Posts Tagged ‘EU’
Mercedes test result
Another German automaker has rejected the air conditioning refrigerant that’s scheduled to be adopted by global automakers in 2017. Earlier this month, Volkswagen lined up with Daimler and BMW to support Daimler’s findings from last year that the new refrigerant, called HFO-1234yf, can become flammable.
Volkswagen says it will be rolling out its own carbon-dioxide-based air conditioning systems. The European Union wants to have HFO-1234yf, which was designed by Honeywell and DuPont, replace the coolant currently in use, HFC-134a to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and its global warming potential. Daimler engineers discovered HFO-1234yf could spark a fire under the hood, with the potential to destroy the car and emit highly toxic gas while burning.
An automotive working group – the Cooperative Research Program – was formed last year to study the matter. Daimler conducted its own flammability tests and became concerned enough about vehicle safety to leave the working group, along with BMW. Volkswagen’s Audi division also expressed concern and is now part of Volkswagen’s decision to join ranks with its German allies and dismiss adoption of HFO-1234yf as the new refrigerant.
European Union Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani appears unwilling to accept the decision by Germany’s “Big 3″ automakers or a written request from German ministers asking for a temporary suspension of the new EU law. While Tajani said he would listen, he also said that he would begin infringement proceedings against any member state that did not comply with the new rules. “Since there was some information from Germany there was a problem, I am obliged to ask for information, but it’s not giving them time. I am not weak,” Tajani told Reuters.
…Honeywell and Dupont would be holding a billion-dollar monopoly starting in 2017 if HFO-1234yf goes through. They’re bound to support Industry Commissioner Tajani’s decision.
Our stalwart EPA has no official position on the question. Though, with Honeywell and DuPont being global corporations headquartered in the United States, the pressure to make this dangerous chemical the only acceptable refrigerant for domestic auto air conditioning is liable to be overwhelming.
China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports, a milestone in the Asian nation’s challenge to the U.S. dominance in global commerce that emerged after the end of World War II in 1945.
U.S. exports and imports last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China’s customs administration reported last month that the country’s total trade in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion. China had a $231.1 billion annual trade surplus while the U.S. had a trade deficit of $727.9 billion.
China’s emergence as the biggest global trading nation gives it increasing influence, threatening to disrupt regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for countries including Germany, which will export twice as much to China by the end of the decade as it does to neighboring France, said Goldman Sachs Group’s Jim O’Neill.
“For so many countries around the world, China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner,” O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division and the economist who bound Brazil to Russia, India and China to form the BRIC investing strategy, said in a telephone interview. “At this kind of pace by the end of the decade many European countries will be doing more individual trade with China than with bilateral partners in Europe.”
Still, the U.S. economy is more than double the size of China’s, according to the World Bank. In 2011, the U.S. gross domestic product reached $15 trillion while China’s totaled $7.3 trillion.
“It is remarkable that an economy that is only a fraction of the size of the U.S. economy has a larger trading volume,” Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in an e-mail. “The surpassing of the U.S. is not because of a substantially undervalued currency that has led to an export boom,” said Lardy, noting that Chinese imports have grown more rapidly than exports since 2007…
Of course, the typical American politician – whether he knows the facts or not – will still try to trade xenophobia for votes.
The shape of ships to load in BC – before they’re likely to load in the GOUSA
Canada will no longer allow state-owned companies to takeover businesses in the nation’s oil sands and will toughen requirements in other industries…after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved CNOOC’s $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen and Petroliam Nasional $5.2 billion takeover of Progress Energy Resources.
The deal by Beijing-based CNOOC is the largest ever takeover by a Chinese company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It gives the state-owned company a stake in Canada’s largest oil-sands project and the biggest position in the Buzzard oil field in the U.K. North Sea…
“These were difficult decisions” that reflect “the broad views of Canadians,” Harper told reporters. Canada relies on exports for one-third of economic output and counts on energy products for almost one-quarter of those shipments…
The Cnooc-Nexen transaction is the biggest in Canada since Calgary-based Suncor Energy bought Petro-Canada in August 2009 for about $18 billion…
“We’re obviously quite pleased with the decision,” said Michael Culbert, chief executive officer of Calgary-based Progress, by phone. “We know that this has been a difficult decision to make and we don’t take that lightly…”
The acquisition of Progress by Petronas gives the Malaysian state-owned company gas reserves to build a liquefied natural gas export facility along the British Columbia coast at a cost of C$9 billion to C$11 billion, the companies said this week.
Petronas has the world’s largest LNG-producing site in Sarawak, Malaysia, according to its website, and also operates the world’s largest LNG carrier fleet.
All the parties with a stake in either enterprise have signed off – excepting of course the United States.
The Monday morning quarterbacks in Congress who waste endless time and space whining about the failure of Asian firms to invest in US corporations – will call press conferences to put their stamp of disapproval on the deal. The reasoning will run the whole gamut of Cold War crackpot concoctions. Hypocrisy will run rampant. Not so incidentally, that will probably include the White House.
The controversies about exploitation of the Alberta oil sands will be settled by Canadians, sooner or later. That’s the reason for complaints by American enviro groups that Congress doesn’t listen to, anyway.
I find the Petronas purchase and plans more interesting. This takes away the last bit of reliance Canadians had on American pipelines for transmission of their NatGas for eventual export. They’ll end up with a significant chunk of national income while American politicians sit around worrying about electoral politics vs utilizing a product cleaner and cheaper than coal to run our power plants, vs utilizing a product cleaner and cheaper than oil to run over-the-road trucking and maybe even something more than six NatGas Hondas in San Francisco – someday.
U.S. pork and beef exports to Russia could come to a halt on Saturday following Moscow’s requirement that the meat be tested and certified free of the feed additive ractopamine…
The move could jeopardize the more than $500 million a year in exports of U.S. beef and pork to Russia…
The United States asked Russia, the sixth-largest market for U.S. beef and pork, to suspend the requirement even as it warned domestic meat companies that Moscow might reject their pork shipments that contained ractopamine and stop buying pork from processing plants that produced pork with the drug.
Ractopamine is used as a feed additive to make meat leaner, but countries such as China have banned its use despite scientific evidence that it is safe…
The U.S. Meat Export Federation told its members by email that since the U.S. Department of Agriculture had no testing and certification program in place for ractopamine, the Russian requirement could effectively halt U.S. pork and beef exports to the country by Saturday…
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, in a note posted on its website on Friday afternoon, said: “Exporters are cautioned that Russia may reject U.S. pork shipments and delist producing establishments if ractopamine residues are detected in exported product.”
FSIS also said at the moment it was not requiring meat companies for documentation attesting their pork was free of ractopamine before issuing its export certification.
Are there requirements for measuring ractopamine sold for consumption to Americans, eh?
Analysts said the Russian move was linked to the Senate’s passage of the trade bill and blah, blah, blah…
Tyson Foods…a leading U.S. meat company, and agriculture powerhouse Cargill…declined to comment on how a halt in exports would impact them, but both noted the U.S. and Russian governments were in discussions.
Yes, there are 100 countries including the European Union rejecting pork with ractopamine residues. Mother Jones wrote a delightful article in February when Taiwan rejected US shipments – entitled “US Pushes the World to Import Our Dodgy Meat” – and if you’d like some delightful midnight snack reading matter, try this report from the USDA describing the symptoms of some pigs tested with the stuff.
Bacon fans felt a blood pressure spike earlier this week after a British group said a rise in the cost of pig feed would cause an “unavoidable” drop in pork product production next year.
But the U.S. Department of Agriculture said there was plenty of frozen pork on hand, and experts say a 5 percent drop of hog production in the European Union likely wouldn’t ripple across the Atlantic.
“There may be some shortages of pork in Europe, but there will be no shortages in the U.S.,” economist Erin Borror of the U.S. Meat Export Federation told the Des Moines Register.
Most notably, European pig farmers will grapple with new EU regulations banning the use of pig crates — the tiny stalls where pregnant sows are housed — which begin in 2013.
The stalls have already been phased out in several U.S. states…
On average, a pound of bacon was 25 cents more expensive in August than in July, but still 10 cents cheaper than a year ago…
The cost of pig feed has risen mostly as a result of droughts throughout the Midwest this year…
Pork producers spreading alarmist rumors to jack up prices? Shock and amazement!
The European Commission is drawing up plans for a “roadworthiness test” which would mean that all components had to conform with those which were on the car when it was first registered.
Motoring organisations have been warned by the Department for Transport that this “may prevent most modifications” and would apply to “many components and to all types of vehicle.”
It remained unclear last night whether this could extend to routine modifications such as fitting alloy wheels, for example, or bringing cars up to 21st century standards.
The move comes within months of the Government in Britain drawing up its own plans to exempt classic cars – those built before 1960 – from the MoT test altogether…
The Department for Transport believed that exempting them from the MoT was justified because classic cars were normally lovingly maintained and had a lower accident rate than newer models.
However according to the EU document “Vehicles of historic interest are supposed to conserve heritage of the époque they have been built”.
What you’re liable to see in my neighborhood
The article doesn’t mention “hotting” your ride. Only the preservation of classic apparently comes to mind of legal types.
There have to be as many folks in the UK as there in most American neighborhoods who often go ahead and modify everything from suspension to power output to the appearance of their rides.
Qader truck-mounted cruise missile
Although I believe it would be idiotic for any country to wage war with Iran, one cannot rule out the possibility. Here are 20 reasons why a military attack on Iran is a bad idea:
First, Iran has become the leading country in the Muslim world advocating for an end to nuclear weapons by religiously committing itself against weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Iranian Supreme Leader issued a Religious Decree, or Fatwa, that forbids the production, stockpiling and use of all WMDs.
Second, the IAEA in the past decade, following more than 4,000 inspection hours, frequently and constantly has declared that there is no evidence of diversion in Iranian nuclear activity toward building a weapon.
Third, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has maintained that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, has not made the decision to build them and is not on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. The international community also accepts this conclusion…
Ninth, there is no doubt that in case of any strike, Iranians of all political stripes would rally around the flag to defend their land, integrity, identity, and rights, and to resist security threats.
Tenth, President Obama’s effort to improve relations with the Muslim world is one of the most important U.S. foreign policy objectives. This was highlighted in his June 4, 2009 Cairo speech, calling for a “new beginning” between the United States and Muslims. Any strike on Iran by the U.S. or Israel would revive anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world and even other parts of the globe…
Thirteenth, America’s standing in the Middle East is already under mounting strain on multiple fronts. The political order in a number of “pro-American” Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Lebanon is shifting away from the United States. In the event of an attack on Iran, this trend will accelerate and may shift the balance of influence and power more toward Tehran.
Seventeenth, Israel is already isolated. A war with Iran would worsen this situation and further strain both U.S. and Israeli relations with countries in the region.
Eighteenth, even if Israel takes unilateral military action, the U.S. would be considered complicit in the attack, and its assets, bases and personnel would be targeted by the Iranian retaliation.
Nineteenth, an Israeli or U.S. strike could dramatically widen the diplomatic split between the United States and Russia, China, and Non-Alignment Movement countries and may even create divergence with European and regional allies, reminiscent of tensions over the Iraq war.
Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. From 1997 to 2005, he was the head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council; from 2003 to 2005, he served as spokesman for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union.
RTFA for all 20 reasons. I displayed some of the most important – IMHO.
Moscovici and Hollande
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
About 20 years ago, François Hollande and Pierre Moscovici co-taught an advanced economics course at Sciences Po, France’s elite college for government study. Their stint in education was brief, but their association has endured: Hardly a week after being elected the new president of France, Hollande named Moscovici as his finance minister…
Hollande and Moscovici received a first-tier education, and political activism brought them together. They were cherry-picked early in their careers by the Socialist intelligentsia, an inner circle around Mitterrand that included Jacques Attali, one of France’s most brilliant minds; Jacques Delors, the architect of the European Union; and Strauss-Kahn, a future finance minister and International Monetary Fund director who was a near shoe-in for the 2012 French presidential seat until his career imploded in a New York hotel room last summer…
One could have feared the new president would shower jobs and perks on mediocre ideologues who command regional votes, men and women for whom socialism and the growth of the public sector is a way to get money to spend on pet projects. Only a few months ago, Hollande was seen as a usurper trying to steal the presidency from more eminent Socialists, and he had few friends in his camp. Yet, as he formed his government, Hollande doubled down on his ideological principles. He selected his team on merit, giving the most important ministry — finance — to Moscovici and the office of prime minister to a colorless but loyal and competent alter ego, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a veteran leader of the Socialist Party.
Hollande immediately stepped onto the world stage. Only a few days after being inaugurated, he found himself at a G-8 summit in Washington, where he made clear in his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama that Paris wants out of Afghanistan. Going forward, Hollande is unlikely to stand in the way of U.S. global leadership as long as the demands on France remain minimal. France’s love-hate relationship with the United States is particularly acute among the French left, which spews venom on U.S. religiosity and the inequality that its capitalism fosters and yet is awed by the United States’ power and the liberal, irreverent, innovative popular culture of the big cities on its coasts. Plus, Obama, a man of the left, is the leader of a powerful nation. Hollande respects that…
And of course, there is Germany and its chancellor, Angela Merkel. Hollande’s commitment to the European Union is unquestionable, and in the past he has opposed the majority of his own party on that point. But Hollande wants to reform the union into less of a free market and more of a collective safety net. Against Merkel, Hollande and Moscovici rightly point out that a recession is not the time for austerity. But state profligacy goes back decades, including periods of prosperity when governments should have saved for rainy days. Without a surplus to tap into, with few markets to borrow from, and with monetary policy in the hands of the European Central Bank, that leaves only the rich to tax. Germany, with a structural surplus and excellent credit, is Europe’s rich.
RTFA. Schain rolls himself down the alley of rococo and trite analysis from time to time – and then turns back to being surprised by Hollande doing something other than the predictable. Still, if you wish to have an understanding of the broad sweep of politics, economics and history confronting the new socialist president of France – it’s a useful article.
Ireland has ratified the EU fiscal pact, providing some cheer for European leaders amid the eurozone crisis.
A clear 60-40 vote by the only electorate in Europe allowed to have its say on the treaty backed the EU reform programme aimed at imposing budget discipline on all 27 states of the union.
The Irish Republic’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, last night described the outcome of the referendum as a “stepping stone on the road to Ireland’s recovery” and called on fellow Europeans to help his country deal with the billions of euros of debt that was still crippling the Irish economy.
Despite four years of recession, anger over austerity budgets and fears over low turnout, Kenny’s Fine Gael and his Irish Labour party coalition partners won a yes vote with 60.3% of the electorate supporting the treaty and 39.7% voting against…
He said he had spoken to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and other EU leaders including the European council president Herman Van Rompuyabout the pain the Irish people were enduring as the government tried to restore the nation’s finances. “Europe’s banking sector needs a comprehensive solution and Ireland’s banking debt must form part of that solution. Europe badly needs a success story and Ireland can provide that success story if the right and proper framework is put in place,” Kenny said.
The vote was carried for the yes side mainly by the urban middle class and the country’s farmers, the latter being traditionally pro-Europe thanks to the largesse of the common agricultural policy. Rural constituencies with large farming communities voted strongly in favour of the treaty…
Fianna Fáil, the opposition party which backed the government’s call for a yes vote, accepted that the Irish people had reluctantly backed the treaty, fearing isolation and exclusion from emergency funds should the republic need a second bailout. Darragh O’Brien, leader of Fianna Fáil in Ireland’s second chamber, the senate, described it as a “grudging, pragmatic vote“.
Not a lot wrong with making pragmatic decisions whilst trudging out of the bowels of the worst economic disaster since World war 2. When people are back on their feet, jobs are easier to find, national treasuries are fit and up to standard – there will be plenty of time for sectarian confrontation. That the nation of Ireland is capable of coming together in times of need is in stark contrast to the conservative bombast inhibiting for-real unity in London and Washington, DC.
An argument has broken out between Austria and Slovenia over the naming of a regional sausage.
Slovenia wants the Krainer sausage to be given special protected EU status, similar to champagne, Parmesan and the Cornish pasty. Slovenia claims that the minced pork sausage was invented in northern Slovenia in the 19th Century.
But Slovenia’s plans have upset Austria, where they believe the sausage is their own. Their cheese-filled variation of the sausage, the Kaesekrainer, is a great favourite.
Josef Bitzinger from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce told the BBC that the sausage was part of Austria’s heritage, and renaming it would be unthinkable…
“Vienna sausage stands are a trademark of the city and Kaesekrainers have to be on offer. Frankfurter sausages are called Wiener Wuerstel in Germany and that is not a problem.”
Slovenia is applying to the European Commission for Protected Geographical Indication status, because of the meat’s connection to the Kranjska region.
Austria has said it will challenge the bid.
I hope this doesn’t come to war.
Though I guess they could use catapults to hurl dumplings at each other. Or Knödel. Or Cmok.