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Britain seeks Asia-Pacific free trade bloc membership

Britain will apply to join the Pacific free trade area, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the UK said Saturday (Jan 30), under its post-Brexit plans. Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is to formally request UK membership of the free trade bloc, which represents 11 Pacific Rim nations including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico and Vietnam, on February 01, 2021. The application to join the CPTPP will come one year after Britain formally left the European Union following more than 40 years of membership. Negotiations between the UK and the partnership are expected to start this year, the trade department said. Truss, who has touted the prospect of British membership of the bloc as the UK agreed post-Brexit trading arrangements with Japan and Canada among other members of the CPTPP, said joining would offer enormous opportunities. (CNA/AFP)

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Ford is to start building its iconic Mustang cars in China for the first time. The US carmaker said its Mustang Mach-E will start being produced there later this year as it looks to tap into China’s electric vehicle (EV) market. Earlier this month, Tesla started delivering its Model Y to Chinese customers from its Shanghai factory. Western brands are aggressively targeting China, where EV sales are expected to grow strongly. Volkswagen said it would soon begin delivering vehicles produced at two newly-built Chinese factories dedicated to electric cars. China is the world’s biggest car market with more than 20m vehicles sold each year. Ford is also hoping to capitalise on China’s economic recovery and the Chinese government’s push for more electric cars on its roads.

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Unverified rumors says Donald Tump could be about to launch a new political party have been growing since he promised a comeback as he left the White House. While the former president has not announced any such plan, many of his supporters have championed the idea of a new so-called Patriot Party. As Forbes reported, George Papadopoulos has said on Twitter that the Patriot Party will be a viable third party, Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs has suggested the name has a great ring to it, while farright social media personalities such as Lin Wood have circulated logos featuring a lion for a party of that name. Google searches for Patriot Party have soared in recent days, with more interest in the term than the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. But Patriot Party is already a registered trademark and one which is not held under the name Donald Trump.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Australian lawmakers last week to discuss rules that would make internet giants pay news outlets for content but failed to persuade them to change policy, the country’s Treasurer said on Sunday (Jan 31). Zuckerberg reached out to talk about the code and the impact on Facebook and a constructive discussion followed last week between the social media billionaire, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and communications minister Paul Fletcher. Australia intends to introduce a law that would force Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, and internet search giant Google to negotiate payments to media companies whose content drives traffic to their websites. If the parties cannot agree on payments, a government-appointed arbitrator will set the fees for them. (CNA/Reuters) mannyrabacal1144@ gmail.com