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The US and China sign Phase One of new trade agreement today

The Thaiger

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The US and China sign Phase One of new trade agreement today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: President's Trump and Xi at an earlier staged negotiation meeting - Reuters
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The United States and China are poised to sign a trade truce today after a protracted trade spat that has impacted both countrys’ economies and shaken spread unease through world trade links. Both sides describe the result of the ‘Phase One’ agreement as ‘hard fought’. The signing signals a fragile truce and a prickly period of reconciliation between the world’s two largest economies.

But hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs will remain in place at least until after the 2020 US Presidential election in the US. According to the New York Times, the new deal includes commitments by China to curtail practices that American firms complain put them at a disadvantage and force them to hand over valuable intellectual property to Chinese firms.

The timing of the signing is good for US President Trump who is about to face Congress over his current impeachment proceedings. News of the imminent signing of the interim agreement has boosted stock markets worldwide in recent days. Meantime, the threat of new tariffs will be shelved.

With Phase One of an agreement now looks to be sorted, the most difficult issues remain to be dealt with in “phase two” negotiations. These will include the massive subsidies for state industry and forced technology transfer.

After all the pain, the interim agreement largely takes the US/China trade relationship back to where it was before President Trump was elected in 2016, even restoring elements he scrapped.

Cconomist Mary Lovely says… “The US-China phase-one deal is essentially a trade truce, with large state-directed purchases attached. The truce is good news for the US and the world economy.”

US officials say they will release details of the agreement being signed at a White House ceremony on Wednesday *Thursday Thai time).

After announcing the finalisation of an interim deal on December 13, the US canceled a damaging round of new tariffs that were due to kick in December 15.

Washington said Beijing have agreed to import, over the next two years, US$200 billion of US products above the levels in 2017, before President Trump launched the trade war with China. Since December, US President Trump has said that the trade pact will be a boon for American farmers, stating that China will buy $40 to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

US farmers have been hit hard by the ongoing trade war, notably on soybeans which saw exports to China plunge to just $3 billion from more than $12 billion in 2017. The Trump administration paid out $28 billion compensation to farmers in the last two years.

Even with a new agreement in place it is likely that the trade imbalance between the two countries will still greatly favour the Chinese, an economy that is likely to become the world’s largest before the end of this decade (sooner according to some leading economists).

US and Chinese officials say the agreement includes protections for intellectual property, and addresses financial services and foreign exchange while including a provision for dispute resolution. In August President Trump also formally accused China of manipulating its currency to gain an advantage in trade and offset the impact of the tariffs.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | AFP

The US and China sign Phase One of new trade agreement today | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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2 more alleged call centre scam suspects arrested in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Japanese suspects arrested during a raid in Chon Buri in late March 2019

Two men arrested in Japan yesterday stand accused of operating a large-scale call centre scam based in Thailand, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to 28. Japanese police believe 36 year old Kengo Yasutake and 34 year old Shimpei Hirata operated a luxury home in Pattaya, where a team of Japanese men would call people across Japan and tell them their subscription fees for a website were overdue.

Police say the gang has tricked more than 200 people and collected a total of more than 55 million baht. Fifteen Japanese men have already been arrested by Thai police last March at another luxury house location, also in Chon Buri province, and Japanese investigators arrested more in May 2019 as they attempted to leave Thailand for Japan.

Investigators say the group had a well-organised division of labour conducting the scam, with individual members making phone calls, cashing swindled electronic gift cards and as managing the scam web site.

They were arrested on suspicion of scamming a woman and two others living in the city of Fukui, central Japan, alleging in an email that they had failed to pay website subscription fees, and coercing them into purchasing electronic gift cards worth a total 780,000 yen, or about 215,000 baht.

SOURCE: Japan Times
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Well-Being

First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan

Greeley Pulitzer

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First ‘China coronavirus’ case confirmed in Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The first case of the 'Wuhan Flu' identified in Japan - The Economist

As Thailand’s airports continue screening passengers arriving from China, Japan has confirmed its first case of the new China coronavirus that has killed one and attracted a travel alert from the US State Department. The patient, a man from Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, had recently visited the Chinese city of Wuhan, where an outbreak of a pneumonia strain is believed to be caused by the new coronavirus.

The US State Department issued a warning on Wednesday about travel to the Wuhan region in China, citing an alert by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which urges citizens travelling in the region to avoid contact with animals, animal markets or animal products, among other precautions.

Health authorities in Thailand announced on Wednesday they are stepping up screening of passengers arriving by air ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, when 800,000 Chinese tourists are expected to head for the Kingdom.

Though there has been no known human-to-human transmission, the World Health Organisation says the new virus could spread and is warning hospitals worldwide. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, aka. SARS. Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while some, like the one that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), are far more severe.

The Japanese patient returned from Wuhan and was hospitalised with a fever. He was released yesterday after the symptoms subsided.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Thai Airways’ pilot under investigation for botched landing at Frankfurt

The Thaiger

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Thai Airways’ pilot under investigation for botched landing at Frankfurt | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways' Airbus A350-900 parked at Frankfurt International Airport - YouTube

A Thai Airways International pilot, flying for Thailand’s national flag carrier, is currently being investigated by Germany’s BFU (Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung), the country’s civil aviation investigators, for flying a Thai Airways plane below the standard altitude as the flight he was piloting, was approaching Frankfurt International Airport. The flight had originated in Phuket.

The incident has been related through the Outsider’s Aviation Facebook page.

The Thai Airways branded Airbus A350-900 direct flight from Phuket to Frankfurt, was approaching Frankfurt airport at a reported altitude of 800 feet above ground, which was below the standard safe minimum altitude for approaches to Frankfurt International Airport.

The pilot took the decision to initiate a go-around and took the plane up to about 5,000-feet before lining up for a second attempt, and landed successfully. The plane landed safely on 07R runway about 15 minutes after the first attempt.

Despite the safe landing, the BFU says the incident is “a serious violation of aviation safety standards” and ordered an investigation. The identity of the pilot has not been disclosed.

View post on imgur.com

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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