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Trump threatens China: Act now on trade or it will get worse

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US President Trump has warned China to “act now” to conclude a trade deal with the United States or face worse terms after what he predicted would be his certain re-election in 2020.

The warning came in a series of Trump tweets issued over the weekend declaring the US was “right where we want to be.” He claimed that China had been “beaten so badly in the recent negotiations” they considered they might as well as well wait to see if they could get a Democrat win.

“The deal will become far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term. Would be wise for them to act now,” Trump tweeted.

Prominent Republican senator Lindsey Graham weighed in behind Trump in an interview with Fox News saying the Chinese were trying to wait Trump out. He said the present situation was “the best chance of my lifetime to get China to change their cheating ways” and that the US would have to endure “short-term pain”.

The increasingly belligerent US rhetoric is being matched by action. The administration is expected to release details of a further $300 billion worth of Chinese goods it intends to hit with tariffs of 25 percent. This followed the lifting of tariffs on $200 billion worth from 10 percent to 25 percent on Friday.

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Economy

UK wages are growing at fastest rate since 2008

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British workers are enjoying the strongest wage growth since the financial crisis a decade ago as the labor market tightens.

Average earnings excluding bonuses continued to increase an annual 3.3 percent in the three months through November and unemployment fell to 4 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1975, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. Separate figures showed the budget deficit unexpectedly widened in December.

British workers are enjoying the long-awaited return of real wage increases.

With earnings forecast to accelerate further, Bank of England policy makers might normally be preparing to raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressures building in the labor market. But mounting concern that Britain could leave the European Union with no deal is expected to stay their hand. Traders put the chance of a hike this year at less than 70 percent.

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Economy

Bekteshi-Duran meeting: UNCTAD pledges to help N. Macedonia accelerate development

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North Macedonia got an offer from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to utilize the opportunities of the Program for science, technologies and innovations to help the national capacities contribute to the development and higher productivity of economy.

This was the keynote of the meeting between Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, and Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, Isabelle Durant.

Economy Minister Bekteshi spearheads North Macedonia’s delegation to the second Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 2003.

At the meeting, Bekteshi briefed Durant about the ongoing reform drive and improvement of business climate in the country. A main emphasis was placed on the Prespa accord that solved the perennial dispute with Greece, the regional cooperation, and the process of integration into the EU and NATO.

Besides the meeting with Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, while in Geneva Minister Bekteshi will hold meetings with Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, and Ambassador Dagfinn Sorli, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and EFTA.

North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 4 April 2003.

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Economy

China posts slowest economic growth since 1990

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China’s econoy grew at its slowest pace in nearly three decades last year, as a bruising trade fight with the U.S. exacerbated weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.

The 6.6% growth rate for 2018 reported Monday is the slowest annual pace that the world’s second biggest economy has recorded since 1990. That is the weakest annual performance in nearly three decades.

Economic growth in China slowed to 6.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Monday’s data, in line with economist’s predictions.

Adding to the gloom was the trade conflict with Washington. The uncertain outlook for Chinese exporters caused companies to delay investing and hiring and in some cases even to resort to layoffs–a practice that is often discouraged by China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party rulers.

The official jobless rate ticked up to 4.9% last month from 4.8% in November.

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