EU to sign its “biggest ever” trade deal / Amazon workers walk out / Obama to lecture South Africa on inequality

By Luke Christou

Good morning, here’s your Tuesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

EU to agree its “biggest ever” trade deal

Top officials from the European Union, including EU Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, will arrive in Japan today to finalise the EU’s biggest ever trade deal with the East Asian country.

The deal comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s aggressive trade tariffs, which threatened to cause serious global economic damage, experts said.

Speaking at the Sino-European summit yesterday, Tusk said:

“It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy [the global trade order] but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,

“There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos.”

The landmark agreement will create an open trade zone that covers almost a third of the world’s GDP, European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said.

The deal was set to be signed in Brussels last week. However, flooding in Japan that resulted in more than 220 deaths forced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to cancel his trip.

Amazon workers walk out

Jeff Bezos became the world’s first $100bn man earlier this year, but he has seemingly done so at the expensive of his Amazon workforce’s well-being.

Thousands of workers in Spain walked out on the online retailer yesterday on its busiest day of the year, Amazon Prime Day. Up to 80% of staff were absent from fulfilment centres around the country.

Workers belonging to the Spanish Worker’s Union claimed harsh and unfair working conditions combined with poor pay as the reason for the strikes.

The chaos is set to continue today. Spanish staff will be joined by German and Polish employees. German trade union Verdi has called for a one-day strike to coincide with Prime Day, which will reach its conclusion this evening. Likewise, those in Poland will refuse to perform anything more than the minimum requirements that their contract asks of them today.

It is currently unclear what impact the strikes will have on Amazon customers across mainland Europe.

Obama to lecture South Africa on inequality

Former President of the United States Barack Obama will deliver a speech on resisting oppression and inequality at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture today.

Obama will speak for 45 minutes at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg during his first visit to South Africa since leaving the White House in January 2017. The lecture will focus on bridging divides and working together.

The lecture is organised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation each year to honour the former leader.

A number of past world leaders are expected to be in attendance, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmon Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter and former South African President Jacob Zuma.

The lecture is held a day before South Africa celebrates Nelson Mandela Day on Wednesday, 18 July.

Click here for a look at the week ahead, including Intel’s 50th birthday, an EU-Japan trade deal and yet more Brexit talks.


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