Thursday. 13/12/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Economy

Open for business?

As spiralling tensions are defused between China and the US, will China’s new trade outlook be enough to pacify the West?

One of the dominant stories of 2018 – and there have been many – has been the trade spat between China and the US, and the subsequent détente at the G20 summit in Argentina. After an agreement in Buenos Aires between Trump and Xi Jinping to suspend new trade tariffs, China is now set to rubber stamp a new policy that would allow greater access to its colossal market by opening up to foreign companies. The move would see a shift away from the protectionist technology and energy-focused “Made in China 2025” agenda currently driving Beijing’s economic policies. The new plan will reportedly be rolled out early next year – but whether it will address all of Trump’s many grievances about fair competition remains to be seen.

Image: Getty Images

Architecture

Build it. They will come

Britain has opened the door to architects of ‘exceptional talent’ but the sector will still need to build bridges.

Britain’s architectural community has chalked up a quiet victory amid the rolling chaos of Brexit. The Home Office has announced that, from 10 January, foreign architects deemed of “exceptional talent” will have access to Tier 1 working visas, which can last as long as five years. The sector relies heavily on international workers and can breathe something of a sigh of relief now that is guaranteed some security. Despite this, it is unclear whether British architecture firms will be able to easily work in EU countries after Brexit. The UK’s £100bn creative economy faces immense upheaval as a result of its decision to leave the EU. This week's announcement is helpful but much more needs to be done to ensure any sort of positive future.

Image: Alamy

Military

Jet lag

Recruitment – and old equipment – is proving a fly in the ointment for Canada’s air force.

Love it or hate it, the bone-rattling buzz of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) airshows are a staple of Canadian summers. However, 2019 will see just 30 of the aerial spectacles, down from 50 the year before. The reason is a dearth of CF-18 fighter jet pilots and technicians. Earlier this year it was revealed that the RCAF is 275 pilots short of its target number – and Canada’s highly publicised inability to secure a fresh crop of modern jets isn’t helping. Canada needs to get its air force in order to ensure the country can meet its domestic and international obligations but, for now, Canadians (and their pets) can take solace in quieter, more peaceful skies.

Image: Alamy

Transport

Subject to cancellation

Residents are railing against the recommended name of a new train station in Tokyo.

Tokyoites have given a big thumbs-down to the proposed name for a new station on the Yamanote Line, the busy overground track that loops around the city. Said name is Takanawa Gateway; it would be the first station on the line with an English moniker and is proving so unpopular that 30,000 people (and counting) have signed a petition calling for owner JR East to reconsider. Curiously, Takanawa Gateway received only 36 votes (putting it in 130th place) when the the railway company polled the public on a long list of potential names, while plain Takanawa came top with 8,398. The station, which sits on the site of an old railway yard not far from Haneda Airport, has been designed by Kengo Kuma and is due to open in spring 2020.

Jobbatical

The Entrepreneurs

Karoli Hindriks is co-founder and CEO of Jobbatical, an employment network helping companies to build stronger and more diverse workforces by hiring talent from abroad. Well-known in her native Estonia as an inventor, media personality and successful entrepreneur, Hindriks set her sights on working with businesses and governments to move skilled workers across borders.

Power pack – driving renewables

A trip to Iceland for a masterclass in sustainable living and a whizz around Audi’s electric car plant in Brussels leaves Monocle Films with a positive vision of the future.

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