Indian leather companies accused of enabling Russia’s war effort

Soldiers’ boots are made from imported Indian leather as country’s trade with Russia soars by 400%

Indian companies have been accused of enabling Russia’s war effort after exporting leather to Russian companies that make boots for its military in the months since the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia and India have longstanding ties and Narendra Modi’s government has not joined western countries in openly criticising Moscow over the war nor stopped Indian companies trading with Russia.

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Zero-Covid policy is costing China its role as the world’s workshop

Beijing’s endless lockdowns are causing shortages for western firms such as Apple, and it may not be long before they move their supply chains elsewhere

The anti-lockdown unrest gripping China has forced the authorities in Beijing to respond by easing some restrictions in big manufacturing centres, as they map out a “new stage and mission” in the country’s deeply unpopular zero-Covid policy.

There are concerns that more freedom of movement could allow the virus to rip through a population where immunity is lower than in the west. Those health risks mean the “world’s workshop” is heading for a difficult winter, casting a shadow over the prospects for international trade.

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We need to talk about Xi Jinping: G7’s discord over powerful trading partner

Disagreements have opened up about strategy when China is also seen as an existential threat

Western powers in the G7 group of nations are failing to coordinate their China strategies, senior western officials admit, adding that the need to do so has been given sharp impetus by Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power at this month’s Communist party congress.

The G7’s poor coordination reflects a deep disagreement, also reflected within the EU, about whether dialogue and trade with China have a future if Beijing is seen as an existential threat that requires strict strategic controls on economic ties.

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Failure to investigate UK imports linked to forced Uyghur labour unlawful, court told

World Uyghur Forum brings high court challenge against government agencies over Xinjiang cotton imports

UK government agencies have broken the law by not investigating the importation of cotton products manufactured by forced Uyghur labourers in China, the high court has heard.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) is challenging the home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA), claiming a failure or refusal to investigate imports from Xinjiang, allegedly home to 380 internment camps, was unlawful.

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Hong Kong launches $3.8bn fund to attract foreign businesses back

Chief executive says territory will ‘trawl world for talent’ after lockdowns and political unrest cause brain drain

Hong Kong has unveiled a HK$30bn ($3.8bn) co-investment fund to attract overseas businesses back to the city after an exodus of talent prompted by strict lockdowns and a tumultuous political climate.

A raft of measures to address the brain drain were announced by Hong Kong’s chief executive, John Lee, in his first policy address on Wednesday – although his plans have largely failed to reassure investors.

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How India’s new taste for local whisky is shaking up the global drinks market

Sales of Indian single malts are booming as a new generation sheds old notions about the superiority of imported brands

For years, Mohinder Singh’s trips outside India meant an obligatory stop at the airport duty-free liquor store, where he would join long queues to stock up on imported single-malt whisky. Then three years ago, he came across a brand – Paul John – that he had never heard of, at a tasting event a few miles from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he teaches politics. It was an Indian single malt; its smoky smell was rich, the taste was even better. Singh was hooked.

“That was a gamechanger for me,” he says. Singh introduced his friends to the brand, which is now their drink of choice when they meet. “Everyone loves it.”

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India and UK to press ahead with talks on free trade deal

Narendra Modi hails ‘good progress’ as Boris Johnson signals he is willing to make concessions on immigration

India and the UK will press ahead with talks on a bilateral free trade agreement, Boris Johnson and the Indian premier, Narendra Modi, have said, after the UK made clear it was willing to make immigration part of any deal.

The pair appeared to differ on how rapidly an agreement could be made – Johnson suggested it could be ready by the festival of Diwali in late October, but Modi pointed to the end of the year.

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India is a huge – but elusive – trade prize for Boris Johnson

Analysis: Deal is seen by some as single most important UK negotiation, but agreement will take time

Of all the deals that Boris Johnson could sign with countries outside the EU to lift UK trade, one with India is the among the biggest prizes.

After landing in the country on Thursday morning, the prime minister must be hoping his two-day trip – taking in his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujurat and then New Delhi – will add impetus to talks already under way to reach a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

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China’s trade with Russia up by 12% in March from a year earlier

Increase outstrips 7.75% growth in China’s global trade, suggesting Beijing is maintaining strong links with Moscow

China‘s trade with Russia jumped by more than 12% in March from a year earlier, outpacing the increase in Beijing’s trade with the rest of the world, according to Chinese customs data.

Shipments to and from Russia increased 12.76% in March to $11.67bn, Chinese customs data showed on Wednesday, slowing from 25.7% growth in February, when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

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Zelenskiy calls on Japan to impose trade embargo on Russian goods

The Ukrainian president thanked Japan for ‘leading the way’ in virtual address to MPs

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has called on Japan to increase pressure on Russia by imposing a trade embargo on Russian goods, in a virtual address to MPs in Tokyo.

Zelenskiy, who has delivered carefully tailored speeches to lawmakers in the US, UK and other countries, thanked Japan for “leading the way” among Asian countries in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and imposing sanctions.

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The rise in global inflation – the hit to living standards across the world

Analysis: From Pakistan to the US, Australia to Germany, the cost of living is rising to new highs and causing new hardships

After decades lurking in the shadows, inflation is back. On Amazon, you can find fridge magnets printed with words spoken 40 years ago by Ronald Reagan, before the election that swept him into the White House.

“Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.”

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‘No light at the end of the tunnel’ – Americans join Hong Kong’s business exodus

Worsening Sino-US ties, strict Covid rules, and the crackdown on dissent have dented the territory’s fabled allure as a business hub, say expats

In July 2018, Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, wrote an article in the best-known local English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, stressing to Americans the territory’s unique position an Asian business hub.

“The US is forgetting the differences between Hong Kong and China. Let’s remind them,” she wrote. “Hong Kong continues to have a robust and hearty infrastructure of values, practices and institutions that could not contrast more starkly with those of the mainland system.”

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UK could gain ‘first-mover’ advantage with India trade deal

Resolution Foundation report also highlights risk of British firms being undercut by lower cost rivals

Gains from a UK trade deal with India could be on a par with those from an agreement with the US but risks exposing the economy to tougher competition, a report says.

The Resolution Foundation thinktank said successful talks between London and New Delhi had the potential to gain “first-mover” advantage in India and replicate the success of German manufacturing exporters to China.

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Taiwan ‘buys 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum rejected by China’

State-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor steps in after row between Vilnius and Beijing

Taiwan’s government is sharing cocktail recipes with the public after it reportedly bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China amid a row between Vilnius and Beijing.

The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) said it made the purchase in December to support Lithuania after learning the shipment was going to be blocked by Chinese authorities.

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Tesla criticised for opening showroom in Xinjiang despite human rights abuses

Elon Musk and Tesla must consider human rights in the Chinese region or risk being complicit, says Human Rights Watch

Tesla has opened a new showroom in the capital of Xinjiang, a region at the heart of years-long campaign by Chinese authorities of repression and assimilation against the Uyghur people.

Tesla announced the opening in Urumqi with a Weibo post on 31 December saying: “On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022 let us together launch Xinjiang on its electric journey!”

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