Markets, in brief: Bulgaria, Romania, China, United States, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom


Bulgaria and Romania: after 13 years of waiting, the two countries joined the Schengen area on March 31. They join 25 of the 27 member states of the European Union as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, bringing to 29 the number of countries sharing this free movement zone. However, this is a partial membership, limited to airports and seaports since land borders are not concerned. According to one of the main Romanian transport unions, the wait at the border with Hungary varies between 8 and 16 hours and between 20 and 30 hours at the border with Bulgaria, reports Les Echos.

China and the United States: Beijing made a request for consultations at the WTO on March 28 regarding tax credits granted by the American government under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for electric vehicles and energy renewable. China claims that they are conditional on the use of domestic products in preference to imported products, and discriminate against Chinese products. Both parties have 60 days to find a solution. If this is not the case, China can request that the matter be submitted to the adjudicatory process of a panel.

Italy: thanks to the rise of e-commerce and the rapid digitalization of businesses, the Italian Retail Tech market is now booming and worth exploring, estimates the Tech newsletter and Business France services. CRM, returns and order management, click and collect services… Companies are also investing heavily in technological solutions to modernize their online operations, improve logistics efficiency and meet consumer expectations, including sustainability and personalization of customer experience. Companies have already flourished in this sector in Italy, notably the publisher of multi-channel order management solutions OneStock and the Fintech HiPay.

Japan: Tokyo announced the mobilization of 590 billion yen, or 3.6 billion euros, to support Rapidus, a public-private consortium bringing together since 2022 the American IBM and large Japanese companies such as Sony and Toyota, in order to revitalize semiconductor production in Japan. Last September Rapidus launched the construction of a first factory on the island of Hokkaido, in the north of the archipelago. This new contribution is in addition to the 330 billion yen (2 billion euros) already announced by the Japanese government. The latter wants to make Japan a center of global production and catch up with the technological delay it has in this sector vis-à-vis Taiwan and South Korea. It intends to triple production by 2030 to reach annual sales of 15,000 billion yen, or 90 billion euros.

United Kingdom: the British Department of Science, Innovation and Technology announced the allocation of the equivalent of 116 million euros to projects in the field of biotechnology throughout the United Kingdom . This sum will be shared by six new “mission centers in engineering biology” as well as 22 identified projects. Their goal is to make the country a great scientific and innovative nation by 2030.

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