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This is Business Live from BBC News, with Ben Bland and Sally Bundock.
America's Vice President meets European leaders in Brussels,
as the future of trade relations remains shrouded in uncertainty.
Live from London, that's our top story on Monday
The US and Europe are the world's biggest trade blocs.
But tensions between the two sides have been rising.
The world's biggest potential takeover gets canned.
US food giant Kraft Heinz now says it won't buy its rival Unilever.
That's how the market looks at the start of the trading day.
Making sure everyone gets in on the act.
We'll meet the woman putting disabled actors centre stage.
Supermarkets say we're buying more organic fruit and veg.
Do you think it's worth the extra money?
The US Vice President Mike Pence meets the President
of the European Council Donald Tusk in Brussels this morning.
They will try to mend fences after throwing rhetorical fire
crackers at each other in recent weeks.
While Mr Tusk described Trump as a threat to Europe,
Mr Trump has praised the UK's decision to leave the Union
and angered many nations with his travel ban.
Between them, the US and the European Union are the world's
Figures from 2014 put the value of all goods and services traded
It sold $91 billion more stuff to the USA than
Something the Trump administration would like to change.
And since 2013, the EU and US have been trying
to broker a free trade deal, the so-called Transatlantic Trade
and Investment Partnership, TTIP, that would eliminate tariffs
But President Trump has said nothing about it since his election.
Many though expect TTIP to be scrapped.
Where differences have emerged, it's been over
currency valuations, car exports and
Leslie Vinjamuri is an associate fellow of the US the Americas
Programme at the Chatham House, a thinktank here in London
Mike Pence has been in Europe for a few days, talked us through how it
is going? The vice president was at the Munich
Security conference, the premier meeting of ministers and notable
officials across the world. He spoke about America's commitment,
reaffirming it to Nato, but he did not speak about the EU which left a
lot of European leaders concerned. He is going to Brussels today.
There is a broader question about whether or not there will be some
concern about whether America will try to amend the unravelling of the
EU. President Trump has been supportive of Brexit, talking about
a bilateral trade deal with the UK. There has been no clear commitment
to supporting a multilateral vehicle through the EU. Donald Trump is
opposed to multilateralism and has sought to work by naturally with
most of the country's partners. The focus of the visit by Mike Pence
has been about security, Nato, but there is a lot of overlap between
security and trade. Prior to him coming, the
conversation between the US and Europe has not been good.
It has been unsettling for most of the European leaders, the idea Trump
gave the interview in January and said Nato was obsolete. And put
Europe on the back foot, saying, you must increase your defence spending
if you want us to be committed to Nato. This weekend, renewed pressure
for Europe to step up and those states not hitting the 2% of GDP the
spending on defence to really step up.
There is a broader conversation which is who is really in charge?
Donald Trump has not stepped up in the same way to affirm that
commitment to Nato or the EU. A lot of people are watching this to see
who is really running the ship will stop so much uncertainty from the
US. Very unnerving for Europe. The visit today is very important.
The other thing I mentioned was the transatlantic partnership, Donald
Trump hasn't said much about that since taking office. Do you think
there is any hope for any sort of trade deal between the US and the
EU? Or is that I get out of the water? I
think TTIP is probably very unlikely to move forward. The Trump
administration has been very reluctant to push forward new
multilateral trade deals, it has pulled out of Asia.
TTIP is unlikely to move forward. What we are likely to see is,
whatever talks go on about trade, it will be with this agenda of American
interests must come first. What does that mean? We don't know yet. A lot
coming out of the Trump administration is rhetorical. We
haven't seen very significant efforts in terms of legislating or
pushing forward policies. A lot of uncertainty, we are still operating
at the level of what will the stated commitment be, on trade.
But little movement so far. Thank you so much for coming in and
sharing your expertise. We shall keep you across any news that comes
out of that meeting today between Donald Tusk and Mike Pence.
It will be interesting. Japan's trade deficit grew by more
than expected in January to about $9.6bn, largely
because of the increased Nonetheless, exports increased
by 1.3%, despite a fall in vehicle sales to Europe
and the United States, amid concern of protectionist trade policies
from President Trump. The latest numbers mean
Japan's trade surplus Ride-sharing service Uber has opened
an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made
by a former employee. The boss Travis Kalanick said
there was "absolutely no place" for the type of behaviour detailed
in a blog by former engineer Susan Fowler who left
the company in December. It is likely to bring a renewed
focus to sexism in Silicon Valley with several commentators suggesting
online that her experiences were instantly recognisable to other
women working in the tech industry. A lot of news on our website, quite
interesting is the story our second headline, Kraft Heinz has decided it
is not going to go ahead with a better or renewed offer for
Unilever. That has had an immediate impact on the shares on the
financial markets. Some are saying perhaps it is the previous
experience of Cadbury that was snapped up by Kraft Heinz which they
have impacted on this deal. This paragraph saying, Kraft Heinz
will find it difficult to win over UK politicians because of concern
about what it might mean for British jobs. More analysis on that as well.
A New Zealand judge has upheld an earlier court ruling that
flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three
of his colleagues can be extradited to the US to face criminal charges.
What more do we know? Basically, he was the founder of the now-defunct
mega upload .com. Five years ago the US authorities
shut down that site. Putting some 15 charges against him of racketeering,
money-laundering, copyright infringement amongst other things.
The New Zealand High Court has said he is not guilty of copyright
infringement and cannot be extradited under that. But he can
still be etched dieted under conspiracy to commit copyright
infringement, that goes for his other co-defendants. All four say
they will appeal this case. The defendant says he expects this case
to go on for another two years, this extradition court case.
He posted it as a David Angella case. We will see whether he, his
case stands up against the law. Christine, thank you very much for
that. Let's take a look at how the markets
are doing. Asian markets were mixed
as political uncertainty globally Japan's Nikkei went flat
after domestic data showed exports US financial markets will be closed
for a long weekend holiday, European markets starting
the new trading week with gains Worth watching what happens
to Unilever shares after US food company Kraft Heinz
withdrew its proposal Unilever's shares jumped 13%
on Friday on news of the bid. Lots of corporate results
due out this week. The UK's big banks will report
their annual profits, including HBSC, RBS,
Lloyds and Standard Chartered. Also due out, results
from the big mining companies including BHP Billiton,
Glencore and Anglo American. US stock markets are closed today
for the President's Day holiday. But here's Michelle Fleury
in New York with the details of what to look out
for later in the week The question is will they be able to
build on the gains last week, the major indexes have been buoyed
partly by Donald Trump's promises fewer vacations and tax cuts for
businesses, all happening against a backdrop of an improving US economy.
That progress was pointed to, but the dangers of waiting too long to
raise interest rates. Investors will be looking at the latest Federal
reserve meeting the clues of any imminent hike.
On the economic front, Wall Street will be looking at plenty of data on
the housing market and an insight to the manufacturing sector, look out
for the report for February. Wrapped up only that, freezing in
New York. Joining us is Jessica Ground, UK
Equities Fund Manager at Schroders. Quite a bit going on. Let us talk
about Kraft Heinz and their pull-out of pursuing Unilever. Interesting, a
swift reversal of intentions late yesterday.
That was because Kraft Heinz really did want to lose Unilever, they felt
it had to be an agreed deal partly because Unilever has those iconic
brands, partly because Kraft Heinz have a mixed track record having
shut down those Cadbury plants. I suspect when it became clear
Unilever was less than enthused, they decided not to go ahead.
Unilever shares down 8% this morning, no surprise. They were up
over 10% on Friday on news of a possible take over.
A bit of a round trip on the situation.
Mentioning the results we are expecting later this week, the big
banks, big mining companies, that will all move the markets presumably
in One Direction or another. They are large parts of the markets,
two different trends, with the commodity markets, compared to a
year ago were the figures were so low, commodity prices are much
higher. We are still looking for evidence the management teams are
disciplined, keeping a lid on costs, not having that boom and bust
mentality. The banks, it will be interesting.
Particularly some of the forward looking indicators for the
consumers, high levels of indebtedness, employment is high
which is great but there could be interest rate highs is on the
horizon, so it will be interested to see what the banks do on that side.
Thank you for now, Jessica will be back soon. We will be talking about
organic food sales. Do you buy organic?
Sometimes. Do you? Me too.
I try to grow my own. The last organic vegetable I've bought was
A question of equality, We'll meet the woman making sure
disabled actors get their turn in the spotlight.
Online retail giant Amazon has said it will create 5,000 new full-time
The jobs will be across the business in the London head office,
Edinburgh customer service centre, and in three new warehouses.
Let's speak to Natalie Burge. Tell us more, why is Amazon investing so
much in the UK? Amazon is committed to the UK. It is their second
largest international market after Germany and they view the UK as a
very strategic market. There is a lot of overlap between US and UK
consumers. They see it as a very familiar market when it comes to
rolling out some of the big US initiatives. They see the UK as an
international launch pad and that's why, if you look over the past year,
we have seen the launch of Amazon Fresh, their online grocery service
here in the UK. They delivered their first order by drone before
Christmas last year and we have seen the roll-out of their virtual
personal assistant. So they're clearly doing a lot in the US and
they view the UK as a gateway to the international market.
That's interesting the creation of new jobs, because the other
direction that Amazon has been going in is using these drones for
deliveries and there has been a lot of talk about drones perhaps taking
the jobs of some delivery drivers? Yeah, I mean, you know, drones are
certainly part of their fulfilment offering, but the more significant
pieces is the fact that they are opening three new fulfilment centres
in the UK and it just shows they need additional warehouse capacity.
Drones will be part of it, but I think if you look at what they're
doing in terms of they are seeing growth in their own products, but
they are seeing growth in their third party sellers, their market
place vendors and this is really significant because from a
consumer's point of view, they go to Amazon.co.uk for assortment. You've
got 150 million products on this website and if they're able to have
access to the products and also have the benefit of Amazon's speedy
delivery, well, it is a win, win. I think it is quite significant.
Thanks, Natalie. Lots more to discuss on our website.
Take a look and news about Bovis setting aside more money for
customers. Our top story, the US vice-president
Mike Pence is holding talks with EU It comes at a time of growing
uncertainty over relations between the world's two
biggest trading blocs. A quick look at how
markets are faring. It is President's Day in the United
States. No action there later on today, but European markets are
pretty flat. As Ben and Jessica were saying earlier, lots of corporate
stories coming out as the week progresses so there will be plenty
to chew on as the week progresses. All this week we're looking
at the relationship between disabled people and businesses and how
they work for each other. An estimated 1.2 billion people
around the world have But they still don't always
get access to the same Well, one talent agency is trying
to change that when it comes VisABLE People was founded in 1994
and became the world's first agency It now handles the careers of dozens
of actors and models, and says it helps put disabled
people into mainstream media focus. So it has got its clients roles
in top BBC shows like Casualty and EastEnders as well as on TV ads
for big companies like the British supermarket chain Sainsbury
and the mobile phone provider Joining us is Louise Dyson,
founder and CEO of VisABLE People. Good to see you. Good morning. Just
tell us, you started in 1994, 23 years ago, why? At the time I owned
a model agency. It was a big agency. The biggest outside London. We had
all sorts of different clients and one of them was a manufacturer of
mobility equipment. And they decided that they wanted to begin to use
genuinely disabled people to model their products and I didn't know
any. And we decided to organise a competition, nationwide, to find
people who had modelling potential and also who had disabilities and we
had the most fantastic response. We had over 600 applicants which was
just wonderful. Very high standard. So that's how it all started 23
years ago, but you're still the only agency in the whole world that
represents disabled actors, models, representatives, for various areas
of work. Why is that? I think the reason we are owe the only agency
that only has disabled artists and model and covers every area of the
work is because most agencies tend to specialise. You will have an
agency that perhaps just has presenters and an agency that just
has voice-over artists, an agency that has model, an agency that has
models. Because it has been a case of trying to create a market from
scratch, it has been a case of also having to be good at all things. So
we have different people who are capable of doing the different kinds
of roles and I suppose in that case it all has to come under VisABLE
People. The reason there aren't any other agencies doing what we do
because it took 15 years before it was even faintly profitable really.
It was a conscious decision not to have the word, "Disability" In the
name of the company, wasn't it? Why would we? You were saying to us, you
know, you think that the term, "Disabled" Is outdated and
unhelpful? I think the word "Disability and disabled" Doesn't
conjure anything exciting. I have got fantastic people who have got
energy, and beauty and skills and you know the world disability
doesn't really help that. Where do you see the business going? What
kind of hopes and dreams do you have for the future of it? I think one of
the most exciting developments has been the increase in the number of
bookings we've had from other countries. And the exciting part
about that is that it means that the message, the whole point of VisABLE
is to change the mindset on disability. If we succeed in doing
that in other parts of the world, that means we're achieving our aim
really, but I do envisage opening up in other markets. It means opening
other markets. We did have to create the market in the UK to begin with
and it means rolling that out into other countries. But you personally
had to be extremely, you know, you had to really persevere in this
because it has taken awe long time. You're only faintly profitable after
15 years in trying to build this business and yet you stuck at it.
Were you not tempted to just... No. Pull the plug? No, I was never
tempted to do that. It was such a great idea. It was a great idea
because of the power it has to influence people's thinking. It is
all about, it is specifically not a charitable venture, although I would
describe VisABLE as having social enterprise conditions, in that we
have an objective which is for something good, not just about the
bottom line, but at the same time, it really does, it influences
people's thinking. Louise, thank you for coming in today and sharing. It
is very, very interesting. Louise Dyson of VisABLE. It is a
deliberately funny spelling. Well, it works. Well done, thank you for
coming in. In a moment we'll take a look
through the Business Pages, but first here's a quick reminder
of how to get in touch with us. The Business Live page
is where you can stay ahead of all the day's
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from the BBC's team of editors Get involved on the BBC business
live web page: bbc.com/business, on Twitter @BBCBusiness and you can
find us on Facebook Business Live on TV and online,
whenever you need to know. Jessica Ground, UK Equities Fund
Manager, Schroders is back. Jessica so the Guardian, organic
food sales are soaring as shoppers put quality before price. How long
will that last, we wonder? Well, quite interesting because in the
last financial slowdown we saw shoppers move to discounters and to
cut back on eating out. But I think that we've got to divorce the
cyclical from the stuck turl. There is this long-term trend towards
cleaning eating, healthy eating, Instagraming your food, but as
consumers spending power comes under pressure from higher inflation they
start to cut back and it will be interesting to see. We had a few
tweets about this. We asked do you buy organic or not? Grumpy Pete said
no, it is a waste of money. Jerome said organic veg, but only if it is
in season and not flown in. It may taste better, but it is too
expensive in the UK. Jessica? A mix and match. There is a massive debate
in our newsroom about this with one of our producers saying it is a con
unless you buy it from the farm. Let's look at Bill Gates. This is
really interesting, the Financial Times Bill Gates is calling for
robots to pay taxes. What is he talking about? He is pointing out
that the rise of robots is going to cause a lot of disruption for labour
markets and make a lot of jobs obsolete. He is pointing out that
employment produces a lot of tax for Government. He's saying let's tax
robots and use that money to retrain workers. In a nutshell. As you can
tell we're both humans by how the programme has gone! We will see you
soon. Have a really good day.