Finance leaders reject protectionism, monitoring of crypto-assets to continue
Finance ministers and central bankers of the world's 20 biggest economies, gathering in Buenos Aires, Argentina last Monday and Tuesday, rejected protectionism but failed to defuse the threat of a trade war, days before Washington is to announce measures against China, news wires reported. The final declaration only urged for more “dialogue and actions” in defence of a multilateral trading system. The joint statement also said that “the global financial system must remain open, resilient and supportive of growth, and grounded in agreed international standards.”
The action is propted by years of US intellectual property rights violations
President Donald Trump announced on 22 March a series of trade enforcement actions designed to punish China for years of widespread violations of US intellectual property rights.
Internet giant will invest $300m to help strengthen quality journalism
Google made last Tuesday a big step in fighting fake news by announcing that it will invest $300m over the next three years to help “strengthen quality journalism,” news wires reported. The internet giant presented a whole new programme called the Google News Initiative, which includes several brand new tools and partnerships with newsrooms, all aimed at dismantling the fake news network and helping news organisations to grow their businesses.
Targeting unfair airlines competition
Non-EU carriers could see their rights to fly in the bloc revoked if they or their home countries engage in “unfair” competitive practices, stipulate the rules voted on by the EP's transport committee last Tuesday.
Alibaba raises Southeast Asia investments
Alibaba raised its influence in Southeast Asia by another $2bn in Singapore-based e-commerce subsidiary Lazada Group and naming Chairman Jack Ma's trusted ally Lucy Peng as its chief executive, news wires reported. Peng, a billionaire who helped found Alibaba in 1999, will replace Lazada founder Max Bittner. Currently, she is Lazada chairwoman and will retain that role.
Renault to switch Clio production to Turkey and Slovenia
French carmaker Renault is going to move more production of its Clio mini to the plant in Bursa Turkey, Reuters reported, citing its sources from the company and industry. According to them, this is likely to be the start of phasing out domestic manufacturing of the brand's biggest seller.
Vienna stays unbeatable as world's best city for living
Austria's capital Vienna once again defended its position as the city offering the best quality of life in the world, while Iraq's capital Baghdad remains the worst in an annual survey from consulting firm Mercer.
EU scraps duty on biodiesel from Argentina
The European Union has removed duties on biodiesel imports for 13 Argentine and Indonesian producers following the end of legal proceedings at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), an EU document shows.
In Brief
EU regulators approve Bayer-Monsanto merger
German conglomerate Bayer won last Wednesday EU antitrust approval for its $62.5bn buy of US peer Monsanto. The tie-up is set to create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market. Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta had earlier made similar moves. Environmental and farming groups have opposed all three deals, worried about their power. “Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in the sector after this merger,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

Commission fines capacitors producers for making cartel
The Commission has imposed a €254m fine over eight companies - Elna, Hitachi Chemical, Holy Stone, Matsuo, NEC Tokin, Nichicon, Nippon Chemi-Con, Rubycon, for operating a cartel for the supply of aluminium and tantalum electrolytic capacitors between 1998 and 2012. Sanyo, which has also been part of the cartel, got immunity as it has reported the fraud. “The nine companies fined today colluded to maximise their profits. This may have happened not only at the expense of manufacturers but also of consumers,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

French Michelin buys British engineer Fenner for £1.2bn
French tire maker Michelin announced last week the acquisition of UK conveyor-belt maker Fenner for about £1.2bn ($1.7bn). The French giant said the purchase would increase its exposure to recovering mining markets. “Michelin has made no secret of its determination to expand in technological materials,” Natixis analyst Michael Foundoukidis noted, cited by Bloomberg. Fenner is among the world's largest conveyor-belt manufacturers, servicing industries from mining to factory automation. It has about 4,300 employees and plants in seven countries, including five in the US and four in Australia.

Ryanair expands in Germany, Austria with Laudamotion deal
Ryanair Holdings Plc has agreed to buy a majority stake in the new Austrian leisure airline founded by former motor racing champion Niki Lauda in a major push on the German and Austrian markets dominated by Lufthansa. The Irish airline, Europe's largest low-cost carrier, has agreed to buy an initial 24.9% stake in Vienna-based Laudamotion, formed out of insolvent carrier Niki, formerly part of Air Berlin. That will rise to 75% “as soon as possible”, subject to EU regulatory approval, the airlines said in a statement. Ryanair will lease Laudamotion six crewed planes to increase its fleet to 21 planes this summer and to 30 planes within three years.