China trade talks, Putin visits Saudi Arabia, Extinction Rebellion protests
The FT's Josh de la Mare on some of the top stories the FT will be watching this week, including the resumption of trade talks between the US and China, a planned visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia, more protests in cities across the world by climate change activists Extinction Rebellion and the first debates in Canada's federal election
Written by Josh de la Mare, Mamta Badkar, Andrew England, Camilla Hodgson, Ravi Mattu, Mathilda Mallinson and Simon Greaves. Studio filmed by Nicola Stansfield and Rod Fitzgerald. Produced by Josh de la Mare.
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Here are some of the top stories The Financial Times will be watching this week. The US and China start the latest rounds of talks about trade tariffs. Russia's Vladimir Putin goes to Saudi Arabia as part of his project to strengthen Moscow's influence in the Middle East. Climate change activists Extinction Rebellion are set to stage protests across the world about the threat of global warming. And embattled Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enters the first debates with opposition parties in the country's election campaign.
First, the ongoing trade war between the US and China enters its next phase this week, when top Chinese negotiators are expected to visit Washington for face to face talks with US officials, including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The discussions take place just days before high tariffs are set to kick in on about $250bn worth of Chinese imports on October the 12th.
The ongoing trade war has seen manufacturing activity across advanced economies suffer and renewed fears about the health of the global economy. While Mr Trump had pledged to end manufacturing job losses by tearing up trade deals that he said are unfair to America the latest data show the domestic manufacturing sector fell to a 10-year low in September. The data heaped fresh pressure on the president whose attempts to renegotiate trade with China have been complicated by an impeachment investigation.
There are fears that the probe will pressure Mr Trump into striking some sort of limited deal with China and that it could then be seized upon by Democrats as evidence of Mr Trump's weakness. Mr Trump had hardened his posture ahead of the trade discussions, suggesting he is not keen on an interim truce. But a strong market reaction and political woes for both the president and China have muddied the outlook.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to visit Saudi Arabia this week, aiming to strengthen ties over energy, oil, and defence, reflecting a strategy to build influence in the region, which has hugely increased since his backing of the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and since a more cautious strategy from the US of involvement in the Middle East.
Mr Putin's visit really is a reflection of the warming ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and also Russia's growing influence in the Middle East. What put Russia at the heart of the Middle East was its intervention in Syria. It quickly became the most influential foreign power in the country, which is at the centre of the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and Russia, you know, for years, there was a level of mistrust, but they seem to have got over that, particularly on oil. It's actually very interesting last year as well, because in October, when Jamal Khashoggi, the veteran Saudi journalist, was murdered in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, and yet a couple of months later in December, Mohammed bin Salman went to the G20 summit, there was Mr Putin practically high-fiving him, shaking his hand, smiling. So that must mean a very important symbolic message for the crown prince at a time when many people were blaming and still blame him for this awful murder.
Road-blocking Extinction Rebellion protesters are hoping to bring traffic in capitals around the world to a halt. Thousands of activists plan to shut down parts of central London, targeting government buildings for at least two weeks. They promise bigger protests than those in April, when over 1,000 people were arrested and parliament declared a climate emergency.
Disruptive protests are expected to take place in more than 60 cities around the world on Monday which are being organised by climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion. The protest group, which made headlines earlier this year after it shut down busy UK streets and disrupted traffic, is calling for people to take part in what is being called an international rebellion. The group said it plans to demonstrate peacefully for at least two weeks across the 60 cities to demand that more be done to tackle global warming and the climate emergency. In recent months, many Extinction Rebellion protesters have allowed themselves to be arrested by police in the UK, and more than 50 defendants had hearings scheduled for this week alone.
The group's rising prominence has accompanied growing public concern about climate change. While some disagree with Extinction Rebellion's methods, others think the disruptive action is the best way to highlight a problem that governments worldwide are running out of time to solve.
Finally, in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under great pressure as the federal election campaign gets under way. His liberal party is hoping for re-election on October the 21st, but Mr Trudeau's carefully crafted image as a progressive politician has come under fire.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has had a terrible election campaign. It started with the legacy of the SNC-Lavalin scandal. He was accused of improperly interfering in a corruption case involving one of Canada's biggest employers in order to preserve votes in Quebec, where the company is based. As the campaign kicked off he was hit by another scandal when pictures of him as a young teacher were released that showed he had black-faced, colouring his face using brown make-up for a costume ball. That raised questions whether his claims to be more diverse and progressive than any other prime minister in history we're just branding and not reality.
Mr Trudeau can still win the election. His advantages include the fact that his opponents are also dealing with their own credibility issues with voters. At the same time, strategically he's been quite clever in that he's focused on areas where he has major vote banks that are still favourable to him and to the Liberal party.
And that's what the week ahead looks like from The Financial Times in London.