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EU and Japan sign trade deal covering a third of the world’s economy


How to negotiate a trade deal

The European Union and Japan signed a huge free trade deal on Tuesday that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods.

The agreement covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy. It’s also a major endorsement of a global trading system that is under increasing threat from protectionism.

It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine. Japanese automakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the European Union.

The dismantling of trade barriers stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by President Donald Trump, who has imposed tariffs on a range of foreign goods and is threatening more action.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, hailed the agreement as the “largest bilateral trade deal ever.”

“Relations between the European Union and Japan have never been stronger,” he said in a written statement. “Geographically, we are far apart. But politically and economically we could hardly be any closer.”

Japan and the European Union traded roughly €129 billion ($152 billion) of goods last year, according to EU data.

Related: Trump missed his chance to cut Canada’s dairy tariffs

Baker McKenzie partner Ross Denton said the deal signed Tuesday sends “a very strong signal to the US Administration that the EU and Japan, two major trade partners of the US, both see the benefits of removing barriers and reducing, not increasing tariffs.”

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said last month that Europe was willing to lower some of its tariffs and cooperate with the United States. But the Trump administration “closed the door” on the talks and subsequently slapped tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. New American tariffs on European cars could follow soon.

Trump also pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the start of his presidency, another trade deal that lowered tariffs and trade barriers for the 11 remaining signatories.

japan eu handshake
Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday.

Average global tariffs are near record lows. EU products currently face an average tariff of 1.6% when they arrive in Japan, while Japanese products face tariffs of 2.9% in the European Union, according to the World Trade Organization.

Still, the European Union said the tariffs cost its companies up to €1 billion ($1.2 billion) per year.

The trade deal is expected to come into force in 2019 after being approved by lawmakers on both sides.

CNNMoney (London) First published July 17, 2018: 9:02 AM ET



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Trump, Putin answer questions from reporters

Live: Fallout after Trump-Putin meeting


We will probably never really know what happened at Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s private meeting.

But we do know what happened when the two men held a joint press conference on Monday. Journalists bluntly conveyed shock at what they had just witnessed.

That shock and concern continued to dominate the coverage a full 24 hours later. The White House stayed mostly silent and by midday on Tuesday, there was still no afternoon press briefing on the daily schedule.

Even some of the president’s biggest boosters on Fox News conceded that Trump had made a big mistake in Helsinki.

“I will say this to the President,” “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said Tuesday morning. “When Newt Gingrich, when General Jack Keane, when Matt Schlapp say the President fell short and made our intelligence apparatus look bad, I think it’s time to pay attention.”

Kilmeade claimed it was “easily correctable.”

That’s debatable. The tone of Monday and Tuesday’s news coverage suggested that there will be long memories of Monday’s press conference.

Keep reading.



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David Solomon, Goldman Sachs' next CEO, is a part-time electronic dance DJ

David Solomon, Goldman Sachs’ next CEO, is a part-time electronic dance DJ


Goldman Sachs' next CEO is a part-time DJ

Goldman Sachs’ next leader isn’t your typical investment banker.

David Solomon has been named as the successor to CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who is stepping down September 30. Solomon is a part-time electronic dance DJ who spins records around New York and Miami clubs under the nickname DJ D-Sol.

“[I] kind of stumbled into it as a hobby, and now I just do it for fun,” Solomon said in a podcast last year. Solomon was interested in club and EDM music and saw them as growing businesses.

He took a winding route to the brink of one of Wall Street’s highest-profile jobs.

Related: Goldman Sachs signals who its next CEO will be

Solomon, 56, majored in political science at Hamilton College. One of his first jobs out of school in the mid-1980s was selling commercial paper and junk bonds at Drexel Burnham Lambert — Michael Milken’s firm that went bankrupt in 1990 for its involvement in Milken’s criminal junk bonds trading scheme.

After Drexel collapsed, Solomon moved to now-defunct Bear Stearns, where he rose to become head of the firm’s investment banking division. In 1999, Solomon took a risk by jumping to Goldman.

Related: Stocks tumble on Bear scare

“It was a step back,” Solomon told the New York Times last year. “I was running a division of a firm and I went and I took a job running a department.”

Solomon came to Goldman right after a moment of palace intrigue. Hank Paulson, then Goldman’s co-chairman, had helped stage a coup against fellow co-chair Jon Corzine in 1999, pushing him out of the company. (Corzine was later elected U.S. senator and then governor of New Jersey. Paulson ran Goldman for eight years before leaving to become Treasury secretary under George W. Bush.)

Although Solomon was an outsider at a company known for promoting internally, he climbed up the ranks at Goldman and headed up its investment banking unit for a decade beginning in 2006. The division’s sales rose 70% during his run.

When Gary Cohn left Goldman to become President Trump’s chief economic adviser last year, Solomon was promoted to president along with Harvey Schwartz. The two were competing internally for the top job until Schwartz resigned in March, clearing the way for Solomon.

Related: Why Wall Street loved Gary Cohn inside the White House

Solomon was the “better choice out of the two,” said William Cohan, a financial reporter and author of the 2011 book “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World.” “He was more politic [and] gregarious. He was more statesmanlike.”

Solomon has given money to candidates from both parties. During the 2016 campaign, he donated to both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush’s campaigns, according to contribution database OpenSecrets.

Solomon will take over a bank that has recovered under Blankfein since the financial crisis a decade ago. But he’ll still face challenges.

Blankfein was Goldman’s former trading chief and the bank has relied heavily on client fees from its trading desk — buying and selling bonds, commodities and currencies. The unit made up more than half of revenue in 2012, but it shrunk to a little over a third last year. The combination of market calm, low interest rates and tighter financial regulations have pushed investors to shift money into low-fee index and passive funds, hurting Goldman in the process.

Related: Goldman Sachs is Wall Street’s big loser

Goldman unveiled a $5 billion revenue growth plan last year, which included expanding its online consumer lending business and bolstering ties with corporate clients. Solomon was more aligned with those initiatives than Schwartz, KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl noted.

“The challenge and opportunity is for Goldman to better leverage the strong CEO relationships cultivated and maintained by David Solomon,” Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo said.

Solomon thinks the market will swing back in Goldman’s favor, too.

“Some of this is a cycle that in a different environment with higher volatility, higher rates, you’ll see a shift back where active managers can find ways to add value,” he said last September.

This story has been updated from its original version. It was first published on March 14, 2018.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 17, 2018: 9:33 AM ET



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Adidas will only use recycled plastics by 2024

Adidas will only use recycled plastics by 2024


5 stunning stats about Adidas

Adidas is racing to make its products more sustainable.

The global sportswear maker said Monday that it has committed to using only recycled plastic by 2024.

The pledge to eliminate the use of “virgin” plastic, which was first reported by the Financial Times, includes polyester. Used in everything from t-shirts to sports bras, the material is popular in sportswear because it dries quickly and weighs little.

Adidas (ADDDF) also said it would stop using virgin plastic in its offices, retail outlets, warehouses and distribution centers, a move that would save an estimated 40 tons of plastic per year, starting in 2018.

Adidas is the latest in a series of global companies that have pledged to reduce plastic use.

Starbucks (SBUX) plans to eliminate plastic straws from its stores, and McDonald’s (MCD) is trialing a similar program in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ikea is phasing out single use plastic from its stores and restaurants.

Related: How companies change packaging without alienating customers

Adidas said its apparel line for the spring and summer of 2019 will contain around 41% recycled polyester.

The German company is also expecting a sharp increase in sales of its Parley shoes, which are made with plastic waste that has been intercepted before it reaches the ocean. While still a small share of its global sales, Adidas expects purchases to jump to 5 million pairs this year compared to 1 million in 2017.

Related: Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more

Global use of plastic has increased 20-fold over the past 50 years and is expected to double again in the next 20 years. The material is cheap and versatile, but governments and consumers are increasingly aware of its huge environmental costs.

Research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans by 2050.

On a global basis, only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling. The reuse rate is terrible compared to other materials — 58% of paper and up to 90% of iron and steel is recycled.

CNNMoney (London) First published July 16, 2018: 8:20 AM ET



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Jeff Bezos worth $150 billion as Amazon hits all-time high

Jeff Bezos worth $150 billion as Amazon hits all-time high


Jeff Bezos: World's wealthiest man

Shoppers weren’t the only ones celebrating Amazon’s Prime Day Monday.

Amazon investors, including CEO Jeff Bezos, should be in a festive mood, too. (Although there were some tech glitches.)

Amazon’s (AMZN) stock hit a new all-time high Monday. That means Bezos — the world’s wealthiest person — is now worth more than $150 billion, according to Forbes.

For perspective, Bezos is worth more than Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates and Google (GOOGL) co-founder Larry Page combined.

Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKB) Warren Buffett is the third richest person on the planet behind only Bezos and Gates. But the Oracle of Omaha trails Bezos by nearly $70 billion.

Bezos, who also personally owns The Washington Post and space exploration company Blue Origin, has most of his net worth tied up in Amazon stock. He is the company’s largest shareholder, with a more than 16% stake.

Amazon’s growing clout in retail, cloud computing, media and numerous other areas has put the company closer to surpassing Apple (AAPL) as the world’s most valuable company.

Related: Why Prime Day is so important to Amazon

Amazon’s stock is up nearly 60% this year and the company has a market value of more than $890 billion. Apple’s market value is a little more than $935 billion.

Amazon will report its second quarter results on July 26. Analysts are forecasting a more-than-40% jump in sales and a more than sixfold surge in earnings per share.

E-Commerce Guide by CNN Underscored: Your guide to shopping Amazon Prime Day 2018

The company has reliably topped Wall Street’s forecasts and if Amazon delivers another blowout quarter, the company could soon find itself worth more than $1 trillion.

That would put the net worth of Bezos closer to $175 billion.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 16, 2018: 3:19 PM ET



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Why oil prices are suddenly tanking

Why oil prices are suddenly tanking


OPEC agrees to boost oil production

Once red-hot, oil prices are suddenly tanking.

Rumors about emergency action from the Trump administration helped send US crude plunging 5% on Monday, sinking to as low as $67.58 a barrel.

The reversal has wiped out 9% from oil price in less than a week. US oil closed at $74.11 a barrel on July 10.

“It’s a great reminder of how quickly sentiment can swing — and how volatile these markets are,” said Michael Wittner, global head of oil research at Société Générale.

Analysts blamed Monday’s sell-off on reports suggesting Saudi Arabia and the United States are racing to prevent an oil shortage caused by President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran.

Late Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration is considering a rare step: teaming up with other Western countries to simultaneously release oil stockpiled for emergencies. Such a move isn’t imminent and would only come if efforts to get OPEC to pump more fail to cool off prices, the paper reported.

The Energy Department, which released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year after Hurricane Harvey, declined to comment on the news. The White House also declined to comment.

Related: The oil market’s shock absorbers are nearly gone

Trump has repeatedly blasted OPEC for lofty oil prices and complained that prices are “too high.” That’s despite the fact that Trump’s own tough stance on Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, contributed to the price spike.

“Trump is attempting to jawbone the price of crude down. This goes back to the midterm elections,” said Ben Cook, portfolio manager at BP Capital Fund Advisors.

Michael Tran, director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, doubts that tapping emergency oil stockpiles is necessary or would even work. He noted that refineries in the United States are already operating at “extremely high levels,” leaving little room to turn more oil into gasoline.

“It would be relatively ineffective,” said Tran.

Saudi Arabia-led OPEC and Russia agreed last month to pump more oil, but their move failed to cool off prices. In fact, oil bulls argued that unleashing more oil now will leave Saudi Arabia with little firepower to respond to future shortages.

Related: Trade war threatens America’s booming oil exports

Another factor behind Monday’s drop is a Bloomberg News report that Saudi Arabia is offering extra crude oil on top of its contractual supplies to some buyers in Asia. That suggests that Saudi Arabia is taking aggressive steps to keep oil prices from getting too high.

“They’re letting buyers know: If you want more crude from us, we have it,” said Wittner.

Meanwhile, there are signs that at least one of OPEC’s hobbled members is on the rebound. Last week, oil prices plunged after Libya’s national oil company announced it had regained control of multiple ports, enabling it to resume exports. Disruptions in Libya and Venezuela have been instrumental in lifting prices to their highest levels in nearly four years.

“We’re getting hints here that barrels are available and aren’t in the short supply that we thought,” said BP Capital’s Cook.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 16, 2018: 2:12 PM ET



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In pictures: Trump meets with Putin

In pictures: Trump meets with Putin


US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin before their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump wraps up a weeklong trip to Europe with a much-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit is taking place Monday at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, and Trump will be looking to reset US-Russia relations, which have declined in recent years.

“I think we have great opportunities together as two countries that, frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years,” Trump said at the start of the meeting. “I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship.”

Trump and US officials have made clear they intend to raise a series of issues in Helsinki, including the Syrian civil war, North Korea and Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Trump also said he plans to bring up the issue of election meddling. The Putin meeting comes just three days after indictments, handed down by special counsel Robert Mueller, charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking into Democrats’ computer networks and emails during the 2016 presidential race.

“I think I’d have a very good relationship with President Putin if we spend time together,” Trump said Friday. “Other people have said it didn’t work out, but I’m different than other people.”

Posing for a photo, from left, are first lady Melania Trump, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Finnish first lady Jenni Haukio. Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/Getty Images

The Putin meeting is the last part of Trump’s weeklong trip to Europe, which started Tuesday with a NATO summit. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

First lady Melania Trump watches as her husband shakes hands with Putin. Sergey Guneev/Sputnik/AP

Trump and Putin pose for a photo before their meeting. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Translators take notes as Trump gives a statement to the press before the meeting. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Russian journalists watch the two leaders from a press center in Helsinki’s Presidential Palace. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

“I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump said to the press ahead of the meeting. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The two Presidents arrive for their meeting on Monday. This is the third time they have met. They first met last summer at a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

People wave American, Russian and Finnish flags while watching Trump’s motorcade travel to the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Military police officers patrol the area close to the Presidential Palace on Monday. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Putin arrives at the airport in Helsinki. Ronni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AP

Trump walks across the tarmac after arriving in Helsinki on Sunday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Produced by Brett Roegiers and Kyle Almond



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In pictures: Trump meets with Putin

In pictures: Trump meets with Putin


US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin before their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin before their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump wraps up a weeklong trip to Europe with a much-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The summit is taking place Monday at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, and Trump will be looking to reset US-Russia relations, which have declined in recent years.

“In a sense, we’re competitors … he’s not my enemy,” Trump said last week. “And hopefully, someday, maybe he’ll be a friend.”

Trump and US officials have made clear they intend to raise a series of issues in Helsinki, including the Syrian civil war, North Korea and Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Trump also said he plans to bring up the issue of election meddling. The Putin meeting comes just three days after indictments, handed down by special counsel Robert Mueller, charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking into Democrats’ computer networks and emails during the 2016 presidential race.

“I think I’d have a very good relationship with President Putin if we spend time together,” Trump said Friday. “Other people have said it didn’t work out, but I’m different than other people.”

The Putin meeting is the last part of Trump’s weeklong trip to Europe, which started Tuesday with a NATO summit. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

First lady Melania Trump watches as the two leaders shake hands. Sergey Guneev/Sputnik/AP

Trump and Putin pose for a photo before their meeting. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Russian journalists watch the two leaders from a press center in Helsinki’s Presidential Palace. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

“I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump said to the press ahead of the meeting. Sergey Guneev/Sputnik/AP

The two Presidents arrive for their meeting on Monday. This is the third time they have met. They first met last summer at a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

People wave American, Russian and Finnish flags while watching Trump’s motorcade travel to the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Military police officers patrol the area close to the Presidential Palace on Monday. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Putin arrives at the airport in Helsinki. Ronni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AP

Trump walks across the tarmac after arriving in Helsinki on Sunday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Produced by Brett Roegiers and Kyle Almond



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Will a Trump-Putin meeting be dangerous for US?

Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki


President Donald Trump arrived Monday afternoon at the Finnish presidential palace in Helsinki for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He was greeted at the door to the palace by the Finish president, about 20 minutes after Putin arrived via the same entrance.

The summit was already running about 45 minutes behind schedule on Monday after Putin arrived late at Helsinki’s airport.

Trump was held at his hotel while he waited for Putin, who is known for arriving late to important events, to touch down — drawing comparisons to Trump’s late arrivals at recent summits with US allies.

CNN producer Sebastian Shukla counted 20 cars including an ambulance in Putin’s motorcade, and 29 in President Trump’s. Both men drove straight under a tarpaulin marquee and into a small courtyard inside the palace upon arriving.



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Elon Musk's smear of Thai cave rescuer

Elon Musk’s smear of Thai cave rescuer


Caver calls Elon Musk's submarine a 'PR stunt'

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, the CEO of several high-profile American companies, broadcast to his 22 million social media followers on Sunday an unfounded and disparaging claim about an expert caver who criticized a miniature submarine he made.

Musk attacked Vernon Unsworth, who helped in the rescue mission that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooding Thai cave.

He called Unsworth, a British caver, who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” or pedophile in a now-deleted tweet. The unfounded claim came after Unsworth called Musk’s miniature sub a “PR stunt.”

There is no indication that Musk’s statement is true, and he provided no justification or proof to back up his claim. Unsworth couldn’t be reached for comment.

The experienced caver whose knowledge of the Thum Luang cave system helped pinpoint the boys location had said in an earlier interview with CNN that Musk’s miniature escape pod “had absolutely no chance of working.”

He can “stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth said during the interview in Thailand.

Musk posted the baseless accusation shortly after.

When Twitter users called out Musk’s attack on Unsworth as unfair, he doubled down.

“Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true,” he wrote in another tweet that has since been removed.

Representatives for Musk and his companies — SpaceX, Boring Co. and Tesla — did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.

Musk, who’s not shy about courting controversy on social media, draws intense attention to each post he makes.

In the midst of the tense rescue mission earlier this month, Musk announced plans to help. He proceeded to post regular updates on social media, including photos and a video of a “kid-size” submarine being constructed and tested.

Related: Elon Musk shares video of ‘kid-size’ submarine for Thai cave rescue

“Hopefully useful,” he said in one tweet. “If not, perhaps it will be in a future situation.”

Ultimately, the capsule was not used in the rescue mission, and it was criticized by some as a distraction. The mission commander, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, said at one point that the submarine “doesn’t fit with our mission,” according to the BBC.

That prompted a retort from Musk. He responded to a tweet from the BBC, saying Osotthanakorn was “not the subject matter expert.”

Musk also shared what he said was a screenshot of his email correspondence with Richard Stanton, a retired fireman who was one of the first to reach the soccer team deep within the cave, showing he encouraged Musk to keep developing the submarine.

Musk also insisted Sunday he was asked to help “repeatedly” by rescue authorities and declined “several times.”

“I thought they had it in hand & only agreed to help when Thai SEAL died (deep cave pumps not operating at time),” Musk said.

Musk continued to spar with other Twitter users Sunday.

He called one journalist who criticized his submarine a “jackass.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Unsworth as a diver.

CNNMoney (New York) First published July 15, 2018: 7:59 PM ET



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