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EU pushes back on US tariffs, potential trade war: French minister

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There is no reason why the European Union should suffer from a trade war between the United States and China, France’s finance minister said Saturday, with Europe pushing for full exemption from new U.S. tariffs set to take effect next week.

In March, the U.S. slapped tariffs against steel and aluminum products, drawing retaliation from China and raising eyebrows in Europe. The resulting backlash has triggered fears of a global trade war.

However, Europe has been pushing for a definitive carve-out from the higher duties. The 28 members of the E.U. argue they are not the cause of the overcapacity in the metal industry, and have managed to get a temporary exemption. Other U.S. allies, including Japan didn’t.

Those temporary exemptions are set to expire on May 1, but the U.S. is reportedly looking to extend the deadline.

“There is no reason why the EU should be hit by new tariffs on trade from the [Trump] administration. We are not responsible for the overcapacity in steel and aluminium,” Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, told reporters in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We do recognize there is a difficulty and we are ready to address that issue with our American allies, but we cannot negotiate under the pressure, and we don’t have to be collateral damage between a trade war between the United States and China,” Le Maire added.

The decision to impose duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum could hurt not only those industries directly, but also carmakers and construction firms in Europe, which use those raw materials.

Before President Donald Trump took office, the U.S. was negotiating a trade deal with the European Union, but those talks have been tabled. Trump has been generally opposed to free trade agreements, arguing they don’t favor American workers.

When asked whether Europe was willing to continue those trade talks with the U.S., even if for a less ambitious trade package than the original, France’s Le Maire said: “We don’t want to enter into a global trade negotiation with the United States.”

France doesn’t see the need to enter into a trade round with the U.S., Le Mair said, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron — who met with Trump this week in Washington — “has been very clear with President Trump during the state visit…First of all we are waiting for an exemption for the EU from the American tariffs.”

–Reuters contributed to this article.

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Covid likely to become as ‘endemic’ as flu

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Health workers are dressing with protective suits and face maks. The collection of swab samples by medical staff in the drive-in testing center of San Filippo Neri hospital in Roma, Italy on October 19, 2020.

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LONDON — Covid-19 is likely to become as “endemic” as the annual flu virus, according to the U.K.’s chief scientific advisor.

Some potential vaccines are in late–stage clinical trials, but Patrick Vallance said none is not likely to eradicate the virus.

“The notion of eliminating Covid from anywhere is not right, because it will come back,” he said, noting there had only been one human disease “truly eradicated” thanks to a highly effective vaccine and that was smallpox.

“We can’t be certain, but I think it’s unlikely we will end up with a truly sterilizing vaccine, (that is) something that completely stops infection, and it’s likely this disease will circulate and be endemic, that’s my best assessment,” Vallance told the National Security Strategy Committee in London on Monday.

“Clearly as management becomes better, as you get vaccination which would decrease the chance of infection and the severity of disease … this then starts to look more like annual flu than anything else, and that may be the direction we end up going,” he said.

Biotech companies and academic bodies around the world have joined forces to try to create a vaccine against the coronavirus at breakneck speed given its ferocity. On Monday, the grim milestone of 40 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide was reached, and the virus has caused 1.1 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Historically, creating a vaccine from scratch had taken 10 years on average, Vallance said, and it had never taken under five years.

“We’re now in the extraordinary situation where there are at least eight vaccines which are in quite large clinical studies around the world. … We will know over the next few months whether we have any vaccines that really do protect and how long they protect for,” he said.

He added that a number of vaccines created an immune response and antibody response, but only the Phase 3 clinical trials would prove whether they “actually stop people getting infected.” The safety profile of such vaccines would also become clearer and from then on, a “sensible vaccination strategy” could be looked at, Vallance said.

Vallance concluded he didn’t believe there would be any vaccine available for widespread use in the community until at least spring.

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UBS earnings: q3 2020

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The logo of Swiss banking giant UBS engraved on the wall is seen on its headquarters on May 8, 2019 in Zurich.

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LONDON — The world’s largest wealth manager, UBS, reported a net income of $2.1 billion for the third quarter on Tuesday, up 99% from the same period last year.

Analysts had forecast reported net income of $1.5 billion for the quarter, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon. Last year, the bank reported net income of $1.049 billion for the same period.

It comes after the Swiss bank and asset manager posted an 11% drop in profits in the second quarter, as the global banking industry felt the full effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday results will be UBS’ last under the leadership of CEO Sergio Ermotti, who is due to leave the bank this month. Ralph Hamers will become the new head on November 1.

This is a breaking news story and is being updated.

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Shoppers to visit fewer stores than ever this holiday season: Deloitte

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