Brazil’s Rotten Meat Scandal

The agriculture ministry said in an online statement that China had suspended imports of meat from Brazil in health scare (AFP Photo/Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

Brasília (AFP) – The fallout from Brazil’s rotten meat scandal accelerated on Monday when China, a huge client, suspended imports and the European Union demanded a partial ban.

Another ban on Brazilian meat imposed by Chile sparked fears of a trade spat between the two South American partners.

A charm offensive by President Michel Temer, who even invited foreign ambassadors to a traditional meat restaurant in the capital Brasilia late Sunday, failed to calm importers.

China, which with Hong Kong is Brazil’s biggest meat export market, said it needed to know more about the allegations that major meatpacking businesses bribed inspectors to get health certificates and masked tainted meat as fit for consumption.

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China in world’s top five arms exporters

By Michael Martina | Reuters

China Arms

(Reuters) – China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.

China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.

“China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.

The shift, outlined in SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China’s first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank’s 1986-1990 data period.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.

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Europeans want U.S. to Ditch “Buy American” Rules

CPA Logo 2

Obama keeps pushing a Trans Atlantic trade deal with Europe, despite the fact that other trade deals have helped make the trade deficit worse.

One of the goals for Europeans is to get rid of Buy American rules in the U.S.

In particular, the [European Union] wants to pry open so-called public procurement markets and scrap “Buy American” clauses that restrict the ability of European companies to sell goods and services to states and cities.

The U.S. public strongly believes their taxpayer dollars should be spent procuring from U.S. companies and workers.  A majority in Congress votes for Buy American rules in infrastructure and other bills.  Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) have been leading the efforts recently.  How can a fiscal stimulus have an impact if we buy foreign goods with taxpayer money?  That’s one difference between the FDR stimulus of the Great Depression and the smaller Obama stimulus of the Great Recession… offshore leakage of the government spending.

It’s not surprising that Europe wants to replace U.S. businesses and workers in government contracts.  The U.S. federal government is the biggest consumer in the world… and when you add in the state and local governments, it’s really big.  From the U.S. side there is simply no way we’d come away with a net benefit with theoretical market access by our so-called “U.S.” multinationals (who don’t really consider themselves U.S. anymore) to other smaller government procurement markets.  It simply doesn’t ever work that way.

I’m not sure where the Obama Administration is coming from on this.  The biggest source of jobs and growth will come from reducing the trade deficit.  We had a record $735B goods trade deficit last year, including a $300B goods deficit with China.  Trade deals simply don’t help the trade deficit, usually make things worse, and tie our hands for fixing the problem.

 

Source: http://www.tradereform.org/2013/03/europeans-want-u-s-to-ditch-buy-american-rules/

Commercial cyberspying and theft gives rich payoff

For state-backed cyberspies, stealing commercial secrets promises rich payoff

By Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer | Associated Press

China and US Flag

Associated Press –
In this Nov. 7, 2012 photo, U.S. and Chinese national flags are hung outside a hotel during the U.S. Presidential election event, organized by the U.S. embassy in Beijing. As public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets, the Obama administration is eyeing fines and other trade actions it may take against Beijing or any other country guilty of cyberespionage. The Chinese government, meanwhile, has denied involvement in the cyber-attacks tracked by Mandiant. Instead, the Foreign Ministry said that China, too, is a victim of hacking, some of it traced to the U.S. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei cited a report by an agency under the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry that said in 2012 alone that foreign hackers used viruses and other malicious software to seize control of 1,400 computers in China and 38,000 websites. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — For state-backed cyberspies such as a Chinese military unit implicated by a U.S. security firm in a computer crime wave, hacking foreign companies can produce high-value secrets ranging from details on oil fields to advanced manufacturing technology.

This week’s report by Mandiant Inc. adds to mounting suspicion that Chinese military experts are helping state industry by stealing secrets from Western companies possibly worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Chinese military has denied involvement in the attacks.

“This is really the new era of cybercrime,” said Graham Cluley, a British security expert. “We’ve moved from kids in their bedroom and financially motivated crime to state-sponsored cybercrime, which is interested in stealing secrets and getting military or commercial advantage.”

Instead of credit card numbers and other consumer data sought by crime gangs, security experts say cyberspies with resources that suggest they work for governments aim at better-guarded but more valuable information.

Companies in fields from petrochemicals to software can cut costs by receiving stolen secrets. An energy company bidding for access to an oil field abroad can save money if spies can tell it what foreign rivals might pay. Suppliers can press customers to pay more if they know details of their finances. For China, advanced technology and other information from the West could help speed the rise of giant state-owned companies seen as national champions.

“It’s like an ongoing war,” said Ryusuke Masuoka, a cybersecurity expert at Tokyo’s Center for International Public Policy Studies, a private think tank. “It is going to spread and get deeper and deeper.”

Mandiant, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, said it found attacks on 141 entities, mostly in the United States but also in Canada, Britain and elsewhere.

Attackers stole information about pricing, contract negotiations, manufacturing, product testing and corporate acquisitions, the company said. It said multiple details indicated the attackers, dubbed APT1 in its report, were from a military unit in Shanghai, though there was a small chance others might be responsible.

Target companies were in four of the seven strategic industries identified in the Communist Party’s latest five-year development plan, it said.

“We do believe that this stolen information can be used to obvious advantage” by China’s government and state enterprises, Mandiant said.

China’s military is a leader in cyberwarfare research, along with its counterparts in the United States and Russia. The People’s Liberation Army supports hacker hobby clubs with as many as 100,000 members to develop a pool of possible recruits, according to security consultants.

Mandiant said it traced attacks to a neighborhood in Shanghai’s Pudong district where the PLA’s Unit 61398 is housed in a 12-story building. The unit has advertised online for recruits with computer skills. Mandiant estimated its personnel at anywhere from hundreds to several thousand.

On Wednesday, the PLA rejected Mandiant’s findings and said computer addresses linked to the attacks could have been hijacked by attackers elsewhere. A military statement complained that “one-sided attacks in the media” destroy the atmosphere for cooperation in fighting online crime.

Many experts are not swayed by the denials.

“There are a lot of hackers that are sponsored by the Chinese government who conduct cyberattacks,” said Lim Jong-in, dean of Korea University’s Graduate School of Information Security.

The United States and other major governments are developing cyberspying technology for intelligence and security purposes, though how much that might be used for commercial spying is unclear.

“All countries who can do conduct cyber operations,” said Alastair MacGibbon, the former director of the Australian Federal Police’s High Tech Crime Center.

“I think the thing that has upset people mostly about the Chinese is … that they’re doing it on an industrialized scale and in some ways in a brazen and audacious manner,” said MacGibbon, who now runs an Internet safety institute at the University of Canberra.

China’s ruling party has ambitious plans to build up state-owned champions in industries including banking, telecoms, oil and steel. State companies benefit from monopolies and other official favors but lack skills and technology.

Last year, a group of Chinese state companies were charged in U.S. federal court in San Francisco in the theft of DuPont Co. technology for making titanium dioxide, a chemical used in paints and plastics.

In 2011, another security company, Symantec Inc., announced it detected attacks on 29 chemical companies and 19 other companies that it traced to China. It said the attackers wanted to steal secrets about chemical processing and advanced materials manufacturing.

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FLOTUS, First Daughters wear ‘Made in USA’ designers on Inauguration Day

First lady Micehlle Obama arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for the Presidential Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
POSTED: Monday, January 21, 2013, 10:36 AM
Esther Lee, Philly.com

On the Roy G. Biv scale, the Obama family dominated the color spectrum in blues, indigos and violets Monday morning.

First Lady Michelle Obama stunned in a custom-designed, navy Thom Browne jacquard dress and coat, while her daughters dazzled in bright purple ensembles on Inauguration Day.

Thom Browne, a relatively obscure New York-based designer who grew up in Allentown, generated a tremendous amount of buzz within the realm of fashion and beyond after FLOTUS stepped out in his designs Monday. Although Browne, the brother of Pa. State Senator Pat Browne, is recognized largely for his contributions to menswear, the designer launched his womenswear line in 2011. Evidently, the President’s wife wearing his creation on Inauguration Day is a significant step forward in the women’s department for the designer. The two initially met at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum awards in July 2012. Michelle Obama has since worn Thom Browne items to mark other public events.

The designer told the New York Times‘ Eric Wilson, “It’s one of those moments when I just can’t believe that happened.” The Today show’s Savannah Guthrie admitted she did not know who Browne was, although fans of the First Lady’s style will be well-acquainted with him soon.

As for the inspiration behind the outfit? Her coat – specifically the fabric – was created based on a man’s silk tie. Browne, who debuted his menswear line in Paris this weekend, told CNN‘s Alina Cho that he chose dark blue for the First Lady because he was “mindful POTUS might also wear navy.” Largely recognized for his menswear collections, Browne discovered that the First Lady had worn his designs Inauguration Day thirty minutes after viewers first spotted the Obama family at 9 a.m. The Inauguration went down one day after Browne caused fashion ripples in Paris where he debuted his Fall/Winter menswear line.

A fan of preppy American label J.Crew, FLOTUS linked the brand into her ensemble with her belt and shoes as she walked into St. John’s Church for a service earlier that morning. Regarding Obama’s use of the belt layered over the coat, J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons told WWD, “It looks great. I hope Thom is alright with it.” The source of her lush, leather clover gloves were also a product of J.Crew – in good company with Italian luxury brand Portolano. As of Monday afternoon, the Valentina patent pumps werestill in stock on jcrew.com. The exact pair of gloves were nowhere to be found on the brand’s website, although interested buyers are recommended to scour auction websites like eBay.

She paired the outfit with a necklace by Cathy Waterman, while her cardigan was designed by another American designer – Reed Krakoff – whose creations she selected for Sunday’s swearing-in ceremony. The First Lady later swapped into boots later that morning, which were also designed by Krakoff according to a White House official.

Meanwhile, “Rosebud” Malia also wore an outfit from J.Crew, while her sister Sasha, Secret Service code named “Radiance,” wore a dress and coat from Kate Spade. Deborah Lloyd, creative director of Kate Spade New York told AP, “[Sasha] epitomizes the youthful optimism and colorful spirit of the brand. We are so proud to have been a part of this historic moment.” Lyons shared with Wilson that Malia’s coat was off the rack. Her buttons were customized for the affair. “You can see how the girls have grown up in the four years, and they’re still so alive and vibrant, but more sophisticated,” Lyons shared enthusiastically with the same media outlet.

As for their father, the President stepped outdoors in a blue tie, white shirt and dark suit, beneath the exact same Brooks Brothers overcoat he wore when he took the oath in 2009, WWD reports. Four years ago, the First Lady wore a sparkly yellow coat and dress by Isabel Toledo. Michelle Obama is a champion of consciously and thoughtfully selecting American designers to help raise their profiles.

Known for repeating outfits, she is unable to recycle this gem of a dress and coat. Her complete ensemble, including the accompanying accessories, will go to the National Archives.

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/hautehouse_row/FLOTUS-First-Daughters-wear-Made-in-USA-designers-on-Inauguration-Day.html

Made in USA Certified Inc.

MADE IN USA CERTIFIED LOGO

The European Commission found that Beijing illegally subsidizes Chinese steel producers.

china dumping steelBEIJING (Reuters) – The European Union will not be drawn into a trade war with China, the EU’s ambassador to the country said on Wednesday, a day after trade sources said the European Commission found that Beijing illegally subsidizes Chinese steel producers.

The Commission is investigating 37 dumping and subsidy cases, 21 of them involving China, and Tuesday’s preliminary finding asked EU members to back punitive tariffs against Chinese steel firms, a move that angered Beijing.

But EU Ambassador to China Markus Ederer said he was puzzled by and “flatly rejects” reports of atrade war between the two economies which together comprise the world’s largest trade relationship.

“I don’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. First of all, it takes two for a war, and I can declare here that the EU is not available for a trade war with China,” Ederer told a news briefing.

China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang on Wednesday called the Commission’s investigation into steel subsidies “unreasonable”.

“Such a conclusion based on unreasonable investigations will seriously hurt Chinese companies’ legal rights and interests,” Shen said at a separate news briefing.

European anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties affect less than 1 percent of Chinese exports to Europe, Ederer said.

“China, as well, has investigations, as you know, into European exports to China. We have no issue with that as long as it is under WTO rules,” he said, adding that observers should not “over dramatize” the issue.

The Commission’s ongoing investigations include a study of the alleged dumping of 21 billion euros of solar panels and components by Chinese producers. A preliminary ruling on that case, the Commission’s largest investigation to date, is due in the first half of 2013.

The European Union is China’s biggest trading partner while for the EU, China is second only to the United States.

(Reporting by Michael Martina and Aileen Wang; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

EU Might Block Parts of Food Safety Modernization Law

BY DAN FLYNN Food Safety News

In implementing its new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the United States wants to boldly go where no government has gone before in protecting food imports, but the European Union (EU) doesn’t like it.

 Carlos Alvarez Antolinez, an EU food safety official stationed in Washington D.C., told the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Monday that the 27 member EU countries he represents has some significant issues with FSMA.
Third party auditing, inspections, and foreign supply verification procedures top the list of the EU’s concerns with the new U.S. law.  With governmental authority for a continent of 500 million people speaking 28 languages, the EU is also in a position to stop what it does not like.

“We have been very grateful to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Antolinez said. He said the EU has remained in constant dialogue with FDA since President Obama signed the new food safety law in January 2011, and seemed to suggest somewhat humorously that the U.S. and the EU might be more at impasse if the American government were further along in implementing the new law.
FDA has drafted the implementing regulations, but the White House’s Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have held those up for months.
The EU is concerned that with the FSMA, the U.S. will be reaching out to individual companies in its member countries rather than maintaining a “government-to-government” approach for ensuring food safety, Antolinez says.
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