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US tariffs on China ruled to be illegal by world trade body

The decision marks the first time the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of tariffs that President Donald Trump’s government has imposed on a number of countries, allies and rivals alike.

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US-China-trade-war

Geneva: The World Trade Organization said Tuesday that Trump administration tariffs on Chinese goods totaling more than $200 billion are illegal under the rules of the global trade body.

The decision marks the first time the Geneva-based trade body has ruled against a series of tariffs that President Donald Trump’s government has imposed on a number of countries, allies and rivals alike.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the WTO, which oversees international disputes on trade, for allegedly treating the US unfairly.

In its decision, the WTO ruled against the Trump administration’s argument that China has engaged in practices harmful to US interests, on issues including intellectual property theft, technology transfer and innovation.

The ruling, in theory, would allow China to impose retaliatory tariffs on billions worth of US goods – if the process is completed. But the US government can appeal the decision announced by the WTO’s dispute settlement body, and the WTO’s appeals court is currently no longer functioning – largely because of Washington’s single-handed refusal to accept new members for it.

The US tariffs target two batches of Chinese products. Duties of 10% were imposed on some $200 billion worth of goods in September 2018, and were jacked up to 25% eight months later. An additional 25% duties were imposed in June 2018 against Chinese goods worth about $34 billion in annual trade.

The administration has justified the sanctions under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a common tool used by the government to impose sanctions. The US argued that China’s actions had amounted to “state-sanctioned theft” and “misappropriation” of US technology, intellectual property and commercial secrets.

The WTO panel ruled that the US measures violated longstanding international trade rules because they only applied to products from China, and that Washington had not adequately substantiated its claim that the Chinese products hit with the extra duties had benefited from the allegedly unfair Chinese practices.

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Airtel narrowing gap with Jio on 4G in India: Report

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

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New Delhi: Airtel has come closer to challenging Reliance Jio which continues to reign supreme on 4G availability and 4G coverage experience in India, says a new report by mobile analytics company Opensignal.

While the average proportion of time that Jio users spent connected to 4G has increased by 0.5 of a percentage point since the last report to reach an impressive 98.7 per cent, Airtel saw its score increase by 1.1 percentage points.

“As a consequence, Jio’s lead has dropped from 3.7 percentage points to 3.1,” said the report.

In regional analysis of 49 cities, Airtel came close to challenging Jio’s dominance on 4G availability in a majority of the cities although Jio continued to win almost all awards, said the report.

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

However, for the second report in a row, Airtel has won four of the awards outright — video experience, games experience, voice app experience and download Speed experience, while ownership of the upload speed experience award smoothly passed from Vodafone to Vi.

This is the first report in which Opensignal treated Vodafone and Idea as a single operator — Vi — in line with the combined operator’s new branding that was announced on September 7.

For the report, Opensignal examined the mobile network experience of the four main mobile network operators in India: Airtel, BSNL, Jio and Vi, over a period of 90 days beginning May 1 to see how they fared, and further delved deeper into 49 of India’s largest cities, comparing the experience users received on these four operators.

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Govt-owned NABARD gives clean chit to Reliance Commercial Finance

Action of Indian Bank and Federal Bank is despite the Delhi High Court staying such action by the lead bank Bank of Baroda on 14th August, 2020.

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Anil Ambani

New Delhi: Government owned National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the second largest lender to Reliance Commercial Finance Limited (RCF) with over Rs 1,100 crore of secured loan exposure has given clean chit to RCF and has removed its red flag.

NABARD is a part of the consortium of lenders and is signatory to an Inter Creditor Agreement (ICA) executed between the lenders of RCF under June 7, 2019 circular of RBI on resolution of stressed assets.

NABARD had classified the account of RCF as Red Flag on February 25, 2020. Thereafter lenders conducted a detailed forensic audit by Grant Thornton (GT).

At a meeting of the Consortium of Lenders led by Bank of Baroda, held on Friday September 25, 2020, NABARD informed the consortium of lenders that having examined the GT forensic report, it found no element of fraud and has therefore removed the red flag.

Earlier, Delhi High Court on August 14 had stayed a move by Bank of Baroda, the leader of Consortium of Bank, to classify the accounts as fraud, restraining banks from taking any other coercive action till the next hearing. Similar action of Punjab National Bank was also stayed by Delhi High Court on 11th August, 2020.

As per information reported on Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC), Indian Bank and Federal Bank have classified their exposure to Reliance Home Finance Ltd (RHFL) as a fraud account.

Indian Bank having an exposure of only Rs. 120 crore, made such classification on 29th August, 2020. The exposure of Federal Bank to RHFL is 100 crore — out of the total RHFL debt of over Rs 10,000 crore.

Action of Indian Bank and Federal Bank is despite the Delhi High Court staying such action by the lead bank Bank of Baroda on 14th August, 2020.

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Paytm Dares Google, Brings Back Cricket League With UPI Cashback

Paytm said that the cashback was being given following all rules and regulations set by the government.

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Paytm APP

New Delhi: Home-grown financial services platform Paytm, which was briefly removed from Google Play Store for alleged policy violations earlier this month, said on Monday that it has brought back the Paytm Cricket League with UPI cashback and scratch cards.

Now, users can collect stickers of their favourite cricket stars as they pay digitally for their mobile bills, recharges, buying groceries or money transfers, Paytm said.

Once they complete a set, they can redeem it for cashback up to Rs 1,000, it added.

Every sticker collected by the user is automatically added to the cricket album. There are three different milestones to be achieved for getting cashback — 11 unique cricket players, 11 unique bowlers or 11 unique batsmen.

Whenever a milestone is achieved, the users get a scratch card with an assured cashback.

“We are excited to bring Paytm Cricket League back on our app to reward users with UPI cashback on reaching various milestones, accomplished by collecting player stickers,” a Paytm spokesperson said in a statement.

Earlier, Paytm in a blog post stated that Google mandated it to remove the UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign to get re-listed on the Android Play Store even though offering both is legal in India.

Paytm said that the cashback was being given following all rules and regulations set by the government.

The company alleged that it was “arm-twisted” by the search engine major to comply with what it called “biased Play Store policies that are meant to artificially create Google’s market dominance.”

Later, the Paytm app was restored on the Play Store after a gap of a few hours.

“We maintain that our promotional campaign was within guidelines and there was no violation. We believe that such arbitrary actions and accusatory labelling go against the laws of our country and acceptable norms of fair competition by arbitrarily depriving our users of innovative services,” the Paytm spokesperson said.

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