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Weekly News Roundup: Plastic Bans in Canada, YouTube Ad Bans in Vietnam

Canada bans single-use plastics

The Canadian government announces it is moving to ban single-use plastics by early 2021. The decision would cover water bottles, plastics bags, and straws, and is inspired by the European Union’s ban, which in turn was spurred by China’s decision to ban most plastic wastes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a “science-based approach” would determine which products ultimately would be covered under the ban. The decision is just the latest in a series of moves designed to reduce dangerous pollutants.

US states and cities are also banning various forms of plastics, and other Southeast Asian countries issued their own bans after becoming overwhelmed by plastic waste.

Merger creates second-largest defense contractor

Defense contractor Raytheon and United Technologies agreed to a US$121 billion merger that would create the world’s second-largest defense contractor, behind Boeing but ahead of Lockeed Martin. The new company, to be called Raytheon Technologies, will construct items such as Tomahawk missiles, F-35 fighter jet engines (already made by United Technologies), and astronaut space suits.

Together, the two companies already employ close to 180,000 people worldwide, and the new company would have sales of about US$74 billion in 2019. United Technologies claimed the merger would lead to US$1 billion in savings. Gregory Hayes, chairman and CEO of United Technologies, lauded the merger: “The combination of United Technologies and Raytheon will define the future of aerospace and defense.”

Trade war could bruise Apple’s sales

The ongoing trade war between China and the United States could affect Apple Inc’s production, as Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer, said it was ready to shift assembly for the tech giant out of China if necessary, as the electronics maker tried to calm investors’ concerns over the trade dispute between the two countries.

The uncertainty led to Foxconn’s first-ever investor meeting and conference call since going public in 1991. Most of the discussion focused on the worsening trade conflict between China and the United States, and the effect of tariffs on the core of Foxconn’s business — building iPhones and iPads, mostly in China.

Vietnam says to skip ads on “anti-state” YouTube content

The Vietnamese government directed companies not to advertise on videos hosted by YouTube that contained “reactionary” or “anti-state” content. Vietnam’s broadcasting and electronic information authority, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Information and Communications, stated: “Google was found to loosely manage its content, allowing users to buy ads directly from YouTube and Google without the involvement of domestic ad agents.”

The agency said there are about 55,000 clips on the video-sharing website that contained “toxic” or “illegal” content, and about 8,000 were already removed from the site. Business groups warned that Vietnam’s increasing measures to police the internet will slow digital transformation in one of Asia’s fast-growing economies.

Hong Kong unrest worries global businesses

Massive protests in Hong Kong are worrying businesses that depend on the Asian territory as their home and regional headquarters. The unrest comes as a law is being proposed that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. Already, hundreds of thousands of citizens have filled the streets to voice their displeasure, and the law could broadly threaten Hong Kong’s position as a middle ground between China and the business world.

No major company has spoken publicly for fear of infuriating the Chinese government, and there are signs that tensions in Hong Kong were undermining business confidence. A former chairman of Goldman Sach’s Greater China business stated his concern about the situation: “Any perceived erosion of independent judiciary and individual freedom could undermine investor confidence and negatively affect Hong Kong’s future as a leading global business and financial center.”

About the Author

Scott Sharon is a freelance writer who has contributed to Conducive Chronicle and World Policy Journal.

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