Overseas headlines – February 15, 2021

United States:

Biden Faces South African Push to Extend Trade Concessions

South Africa is apprehensive about striking a new trade deal with the U.S. and would rather maintain existing relations with the world’s largest economy, the nation’s top trade official said. South Africa is currently party to the so-called Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which together allow most sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the American market for almost 7,000 products. AGOA is due to expire in 2025, while Richard Neal, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee, has called for the GSP — the U.S.’s oldest and largest trade-preference program for the world’s poorest economies — to be updated.”



U.K. Economic Scars Emerge With Jobless Excluded From Benefits

“More than 10% of the U.K. workforce is out of a job and struggling to tap government benefits, exposing economic scars set to remain long after the coronavirus fades. About 3.8 million people including actors and musicians in London’s famous theaters don’t qualify for the most lucrative welfare payments, according to the Standard Life Foundation, which campaigns for those on low and middle incomes. They’ve slipped through the cracks during lockdowns because of strict rules that filter out the self employed, contractors and people with patchy work histories.”



Japan’s Double-Digit Expansion Signals Resilience in Economy

“Japan’s economy clocked another quarter of double-digit growth and finished the pandemic year in better shape than initially expected, signaling potential for a more sure-footed recovery once a damaging state of emergency ends. Gross domestic product grew an annualized 12.7% from the prior quarter in the three months through December, the Cabinet Office reported Monday. The result was better than 22 of 24 forecasts from surveyed economists and defied a winter surge of the coronavirus.”



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