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Affinity Policy Comment 28 September 2020

Today, we're talking trade


Trade is very much at the forefront this week.

Despite going largely under the radar, Brexit talks are entering a crucial stage, with meetings between the EU and UK restarting on Tuesday. After becoming seemingly more desperate, trade talks last week were described as “relatively positive” by David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator.

Only a month remains until the “realistic deadline” set by chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, after which it will become increasingly difficult to ratify a deal before the end of the transition period on 1 January. The three days of talks this week will determine whether it would be worth both sides bringing in the senior advisors tasked with sorting out the more troublesome issues.

Described as “submarine” talks by Michel Barnier, these would theoretically run from 4 October until 15 – 16 October, when the EU summit is due to take place, at which the likes of Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel will be able to assess progress.

While hopes are rising that an agreement may be possible, stumbling blocks persist in the form of the EU’s fishing rights in UK waters and the EU’s demand that British companies operate on a “level playing field” with other European businesses. Compromises have been mooted, such as a “phase out” period for EU catching rights in UK waters, and the EU is proposing writing a set of rules on British state aid into the trade deal agreement, in order to work around the UK’s reluctance to write out its planned regime in detail. Whether this will be sufficient remains to be seen; deadlines are looming and Boris finds himself coming under pressure and fire from all sides.

So, too, is President Trump.


Setting aside the fact that he has paid income tax is only five of the past 15 years, and only USD 750 in total during the first year of his presidency, Trump has also had to contend with Judge Carl Nichols’s ruling that Apple and Google would not have to remove TikTok from their American app stores, following the Chinese company’s argument that the Trump administration was infringing on free speech and acting in a capricious manner. Talks for a minority ownership of the app being sold to Oracle and Walmart are on-going, but the White House has made clear its concerns over the app’s threat to national security.

The US appears to be upping the ante in its trade war with China; on Sunday, the US government also imposed sanctions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). Exports to SMIC now pose an “unacceptable risk”, and threatens to cut off the company from US software and components.

In the wake of the Trump Administration’s increasingly tough stance, China’s Ministry of Commerce has announced an “unreliable entities list”, which will move to lessen the influence of foreign companies which it deems “unreliable”. But this may place foreign companies, which have little option but to enforce US sanctions, into a difficult position, as they could be torn between which side to appease. Beijing has yet to use this power, but the escalation nature of the tech and trade war does little to dispel the notion that it may only be a matter of time.

Chinese relations with Australia are also in rapid decline. Over the past few months, Beijing has imposed tariffs of 80 per cent on Australian barley, had an Australian journalist arrested, blocked Australian beef, and even banned two academics from visiting China. Beijing has also launched an investigation into Australian wine imports, which it argues may be subsidised.

Canberra has retaliated, blocking moves by Chinese companies into the Australian market. However, all this is of little consequence compared to its exports of iron ore, coal and LNG to China. Chinese imports of Australian iron ore and LNG are up by 8 and 9 per cent year-to-date on the year and, while Beijing has made some noise about imposing tariffs onto coal and iron ore, little has actually been done. In reality, China has little by way of alternative, particularly when it comes to quality iron ore. But, while viewed as “petty”, China’s actions are little more than posturing.

Affinity Research LLP

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  • Dry Cargo

    Dry Cargo

    Our dry bulk chartering teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Santiago, Lima, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Singapore and London are cargo-focussed and they fix voyage, COA and time charter business on behalf of their clients with a wide range of ship owners.
    For Atlantic business please contact Hans Bredrup
    For Pacific business please contact David Oakley

    Contact: Hans Bredrup
    [email protected]
    Contact: David Oakley
    [email protected]

    Finance

    Finance

    Affinity Financial Products Ltd is authorised by the FCA to provide advice and execution of regulated activities. We focus our efforts on asset-related transactions often structured as corporate share sales or mergers and acquisitions.
    We work in partnership with investment banks providing specific, shipping-related advice.

    Contact: Andrew Finn
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0114

    LNG

    LNG

    Our young and dynamic LNG team possess wide-ranging experience of spot and term charters working with all major LNG shipowners and charterers. The LNG team has close interaction with the Newbuilding and Sale & Purchase divisions with an unrivalled track record of contracting LNG newbuildings and in the sale and purchase of LNG assets.
    We maintain up-to-date knowledge and an understanding of new technologies within the LNG sector to ensure that our clients can make the most suitable and cost-effective decisions on shipping solutions.

    Contact: Joni Mackay
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0133

    Newbuilding

    Newbuilding

    Our Newbuilding team has concluded over 500 newbuildings of all types, including LNGCs, FSRUs, drillships, crude tankers, product tankers and dry cargo vessels. We have contracted in all major newbuilding centres globally, with particular focus on the Korean Shipyards.

    Contact: Nick Wood
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0111

    Offshore

    Offshore

    Affinity Offshore is based out of our Oslo and Houston offices. The Team focuses on world-wide sale & purchase of offshore support vessels, as well as chartering – particularly in the Americas and Mediterranean/MENA regions.

    Contact: Tor-Øyvind Bjørkli
    [email protected]
    +47 2109 8211

    Research

    Research

    Our research department combines real time market information with econometric modelling and the latest technology. 

    Contact: Sevita Kondyliou
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0182

    S & P

    S & P

    Our Sale & Purchase team has extensive experience of working with private clients, national shipping companies, major corporates, oil companies, grain houses and institutional investors. We provide a cradle to grave services across all shipping sectors. We operate from London, Singapore and Seoul to give 24-hour coverage of the markets, working for both newbuilding and second-hand buyers.

    Contact: Toby English
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0123

    Tankers

    Tankers

    Our established tanker chartering teams serve the industry from London, Houston and Santiago delivering a highly proficient spot chartering service with a prime position in the fuel oil market. The team has close relationships with oil majors, national oil companies, oil traders and major ship owners and operators. 
    Our ethos for operations and post-fixture is simple: these roles are as important to us as the chartering/commercial function, and we continue to apply those same principles of professional ship broking throughout the life of each fixture.

    Contact: Tim Gurdon
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0142

    Valuations

    Valuations

    We provide transparent, objective ship valuation service to major owners, banks and other financial institutions at short notice and a daily basis. We provide a retainer service for regular fleet valuations.

    Contact: Ben Pusey
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0125

    Dry Cargo

    Our dry bulk chartering teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Santiago, Lima, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Singapore and London are cargo-focussed and they fix voyage, COA and time charter business on behalf of their clients with a wide range of ship owners.
    For Atlantic business please contact Hans Bredrup
    For Pacific business please contact David Oakley

    Contact: Hans Bredrup
    [email protected]
    +56 99 887 3036
    Contact: David Oakley
    [email protected]
    +61 2 9937 8806

    Finance

    Affinity Financial Products Ltd is authorised by the FCA to provide advice and execution of regulated activities. We focus our efforts on asset-related transactions often structured as corporate share sales or mergers and acquisitions.
    We work in partnership with investment banks providing specific, shipping-related advice.

    Contact: Andrew Finn
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0114

    LNG

    Our young and dynamic LNG team possess wide-ranging experience of spot and term charters working with all major LNG shipowners and charterers. The LNG team has close interaction with the Newbuilding and Sale & Purchase divisions with an unrivalled track record of contracting LNG newbuildings and in the sale and purchase of LNG assets.
    We maintain up-to-date knowledge and an understanding of new technologies within the LNG sector to ensure that our clients can make the most suitable and cost-effective decisions on shipping solutions.

    Contact: Joni Mackay
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0133

    Newbuilding

    Our Newbuilding team has concluded over 500 newbuildings of all types, including LNGCs, FSRUs, drillships, crude tankers, product tankers and dry cargo vessels. We have contracted in all major newbuilding centres globally, with particular focus on the Korean Shipyards.

    Contact: Nick Wood
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0111

    Offshore

    Affinity Offshore is based out of our Oslo and Houston offices. The Team focuses on world-wide sale & purchase of offshore support vessels, as well as chartering – particularly in the Americas and Mediterranean/MENA regions.

    Contact: Tor-Øyvind Bjørkli
    [email protected]
    +47 2109 8211

    Research

    Our research department combines real time market information with econometric modelling and the latest technology. 

    Contact: Sevita Kondyliou
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0182

    S & P

    Our Sale & Purchase team has extensive experience of working with private clients, national shipping companies, major corporates, oil companies, grain houses and institutional investors. We provide a cradle to grave services across all shipping sectors. We operate from London, Singapore and Seoul to give 24-hour coverage of the markets, working for both newbuilding and second-hand buyers.

    Contact: Toby English
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0123

    Tankers

    Our established tanker chartering teams serve the industry from London, Houston and Santiago delivering a highly proficient spot chartering service with a prime position in the fuel oil market. The team has close relationships with oil majors, national oil companies, oil traders and major ship owners and operators. 
    Our ethos for operations and post-fixture is simple: these roles are as important to us as the chartering/commercial function, and we continue to apply those same principles of professional ship broking throughout the life of each fixture.

    Contact: Tim Gurdon
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0142

    Valuations

    We provide transparent, objective ship valuation service to major owners, banks and other financial institutions at short notice and a daily basis. We provide a retainer service for regular fleet valuations.

    Contact: Ben Pusey
    [email protected]
    +44(0)20 3142 0125

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    Santiago de Surco, Lima,
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    LIMA

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  • Augusto Leguia Norte 100
    Office 710
    Las Condes
    7550155 Santiago
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    Office 710
    Las Condes
    7550155 Santiago
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    1st Floor "De Los Patricios" Building,
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    MONTEVIDEO

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    Misiones St. 1372,
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  • Viamonte 174, 4to B,
    C1053ABD Buenos Aires,
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    BUENOS AIRES

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    Viamonte 174, 4to B,
    C1053ABD Buenos Aires,
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    0256 Oslo
    Norway

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    OSLO

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    Inkognitogaten 35,
    0256 Oslo
    Norway

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