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Taiwan to woo backers at APEC for bid to join Pacific trade pact

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November 2, 2021

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will seek support for its bid to join a trans-Pacific trade pact when it attends a meeting of economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific group APEC next week, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday.

China, which has also applied to join the pact, opposes Taiwan’s membership and has increased military activities near the island which Beijing claims and has not ruled out taking by force.

Taiwan and China both applied in September to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

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Economic leaders from the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, which includes the United States, China and Japan, will meet virtually next week to discuss a path forward for the region to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’d like to ask envoy Chang to use this meeting to gather support from more APEC members for Taiwan to join CPTPP,” Tsai told reporters, referring to Taiwan’s representative for the meeting, chip giant TSMC founder Morris Chang.

“Envoy Chang will express Taiwan’s support and insistence for free trade.”

Speaking at the same event, Chang said he will use his six-minute speech to emphasise Taiwan’s qualification to reach CPTPP’s high standards, as well as the island’s already “very high” trade contribution to the major pan-Pacific free trade pact. He did not elaborate.

Joining CPTPP has become the latest in a string of tensions between Beijing and Taipei, which is excluded from many international bodies because of China’s insistence that it is part of “one-China” regardless of Taiwan’s claim that it is an independent country.

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In an interview with Reuters in September, Taiwan’s economy minister questioned China’s suitability for the Pacific trade pact, citing restrictive trade practices by the world’s second-largest economy, and feared “obstruction” made by Beijing.

Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, is a member of the World Trade Organization and the APEC grouping.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have escalated sharply in recent weeks as Beijing raises military pressure that has included repeated missions by Chinese warplanes in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

(Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

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November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

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(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

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November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

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In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

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Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

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November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

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“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

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The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

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