According to a report, the beginning of the year 2020 has seen a burst of growth in US business activity. This contrasts with slowing growth in many other major economies around the world.
Japan also saw a rise in business activity, helping pick up for the weak performance at the end of 2019. Europe was showing signs of slow growth in January, with exports from Europe stabilizing after a long decline. The service sector was still languishing.
The US economy is doing better than either Japan or Europe, and the prediction is that for the near future at least it will stay this way. The cooling down of the trade war between the US and China should also add a little boost to the economies of both countries and countries connected to them through trade.
IHS Markit, a data-gathering company, reported that its composite purchasing managers index in the US had reached 53.1 in January, up from 52.7 in December, the highest it has been in 10 months.
IHS also stated that, according to surveys, businesses in Europe and out will most likely remain slow and weak. Surveys of CFOs discovered confidence in the US market, but not as much confidence in the European and other markets. Some are expecting a stall in the 2020 economy.
According to the most recent Vinexpo/IWSR wine and spirits report, the world is expected to consume US $207 billion by the year 2022, drinking approximately 2.7 billion 9-liter cases. That represents growth in the industry of 2.15% between the years 2017 and 2022. Due to the recent practice to “drink less but better,” value has out-paced volume in growth all over the world. This is especially true in North, South and Central America as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States is still the world’s most valuable market for wine with a value of US$34.8 billion in 2017. After the US France is rated the second most lucrative market worth about US$16 billion. China comes in at a close third with US$ 16.5 billion in sales.
Vinepress forecasts the China will overtake France as the second largest consumer of wine by the year 2020, with a value of over US$19 billion.
The top five markets for volume of sales did not seem to change in the last year with • USA sold 318 million cases • Italy sold 266 million • France sold 250 million • Germany 224 million • China 156 million
North American businessmen have long been aware that traveling to China had its risks: executives with cellphones and laptops feared the theft of intellectual property and cyber attacks when in the biggest of all Asian nations.
But now the level of fear has been notched up to the next level.
Ever since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou on December 1st, traveling to China for business people hailing from the West, and especially North America, has been a nail-biting experience. Wanzhou, the head of giant cellphone maker Huawei, was arrested in Canada and her extradition was requested by the USA. She is charged with fraud because her company has allegedly had business dealings with Iran, a violation of US sanctions against the middle eastern country. Then the atmosphere intensified when Chinese officials stopped two Canadians, saying the pair was suspected of national security violations.
It is supposed by observers that the self-destructive mutual suspicions will not spiral out of control since neither side has any interest in provoking the people they want to do business with, and therefore will not publicly change their travel policies.
Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made. Last week the US tech company Cisco sent an email to their employees telling them that all non-essential trips to China would be suspended. The company caught the mistake and issued an apology stating that their travel policy to China had not changed.
American diplomats and businessmen will say in private that the two Canadians being held in China now is in retaliation for Meng’s detention, according to Craig Allen, the president of the US-China Business Council.
“If we don’t recognize that as a possible signal to American interests and to American businesses, then we would be willfully blind,” he says.
UK International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox hosted several events designed to reinforce the economic relationship between the UK and the USA. The events took place on October 22, 2018 on board the UK’s Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth, docked in New York Harbor.
The New York events come in the wake of the announcement by the US Treasury Secretary, Robert Lighthizer, that the US will commence talks with the UK to forge a new US-UK Free Trade Agreement to go into effect when the UK leaves the European Union.
The Department for International Trade presented a round-table discussion including some of the UK’s key computer companies. They presented their new technological advances to several US Fortune 500 companies in the hopes of forging some business partnerships.
The Secretary, Dr. Fox, spoke during the proceedings. He emphasized the ability of the UK to protect against serious cyber threats as they grow in number and danger. He announced a new sub-committee of the Board of Trade which will investigate what methods UK companies can use to grow the amount of imports in the cyber space, and how UK-US cooperation can improve the fight against cyber-attacks.
The floating backdrop of the great ship helped set the stage for Dr. Fox’s joining with the Maritime UK to host the very first Maritime Nations Forum between the US and the UK. The forum focused on the ways these two great sea-faring nations can improve maritime trade and relations.
Two high tech giants, Foxconn and Apple, are considering a deal to build a panel factory in the United States at a cost of about $7 billion and could create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. Chairman Terry Gou of Foxconn said that an investment by Foxconn’s Sharp division will depend on the terms negotiated for the deal at the state and federal levels.
The announcement of the deal comes close on the heels of President Donald Trump’s inaugural address in which the new president promised to make “America First” as the backbone of his policies leading the nation. Trump stated in his speech: “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”
One of Trump’s campaign promises was to try and persuade Apple to bring the manufacture of iPhones to US shores. Trump said that he was optimistic that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, had his “eyes open” to the possibility. Foxconn is the biggest producer of iPhones.
Gou said that Trump-style protectionism was inevitable, but he is unsure how Americans will feel about spending hundreds of dollars more for a phone that does not work any better than a less expensive model that was made overseas.
Gou vowed to increase his investments in China. Apple is also dependent on China, not just for production, but also for sales. Last year China made up 22 percent of Apple’s total revenue, some $46.4 billion.