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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘trade’

UK May Withdraw Ambassador to Israel, France Seeks ‘Other ways’ to Protest E1 Plans

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Britain is considering withdrawing its ambassador to Israel following the decision to revive settlement building plans, Sky News reported.

The British Government will be deciding today how to respond to Israel’s plan to pick up housing construction in the “controversial” E1 zone, off of East Jerusalem.

Sources have told Sky News that the Foreign Office is considering what action to take saying “all options are on the table”.

This could include withdrawing the British ambassador to Israel and the suspension of trade agreements.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu’s government approved a proposal to build 3,000 additional homes that would effectively cut off Arabs in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem from the PA controlled territory.

Britain’s apparent diplomatic threat comes the day after the settlement plans were condemned by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as an “almost fatal blow” to peace hopes.

Britain’s diplomatic action is likely to be coordinated with other European powers, most notably with France, which is laboring on a joint response.

Except that, according to Israel Today, the French government denied rumors about returning its ambassador from Israel, saying “there are other ways to show our disagreement.”

Sources have described “an appetite for action” within the Foreign Office, which could also mean of “revisiting” the EU’s trade agreements with Israel, or, in other words, reneging on them.

The UK could invoke human rights clauses in those agreement, to suspend the trade association agreements.

Matthew Gould was appointed as Britain’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel in September 2010.

On taking up the post he said: “We come out determined to help build the strongest possible partnership between Britain and Israel, and to help ensure that Britain and Europe do everything they can to help the people of Israel move forward on the difficult path towards peace and lasting security.”

22 European NGOs Seeking Ban on Trade with Israeli Settlers

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Though Europeans enjoy the import of many products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a new effort on the part of a group of European NGOs may put an end to the trade, in the name of supporting Palestinians.

The European Union has maintained that Jewish communities in the biblical heartland to the north and south of Jerusalem – known by them as the “West Bank” of the Jordan river but to lovers of the Bible as “Judea and Samaria” – are “illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.”

Yet its constant importation of products from the areas have provided some of the support that allows the areas to thrive and grow, according to a new report, and must end, according to an article chronicling efforts to stop the practice in Der Spiegel.

According to the report, Hans van den Broek, a former European Commissioner for External Relations, has initiated a study: “Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements.”

The study shows that European countries import 15 times more goods from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria than they do from Arab ones.

Der Spiegel reported that Israel’s government records an estimated €230 million ($298 million) in produce, toys, textiles and cosmetics exported to the EU yearly from Judea and Samaria – approximately 2% of all its exports to Europe, despite a European Court of Justice ruling in 2010 excluding Jewish products from Judea and Samaria from the EU’s international customs cooperation agreements.

The products have been brought into Europe because they are labeled as Israeli, and do not identify their specific point of production in the blockaded areas (in the UK and Denmark, producers from Judea and Samaria are obligated to mark their products).  To such a degree does Europe attempt to boycott Judean and Samarian products, that European customs authorities are obligated to check the postal codes from which the products arrive, to determine if they were sent from Jewish areas in the forbidden zone – yet , according to the study, officials often fail to do so.

The new group seeking to boycott Jewish products from Judea and Samaria is pushing to require all producers from the area to label their products, so that the EU can deny them entry.

The report decried Israeli government assistance to residents in the opposed region.  Yet Der Spiegel’s article noted that “the European Union provides the Palestinians with massive amounts of support. Between 1994 and 2011, some €5 billion in development aid was sent by the EU according to the European Commission, €525 million of that in 2011. In addition, several EU member states send aid independent of EU funding.”

The report noted that if Europe severely restricts its participation in anything to do with Judea and Samaria, it can affect real change.  It noted last year’s decision by the German national railway company, Deutsche Ban, to pull out of a project to build a high-speed railway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as a positive example.  Deutsche Ban backed out of the project after German Transport Minister Peter Ramsaeuer wrote a letter to Deutsche Ban’s CEO, noting that 3.7 miles of the track would run through areas Germany considers to be Palestinian territory, making the project a problem “from the perspective of human rights”.

Israeli Pharmaceutical Sales Certified in Europe

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The European Parliament has approved a pharmaceutical trade agreement with Israel after two years of attempts by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign to block the partnership.

The Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA), simplifying sales of Israeli pharmaceuticals in the European Union, passed Tuesday by 379-230.

The measure recognizes Israeli pharmaceutical standards as equal to those of Europe.  It was approved by the European council in March 2010, but its implementation was thwarted by pro-Palestinian organizations who sought to foil Israel’s entry into the European market.

Ki-Moon Passes on Offer to Take Flying Leap With Baumgartner

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Sound barrier-breaking world record skydiver Felix Baumgartner was politely declined by an unlikely protégé on Tuesday, after offering to teach UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to sky dive.

Baumgartner and Ki-moon met during a photo opportunity, following Baumgartner’s 24 mile-above-the-Earth dive.  When Ki-moon spoke about Baumgartner’s achievement, the death-defying Austrian offered to teach him the tricks of the trade.

Ban did not take Baumgartner up on his offer, but called him “the most courageous person in the world”.

Syrian 400m Hurdler Disqualified after Failing Drug Test

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Syria’s Olympic 400m hurdler Ghfran Almouhamad has been disqualified from the Olympics after testing positive for methylhexaneamine, according to the BBC.

Almouhamad, 23, finished eighth in the second heat of the first round of the event on 5 August.

Although intended to be used as a nasal decongestant, methylhexaneamine has been marketed as a dietary supplement in combination with caffeine and other ingredients, under trade names such as Geranamine and Floradrene, to be used as a general purpose stimulant.

Almouhamad was just one of four women in the 10-member Syrian team.

It is the seventh positive case reported by the IOC since it started its testing program for the London games on 16 July. She is only the second athlete who competed in the Games who has been sanctioned for doping. The others were caught before competing.

American judoka Nick Delpopolo was expelled after testing positive for marijuana during competition, which he said he unintentionally consumed in something he ate.

Turkey’s Trade Deficit Reveals an Economy in Deep Trouble

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

I’ve been hammering away at Turkey’s credit bubble problem for the past eight months: consumer lending is still growing at a nearly 30% annual rate, after dipping into the teens earlier this year (I am annualizing the 3-month growth rate). But the trade data just released for June show a slowing domestic economy.

With the economy clearly slowing, where are all the loans going? The answer is indicated by the extremely high interest rates charged by Turkish banks:

At 18% interest, consumers have to borrow to pay the interest on previous loans. In other words Turkish banks are capitalizing interest, and booking profits on loans that would go sour if they stopped lending additional money to borrowers to pay the interest. The much-vaunted strength of Turkey’s banks (whose stock prices recovered smartly this year) appears to be an illusion. The economic outlook isn’t good.

From the Financial Times‘ Beyond Brics blog:

At first glance, newly released figures for Turkey’s foreign trade suggest the country’s economy is holding up well despite the travails of its neighbours in Europe.

But as ever the devil is in the detail and hidden away in the numbers are some more uncomfortable indications that darker days lie ahead for the Turkish economy.

Figures from TUIK, the statistics office, show a 30 per cent reduction in Turkey’s trade deficit, from $10.3bn in June 2011 to $7.2bn in June this year. Other figures from TIM, the Turkish exporters’ association, show exports for the 12 months to July reaching $142.6bn, a healthy 12.3 per cent up on the previous twelve months.

Taken together, the two sets of figures could suggest continued success for Turkey’s exporters, while Turkish consumers have reined in their love of expensive imported goods.

But dig a little deeper…

To begin with, according to TIM’s figures for July, Turkish exports for the month actually fell by 5.5 per cent over July 2011 while both TIM and TUIK show worrying falls in exports to Turkey’s core European markets.

According to TUIK, Turkey’s exports to the EU dropped from 48.2 per cent of the total in June 2011 to only 37.1 per cent this year. TIM’s data suggest a drop from 47.7 per cent in July last year to 40.3 per cent.

According to TIM, the bulk of the fall came in two keys sectors: automotive, which saw exports in July plunge 22.3 per cent; and ready-to-wear textiles, where exports in July fell by 12 per cent.

While the two organisations collate their figures in different ways the outlook is clear: as Europe continues to sneeze, Turkey will catch a cold.

The picture is more worrying when the effect of the weakening euro is taken into account, an effect which economy minister Zafer Caglayan estimates cost the country $550m in July alone.

So far so bad. But according to Ozgur Altug, chief economist at Istanbul’s BCG Partners, the real bad news is hidden not in weakening export figures but in the falling import figures – which helped contribute to fall in the trade deficit and to a reduction Turkey’s current account deficit from $77bn a year ago to $67bn by the end of May this year.

Altug points out that Turkey’s dependence on imported energy remains the chief culprit behind its current account deficit woes. “Despite falling oil prices, the 12 month rolling energy balance rose to $51.4bn by the end of June this year, compared with $47.8 at the end of 2011,” he says. “The government has been successful in rebalancing the economy but the structural problems such as the growing need for imported energy are still there”.

Altug warns that an improvement in the non-energy trade deficit is also illusory. He points to an 11 per cent drop in imports of intermediate goods over the first half of this year and a 16 per cent drop in consumer goods over the same period.

Both, he suggests, are a direct result of slower GDP growth, with the former suggesting a drop in imports of capital goods used to expand output, the latter indicting declining consumer confidence. The root problem, he suggests, is Turkey’s failure to capitalise on years of rapid economic expansion to increase the contribution of exports to the overall economy.

What a Fast Food Franchise Can Teach You About Managing Your Own Money

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

When I recently interviewed Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth, on the Goldstein on Gelt show, we spoke about the techniques for running a business that can be applied to managing your own money. Interestingly enough, Gerber uses the famous McDonald’s fast food chain as a great example of optimum business management.

Gerber told me that, “Given the failure rate of most small businesses, he [Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's] must have realized a crucial fact: for McDonald’s to be a predictable success, the business would have to work, because the franchisee, if left to his own devices, most assuredly wouldn’t!…Once he understood this, Ray Kroc’s problem became his opportunity… Forced to create a business that worked in order to sell it, he also created a business that would work once it was sold, no matter who bought it… a foolproof, predictable business…. A systems-dependent business, not a people-dependent business.”

I believe that investors need to see their own portfolios as a franchise opportunity. It’s not that they will actually franchise their stocks and bonds. Rather, they must have a portfolio that is scalable, based on a dynamic asset allocation that can be quickly adjusted if their goals change or if the market situation varies. All of their investment decisions must be based on a set of rules that can be easily documented and explained to someone else. Financial plans and investment policy statements correspond to the manual that an entrepreneur would write about how to run every aspect of his business.

Additionally, you should follow the principle of, “Work on your investments, not in them.” Just as The E-Myth advocates business owners working on their businesses, not in them, investors should concentrate their efforts on the larger picture of the goal of the investment portfolio, and not become bogged down in the daily details of researching stocks and funds and making decisions on trading. Study after study has shown that when people manage their own accounts, they do more damage than good. So why do individual investors continue to be their own money managers? It’s because they think that they must oversee and trade their investments themselves. That mistake alone has cost people billions of dollars.

In summary, managing your own portfolio is like managing a small business. What other comparisons can you think of? Send me an email about other types of comparisons you have seen between running a business and running your portfolio.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/what-a-fast-food-franchise-can-teach-you-about-managing-your-own-money/2012/07/31/

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