German Economy Minister Says EU Open for Talks on China Tariffs

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
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German Economy Minister Says EU Open for Talks on China Tariffs

German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights
German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck poses for pictures alongside National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Chairman Zheng Shanjie following the opening session of the German-Chinese Climate and Transformation Dialogue in Beijing, China June 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maria... Purchase Licensing Rights

Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck said during his visit to China on Saturday that the European Union's door is open for discussions regarding EU tariffs on Chinese exports.

"What I suggested to my Chinese partners today is that the doors are open for discussions and I hope that this message was heard," he said in his first statement in Shanghai, after meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing, Reuters reported.

Habeck's visit is the first by a senior European official since Brussels proposed hefty duties on imports of Chinese-made electric vehicles (EVs) to combat what the EU considers excessive subsidies.

Habeck said there is time for a dialogue between the EU and China on tariff issues before the duties come into full effect in November and that he believes in open markets but that markets require a level playing field.

Proven subsidies that are intended to increase the export advantages of companies can't be accepted, the minister said.

Another point of tension between Beijing and Berlin is China's support for Russia in its war in Ukraine. Habeck noted Chinese trade with Russia increased more than 40% last year.

Habeck said he had told Chinese officials that this was taking a toll on their economic relationship. "Circumventions of the sanctions imposed on Russia are not acceptable," he said, adding that technical goods produced in Europe should not end up on the battlefield via other countries.



UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's government borrowed a lot more than forecast in June, according to official data published on Friday that highlighted the big budget challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Keir Starmer.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, was a larger-than-expected 14.5 billion pounds ($18.75 billion) last month. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an increase of 11.5 billion pounds.
Dennis Tatarkov, Senior Economist at KPMG UK, said the data showed "the daunting task" for the new government to fund its agenda without worsening the public finances.
"A combination of high levels of spending and weak growth prospects will present uncomfortable choices – deciding between even more borrowing or substantially raising taxes if spending levels are to be maintained," he said.
New finance minister Rachel Reeves is likely to announce her first budget after parliament's summer recess. She and Starmer have ruled out increases in the rates of income tax, corporation tax and value-added tax, leaving her little room for maneuver to improve public services and boost investment.
Reeves has ordered an immediate review of the new government's "spending inheritance", a move that lawmakers from the opposition Conservative Party say could presage increases in taxes on capital gains or inheritances.
"Today's figures are a clear reminder that this government has inherited the worst economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we’re wasting no time to fix it," Darren Jones, a deputy Treasury minister, said after the data was published.
Starmer's government says it will speed up Britain's slow-moving economy - and generate more tax revenues - via a combination of pro-growth reforms and a return to political stability that will attract investment.
The borrowing figure for June was 2.9 billion pounds higher than expected by Britain's budget watchdog whose forecasts underpin government tax and spending plans.
In the first three months of the financial year which began in April, borrowing was 3.2 billion pounds higher than projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility at 49.8 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics said June's borrowing was the lowest for the month since 2019, helped by a big drop in spending on interest paid on bonds linked to inflation which has slowed sharply.
But the deficit was made bigger by a 1.2 billion-pound fall in social security contributions compared with June 2023. They were cut by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the July 4 election that swept Starmer's Labour Party to power.