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Obama makes pitch to win support for Pacific trade pact

U.S. President Obama speaks during a visit to the Department of Agriculture in WashingtonBy Krista Hughes and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama kicked off a sales pitch on Tuesday for a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade agreement, urging farmers to push their lawmakers to approve what he said would boost their sales in a fast-growing region. Obama was upbeat about winning support in the Republican-controlled Congress for the pact, which was announced early Monday. "Ultimately we’re going to get this done, and it will be an enormous achievement for us to be able to make sure that 40 percent of the world’s economy is operating under rules that don’t hurt us," Obama told agricultural and business leaders gathered at the U.S. Agriculture Department.

10/06/2015 07:10 PM

Faint corporate praise for TPP as winners, losers sought

Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministers meeting post in TPP Ministers "Family Photo" in Atlanta GeorgiaBy Jane Wardell and Krista Hughes SYDNEY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Early industry reaction to a long-sought trade agreement reached between 12 Pacific Rim countries on Monday amounted to faint praise that it could have been worse and umbrage that the United States appeared to be the biggest winner. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) aims to liberalize commerce across nations accounting for 40 percent of the world's economy but still needs ratification by each country. U.S. companies including Citibank Inc , Honeywell International Inc and Gap Inc cheered the conclusion of a deal which is expected to bring the biggest comparative benefits Vietnam, where shares in seafood and textile companies rose after the news was announced.

10/06/2015 06:09 PM

EU lawmakers want brand names for local goods

EU lawmakers say the bloc should extend the use of geographic brand names from agricultural goods to manufactured products, including 'Carrara marble', seen here in a marble quarry in Carrara, Tuscany on April 15, 2010EU lawmakers on Tuesday said the bloc should extend the use of geographic brand names from agricultural goods to manufactured products to give local economies a boost. Up to now, the 28-nation European Union has designated well known foods and drinks with what is known as a "Geographical Indication" to highlight their local source and economic and cultural importance. Among the latest put on the list, one can find for example 'Citron Menton,' lemons from the southern French city, or 'Cappellacci di zucca Ferraresi,' a type of stuffed pasta from the famed Italian region.

10/06/2015 05:56 PM

Big palm oil's pledge to preserve forests vexes Indonesia

An aerial photo shows smoke from peatland fires near a piece of heavy equipment in a forestry concession in Ogan IlirBy Michael Taylor JAKARTA (Reuters) - The Indonesian government is asking major palm oil companies to row back on the historic “no deforestation” pledges they made at last year’s United Nations climate change summit, officials and company sources say. Major palm oil companies were invited to a series of meetings at the economics ministry last week, where officials expressed concern the pledges the plantation companies made are causing big problems for smaller palm oil firms in their supply chain, the sources told Reuters. The government has asked palm oil firms who signed the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) to exempt smallholders because they are not yet ready to practice the same level of sustainable forest practices as the big players, said Musdhalifah Machmud, deputy minister for food and agriculture at the coordinating ministry for economic affairs.

10/06/2015 05:12 PM

IMF urges BOJ to stand ready to ease if inflation cools further
By Leika Kihara TOKYO (Reuters) - The Bank of Japan should be ready to ease monetary policy further if needed to accelerate inflation toward its 2 percent target, preferably by buying government bonds with longer maturity, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday. Japan's core consumer prices in August marked their first annual drop since the central bank deployed its massive stimulus program more than two years ago, casting further doubt on whether heavy money printing alone can boost the economy and accelerate inflation to the BOJ's target.
10/06/2015 04:40 PM

IMF sees China slowdown risks, urges Beijing to float yuan
China's policymakers should forge ahead with structural reforms to put the world's second-largest economy on a more sustainable footing, even as growth is likely to slow further to 6.3 percent in 2016, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday. The IMF expects China's growth to slow to 6.8 percent this year from 7.3 percent in 2014, and weaken further in 2016, maintaining its existing forecasts. "Modest further policy support to ensure that growth does not fall sharply is likely to be needed, but further progress in implementing the authorities' structural reforms will be critical for private consumption to pick up some of the slack from slowing investment growth," IMF said in its World Economic Outlook.
10/06/2015 04:40 PM

IMF lowers growth forecasts for Russia
The International Monetary Fund has lowered its 2015 and 2016 economic growth forecasts for Russia, the Fund revealed in its World Economic Outlook published on Tuesday. The Fund now expects Russia's economy to contract by 3.8 percent in 2015 and by 0.6 percent in 2016, down from its previous forecasts of a 3.4 contraction this year and 0.2 percent growth next year. The revision brings the IMF into line with the World Bank, which has also recently lowered its Russian growth forecasts.
10/06/2015 04:40 PM

IMF sees silver lining in EU migrant crisis

Refugees and migrants disembark from a ferry from Lesbos island in the port of Piraeus, Greece on October 6, 2015The massive arrival of migrants in the European Union will burden member states' budgets in the short term but ultimately fuel economic growth, the IMF's chief economist said Tuesday. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in the EU, many fleeing the civil war in Syria, has unleashed a crisis for the bloc, but in the long term it will help its economies by expanding the labor force, said Maurice Obstfeld, the International Monetary Fund's new economic research director. The influx has caused conflict among the EU's 28 members and led to a partial breakdown in their open-border system as member states struggle to cope.

10/06/2015 02:39 PM

U.S. disappointed by EU court ruling striking down data share deal
The United States is "deeply disappointed" by a ruling from the highest EU court on Tuesday that struck down a transatlantic data share deal used by thousands of companies, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce said in a statement. "We are deeply disappointed in today’s decision from the European Court of Justice, which creates significant uncertainty for both U.S. and EU companies and consumers, and puts at risk the thriving transatlantic digital economy," Penny Pritzker said in a statement on Tuesday. "We are prepared to work with the European Commission to address uncertainty created by the court decision," Pritzker added.
10/06/2015 02:12 PM

White House concerned about European court ruling on privacy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday it is concerned about the economic consequences of a European court ruling regarding online privacy rights. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States is reviewing the decision that said the European-U.S. agreement on data transfer is invalid. Earnest said the United States will work with the European Commission to release an updated framework. (Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Bill Trott)
10/06/2015 02:12 PM

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