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US Returns Alibaba Website to Counterfeits Blacklist

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  • US Returns Alibaba Website to Counterfeits Blacklist

The United States on Wednesday put a division of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba back on a blacklist of “notorious markets” known for selling counterfeit goods and violating intellectual property rights.

The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which removed Alibaba from its annual list four years ago, included the company’s online platform Taobao in its latest release, saying it is not doing enough to curb sales of fake and pirated goods.

“The Taobao.com e-commerce platform is an important concern due to the large volume of allegedly counterfeit and pirated goods available and the challenges right holders experience in removing and preventing illicit sales and offers of such goods,” the agency said.

Although inclusion on the blacklist carries no penalties, it deals a blow to Alibaba’s reputation after the company has struggled to improve its image and boost international sales.

China’s largest online retailer said it is “disappointed” by the decision, saying it has improved policing of the goods for sale on its platforms.

“In 2016 alone, we proactively removed more than double the number of infringing product listings than in 2015,” Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said in a statement. “The decision ignores the real work Alibaba has done to protect IP rights holders and assist law enforcement to bring counterfeiters to justice.”

He suggested the “current political climate” in the United States may have more to do with USTR’s decision.

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly accused China of stealing intellectual property, part of what he calls the country’s economic war against the United States.

However, Alibaba and its Taobao site has long been accused of providing a platform for the sale of counterfeit goods.

Alibaba was suspended from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition watchdog in May.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

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COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020

Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.

In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.

The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.

Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.

She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.

She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.

Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.

“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.

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Commodities

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

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Crude oil

Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday

Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.

Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.

The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.

Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

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Gold

Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021

Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.

According to Michael McCarthy, the Chief Market Strategies, CMC Markets, the surged in gold price is a result of the projected drop in dollar value or uncertainty.

He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”

As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.

Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.

Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.

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