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India, Africa to forge common cause against Western trade bullying

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New Delhi: India and the 54 countries of Africa are expected to join forces at a mega summit later this month to form a united front to counter perceived Western bullying, notably by the US, over global trade negotiations ahead of an upcoming WTO ministerial meet to be held in Nairobi in December.

Trade officials from India and Africa are already into negotiations ahead of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) being held here October 26-30, to firm up a joint front that will seek to protect the interests of developing countries in the face of Western pressure to succumb to laws seen as tailored to suit their interests.

The 10th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to be held in Nairobi on December 15-18, is likely to see the developed world led by the US and the EU in a stand-off against developing countries led by India, China and others, over protecting their interests.

The forging of an alliance between India and the 54 African countries assumes all the more importance in the face of two mega regional trading agreements being negotiated – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) among 12 countries including the US, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan.

Many of the developed countries of the two groupings are keen to see that the “high standards” of these agreements are imported into the WTO corpus.

India is concerned that the TPP and TTIP agreements, that it is not part of, may seek to set international phyto-sanitary standards and factory standards for goods that India and developing countries like it are not yet ready to measure up to.

The two US-led mega trade groupings, being aggressively pursued by the Barack Obama administration, are expected to go beyond WTO standards and protection measures for intellectual property, environment and labour. The standards they set up are also expected to put constraints on India’s pharmaceutical sector, which produces vital generic drugs at cheap rates for the masses.

Another alarming factor is that foreign investors can file complaints against governments for not adhering to standards or any other issue at dispute panels under a special mechanism as part of the mega agreements, which would put constraints on countries like India.

India and developing countries like in Africa are not yet ready to meet the high norms that the two trading blocs are seeking to impose.

The negotiations at the IAFS would seek to form a support base of partnership in countering such heavy-handedness from big blocs, said a source.

Besides forming a common partnership on international trading concerns, the India-Africa Forum Summit would also see India and the 54 African countries forming a partnership on global issues like reform of the UN Security Council for greater representation and on climate change.

The discussions on climate change are set to figure in a major way at the summit, especially ahead of Conference of the Parties in Paris next month.

Terrorism, especially in the wake of terror groups like Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and Islamic State, spreading their network and activities in the continent would also feature in a big way at the IAFS. Countering terror, sharing information and forging a united front would feature in the talks.

Skilling of their large burgeoning youth population, which is a matter of concern for both sides, would also be a major focus area of talks at the summit.

 

(Ranjana Narayan, IANS)

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HP Unveils its Convertible ENVY x360 in India

The HP Pavilion Tower 590 is available at a starting price of Rs 22,990 (+GST)

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HP launches premium convertible ENVY x360 in India. Flickr

Expanding its premium portfolio, HP Inc. on Tuesday launched the HP ENVY x360 convertible powered by AMD Ryzen processor for the millennials in India.

HP ENVY x360 with AMD Ryzen R3 processor would be available from November at a starting price of Rs 60,990.

The variant with 256GB storage will cost Rs 74,990. The company is also offering a bundled HP Active Pen that works with Windows Ink.

“We have about 30 per cent share in the premium segment and this is growing much faster than the lower-priced segment. We’re expecting to increase our share and get rapid uptake from the customers,” Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP Inc. India, told IANS here.

“At HP, we believe in insights-driven innovation that enables us to deliver the PC experiences that users want. The HP Envy x360 is a combination of sleek design, optimum performance and quality at an affordable cost,” he added.

The convertible features the all new HP Command Center which lets users optimise system performance, fan noise and temperature with its CoolSense technology.

The device supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, to provide fast Internet connections for demanding streaming apps for movies, music and gaming.

HP
HP ENVY x360 with AMD Ryzen R3 processor would be available from November at a starting price of Rs 60,990.. (IANS)

The unique design of the laptop draws inspiration from hand-crafted pieces that feature the Damascus pattern — a high precision technique used in manufacturing specialty knives, known to be tough and durable, the company added.

AMD Ryzen processor gives performance up to 12.5 hours of battery life, charging from zero per cent battery life to 50 per cent on 45 minutes charge with HP Fast Charge technology, the company claimed.

The Corning Gorilla Glass NBT touchscreen gives highly intuitive reaction, with HP Active Pen for a seamless and natural work experience.

The device is available in Dark Ash Silver colour with an angular Damascus pattern, thin bezels and edge-to-edge backlit keyboard.

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Devices including the HP Pavilion 15 ultra-thin 15-inch laptop, HP Pavilion Tower 590 desktop and the HP 15 Notebook were also unveiled.

The HP Pavilion 15 laptop with AMD Ryzen R5 processor would be available in November at a starting price of Rs 62,990 while the one with AMD Ryzen R3 processor is available now at a starting price of Rs 36,990.

The HP Pavilion Tower 590 is available at a starting price of Rs 22,990 (+GST). (IANS)