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British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

India and the European Union (EU) should restart their bilateral trade talks and take steps to conclude the much-awaited free trade agreement, Sir Michael Rake, President of the Confederation of British Industry, has said.

“This will be a symbol of openness and a big signal that India really wants to operate at the global level. We need to build on the work already done,” Rake told BusinessLine in an interview here.

Confederation of British Industry is UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, providing voice for employers at national and international level.

Rake said this could be a “good moment” to re-energise the trade talks with a new Indian Government already in office and a new Commission (European) expected at Brussels from November 1.

India-EU pact
The proposed India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) is far from concluded, despite several rounds of negotiations that began in the year 2007.

Rake, who is Chairman of BT Group Plc, was visiting New Delhi for a India-UK business gathering, besides opening of a new BT building at commercial business hub at Gurgaon in Haryana.

He said that the global trade was expected to slow down and that made it even more important to re-energise the India-EU trade talks and conclude it at the earliest.

“Whatever be the problems, India needs to recognise that EU has nearly half-a-billion wealthy consumers. There is a large middle class out there (EU)”, he said.

Largest trading partner
The EU-28 is currently India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 15 per cent of total trade in goods and services.

“British industry is very keen on the India-EU FTA. Bilateral treaties are important especially after the WTO Doha round collapse.

We should get to the level best of treaty we can. It is better to have some treaty than having none.”

India-EU ties
Rake’s remarks are significant as it came at a time when the India-EU bilateral commercial relationship are somewhat strained, due to series of tax disputes involving EU companies and also the recent EU ban on import of mangoes from India.

During his current visit, Rake met India’s law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The British business community is confident that the new Modi-led Government would deliver on its promise of being a business-friendly dispensation, Rake said, adding that already there is some speeding of decision making.

Clarity of taxation policy is important and that is already beginning to emerge, Rake added.

UK’s visa restrictions
British business is also very keen that visa restrictions (at UK’s end) be eased so that more skilled Indians can move to the UK.

“We need more high-level engineers and other skilled people that India produces to move to the UK.

We (in UK) still have the problem of net migration policy, which means shortage of visas for skilled people. Tackling this issue will be healthy for the UK-India relations”

This is nothing to do with EU’s free movement of labour, but only to do with the UK, he clarified.

Source: thehindubusinessline.com

Publication date: 10/15/2014


FreshPlaza.com

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

British industry pitches for resumption of India-EU trade talks

India and the European Union (EU) should restart their bilateral trade talks and take steps to conclude the much-awaited free trade agreement, Sir Michael Rake, President of the Confederation of British Industry, has said.

“This will be a symbol of openness and a big signal that India really wants to operate at the global level. We need to build on the work already done,” Rake told BusinessLine in an interview here.

Confederation of British Industry is UK’s premier business lobbying organisation, providing voice for employers at national and international level.

Rake said this could be a “good moment” to re-energise the trade talks with a new Indian Government already in office and a new Commission (European) expected at Brussels from November 1.

India-EU pact
The proposed India-EU bilateral trade and investment agreement (BTIA) is far from concluded, despite several rounds of negotiations that began in the year 2007.

Rake, who is Chairman of BT Group Plc, was visiting New Delhi for a India-UK business gathering, besides opening of a new BT building at commercial business hub at Gurgaon in Haryana.

He said that the global trade was expected to slow down and that made it even more important to re-energise the India-EU trade talks and conclude it at the earliest.

“Whatever be the problems, India needs to recognise that EU has nearly half-a-billion wealthy consumers. There is a large middle class out there (EU)”, he said.

Largest trading partner
The EU-28 is currently India’s largest trading partner, accounting for about 15 per cent of total trade in goods and services.

“British industry is very keen on the India-EU FTA. Bilateral treaties are important especially after the WTO Doha round collapse.

We should get to the level best of treaty we can. It is better to have some treaty than having none.”

India-EU ties
Rake’s remarks are significant as it came at a time when the India-EU bilateral commercial relationship are somewhat strained, due to series of tax disputes involving EU companies and also the recent EU ban on import of mangoes from India.

During his current visit, Rake met India’s law and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The British business community is confident that the new Modi-led Government would deliver on its promise of being a business-friendly dispensation, Rake said, adding that already there is some speeding of decision making.

Clarity of taxation policy is important and that is already beginning to emerge, Rake added.

UK’s visa restrictions
British business is also very keen that visa restrictions (at UK’s end) be eased so that more skilled Indians can move to the UK.

“We need more high-level engineers and other skilled people that India produces to move to the UK.

We (in UK) still have the problem of net migration policy, which means shortage of visas for skilled people. Tackling this issue will be healthy for the UK-India relations”

This is nothing to do with EU’s free movement of labour, but only to do with the UK, he clarified.

Source: thehindubusinessline.com

Publication date: 10/15/2014


FreshPlaza.com

AWI in talks to sell

Associated Wholesalers Inc. said Friday that it was evaluating offers to acquire the company and its White Rose subsidiary from unnamed potential buyers. AWI said it intended to evaluate the offers but added that the discussions may not result in a sale and that it was focused on running business as usual while the process continues.

The statement confirmed industry speculation that the entire company could be sold.


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The Robsonia, Pa.-based company in June said it planned only to sell White Rose, the Carteret, N.J.-based independent distributor in a move that would allow it to return to its roots as a cooperative.

White Rose distributes to several metro New York retailers including Fairway Markets, Met Food and Pioneer.

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L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Lucky’s in ‘congenial’ talks on trademark

Boulder, Colo.-based specialty store Lucky’s Market told SN it was in “congenial talks” with Albertsons LLC to settle a trademark infringement lawsuit over use of the Lucky name and logo.


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Albertsons and Save Mart filed suit against Lucky’s Market, seeking to prevent the retailer from using the name because of the potential for consumer confusion with the Lucky Supermarkets name owned by Albertsons and licenced to Save Mart, which operates stores under that banner in Nevada and California.

Lucky’s president Bo Sharon in a statement provided to SN said he was hopeful the groups would come to a mutually beneficial agreement in a matter of weeks.

The dispute comes about five years after Albertsons won the right to use the Lucky Stores name after a court dispute with West Coast discounter Grocery Outlet.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Grocery Outlet had placed the Lucky name on one of its stores in 2006, claiming that Albertsons had abandoned the trademark after converting former Lucky stores to the Albertsons banner in 1999.

In 2007, Modesto, Calif.-based Save Mart acquired 130 Albertsons stores in Northern California and rebranded more than half of them with the Lucky banner through an agreement with Supervalu, which owned Albertsons at the time.

Read more: Judge ends ‘Lucky’ name dispute

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Kerry uses Famous Idaho Potatoes as diplomatic gesture in Syrian peace talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry put a smile on the faces of everyone on both sides of the table at the Syrian peace talks at the U.S. Ambassador’s home in Paris Jan. 13 when he presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with two large “Famous Idaho Potatoes.”

Just as the meeting was about to get down to serious discussions over a tense situation, Kerry lightened the atmosphere with the gift, inviting reporters into the room to record the moment.

As he took the two jumbo-sized potatoes out of a large white box, Kerry explained that Lavrov had talked about “Famous Idaho Potatoes” to him in a conversation a few weeks earlier, validating what Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, has said on many occasions regarding how well Idaho potatoes are known around the world.

Muir told The Produce News Jan. 16 that although the presentation of the potatoes to Lavrov and Kerry’s specific use of the phrase “Famous Idaho Potatoes” was a huge publicity coup for the Idaho potato industry, the Idaho Potato Commission did not have a hand in the event. It was something Kerry, who has spent time in Sun Valley and is very familiar with Idaho, did on his own.

But the fact that both Lavrov, in his previous conversation with Kerry, and Kerry in making the presentation, used that trademarked phrase, is evidence of how successful the commission’s promotional programs have been, Muir said. “That is just the impact of our advertising.”

The expression “Famous Idaho Potatoes” is “clearly in [Kerry's] everyday language,” Muir said.

“I have traveled to nearly 30 countries, and as soon as I say ‘Idaho,’ the folks say ‘potato,’ and they always say it with a smile,” Muir continued. “That means that Idaho and potatoes have a very positive connection with people around the world.”

Kerry’s gesture, perhaps knowingly, perhaps inadvertently, may also help the Idaho potato industry and the U.S. potato industry as a whole, in their efforts to gain access to the Russian market.

“In the past two years, the IPC has been involved in two trade missions to Russia” in an effort to open Russia’s doors to fresh Idaho potatoes, Muir said. “We hope the Russians will, in the near future, be able to experience fresh Idaho potatoes for themselves.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Vilsack says U.S.-China talks show progress in gaining market access for apples, California citrus

WASHINGTON — Progress is being made in negotiations to reopen China’s market for Washington apples and California citrus, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said after high-level talks wrapped up between U.S. and China in Beijing.

Vilsack reported progress on trade issues from the 24th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce & Trade, which was co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman with China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang.

“My discussions with Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders laid the groundwork for future cooperation related to our shared interests in food security, food safety and sustainability, as well as the expansion of export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said.

China became the largest agricultural export market for the United States in 2010, when U.S. exports to China exceeded $ 17 billion, more than eight times the level in 2002. And while one in four U.S. apples is exported, U.S. apples are not being sent to China after the country expressed concern U.S. agricultural diseases may affect its orchards. At the same time, China is trying to get a foothold on the apple market in the United States through the trade deal.

In addition, shipments of California citrus were blocked earlier this year after brown rot was found on some shipments.

The U.S.-China talks focused on a wide range of agricultural issues such as market access for beef and horticultural products. Vilsack said he re-affirmed a pathway for re-opening China’s market for Washington apples and California citrus.

Renewed and perhaps even expanded market access for U.S. apples is a major policy priority for the Washington Apple Commission, and the Northwest Horticultural Council reported last month that negotiations between U.S. Department of Agriculture and its counterpart in China showed progress toward establishing a technical framework to open up the apple market between the two trading partners.

More progress is expected next year. At the Beijing meeting, the two countries committed to holding a second High Level Agricultural Symposium in 2014, with support from the U.S.-China Agriculture & Food Partnership.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Labor Talks Resume in Seattle

SEATTLE — Negotiations resumed Wednesday between representatives of three employers and several locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union a day after members of one local voted to authorize a strike.

Members of UFCW Local 367 in the Tacoma, Wash., area voted in favor of a strike by a margin of 99%. Their Seattle counterparts voted last month to authorize a strike by a 98% margin.


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“We need to see the employers make proposals that respect the hard work and loyalty of the grocery store workers,” said Denise Jagielo, president of Local 367. “The companies are doing well, and the CEOs of these companies are being paid millions as they propose to cut the pay and benefits of their working class employees, and that is not acceptable.”

The unions are negotiating with Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger-owned Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers.

Read more: Seattle Union Members Authorize Strike

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