Global Trade

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Activists say fines paid by Volkswagen to settle the "Dieselgate" scandal should be paid into a fund to help vulnerable populations like school children and low income communities, as punishment for installing software in some 11 million vehicles to enable the cars to cheat on emissions tests. Read More
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Thales, the French aerospace company, is hoping to develop a weaponized version of the Watchkeeper drone to sell to Poland. This is despite a series of software glitches and accidents that resulted in many of the first 54 Watchkeepers that were delivered to the UK to be sitting idle. Read More
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British regulators are investigating Soma Oil & Gas, a UK-based company, for allegedly paying bribes to the Somali government in exchange for exploration rights. Under scrutiny is the payment of $580,000 for "capacity building arrangements" at the Ministry of Petroleum in Mogadishu, according to Financial Times sources. Read More
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Hundreds of drugs tested in India have been banned from sale in the European Union after French inspectors found flaws in clinical trials conducted by GVK Biosciences, a company based in Hyderabad. The Indian government has threatened to take legal action against the ban under international trade rules. Read More
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Nestle says that it will destroy 400 million packets of Maggi brand instant noodles in India worth some Rs 320 crores ($50.5 million). The company made the announcement after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India found "hazardous" levels of lead in company products and ordered legal action. Read More
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Six major international banks - Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Union Bank of Switerland (UBS) - have agreed to pay $5.6 billion in fines for rigging global foreign exchange markets. Four of the six have pleaded guilty to criminal behavior, an unprecedented admission. Read More
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Saudi Star Agricultural Development plans to pump $100 million into a rice export project in Gambella region of Ethiopia despite allegations of human rights violations surrounding the "villagization" program under which the land has been taken from indigenous Anuak pastoralists to lease to foreign investors. 
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Firestone, a U.S. tire company, paid out millions of dollars to Charles Taylor, a Liberian warlord in the 1990s, despite knowing about his brutal human rights record, according to documents uncovered by ProPublica, an investigative journalism website. Taylor is now serving a 50 year prison sentence for war crimes. Read More
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Uruguay has presented a 500 page document to defend itself against an international lawsuit challenging the country's tough tobacco packaging regulations. The claim was brought by Philip Morris, the global tobacco giant, at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC. Read More
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