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With dwindling options on inflation and a mounting chorus of special interest business lobbies, the Biden-Harris administration is reportedly considering removing some Trump-era tariffs in an effort to moderate rising prices in the U.S. economy.
Tempting as such an action may seem, it is certain to have unnoticeable effects on overall prices—at best. And the action will ensure, moving forward, that our supply chains will be even more vulnerable to the kinds of disruption risks we are seeing play out right now. These tariffs offer a tangible policy response to a real-world economy rife with market failures that invalidate the predictions of canonical economic trade models used to argue against keeping the tariffs.
In the absence of a more comprehensive approach to U.S. industrial strategy, the tariffs are working to resuscitate America’s industrial base and have done so with no meaningful adverse impacts on prices. Pulling the rug from under this rebuild now, without first putting in place other policy solutions to address costly market failures, risks undoing this progress and jeopardizing the financial conditions in industries that are critical to building the infrastructure and renewable energy investments needed to power future economic growth.
Two broad sets of tariffs implemented under U.S. trade law in 2018 are under review by the Biden-Harris administration. The first and biggest group retaliated against findings of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer in U.S. companies doing business in China, following a United States Trade Representative (USTR) investigation under Sec. 301 authority. This led the Trump administration to negotiate a “Phase One” economic agreement with China.
The second set of tariffs invoked national security concerns under Sec. 232 of the trade act to bolster U.S. steel and aluminum industries, perennially at risk of financial insolvency amid long-running, state policy-driven global supply gluts. Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s mushrooming steel investment accounted for nearly 70% of the growth in the world’s steel production capacity—a 423% increase—though the tariffs apply more broadly to cover imports from a range of countries where industrial policies are driving investment on a non-commercial basis, worsening chronic overcapacity in global steel and aluminum markets, among other energy- and carbon-intensive basic industries.
Ever since these tariffs were enacted, business lobbies and orthodox economists have warned that tariffs would devastate the economy. One can debate what alternative policy outcomes were possible or preferable, but it is clear that tariffs didn’t make the sky fall. The data show no material adverse impact on consumers or the broader U.S. economy. Previous EPI analysis has shown that the Section 232 measures on steel and aluminum imports have had no meaningful real-world impact on the prices of the leading metal-consuming products (such as motor vehicles, machinery, construction materials, and more).
The unspectacular effects of these tariffs on prices are plain to see by breaking up the recent experience into three periods. Figure A compares the average inflation rate performance across consumer price and various key industrial goods price measures in the period preceding these tariffs, the nearly two-year period with tariffs in effect prior to the pandemic, and from the pre-pandemic business cycle peak through the latest May 2022 data. Inflation, broadly, decelerated substantially after implementation of the tariffs in the pre-pandemic period. This is true for manufactured goods writ large, as well as for consumer prices overall, measured in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Tellingly, price increases for steel and aluminum slowed sharply to 0.7-0.8% annually from roughly 10% and 4% annually, respectively—largely attributable to U.S. producers redeploying and reinvesting in domestic production capacity amid improved financial conditions resulting from the tariffs.
Price increases for transportation equipment—the biggest metals-consuming industry, including for cars and trucks and their parts—slowed by more than one-third. In some other leading metal-using industries, prices accelerated modestly, but nothing to affect the overall downward trend in prices, and nothing on the order of doomsday predictions prophesied by tariff opponents. In other words, for two years markets and policymakers adjusted to these measures before the pandemic without a hiccup. Inflation, broadly, only spiked after February 2020; it is simply not plausible to infer that these tariffs had a causal role in pandemic-era inflation.
|Pre-tariffs||With tariffs, before pandemic||Pandemic + Ukraine war|
|Iron & steel||9.9%||0.7%||64.2%|
|Machinery & equipment||0.8%||2.0%||50.3%|
|Energy (final demand)||12.7%||-0.5%||71.7%|
Note: Pre-tariffs = April 2016–February 2018; With tariffs, before pandemic = March 2018–January 2020; Pandemic = February 2020–May 2022.
Source: EPI analysis of BLS 2022 data.
It should not be surprising that these tariffs, though affecting a wide swath of U.S. imports, had little effect on U.S. prices. First, Chinese policymakers responded to the tariffs by depreciating their exchange rate by 15% from February 2018 to late 2019, offsetting much of the price impact by making all Chinese exports to the United States that much cheaper in dollar terms.
Second, the tariff measures themselves are rather porous, allowing significant shares of imports to pass around these duties. The Department of Commerce has granted hundreds of thousands of exclusions to both the Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs where businesses could demonstrate adverse economic impacts from limited alternative domestic sources, and where deemed essential under the COVID-19 public health emergency. More importers bypassed the tariffs by transshipping products through countries with preferable access to U.S. markets, perhaps after performing some trivially minimal transformation to qualify as a different product under U.S. trade rules.
Finally, the tariffs are levied on a much smaller base than is implied by the volume of imports covered: the primary steel and aluminum and intermediate inputs of more processed parts and materials. These make up just a fraction of the overall cost of a final good supplied to consumers. For example, looking at pre-pandemic prices, the steel inputs required to make a new U.S. car amount to just 2% of the sales price, compared with 40% for semiconductors and other electronic components.
This suggests that removing the tariffs now—even ignoring impacts on already strained supply chains—would have a similarly negligible impact on the surging inflation we are now experiencing. Figure B illustrates why: overall tariff and customs duties paid on U.S. imports amount to a trivial share of overall personal consumption expenditures. In the nearly two years following the Sec. 232 and Sec. 301 tariffs, customs duties as a share of consumer expenditures increased from 0.3% to 0.4%, on average, relative to the period preceding tariffs. Even if one were to assume (implausibly) this was due to Sec. 301 and 232 tariffs and no other factors, they amounted to at most a 0.1% increase in prices.
But, of course, there were other economic factors at work and the increased tariff collection did not translate into higher inflation. In fact, Figure B shows that consumer prices decelerated from 2.0% to 1.8%, on average, annualized, after implementation of the tariffs and through the business cycle peak in the first quarter of 2020. Customs duties continued to ratchet up during the pandemic, minimally and mechanically, as people shifted from consuming services—less available in the pandemic—to goods, and imports surged with a stronger U.S. dollar, adding another 0.1% as a share of consumer spending. At best, removing these tariffs would result in a one-time price decrease of 0.2%—a drop in the bucket when you consider consumer prices have risen by more than three times as much, on average, every month since January 2021.
|Pre-tariffs||With tariffs, before pandemic||Pandemic + Ukraine war|
|Tariff and customs revenues, share of personal consumption expenditures||0.3%||0.4%||0.5%|
|PCE price index, average annualized growth rate||2.0%||1.8%||4.4%|
Note: Pre-Trump tariffs = 2016, third quarter–2018, first quarter; With tariffs, before pandemic = 2018, second quarter–2019, fourth quarter; Pandemic = 2020, first quarter–present.
Source: EPI analysis of BEA 2022 data.
This is not to say that the tariffs had no impact—they did, particularly in helping U.S. steel and aluminum producers. The increase in the price of imported metal products makes it possible for U.S. producers to achieve economically viable financial margins and stabilize expectations of market conditions enough to entice reinvestment in new production capacity. Nonetheless, conditions of global chronic glut–especially given expected global growth slowdown from China’s partial economic lockdown, the war in Ukraine, and ongoing pandemic-related supply chain disruptions—continue to threaten U.S. metals industries. This affects the strategic goods they produce and the millions of jobs they support directly and indirectly—and a robust manufacturing base more generally. The tariffs may be a crude instrument, but absent other feasible policy options to address the glaring market failures in global trade, they remain a critical tool to support ongoing industrial rebuilding and to ensure that these essential industries have the necessary resources for technology investments to decarbonize moving forward.
Congress applied different criteria for considering these two sets of tariff measures. The Sec. 232 measures clearly prioritize national security concerns over economic efficiency and consumer welfare; under conditions of chronic global gluts, U.S. steel and aluminum producers have been perennially at the brink of economic viability to the extreme that only one producer in a NATO country is capable of producing military- and aerospace-grade aluminum. The Department of Commerce identifies an 80% capacity utilization rate in steel production as a minimum threshold for long-term financial viability of the industry. In the business cycle prior to the 232 tariffs, U.S. steelmakers reached this level of activity less than 5% of the time; though this has improved to 26% of the time since March 2018. The Sec. 232 measures afforded metals producers the financial breathing space to start rebuilding the industry with expanded investment and job creation.
As for the Sec. 301 tariffs, the Phase One agreement with China has gone largely unfulfilled in terms of the bulk commodity purchases pledged by Chinese policymakers and the promise to continue negotiations on further prying open Chinese markets to U.S. foreign direct investment and intellectual property monopolies. Ironically, however, if Chinese policymakers had lived up to their end of the bargain, the United States would arguably be in a worse position today in regard to inflation and supply-chain vulnerabilities. The kinds of intellectual property protections and free reign for their foreign investment in China that U.S. business interests sought would make it easier for big corporations to move—or merely threaten to relocate—operations to China, and to book profits in offshore tax havens.
People often focus on trade’s tendency to push down prices. But by exporting in bulk U.S. natural gas and agricultural products to China, Phase One would have made these commodities scarcer, and therefore prices paid by American businesses and households for electricity and food would be higher.
It is clear that the United States is in dire need of an economic strategy rethink. Until a more comprehensive policy approach to U.S. industrial development is heeded, policymakers should at least keep in place the parts of policy that are working to promote U.S. industry.
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Anyone who wants to better understand the costly economic and political externalities that come with cheap food should spend some time in America’s Midwestern farm country. I did last week, driving from Wisconsin to Missouri through hundreds of miles of corn and soyabeans, the vast majority of which is grown not as food but as feed for cattle.
It was easy to find fast food and red meat in the small towns I passed, but it was often tough to find a decent supermarket with fresh fruits and vegetables. What a terrible irony that some of the richest farmland in America is often where you are most likely to find a “food desert”, or a place where it is challenging to source the components of a healthy diet.
Nearly a century on from the Great Depression, we still farm as we did then, trying to produce cheap calories for growing numbers of hungry people — and using huge amounts of fossil fuels — rather than providing better nutrition for an overfed yet undernourished population in ways that might support the planet and local communities.
Consumers have become used to cheap food. But it’s a model that makes little sense environmentally, and has led to tremendous consolidation on the production side.
Consider that in the middle of the biggest commodity price spike since the 1970s, some farmers are still struggling to stay in the black. Texas A&M University research shows that two out of three rice farmers will lose money this year, since input costs including fuel and fertiliser are rising even faster than commodity prices. Corn and soyabean producers will make money, but not as much as you’d think.
As Joe Outlaw, a professor at Texas A&M, put it in his testimony on the topic to the House Agricultural Subcommittee, consumer inflation may be 8.5 per cent but farmers have been hit with price increases at double that rate on seed. For other inputs, inflation is even higher. Herbicide is up 64 per cent from 2021 to 2022, and nitrogen fertiliser, perhaps the most important input of all, is up a whopping 133 per cent. Corn, meanwhile, is up only 4.84 per cent per bushel, and soyabeans are up a little over 7 per cent year on year.
Farmers have tried to hedge and hoard to account for these spikes, but they are outgunned by large, highly concentrated companies that control much of the agriculture supply chain. As Outlaw explained: “Simply put, the input suppliers would not lock in a price until the producers [meaning farmers] agreed to take delivery.”
The result is that many farmers, particularly small and medium-sized ones, will scale back on inputs this planting season, which will in turn hurt their future harvest. Grain trading giants such as Cargill are getting rich, as are many multinational energy companies. But growers themselves are barely in the black.
All of this speaks to a model that no longer works. Farming in America has been about cheap food for nearly a century. The New Deal encouraged the production of massive amounts of subsidised cereal grains to feed an influx of urban dwellers. The Reagan revolution encouraged further consolidation — as an illustration, consider that four companies control up to 85 per cent of the meat market.
Democratic President Bill Clinton then passed the “Freedom to Farm” act, which eliminated any government management of supply and demand. This is one reason farmers were dumping milk after the pandemic; overproduction encourages boom and bust cycles. It also makes it difficult to get food inflation under control now. While the US has strategic petroleum reserves, it has no grain reserves for domestic buyers despite being one of the world’s largest producers.
The “pile it high, sell it cheap” paradigm assumes that simply driving down prices will create a healthy market. But it comes with obvious costs for the planet, our health, and in some parts of the country, for politics. One would think that a state like Missouri, for example, would be fertile ground for Democrats campaigning on a message of corporate greed. In fact, the state voted for Donald Trump in the last election — in part because the failed industrial farming model hasn’t been replaced by much else, creating a disenchanted population that’s ripe for the former president’s dog whistles and his brand of populism, with its empty promises of help for the white working class.
Plenty of neoliberal economists might shrug at all this and note that farmers make up less than 2 per cent of the labour force (the agricultural sector as a whole is slightly over 10 per cent). They might even shrug at the fate of a state like Missouri, since they tend to think about overall numbers, not individual people in so-called flyover states. But in America’s electoral college system, states like this still matter — a lot. Taken together, they can make the difference between winning or losing.
So, what’s to be done? The Biden administration is correct to go after concentration in agriculture and energy, as in other industries. Indeed, the discrepancy between input costs and raw commodity prices makes me think that the White House has a point about corporate price gouging. If the commerce department gets its way, more rural broadband would help too. But ultimately, we are going to have to rethink the entire way we farm in America. Like so much of our economic system, it was built for a different era.
The Chinese memory chip producer Yangtze Memory Technologies plans to bring online a second plant in its home city of Wuhan as early as the end of this year, sources familiar with the matter say, in a move that could further close the company’s technology and output gap with global leaders such as Samsung of South Korea and Micron Technology of the US.
The company, also known as YMTC, needs to expand production after a growth spurt that put it on the world’s semiconductor map and delivered a notable success in Beijing’s attempt to reduce China’s reliance on imported chips.
Its original plant has been running near capacity and churned out 100,000 wafers a month at the end of 2021, two people told Nikkei Asia.
YMTC held a global market share of nearly 5 per cent last year, according to analyst and industry estimates. It has become the world’s sixth-largest Nand flash memory maker behind Samsung, SK Hynix, Kioxia, Western Digital and Micron, and the only one from China.
About 40 per cent of its output at present is 128-layer 3D Nand flash memory, the most advanced produced so far by a Chinese chipmaker. But that is one or two generations behind global leaders Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron. The rest of YMTC’s output is of older 64-layer 3D Nand flash memory.
This article is from Nikkei Asia, a global publication with a uniquely Asian perspective on politics, the economy, business and international affairs. Our own correspondents and outside commentators from around the world share their views on Asia, while our Asia300 section provides in-depth coverage of 300 of the biggest and fastest-growing listed companies from 11 economies outside Japan.
The new plant would first build mainly 128-layer flash memory and could later shift to even more cutting-edge chips, such as 196-layer or 232-layer 3D Nand flash memory, assuming development goes smoothly in 2023 and 2024.
Apple has been testing YMTC’s flash memory products since last year and could place its first order for “limited quantities” as soon as this year, two people familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia. The US tech giant has been talking with the Chinese chipmaker since 2018 in hopes of finding a cost-effective source of storage components.
Securing a deal with Apple would be a milestone, highlighting the quality of Yangtze Memory’s chips, industry executives say. Apple’s Chinese suppliers, including those from Hong Kong, already outnumber those from Taiwan, making China the largest source of suppliers to the US company, according to a Nikkei Asia analysis. Apple also has close ties with several Chinese electronics manufacturers, including Luxshare, Goertek and BYD.
Yangtze Memory’s success is also viewed as a victory for China, as the world’s second-largest economy strives to localise semiconductor production and build industry champions. Yangtze Memory is backed by the China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund, Beijing’s most important chip investment funding vehicle. And YMTC is bullish on its growth prospects, increasing its investment budget from $24bn in 2016 to the equivalent of $32.8bn this year.
The Chinese chipmaker is currently installing equipment at the new chip plant, a key step before it goes into production. The factory will eventually have twice the capacity of the first, several people briefed on the matter said. The total capacity for the two factories will reach 300,000 wafers per month and could help YMTC expand its market share to more than 10 per cent globally.
The company is split into two parallel teams composed of hundreds of top engineers tasked with developing 196-layer and 232-layer flash memory, one of the people said. Its aim is to catch up with foreign rivals.
The most advanced products on the market, which Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix have all succeeded in producing, are 176-layer 3D Nand flash memory chips. They are now racing to create chips composed of more than 200 layers. Kioxia and Western Digital said they will be making 162-layer 3D Nand flash memory by the end of the year.
The more layers a flash memory chip has, the more advanced the chips are — and the harder they are to develop and produce commercially. Nand flash memory is a vital storage component used in all kinds of electronic devices, from smartphones and PCs to data centre servers and connected cars.
Most YMTC flash memory is currently used to make consumer-grade solid-state drives (SSDs), mainly for the Chinese market. Its clients include leading storage makers Lenovo, Longsys and Kimtigo of China, as well as Adata of Taiwan. YMTC has also introduced its own brand, ZhiTai, to sell SSDs directly to consumers.
Its share of the global flash memory market has risen quickly from 1.3 per cent in 2019, when it first put 64-layer Nand flash memory into production, according to Counterpoint Research, which believes it could grab nearly 6 per cent of the market by 2023, up from 4.8 per cent in 2021.
Brady Wang, an analyst at Counterpoint, told Nikkei Asia that Yangtze Memory had been working on its technology even before the company was formally launched in 2016. It had demonstrated its capabilities and gradually become a viable global player after years of effort, Wang said. It had also more than doubled its payroll in four years, to about 8,000 employees currently.
“It recruits many engineers and veterans who have Chinese backgrounds but used to work for multinational tech and chip companies,” Wang said. “Managing a plant, however, is different from managing several plants at a massive scale. It remains to be seen if it [can] successfully ramp up production.”
Political tension between the US and China also increases uncertainties for Chinese companies like YMTC, Wang said.
Washington has slowed the advance of China’s semiconductor industry by adding the country’s top chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co, and the telecom equipment group Huawei, to a trade blacklist to restrict their use of American technology. Yangtze Memory has been among the most aggressive companies in pushing ahead with the development of domestic chipmaking equipment, but it continues to maintain good relationships with US and other foreign vendors to ensure its expansion plans come to fruition.
YMTC declined to comment for this story.
A version of this article was first published by Nikkei Asia on June 23, 2022. ©2022 Nikkei Inc. All rights reserved.
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Hello and welcome to the working week.
Now would seem a good time for central bankers to get together and brainstorm some ways of getting their economies out of a global inflationary crisis. So thank goodness for the European Central Bank’s annual Forum on Central Banking, a gathering amid the palaces in the pretty Portuguese Riviera town of Sintra to discuss the challenges for monetary policy in a rapidly changing world: a title that organisers admit was only recently agreed upon given the, er, rapidly changing world that the eurozone economies now face. Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell, World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey are among the top drawer list of speakers.
Geopolitical summits are again a bit of a theme this week. Nato will gather in Madrid on Tuesday for three days of discussion, including its expansion in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Among the topics for deliberation are maintaining support for Ukraine, reinforcing partnerships and maintaining an open door, and strengthening transatlantic unity.
This also happens to be the week for Ukraine’s Constitution Day, a public holiday for the country marking the foundation of an independent state in 1996.
Talking of separation, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected on Tuesday to set out in detail how she plans to hold a second independence referendum. Read Robert Shrimsley’s excellent opinion piece to appreciate the reasons why Sturgeon is choosing to do this now. The future of Britain is the subject of a conference taking place in London, jointly organised by the Tony Blair Institute and the Britain Project, a cross between a campaign group and a think-tank.
Of course, reorganising countries is a controversial business as will no doubt be debated on Friday, the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong by the UK to China. The story of journalist-turned-political-activist Claudia Mo, powerfully told in this weekend’s FT Magazine, recalls the battles fought and ultimately lost by those seeking to maintain autonomy for the city region in the last quarter century — although that will not stop protesters from taking to the streets on Friday.
This week will also see the next instalment of the UK’s summer of discontent with barristers walking out on Monday in ongoing protests over cuts to legal funding — although the Ministry of Justice questions this, saying that criminal legal aid is increasing by £135mn a year. Postal workers may follow the lawyers on to picket lines as the Communication Workers Union this week sends out ballots for industrial action to more than 115,000 of its members.
In need of a little lighter entertainment? Well, it’s a good week for major sporting tournaments with the start of both Wimbledon fortnight and the Tour de France, which this year begins in Copenhagen. The FT has also published its list of summer reading recommendations.
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Consumer confidence reports, inflation and gross domestic product updates this week will give some indication of the effectiveness of the various monetary policy tightening measures in play, and will no doubt give the central bankers in Sintra food for thought.
Sweden and Hungary’s central bankers are making interest rate decisions this week.
A quieter week for diaried corporate announcements. The most significant earnings announcements are all from the US. Investors in Nike, the global sports brand, might be more interested in the senior leadership team than the numbers. Nike’s head of diversity Felicia Mayo will leave the company at the end of next month after just two years in the role.
Here is a more complete list of what to expect in terms of company reports and economic data this week.
The annual European Central Bank Forum on Central Banking begins in Sintra, Portugal
US, May durable goods orders data
Results: Nike Q4
France, consumer confidence figures
Germany, consumer confidence figures
Hungary, interest rate decision
UK, Office for National Statistics publishes the first results from the 2021 Census in England and Wales
US, monthly consumer confidence and house price index figures
Germany, preliminary consumer price index (CPI) figures
Japan, May retail figures
Spain, flash inflation and retail sales data
Sweden, Riksbank’s monetary policy meeting
UK, British Retail Consortium shop price index
UK, EU chief Brexit negotiator Maroš Šefčovič will speak at Bloomberg’s London HQ on the EU-UK partnership
US, Q1 GDP figures
Results: General Mills Q4
Canada, April GDP data
EU, May unemployment figures
France, May producer price index (PPI) data and June CPI data
Germany, June unemployment figures, May import prices plus May retail trade data. Also, ECB president Christine Lagarde’s speech at the first meeting of the Simone Veil Pact, organised by Renew Europe.
Italy, May unemployment figures plus May PPI data
Japan, May industrial production data
UK, final Q1 GDP figures and consumer trends report plus Nationwide’s June house price data
Results: Walgreens Boots Alliance Q3
China, France, Italy, UK, US: Caixin and S&P Global manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data
The ECB will end its long-running bond-buying scheme, part of stimulus measures introduced a decade ago, to help battle stubbornly high inflation
EU, flash June inflation figures
Italy, May CPI data
Japan, monthly unemployment rate
UK, consumer credit figures
US, construction spending statistics
Finally, here is a rundown of other events and milestones this week.
The UN Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the governments of Kenya and Portugal, begins in Lisbon
UK, the Wimbledon tennis tournament begins at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south west London amid controversy over the banning of Russian players
UK, lawyers who are members of the Criminal Bar Association begin strike action in an escalating dispute with the government over funding of trials. The walkout by criminal defence barristers is likely to cause widespread disruption to court hearings across England and Wales.
France, the new National Assembly holds its first session after the June 12 parliamentary election results created a hung parliament — read Martin Sandbu’s (premium) Free Lunch newsletter for a more complete explanation. Also, Australia’s new prime minister Anthony Albanese is due to visit Paris to “reset” relations with France after tensions erupted over a scrapped submarine deal.
Spain, Nato’s summit in Madrid begins with heads of government from its 30 member countries expected to attend and discussions to include Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the military alliance. 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Spain joining Nato.
Ukraine, Constitution Day marking the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996
UK, London mayor Sadiq Khan hosts the State of London debate at the O2 in Greenwich plus the Henley Royal Regatta begins on the river Thames
US, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is due to be sentenced after being found guilty in a sex abuse trial
Belgium, the Ommegang festival, including a pageant re-enacting the historical entry of Charles V, begins in Brussels
UK, Committee on Climate Change publishes its 2022 progress report to parliament, assessing the UK’s chances of achieving net zero by 2050. Plus another strike threat looms with a ballot for industrial action at Royal Mail over plans to remove 542 frontline delivery managers amid wider restructuring.
Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son and namesake of the notorious late dictator, takes office as the country’s new president
UK, the Future of Britain conference, organised by the Tony Blair Institute to discuss progressive solutions to the country’s problems, begins in London
Brazil takes over the presidency of the UN Security Council for July
Canada Day, federal holiday commemorating the formation of the union of the British North America provinces that created Canada in 1868
Denmark, the Tour de France begins in Copenhagen. It will end on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 24.
EU, the Czech Republic assumes the six-month presidency of the EU
Hong Kong, 25th anniversary of the reversion of the former colony from British to Chinese rule
India, annual Rath Yatra, or Chariot, Hindu festival
Rwanda, National Day commemorating independence from Belgium
Somalia, National Day commemorating the country’s creation from British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland
UK, deadline for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to launch an appeal against the decision to extradite him to the US to face espionage charges
Italy, the Palio di Siena, Italy’s most famous (and controversial) horse race, takes place in the street of Siena’s Piazza del Campo
UK, 50th anniversary of the Pride in London parade
US, World UFO Day takes place on the anniversary of the Roswell incident in New Mexico in 1947
Belarus, Independence Day
UK, the 134th annual Wenlock Olympian Games — believed to have inspired the modern games — begin in Wenlock, Shropshire
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