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Biden Issues An Executive Order Restricting US Investments In Chinese Technology

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to restrict and regulate high-tech U.S.-based investments flowing to China, a move the administration claimed was targeted but also reflected the world’s two largest powers’ escalating competition.

The contract calls for advanced computer chips, microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and artificial intelligence. According to senior administration officials, the initiative was motivated by national security goals rather than economic reasons, and the categories included were purposefully limited in scope. The directive aims to limit China’s capacity to utilize U.S. investments in its technology firms to strengthen its military while keeping larger levels of trade critical to both countries’ economies.

In an early Thursday statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce expressed “serious concern” over the decision and stated that it “reserves the right to take measures.”

The U.S. and China are increasingly involved in a geopolitical struggle based on opposing ideals. Officials in the Biden administration have stated that they have no intention of “decoupling” from China, while the U.S. has also prohibited the sale of advanced computer chips and maintained the enhanced tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump. In response, China accused the United States of “using the cover of ‘risk reduction’ to carry out ‘decoupling and chain-breaking.'” China has cracked down on international enterprises.

As the United States has reenergized partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the European Union, Biden has claimed that China’s economy is failing and its global ambitions have been curbed. In developing the executive order, the administration spoke with allies and industry.

“Worry about China, but don’t worry about China,” Biden said during a fundraiser gathering in California in June.

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to restrict and regulate high-tech U.S.-based investments flowing to China.

According to the individuals who previewed the order, China has used U.S. investments to bolster weapon development and modernization. The new restrictions were designed to avoid disrupting China’s economy, but they would supplement last year’s export limitations on advanced computer chips, which drew criticism from Chinese officials. The Treasury Department, overseeing the investments, will issue a proposed rulemaking with definitions that comply with the presidential directive, followed by a public comment period.

The order’s goals would require investors to notify the U.S. government about certain transactions with China and restrict certain investments. According to officials, the directive is focused on industries such as private equity, venture capital, and joint ventures, where investments might potentially provide countries of concern, such as China, with increased information and military capabilities.

According to J. Philip Ludvigson, a former Treasury official and lawyer, the directive is a starting point that can be expanded over time.

“Today’s executive order represents the beginning of a conversation between the United States government and industry about the details of the ultimate screening regime,” Ludvigson added. “While the executive order is initially limited to semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and artificial intelligence, it explicitly provides for future broadening to other sectors.”

This is a nonpartisan issue as well. The Senate added provisions to monitor and prohibit investments in countries of concern, including China, to the National Defence Authorization Act in July by a vote of 91-6.

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to restrict and regulate high-tech U.S.-based investments flowing to China.

However, the reaction to Biden’s order on Wednesday indicated a determination to exert greater pressure on China. According to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., the directive is an “essential step forward,” but it “cannot be the final step.” Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador, said Biden should be tougher, adding, “we have to stop all U.S. investment in China’s critical technology and military companies — period.”

Biden referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” in the aftermath of the U.S. shooting down a Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the U.S. The status of Taiwan has been a point of contention, with Biden claiming that China has grown forceful in terms of its independence.

China-backed Russia during its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, though Biden has underlined that the partnership does not include the sale of weaponry.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated that it met with the White House and government agencies several times during the order’s preparation and that its goal throughout the feedback period will be “to ensure the measure is targeted and administrable.”

U.S. officials have long hinted at a forthcoming executive order on Chinese investment, but it’s uncertain whether financial markets will view it as a gradual step or a further escalation of tensions at a critical juncture.

“The message it sends to the market may be far more decisive,” Elaine Dezenski, senior director at the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, said. “American and multinational corporations are already reconsidering the risks of investing in China.” Beijing’s so-called ‘national security’ and ‘anti-espionage’ measures, which restrict regular and necessary corporate due diligence and compliance, dampened US FDI. That chill is about to turn into a deep freeze.”

biden

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to restrict and regulate high-tech U.S.-based investments flowing to China.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated that the executive order “seriously deviates from the market economy and fair competition principles that the United States has always advocated.” It impacts normal business decisions, upsets the international economic and trade system, and gravely jeopardizes the security of global industrial and supply chains.”

Following pandemic lockdowns, China’s rapid economic development has slowed. On Wednesday, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced a 0.3% drop in consumer prices in July compared to the previous year. This deflation indicates a lack of consumer demand in China, which could hinder growth.

According to figures issued by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, foreign direct investment into China decreased 89% yearly in the second quarter of this year to $4.9 billion.

According to Chinese experts, most foreign investment is considered to be brought in by Chinese enterprises and disguised as foreign money to obtain tax cuts and other benefits.

However, foreign business organizations report that global corporations are moving their investment plans to other economies.

Foreign firms have lost faith in China due to tougher security restrictions and a failure to follow through on reform promises. Investors are concerned about their future in the state-dominated economy due to Xi and other leaders’ calls for more economic self-reliance.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Toyota Recalls 280,000 Vehicles Because They May ‘Creep Forward’ In Neutral

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Toyota recalled approximately 280,000 pickups and SUVs in the United States because the engine may not fully disengage while in neutral.

“Certain parts of the gearbox may not immediately disengage when the vehicle is shifted to the neutral position,” the Japanese automaker stated on Wednesday. It said this allows some engine power to continue going through to the wheels.

As a result, the vehicle may “inadvertently creep forward at a low speed when it is on a flat surface and no brakes are applied, leading to an increased risk of a crash,” according to the manufacturer.

toyota

Toyota Recalls 280,000 Vehicles Because They May ‘Creep Forward’ In Neutral

Certain Toyota Tundra, Sequoia, and Lexus LX 600 cars made between 2022 and 2024 are being recalled. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand.

Toyota said it will notify owners of recalled vehicles in late April and update the gearbox software.

The business stated that the recall is one of three in the United States on Wednesday.

Toyota announced the recall of an additional 19,000 vehicles due to a software issue: “the rearview image may not display within the period of time required by certain US safety regulations after the driver shifts the vehicle into reverse, increasing the risk of a crash while backing the vehicle.”

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Toyota Recalls 280,000 Vehicles Because They May ‘Creep Forward’ In Neutral

It noted that the safety recall applies to select Mirai and Lexus LS, LC, and ES models manufactured in North America between 2023 and 2024.

Additionally, about 4,000 Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid vehicles are being recalled due to safety concerns with the head restraints on rear fold-down seats, which “increase the risk of injury during certain collisions.”

Toyota is the world’s largest carmaker by sales, yet it risks becoming embroiled in safety controversies.

In December, it recalled approximately 1 million cars and SUVs in the United States owing to a potential fault that might cause the passenger airbag to fail to deploy in a crash.

toyota

Toyota Recalls 280,000 Vehicles Because They May ‘Creep Forward’ In Neutral

The recall affected 15 Lexus cars from 2020 to 2021, including the Camry, Rav4, Sienna, RX350, and ES350.

After admitting to forging safety test results for more than 30 years, Daihatsu, a small Japanese automaker under Toyota ownership, stopped domestic production late last year.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Walmart To Acquire Smart TV Maker Vizio For $2.3 Billion In Bid To Boost Its Advertising Business

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Walmart is paying $2.3 billion for smart TV maker Vizio to boost its quickly growing advertising business and compete with Amazon.

If the purchase is completed, Walmart will gain access to Vizio’s SmartCast operating system, allowing the retail juggernaut to offer its suppliers the opportunity to display adverts on streaming devices.

Walmart Connect, which provides marketers with access to Walmart’s large consumer base, has helped the company grow its media and advertising business. Walmart reported on Tuesday that its global advertising business increased by nearly 28% to $3.4 billion last year.

The developments follow Amazon’s announcement last month that it will begin charging Prime members $2.99 per month to keep their films and TV series ad-free, in addition to the $14.99 per month or $139 per year Prime price.

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What does Walmart stand to gain from a television manufacturer?

Vizio’s SmartCast technology has 18 million active accounts and has increased 400% since 2018. The firms claim that Vizio’s platform has over 500 direct advertisers and that ads now account for most of the company’s gross profit.

In recent years, makers of streaming gear, such as Roku and Vizio, have moved their focus to advertising revenue. Vizio established its Vizio Ads business unit in 2019, claiming to be “one of the few connected TV companies with the device penetration, consumer opt-in, and infrastructure to deliver meaningful scale.”

Walmart saw Vizio’s growing consumer base and grabbed the opportunity to develop its Walmart Connect business.

“We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment,” said Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Walmart U.S.

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Who else is ramping up screen advertising?

Other large streamers, such as Netflix and Disney, have embraced the dual model, allowing them to generate revenue from commercials while simultaneously allowing customers to opt-out for a higher charge.

However, in the ever-changing streaming industry, whether consumers are prepared to pay more to see fewer commercials when they already pay subscription fees, frequently for numerous providers, remains to be seen. Many consumers “cut the cord” and ditched cable TV because they were frustrated with their ever-increasing fees.

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How did the companies’ shares fare?

Vizio stock rose about 15% in the afternoon, reaching $10.96 per share.

Walmart’s stock jumped 3.1% to $175.66 per share after exceeding Wall Street’s expectations with its sales and profit on Tuesday.

Roku, one of Vizio’s primary competitors, saw its stock drop 6.4% by midday.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

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X, then known as Twitter, has finally paid out the employees it fired from its African offices more than a year ago, according to the agency that represents them.

Most had just been with the social media network in Ghana’s capital, Accra, for a few months before they were let go in November 2022.

They had threatened to sue X for failing to pay the redundancy money they said they were promised.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

The corporation has yet to respond.

X previously stated that it had paid ex-employees in full.

Elon Musk, who took over the corporation in 2022, launched a large global workforce layoff, dismissing almost 6,000 individuals. He said he was losing more than $4 million (£3.5 million) daily.

The African contingent, which numbered fewer than 20, had only recently relocated to X’s new office in

Accra after eight months of working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

Agency Seven, the organisation providing legal representation to the workforce, stated that it had successfully obtained a redundancy settlement and repatriation fees for foreign employees but did not indicate the payout size.

“They are very pleased to finally be able to get their due, put this behind them, and look forward to the future,” Agency Seven Seven spokesperson Carla Olympio told the BBC.

Last year, terminated employees told the BBC that their treatment at X had impacted their mental health and money.

“It’s difficult when it’s the world’s richest man owing you money and closure,” one of them stated.

They claimed they were initially assured that they would be paid to work for one more month while their contracts were being terminated. However, they were instantly shut out of their emails, and no more wage payments were issued.

Since then, the crew has reported a difficult battle for compensation.

Some had migrated from adjacent nations, such as Nigeria. Their contract was terminated, leaving them and their families stuck in Ghana.

In a rare interview with the BBC last April, Mr Musk revealed that the social media powerhouse had 1,500 staff, down from just under 8,000 when he bought the company.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

When the news of Mr Musk’s extreme workforce reduction broke, he tweeted that laid-off employees received three months’ severance compensation.

However, staff members in the Africa office claim they still need this.

According to Agency Seven Seven, X only started negotiating with the terminated African staff after the BBC publicised the news.

Last year, ex-employees filed a complaint in a California court accusing X of failing to pay at least $500 million in promised severance benefits.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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