Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump moots border wall, with tax on Mexican products; Solid 2016 for UK despite Brexit; Juggling generations at the workplace

1 Trump moots border wall with tax on Mexican products (BBC) President Donald Trump will seek a tax on goods imported from Mexico and use the revenue to build a border wall, the White House spokesman has said.

The plan was announced just after the Mexican president cancelled a visit to Washington, amid a row sparked by the question of who will pay for the wall. Mr Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to create a wall on the US southern border with Mexico. Making Mexico pay for it was one of his key election campaign pledges.

But President Enrique Pena Nieto has always insisted that will not happen and on Thursday he pulled out of next week's White House meeting. Hours later, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that the president had discussed the funding proposal with lawmakers, and that they are considering making it part of a tax reform package the US Congress is planning.

He said that a 20% tax could generate approximately $10bn in tax revenue per year. "Right now our country's policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous", Mr Spicer said aboard Air Force One, adding that the tax will "easily pay for the wall". The two countries exchange about $1.6bn per day in cross-border trade.

The plan is still being finalised, he explained, saying that the tax could ultimately be as low as 5%. Earlier Mr Pena Nieto said he "lamented" the plans for the barrier. In a televised address, he told the nation: "I've said time and again: Mexico won't pay for any wall."

2 Solid 2016 for UK despite Brexit (Julia Kollewe in The Guardian) Buoyant consumer spending kept the UK economy growing at the brisk pace of 0.6% in the final quarter of 2016, marking a strong finish to the year despite the Brexit vote.

The initial estimate for fourth-quarter GDP from the Office for National Statistics matched the 0.6% growth recorded in the third and second quarters. It was a touch better than the 0.5% rise expected by City economists. The pound hit a fresh six-week high of $1.2673 just before the data was released.

The economy’s resilience has confounded forecasters, some of whom feared the UK would slip into recession following the shock outcome of the EU referendum in June. However, economists are still expecting a slowdown this year as higher inflation affects consumers’ ability to spend.

In 2016, the UK economy grew by 2%, slower than the previous two years, which showed growth of 2.2% and 3.1% respectively. Alan Clarke, of Scotiabank, noted that the first six months since the Brexit vote had seen growth of almost 2.5% annualised, which is above the economy’s trend rate. “Clearly, life goes on, despite the Brexit vote.”

3 Juggling generations at workplace (Khaleej Times) As Generation Z prepares to enter the workforce and join their Generation X and Y colleagues, employers around the world must carefully review their workplace policies to ensure that they have a workplace that is comfortably equipped to deal with all three generations.

As organisations seek to optimise the work environment and policies for multigenerational workforces, it's important to explore whether generational differences are actually relevant. Focusing on the behaviours and attitudes of Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z, Insead's Brave New Workplace eBook explores how these three generations are reshaping the nature of work and workplace culture.

Gen X calls Gen Y the Peter Pan Generation, saying they cling to childhood even as adults. While millennials characterise their Gen X peers as nihilistic and disdainful. Neither has fully formed their opinions about Gen Z, who are on the cusp of entering the workforce.

"Regardless of opinion about the members of this age group, the inclusion of Gen Z in to the labour market will initiate a new era in workplace culture, their presence will disrupt the nature of work as we know it today and therefore understanding the new multigenerational workforce must not be treated as an afterthought," said Universum CEO, Petter Nylander.

"Gen Z are set to account for around 20 per cent of the adult workforce by 2020, and knowing how to harmonise and steer a workplace that includes these three generations should be a top priority for any employer."

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