London, Jan 10 (AP) — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is working with France, Germany and other nations to help his British counterpart Theresa May win Parliament's approval for her divorce deal with the European Union.
Speaking Wednesday night after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, Rutte said he and his European allies are striving "to help my British colleague to bring the vote next week to a successful outcome."
Rutte did not elaborate on what he and other leaders are doing to help win support for May's Brexit deal in the deeply divided British House of Commons.
However Rutte stressed that "the present deal on the table is, I think, the best deal."
British lawmakers have dealt Prime Minister Theresa May her second defeat in two days in battles over the government's plans for Brexit.
The House of Commons voted for a motion designed to prevent the government delaying key decisions as Brexit approaches on March 29. The measure says that if Parliament rejects the divorce deal May has agreed with the European Union, the government must come up with a "Plan B" within three days.
The government previously had 21 days to report back to Parliament.
Lawmakers are due to vote on May's deal on Tuesday, and look likely to reject it.
Opponents of the agreement suspect the government may try to run down the clock, to leave Parliament facing a last-minute choice between May's deal and a no-deal Brexit.
On Tuesday, lawmakers voted to put curbs on the government's ability to spend taxes on no-deal measures.
A top European Parliament leader is appealing to lawmakers in London to show "responsibility" as they resume consideration of Britain's divorce deal with the European Union.
Many British lawmakers detest the deal agreed between Brussels and Prime Minister Theresa May. Britain is due to leave the EU March 29, and fears have risen that it may do so without a deal in place.
Manfred Weber, a German conservative who heads the biggest group in the European Parliament, said in Berlin Wednesday that "it's Britain's move. Our colleagues in Britain's lower house carry great responsibility now — the agreement is on the table."
News agency dpa reported that Weber said everyone must realize that a no-deal withdrawal on March 29 would "lead to very difficult, perhaps even chaotic situations."
The British government is bringing its little-loved Brexit deal back to Parliament, a month after postponing a vote on the agreement to stave off near-certain defeat.
Lawmakers are beginning five days of debate Wednesday on the agreement with the European Union setting out the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc on March 29.
A vote, initially slated for December, is scheduled for Jan. 15.
But opposition remains strong from both pro-Brexit and pro-EU U.K. lawmakers. Brexiteers are urging the government to ramp up preparations for leaving the EU without a deal.
But many lawmakers, and businesses, say that could cause economic turmoil.
The de-facto deputy Prime Minister, David Lidington, said the only way to avoid a disruptive no-deal "is for Parliament to endorse and ratify a deal."
Bangkok, Jan 8 (AP/UNB)— Shares rose in early European trading after a mixed day Tuesday in Asia in the absence of official updates on China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
KEEPING SCORE: The DAX in Germany gained 0.3 percent to 10,777.42 and France's CAC 40 was up 0.4 percent at 4,737.69. Britain's FTSE 100 picked up 0.5 percent to 6,847.14. Wall Street looked set for gains, with the future contract for the Dow up 0.4 percent at 23,603.00 and that for the S&P 500 also 0.4 percent higher at 2,560.90.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.8 percent to 20,204.04 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2 percent to 25,875.45. Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 5,722.40 and the South Korean Kospi gave up 0.5 percent to 2,026.23. India's Sensex gained 0.2 percent lower to 35,906.68. Shares fell in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand but rose in Singapore.
CHINA-US TRADE: An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress. Investors have been encouraged by the resumption of the talks between Beijing and Washington on a dispute over technology that has resulted in both sides imposing penalty tariffs on billions of dollars' of each other's exports. Those duties are likely to rise in March if no progress is made. The two-day working level talks were due to wrap up Tuesday.
ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "Against the backdrop of negotiations held in Beijing, the optimism from U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who sees 'a very good chance' for a reasonable settlement with China has kept the sun shining over equities on Wall Street," Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
ENERGY: Oil prices continued their recent rally. U.S. crude gained 6 cents to $48.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 1.2 percent to $48.52 per barrel in New York. After sinking to an 18-month low of $42.53 a barrel on Dec. 24, the price of U.S. crude rose for seven of the last eight trading days. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 13 cents to $57.46 per barrel after rising 0.5 percent in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.98 yen from 108.73 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1446 from $1.1475.
Beijing, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — Tesla Inc. broke ground Monday for a factory in Shanghai, its first outside the United States.
CEO Elon Musk said Monday on Twitter that the company will start production in China of its Model 3 and a planned crossover by the end of the year.
Tesla announced plans in July to build the Gigafactory 3 facility in China, the biggest electric vehicle market, despite trade tension between Beijing and Washington. That followed Beijing's announcement it would end restrictions this year on foreign ownership of electric vehicle producers in an effort to spur industry development.
"Looking forward to breaking ground on the @Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory today!" said Musk on Twitter. "Aiming to finish initial construction this summer, start Model 3 production end of year & reach high volume production next year."
China's state broadcaster CCTV showed Musk and other Tesla and local officials attending a chilly ceremony in the rain Monday in Shanghai's outskirts.
The Shanghai factory will produce "affordable versions of 3/Y for greater China," Musk said. The company refers to a planned crossover that has yet to receive a formal name as the Y.
Higher-priced models will be built in the United States for export to China, Musk said.
Tesla, based on Palo Alto, California, global automakers including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Corp. that are pouring billions of dollars into manufacturing electric vehicles in China.
Local production would eliminate risks from tariffs and other import controls. It would help Tesla develop parts suppliers to support service and make its vehicles more appealing to mainstream Chinese buyers.
Tesla said in October it had signed an agreement for a 210-acre (84-hectare) site in the Lingang district in southeastern Shanghai.
Shanghai is a center of China's auto industry and home to state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp., the main local manufacturer for GM and VW.
Tesla has yet to give a price tag but the Shanghai government said it would be the biggest foreign investment there to date.
The company faces competition from Chinese brands including BYD Auto and BAIC Group that already sell tens of thousands of hybrid and pure-electric sedans and SUVs annually.
Until now, foreign automakers that wanted to manufacture in China were required to work through state-owned partners. Foreign brands balked at bringing electric vehicle technology into China to avoid having to share it with potential competitors.
The first of the new electric models being developed by global automakers to hit the market, Nissan's Sylphy Zero Emission, began rolling off a production line in southern China in August.
Lower-priced electric models from GM, Volkswagen and other global brands are due to hit the market starting this year, well before Tesla is up and running in Shanghai.
Mexico City, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — Mexicans are scrambling for gasoline amid long lines at gas stations and widespread shortages prompted by a change in distribution methods aimed at stemming fuel theft.
State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said the use of more secure transportation methods has resulted in delays for fuel delivery to gas stations in the states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico and Queretaro. It is urging consumers not to panic or hoard gasoline, promising that supply will soon stabilize.
Frantic consumers have made a run on the pumps and social media has been filled with images of gas station signs saying they are out of fuel, and consumers comparing the thin supplies to scarcity for basic goods like bread and milk that plagued Mexico during the 1970s.
The shortage has given ammunition to government critics, who say many of the new administration's policies and goals are throwbacks to past decades.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said Sunday that complicity within Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has allowed the fuel theft to blossom for years, growing from $500,000 a year more than a decade ago to roughly $3 billion in stolen fuel last year.
Lopez Obrador said overhauling the network requires taking on powerful and entrenched interests that have benefited from fuel theft for years. Without going into detail on tactics, the president said Mexico has reduced daily theft to 36 truckloads of fuel from an average of more than 1,000 truckloads a day.
Pemex is trying to stem billions of dollars in losses from criminal gangs that tap pipelines to steal gasoline by instead transporting the fuel via truck. Analysts say truck transport is more expensive, and less efficient.
Gasoline is a hot political issue in Mexico. Former President Enrique Pena Nieto's decision to hike gasoline prices in January 2017 sparked ire that many cite as leading to his party's eventual ouster.
Tokyo, Jan 5 (AP/UNB) — A 612-pound (278-kilogram) bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3 million) in the first auction of 2019, after Tokyo's famed Tsukiji market was moved to a new site on the city's waterfront.
The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction.
It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose owner Kiyoshi Kimura runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has often won the annual auction in the past.
Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was surprised by the high price of tuna this year. But he added: "The quality of the tuna I bought is the best."
The auction prices are way above usual for bluefin tuna. The fish normally sells for up to $40 a pound ($88 a kilogram) but the price rises to over $200 a pound near the year's end, especially for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan.
Last year's auction was the last at Tsukiji before the market shifted to a new facility on a former gas plant site on Tokyo Bay. The move was delayed repeatedly due to concerns over soil contamination.
Japanese are the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption here and overseas has led to overfishing of the species. Experts warn it faces possible extinction, with stocks of Pacific bluefin depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.
"The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is," said Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts.
There are signs of progress toward protecting the bluefin, and Japan and other governments have backed plans to rebuild Pacific bluefin stocks, with a target of 20 percent of historic levels by 2034.
Decades-old Tsukiji was one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations as well as the world's biggest fish market. The new market opened in October. A few businesses stayed in Tsukiji but nearly all of the 500-plus wholesalers and other businesses shifted to Toyosu.
Tsukiji is due to be redeveloped, though for now it's being turned into a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.