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February 1, 2019updated 31 Jan 2019 11:48pm

$1bn tariffs cut as EU-Japan FTA takes effect / World Bank leader steps down / BHF launches chocolate-free challenge

By Lucy Ingham


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

$1bn tariffs cut as EU-Japan FTA takes effect

The EU-Japan trade agreement comes into force today, removing 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan. It will create an open trading area covering over 600 million people and almost a third of the world’s total GDP.

It is the EU’s biggest trade agreement to date and will eliminate around $1bn in tariffs. It is also hoped to create new opportunities for EU agricultural exports, removing existing Japanese tariffs on cheese or wines.

In addition to the economic partnership, the EU and Japan have agreed upon a strategic partnership that aims to strengthen cooperation in fields such as cybercrime, energy security and climate change. Most of this will be applied as of today on a provisional basis and will formally come into force once the plans have been ratified by all EU member states.

World Bank leader steps down

Jim Yong Kim will today step down as the leader of the World Bank.

Although his presidency is not due to end until 2022, Kim is resigning three and a half years early for personal reasons, in a move that shocked many when it was announced in January.

The US-based organisation provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects, and is one of the largest donors to developing countries. Last month, it announced it would allocate funds of £157bn for climate change projects.

Kim will now reportedly take a job in the private sector. The White House is expected to announce a new World Bank president soon.

BHF launches chocolate-free challenge

With Dry January completed, you’ll be looking for the next healthy, worthy challenge, and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has come up with Dechox: giving up chocolate for February.

The BHF is challenging the UK to give up chocolate for a month and donate the savings back into research on heart and circulatory conditions.

The idea is to give up anything containing cocoa, down to the chocolate sprinkles on your morning coffee. There are the immediate health benefits and the hope of starting better habits.

Unfortunately, BHF found that millions of Brits think it would be easier to give up sex, coffee and social media than chocolate. But it is providing recipes for chocolate-free treats and suggests starting a Dechox by saying ‘no’ to chocolate biscuits with your tea and setting up a JustGiving page for donations.

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