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BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s business in Slovakia, the country’s biggest car plant and largest private sector employer, plans to reduce staff this year for the first time since the 2009 global downturn as part of an efficiency drive. The business will return some 500 workers it had borrowed from the Hungarian unit of premium brand Audi in 2016, reduce the number of contractors and will not extend expiring fixed-term contracts, it said in a statement on Monday. Volkswagen employs around 14,000 people in Slovakia and the German automaker did not say what that figure would fall to.

The Slovak business stainless steel striped lapis cufflinks will also reduce the number of production shifts that make higher-end SUVs as well as cheaper small family cars including the Volkswagen e-up!, the only electric car currently made in Slovakia, There are no plans to place production of new electric vehicles at the Bratislava factory at the moment, it added, There are no cuts in overall output projections, as reduced hours will be offset by an increase in the technical capacity of production lines, it said, Volkswagen said the move was part of a drive to increase efficiencies by 30 percent by 2025, as it strives to fund a costly shift to electric and self-driving vehicles following a 2015 scandal over rigged emissions tests of diesel engines..

In 2017, Volkswagen Slovakia saw its first-ever strike that ended after six days with a wage deal that gave workers the biggest pay rise among Slovakia’s carmakers, although they still earn less than Volkswagen’s employees in Germany. Overall production at Slovakia’s four car factories - the bedrock of the export-dependent euro zone member country’s economy - rose to 1.08 million vehicles in 2018 and is expected to reach a 1.15 million this year, cementing its position as the world’s biggest per-capita car producer, the country’s car association said this month.

But a focus on traditional petrol and diesel cars and a low share of research and development activities could threaten Slovakia’s business model in stainless steel striped lapis cufflinks coming years, as the EU aims to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles, Slovakia’s smallest carmaker, a unit of Kia, will also reduce staff this year, the first time since launching in the country in 2006, It will cut 27 staff as of February due to a 35-percent slump in demand for diesel engines made at its factory outside Zilina, northern Slovakia, versus 2017, it said on Monday..

GENEVA (Reuters) - China triggered the legal process on Monday for the World Trade Organization to hear Beijing’s challenge to U.S. tariffs imposed on $234 billion of goods, and berated the United States for blocking the appointment of judges who could rule on it. A Chinese trade diplomat told a WTO meeting that China wanted an expert panel to adjudicate its complaint, launched in April last year. The complaint seeks to block U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese imports in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies launched under President Donald Trump.

“This is a blatant breach of the United States’ obligations under the WTO agreements and is posing a systemic challenge to the multilateral trading system,” China’s representative said, stainless steel striped lapis cufflinks according to a transcript, “If the United States were free to continue infringing these principles without consequences, the future viability of this organization is in dire peril.”, The United States started to impose 25 percent additional tariffs on approximately $34 billion of Chinese imports from July 6, 2018, and imposed 10 percent additional tariffs on approximately $200 billion of Chinese imports from Sept 24..

China has responded with tariffs on U.S. goods. The U.S. official at the meeting said China was using the WTO system as a shield for trade-distorting policies, and China was damaging the world trading system through “grossly unfair and trade-distorting forced technology transfer policies and practices and through this unfounded dispute”. “It is China, and certainly not the United States, that is threatening the overall viability of the WTO system,” the U.S. official said.

China’s case, like others launched recently, may soon become impossible to resolve because of U.S, action that has halted the appointment of judges to hear appeals in trade disputes, Washington says judges have routinely broken WTO procedure and exceeded their mandate, It reiterated its position at Monday’s meeting, while China and 70 other WTO members reiterated their call for the United States to stop blocking the appointment of judges, There are only three judges left on the WTO’s Appellate Body, the top court of world trade, and two will step down in December, WTO rules require stainless steel striped lapis cufflinks three judges to hear appeals..



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