Why Foreign Companies Are Shutting Shop in China
Jane Li, CNBC
US-based Seagate, the world’s biggest maker of hard disk drives, closed its factory in Suzhou near Shanghai last month with the loss of 2,000 jobs, in a move that has rekindled fears that China is becoming increasingly hostile towards foreign firms operating in the country. Seagate has joined a spate of foreign companies to shutter operations in China in recent years, for various reasons, but most have attributed the country’s high tax regime, rising labor costs, and fierce competition from domestic companies.
Governor Rick Scott Channels Trump to Threaten Florida Ports over Cuba Ties
Richard Luscombe, THE GUARDIAN
Governor Rick Scott of Florida, appears to be following Donald Trump’s example of dictating policy by Twitter, with potentially far-reaching impacts for the future of US-Cuba relations. In three simple tweets, Scott threatened to choke state funding from any Florida port that worked with Cuba. Almost immediately, two of them, Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach, cancelled the signing of memorandums of understanding with visiting Cuban trade officials.
Bill Allowing Private Financing of Food/Agriculture Exports to Cuba Introduced in Senate
Mimi Whitefield, THE MIAMI HERALD
Two farm state senators reintroduced a bill Thursday aimed at making US agricultural exports more competitive in the Cuban market by allowing private financing of ag exports. It was the first Cuba-related bill introduced since President Donald Trump has been in the White House. Three Cuba-related bills were reintroduced in the House in January before he took office.
North Korea Fires Head of Prison Camp System
Brad Lendon, CNN
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has fired one of his top lieutenants, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry. As Minister of State Security, Kim Won Hong oversaw the North Korean agency responsible for running the country’s notorious prison camps, rooting out spies in North Korea and conducting counterespionage operations abroad. Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said Kim Won Hong was punished for “human rights abuses committed during interrogations at the State Security Department” among other things.
NATO Must Defend Western Democracy Against Russian Hacking, Says Fallon
Ewen MacAskill, THE GUARDIAN
NATO must begin to compete on the cyber-battlefield to counter Russian hacking, which is “weaponizing misinformation” to create a post-truth age, the defense secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, has said. In his hardest-hitting comments yet about Russia, Fallon said that in the past two years it had targeted the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, which becomes a full NATO member this year. He blamed Russia for helping create the fake information age.
UN Ambassador Haley Hits Russia Hard on Ukraine
Nicole Gaouette and Richard Roth, CNN
The US ambassador to the United Nations offered a strong condemnation of Russia in her first appearance at the UN Security Council on Thursday, calling on Moscow to de-escalate violence in eastern Ukraine and saying that US sanctions against Moscow would remain in place until it withdraws from Crimea. “The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea,” said Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s envoy to the world body. “Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the peninsula to Ukraine.”
US Warns North Korea of “Overwhelming” Response If Nuclear Arms Used
Phil Stewart, REUTERS
US President Donald Trump’s defense secretary warned North Korea on Friday of an “effective and overwhelming” response if it chose to use nuclear weapons, as he reassured South Korea of steadfast US support. “Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at South Korea’s defense ministry, at the end of a two-day visit.
Clinton Ends Vietnam Trade Embargo: Feb. 3, 1994
Andrew Glass, POLITICO
On this day in 1994, President Bill Clinton lifted the US trade embargo against Vietnam, some 19 years after the fall of Saigon to communist forces. In making the move, Clinton cited Hanoi’s cooperation in helping American forensic teams locate and, when possible, identify the 2,238 US service personnel then listed as missing in the Vietnam War.
Public Anger Prompts Vietnam to Put the Brakes on Investment
Luu Van Dat, BLOOMBERG
Rattled by the outpouring of public anger over recent investments, Vietnam’s Communist leaders are rethinking the strategy of courting foreign investment at almost any cost. Now they are vowing to reject environmentally harmful investment and introduce regular factory inspections to ensure companies comply with the law. Finding the right balance will be key. With foreign companies contributing more than 70 percent of export revenue, the government faces pressure to avoid hurting an economy that grew 6.21 percent last year—one of the highest rates in Asia.