Gregor Irwin, chief economist at advisory group Global Counsel, tells GTR that technology is likely to become the single biggest point of tension in the EU-China relationship: “Chinese investors are buying up European companies on the cheap because they are able to use their technology in the Chinese market, which is still largely closed off to European companies in many sectors. European policymakers... are now waking up to the risk and are exploring how they can block investments in European companies which they judge are the result of unfair competition.”
From the large-scale refugee flows to the threat of deadly terrorist attacks, from the Greek banking crisis to the shock of Brexit, the blows to the European project have come relentlessly. With major elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany in 2017 — and creeping authoritarianism threatening the liberal order in many Western countries — can the EU survive?
Lord Mandelson, Chairman of Global Counsel, has addressed the future of Europe and the United States in his speech “The West’s Progressive Challenge” at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
The Chinese government has reported that direct investment into Australia from China soared by 56 per cent in 2016 over 2015, to $4.8 billion.
Ying Staton, Asia director of strategic advisory firm Global Counsel, wrote in Singapore’s Straits Times this week that “Australia is of great strategic value for China”. “A shortage of agricultural land, exacerbated by systemic pollution and recurrent food contamination scandals, has made food security a pressing concern and created an appetite for Australia’s vast farms and dairies.”
The UK wants to create a “virtual” border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, as a template for a new customs deal with the EU after Brexit that makes trade as easy as possible.
Stephen Adams, a partner at consulting firm Global Counsel and former adviser to one-time EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, said: “Northern Ireland will be where we will have to do the most innovative thinking on this.” He said that France and the Netherlands had already digitised their customs systems and that there were many ways technology could streamline the process.
The island state of Tasmania lies off the southern coast of mainland Australia and is known for having the cleanest air in the world, fertile farmland and coastal waters abundant with seafood. This month, Tasmania will get its first direct international flight. The destination is Ningbo in northern China, and the plane will carry not people, but milk.
Chinese investment is transforming Tasmania. Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the island in November 2014 unleashed a surge of investment activity.
An energy policy expert has described Scottish independence as the biggest risk facing North Sea oil and gas.
Matthew Duhan, lead adviser on energy issues at advisory firm Global Counsel, claimed this was especially true related to decommissioning.
Speaking at an Oil and Gas UK event in London, he also said it was not “unimaginable” Theresa May might block a second referendum north of the border.
Taking the UK out of the European Union will probably lead to more gas trade at continental hubs at the expense of the UK.
Article 50 is expected to be triggered on March 9, according to business advisory firm Global Counsel's Matt Duhan, with the first item on the agenda thereafter the size of the UK payment to the EU, which the EC puts at €60bn and the UK at only €20bn. "There is a lot of difference between the two, and that is the first bridge to cross," he said.
Post-Brexit trade agreements will not come along so quickly for Britain. But the country is slowly getting prepared for its post-Brexit trading relationships, including with the US. According to Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the consultancy Global Counsel in London, “there is a sovereignty problem” in this relationship. “The big prize in any UK-US trade deal is not tariff reduction, as with a few notable exceptions, tariffs are mostly small already. The big prize comes from removing regulatory barriers to trade. But this means conceding some sovereignty over regulation.
President Trump drew laughs Thursday when he said he would have to hammer out a trade deal himself with British Prime Minister Theresa May. But Britain is still part of the European Union, and it'll be a couple of years before it's officially completed the Brexit process and can legally make its own trade deals.
"The U.K. may choose to ignore that, but it means further souring the relationship with Brussels just as the Brexit negotiations are starting," Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the strategic advisory firm Global Counsel, has told CNNMoney.
The European Union has made adjustments to its landmark Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and moved one step closer to sealing the deal, while protectionism and inward policy prevails across the Atlantic in the US.
“Full ratification will take some time longer. I don’t get the sense that the commission wants to rush that just yet but they do want to demonstrate that they are making progress on trade policy at a time when the Trump administration is being very protectionist,” says chief economist at Global Counsel, Gregor Irwin to GTR.