Sunday, December 9th, 2018

 

China says US should withdraw arrest warrant for Huawei executive

BEIJING, Dec 9 — China’s foreign ministry called in the US ambassador today to lodge a “strong protest” over the arrest in Canada of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, and said the United States should withdraw its…


Release Huawei CFO or face severe consequences, China warns Canada

BEIJING/OTTAWA: China has warned Canada that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty”.

Meng Wanzhou (pix), Huawei’s global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

If extradited to the US, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.

In a short statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to release Meng to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing yesterday, summoning him to lodge a “strong protest”.

Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the US while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.

The move “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and was in its very nature “extremely nasty”, he added.

“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused.”

The statement did not elaborate.

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said yesterday there is “nothing to add beyond what the minister said yesterday (Friday)”.

Freeland told reporters on Friday that relationship with China is important and valued, and Canada’s ambassador in Beijing has assured Chinese that consular access will be provided to Meng.

When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.

In another development, China’s Foreign Ministry called in the US ambassador today to lodge a “strong protest” over the arrest of Meng in Canada and said the United States should withdraw its arrest warrant.

Further measures will depend on US actions, Le told the US ambassador, the ministry added.– Reuters


Wall St week ahead: Licking their wounds, fund managers prep for rally in ‘19

NEW YORK, Dec 9 — With bond and equity markets from the United States to emerging markets all on pace to lose money this year, investors have not seen this much red on their screens since 1972, the last time no asset class returned at least 5 per…


Report: Volkswagen denies allegations chairman knew early about emissions cheating

FRANKFURT, Dec 9 — Volkswagen has denied allegations that Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch knew about the carmaker’s emissions test cheating almost three months before US authorities made it public in September 2015. Citing internal documents from…


Palm oil used in biofuel should be certified as sustainable

KOTA KINABALU: Any palm oil that is used in biofuels should be certified as sustainable, according to head of European operations at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Inke van der Sluijs.

“RSPO’s view on biofuels is that if there is palm oil in biofuel, it should be certified sustainable. We do not necessarily promote the use of palm oil as a product. The EU requires that… there is regulations in place to ensure that vegetables oil used in biofuels is certified sustainable,” she said when asked to comment on the European Union’s move of phasing out the use of palm oil in transport fuels by 2030.

Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm oil producer, has been kept on its toes following the EU’s decision and the government in turn has been taking initiatives to engage with the European bloc on the matter.

van der Sluijs said there is still room to step up the uptake of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil in the market as it only makes up for 19% of total global palm oil production, of which only 50% is sold in the market as sustainable palm oil.

However, she said the 50% figure is highly debatable because there are plantations which have double certification from RSPO and other schemes, hence some might opt to use the other certifications to sell their products in the market.


Palm oil used in biofuel should be certified

KOTA KINABALU: Any palm oil that is used in biofuels should be certified as sustainable, according to head of European operations at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Inke van der Sluijs.

“RSPO’s view on biofuels is that if there is palm oil in biofuel, it should be certified sustainable. We do not necessarily promote the use of palm oil as a product. The EU requires that… there is regulations in place to ensure that vegetables oil used in biofuels is certified sustainable,” she said when asked to comment on the European Union’s move of phasing out the use of palm oil in transport fuels by 2030.

Malaysia, the world’s second largest palm oil producer, has been kept on its toes following the EU’s decision and the government in turn has been taking initiatives to engage with the European bloc on the matter.

van der Sluijs said there is still room to step up the uptake of RSPO certified sustainable palm oil in the market as it only makes up for 19% of total global palm oil production, of which only 50% is sold in the market as sustainable palm oil.

However, she said the 50% figure is highly debatable because there are plantations which have double certification from RSPO and other schemes, hence some might opt to use the other certifications to sell their products in the market.


Govt can play greater role in palm smallholders’ certification: RSPO

KOTA KINABALU: The government can play a greater role in the certification of small-time palm oil growers, especially breaking down barriers to entry and on land matters, according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Smallholders account for 40% of the country’s production.

Asked about the general sentiments of smallholders when it comes to certification, RSPO head of smallholder programme Ashwin Selvaraj (pix) said that there is a lack of inclination towards certification as the current system is not built by taking into account their realities and the barriers to entry.

He said in the case of Malaysia, with the introduction of the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO), there is a lot of movement and engagement with the government in addressing the core aspects of certification.

“They are more or less raising the bar up in mobilising farmers and engaging and there is also awareness because of the commitment of getting smallholders certified in Malaysia,” he said.

Ashwin said another big issue with certification of smallholders is land titles which is something the RSPO cannot solve.

“We can engage but at the end of the day it is on the local and national governments to address land legality. The next step is for them to move towards RSPO. I wish all the governments will do much more locally,” he noted.

Ashwin pointed out government initiatives have a greater degree of outreach as opposed to what a voluntary scheme such as the RSPO could do as the government has bigger manpower and machinery, as well as agencies and institutions in place.

Meanwhile, smallholders from the district of Tongod in Sandakan, Sabah, told SunBiz on the sidelines of the 16th Annual RSPO Conference recently that obtaining legal land titles underNative Customary Rights (NCR) is a struggle they have to grapple with as ancestral land that has been occupied for generations has been gazetted as eco parks by the state government.

Johndrey Rambakon, who owns 10 hectares of plantation land in Tongod, said the community in his district have not received legal land titles. Plus, he said, there have been cost constraints in managing the plantations and to rent the necessary machinery to build roads to transport their products out.

When asked if the grouses have been brought to the attention of the authorities, he said it has been relayed to the local Member of Parliament but there is yet to be a resolution.

Another smallholding farmer from Pontian, Johor, who spoke to SunBiz on the condition of anonymity, noted that land titles is not an issue in the Peninsula, but smallholders here are bogged down by the issue of labour shortage especially when it comes to recruitment of foreign workers as plantations are highly dependent on manpower from Indonesia.

As such, it raises the question of whether certification is viable for independent smallholders, who are facing all sorts of issues.

Ashwin explained that the RSPO is working to bring down the cost of certification.

“We are also developing a simplified assurance mechanism that reduces the barriers and takes away dependence on third-party audits and peer control mechanism and internal audits but at one point a third party audit will be required. That will bring down the cost ,” he said.

The RSPO is working towards introducing the Smallholder Standard for independent smallholders which will be put out for a vote at its Annual General Assembly next year.

On another note, Ashwin dispelled concerns among smallholders that having their products certified may increase prices and in turn affect uptake.

He said RSPO is engaging with markets to create awareness on the value of certifications so that buyers will be able to digest and understand as well as incentivising and rewarding sellers accordingly when prices go up.


Mexico to cancel Feb auctions for oil, gas blocks including first shale areas, says energy secretary

MEXICO CITY, Dec 9 ― Mexico's energy secretary Rocio Nahle said yesterday that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's newly installed administration would cancel two February bidding rounds for oil and gas blocks, including Mexico's first shale…


Nissan seeks to block Ghosn's access to apartment in Rio

TOKYO, Dec 9 ― Nissan said it was seeking to block former chairman Carlos Ghosn's access to an apartment in Rio de Janeiro, citing a risk that the executive, arrested and removed from his role for financial misconduct, may remove or destroy…


Little change in foreign fund flow, analysts say

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 ― As the year is almost coming to a close, there is a general upbeat over Malaysia’s prospects for 2019 but  there is hardly any noticeable change in the flow of foreign funds into the local equity. Saying that foreign…