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Karina's Column

An insider’s view on the City of London and beyond

Posts tagged EU
The lightweight vs the heavyweight

Getting to be a heavyweight boxing champion takes many years of training, a top coach and clear rules of engagement. Talent may well be the least of it.  

The UK is sadly bereft of all of these as it bravely makes its way in a world where the boxing ring is riven with cracks and the ropes are frayed and broken. Trade giants of the likes of Peter Sutherland and Pascal Lamy built the global trade structure brick by brick, compromise by comprise, backed most notably and most crucially by the US.

But President Donald Trump’s disdain for traditional allies and alliances extends to the World Trade Organisation and its carefully wrought rules, which are in any case due for modernisation in a services and digital centred world. The application of unilateral tariffs on China, leading to an exchange of tit-for-tat, is not the worst of it. Rather, it is taking the fight outside the ring, as Mr Trump did by pressuring Canada to arrest the CFO of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, or blackmailing Mexico with a progressive 5% tariff on exports if it did not do more to curb illegal immigrants from Central America.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week held out the exciting prospect of a trade deal with the US in 2020. Here are six home truths on global trade which he might wish to share with the nation.

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Vintage heaven; vintage hell

The transformation of Fine Wines

As you raise a glass of Chêne Bleu Rosé on a sizzling hot summer’s day, spare a thought for the wine industry, which is facing a perfect storm.

Global warming, increasing regulatory pressures, and disinvestment, are set to dent if not destroy what had seemed a simple story of emerging markets growth and increasing quality which would lead global wine consumption to reach $207bn in 2022.  

But the overall global wine and spirits market has slipped by -1.4% in the last five years, according to industry body IWSR, and disruption of the status quo is set to accelerate.  In the US, 54 per cent of the population chose to abstain from alcohol, driven largely by 21-34 year olds, according to a 2018 Nielsen Survey.

Parallels with the tobacco industry are not an exaggeration. Imagine a photograph of a liver riven by cirrhosis on a plainly packaged bottle of wine, along with a warning that alcohol can abet breast cancer. Inside, the magnum of Château Kirwan lies, un-drunk and unloved.

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