EU, USA and Japan agree on new subsidy rules

On January 14 2020, the EU, the USA and Japan joined forces and announced their agreement to strengthen existing rules on industrial subsidies as well as condemning forced technology transfer practices. In other words, exactly what China has long been accused of exploiting.

According to the agreement, the current list of subsidies prohibited under the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is insufficient to tackle market and trade-distorting subsidisation existing in certain jurisdictions. They concluded that new types of unconditionally prohibited subsidies have to be added to the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

The EU’s Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan noted that, “This Joint Statement is an important step towards addressing some of the fundamental issues distorting global trade. The EU has been arguing consistently that multilateral negotiations can be effective in resolving these problems. I welcome the fact that the United States and Japan share this view. This Statement is also a symbol of a constructive strategic collaboration between three major players in global trade.”

The EU, USA and Japan also agreed that for particularly harmful types of subsidies, such as excessively large subsidies, the burden of proof should be reversed: the subsidising WTO member must demonstrate that there are no serious negative trade or capacity effects and that there is effective transparency about the subsidy in question.

In the meeting, which took place in Washington, the signatories of the statement also reaffirmed the importance of technology transfers for global trade and investment, and discussed possible core rules to be introduced to prevent forced technology transfer practices of third countries

UK tech investment grew faster than the USA and China in 2019

2019 was a record-breaking year for the UK’s tech sector, with investments in the sector reaching the highest level in UK history – $13.2 billion, representing a $4.1 billion increase from 2018.

The figures were prepared for the Digital Economy Council by entrepreneurial network Tech Nation and research company Dealroom.co, and showed that in 2019, the UK’s technology sector secured one-third of all European tech investments. Furthermore, this is the third year in a row that growth in the UK’s venture capital investment has exceeded 40%. To compare, investments in France grew by just over one-third, while Israel’s rose by one-fifth.

Eight new unicorns – Rapyd, CMR Surgical, Babylon Health, Sumup, Trainline, Acuris, Checkout.com and OVO Energy – were created in the UK last year, bringing the country’s total number of billion-dollar companies to 77. The research also showed that nearly half of the total amount invested in UK tech came from US and Asian investors. 

Matt Warman, UK’s minister for digital, noted that, “This roaring success is testament to our business-friendly environment, talented workforce and a long-standing reputation for innovation. As we head into a new decade, we want to keep up this momentum, ensuring the tech sector flourishes right across the country, helping more entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into business successes and strengthening the nation’s digital skills.”

On a global scale, the UK’s performance in 2019 means it now sits behind only the USA and China in terms of total venture capital funding received last year.

Airbus surpasses Boeing with 863 deliveries in 2019

Airbus has become the world’s largest plane maker for the first time since 2011, after delivering a forecast-beating 863 aircraft in 2019, taking the crown from embattled US rival Boeing.

The number represents an 8% increase over the company’s 800 deliveries in 2018.

Airbus, which had been forced by its own industrial problems to cut its 2019 delivery goal by 2–3% in October, deployed extra resources until the hours before midnight to reach 863 aircraft for the year, compared with its revised target of 860 jets.

“I am happy to see our commercial aircraft order and delivery numbers reflecting the continuous efforts to better serve our customers and bring our competitive products and services to the market. I sincerely thank our customers for their loyalty and the Airbus teams and our industry partners who made it possible,” said CEO of Airbus, Guillaume Furry.

In addition to the aircraft deliveries, Airbus also acquired 1,131 new aircraft orders and 768 net orders, making it an extremely successful year for the company.

Boeing, on the other hand, delivered 345 planes in the first 11 months of 2019, compared with 700 deliveries during the same period in 2018. Most of Boeing’s deliveries were for long-range planes, while Airbus shined in the single-aisle jet market. In the absence of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 in the market, Airbus delivered 640 single-aisle planes, surpassing previous records.

The European company is now planning to hire a total of 5,000 new employees on its sites across the world in 2020, which should improve the supply chain and prevent any potential delays caused by technical issues.

LinkedIn names fastest-growing jobs across Europe

At the very end of 2019, LinkedIn released its third annual LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report, highlighting the fastest-growing jobs across the world, the skills associated with them and the cities and industries in which these jobs are located.

LinkedIn looked at all its members with a public profile that have held full-time positions within the past five years. From this pool it then calculated the share of hiring, and growth rate for each occupation between 2015 and 2019, to identify the roles that would be on the rise in the coming year.

According to the report, the fastest-growing job role in Europe is Artificial Intelligence Specialist –typically an engineer, researcher or other specialties that focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, looking at things such as where it makes sense to implement AI, or build AI systems. This job was the fastest-growing role in the UK, Spain and Germany last year, and the second-fastest growing in France. On the blog for the report, LinkedIn commented that, “Artificial intelligence and robots are no longer on their way. They’ve arrived. In a big way.”