthen these ties because of Turkey’s contribution to warding off refugees and particularly for geostrategic motives. Turkey is regarded as the indispensable isthmus to Germany gaining the much-coveted influence in Central Asia and the Middle East. Ankara is also facilitating the participation of Berlin in achieving an alignment in Syria, together with Moscow – but with the exclusion of Washington. Expansion of German-Turkish cooperation involves contracts in the billions for German companies and German participation in the development of Turkey’s own arms industry.

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The Political Crisis in Germany Changes the Game

 

Merkel faces the worst crisis of her career and many behind the curtain are starting to wonder if she will even survive. The German Federal President Steinmeier could not actually order new elections immediately. The procedure in this regard is quite complicated in Germany. The earliest possible alternative would be to hold new elections come the spring of 2018. It is likely that the AFD is likely to gather even greater support from new elections. Nonetheless, the CDU will continue to support Merkel at least right now. However, the CDU has been severely weakened by the election and if we do not see new elections until the spring, there is a distinct possibility that Merkel’s support even within the CDU could collapse if they see the AfD will win even greater support. Continue reading

The Political Turf War in Europe and why Britain is Considering Joining NAFTA

 

QUESTION: Marty; There is talk that Britain will join NAFTA rather than the EU. Does that make sense? What do you think? Continue reading

Brussels’ Provocations

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) – German business associations are calling on the EU Commission to end its Brexit provocations. An unorderly Brexit would entail enormous costs for the German economy, the President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) warned; therefore an amicable Brexit agreement with London must be reached. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) expressed a similar view. The head of the EU’s Commission’s recent audacious financial demands and deliberate indiscretions have stirred massive resentment in the United Kingdom and were rightfully considered an attempt to influence Britain’s upcoming parliamentary elections. Observers attribute these indiscretions to EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker’s German Chief of Staff, Martin Selmayr (CDU), who is currently playing a key role in the Commission’s Brexit negotiations’ preparations. The German Chancellery is now calling for restraint in view of the severe damage a hard Brexit could entail for the German economy. Continue reading

A Matter of National Interest

BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the drastic warnings of the EU’s possible disintegration, Berlin seeks to prevent the formation of contending forces. “The European Union is drifting apart to an extent hardly imaginable 15 years ago,” according to a recent analysis, written by a board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The “dividing lines” between the north and the impoverishing south, as well as between western and eastern EU member countries are disquieting. To prevent the formation of a southern European bloc opposing the German austerity dictate, Berlin is particularly trying to integrate France into its EU policy. Yesterday, the German chancellor sought closer cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to undermine an alliance of the Visegrád members against German predominance. At the same time, promotion of the EU has been intensified within Germany. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained how Germany ultimately profits from its net contributions to the EU budget: The success of German exports depends on “the people in the other EU countries” being able “to afford” German products – with the help of Brussels’ subsidies. Continue reading

Europe Hopes for Clinton Win for More Deals With Iran

Europe Hopes for Clinton Win for More Deals With Iran

Europe Hopes for Clinton Win for More Deals With Iran

 

After a year of disappointment, European businesses are hoping a victory for Hillary Clinton in the U.S. election next week may help break the logjam that has prevented large-scale Western investments in Iran since the opening of its economy.

  • While no one in Europe is predicting a flurry of new deals should Clinton defeat her Republican rival Donald Trump on Nov. 8
  • A win for the Democrat would remove some of the political clouds hanging over last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
  • Business groups say this could help fuel a more aggressive push into the Iranian market in 2017, especially in the second half of the year, if a Clinton victory is followed by the re-election of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next May.

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The New Silk Road (I)

And Germany will do it. When push comes to shove, it has historically sided with Russia and other axis powers. China should be no exception. In a time when America is suiciding itself off the world stage, it’s a matter of survival for its allies as they seek more stable and consistent alliances.

 

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – With tensions rising between China and western powers, the German chancellor is using her current visit in Beijing to enhance Sino-German economic cooperation. German investments in the People’s Republic of China had increased to around 60 billion Euros in 2014 – tendency still rising – surpassed only by investments in the USA and a few EU countries. Business representatives are campaigning in favor of stronger German participation in a Chinese trillion-dollar project. This project named the “New Silk Road,” is aimed at bolstering ties between Eastern Asia and Europe. The project, also on the agenda of today’s German-Chinese government consultations, has two components, overland and maritime transport routes. Trade by train from Chongqing to Duisburg and by ship through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean will be enhanced. While German companies hope for lucrative business deals, strategists warn that the New Silk Road could enhance Beijing’s global influence – and ultimately break the western powers’ global dominance.

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Lowest Ever: The Baltic Dry Index Plunges To 394 As Global Trade Grinds To A Standstill

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For the first time ever, the Baltic Dry Index has fallen under 400.  As I write this article, it is sitting at 394.  To be honest, I never even imagined that it could go this low.  Back in early August, the Baltic Dry Index was sitting at 1,222, and since then it has been on a steady decline.  Of course the Baltic Dry Index crashed hard just before the great stock market crash of 2008 too, but at this point it is already lower than it was during that entire crisis.  This is just more evidence that global trade is grinding to a halt and that 2016 is going to be a “cataclysmic year” for the global economy. Continue reading

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 1

We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come. Continue reading

Crisis stalks Europe again as deflation deepens, Germany stalls

Data from Germany, Italy and Portugal put pressure on ECB to act

Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.

The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS. Continue reading