The US government has filed charges against Google, accusing the company of violating competition law to preserve its monopoly over internet searches and online advertising. As the Department of Justice sues the search engine google for being a monopoly, could all tech giants be under threat? We hear from Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and Jack Poulsen, a software engineer and former Google employee. We also get the view of Sally Hubbard, a former New York anti-trust attorney and current director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute. (Pic of Google logo by Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images).
When President Trump came to power in 2016 he vowed he would scrap the international trade agreements he believed had cost a huge number of US jobs, and declared his intent to tip the trade balance back in America's favour. He wanted to take on China and what he saw as its dominance in the global marketplace.
How has this 'America First' policy worked out in the ensuing four years, and what has it meant for the US's trading partners?
As part of our look at the US elections 2020: and What the World Wants, Manuela Saragosa examines whether President Trump has succeeded in his aim, and she finds out what companies from China to Canada hope will come out of the next presidency. Manuela talks to Herbert Lun, managing director of Wing Sang electrical, whose factory is in China's Pearl River Delta. He produces electronic hair products for the American market - how has his business coped with the threat of US tariffs? While Mark Rowlinson, counsel at the United Steelworkers of Canada, tells Manuela that tariffs have brought some Canadian steel and aluminium producers - operating in an already very tight market - to the edge of bankruptcy.
The BBC's economics correspondent, Andrew Walker, is on hand to provide context and analysis throughout, and you can read more on the BBC website and hear more about the USA and the rest of the world, across the World Service this week.
Manuela and her guests also consider the alternative to President Trump - a Joe Biden presidency - and whether that would make it any easier to do business with the US. There might be a change of tone, but would he actually dismantle the protectionist policies of the last four years?
Picture: Trump Tower in New York. Credit: Getty
A commodity associated with the destruction of tropical rainforest in South East Asia may soon have a synthetic replacement.
But can it match palm oil's magic properties? Will consumers accept it in their food? And what will it mean for the farmers whose livelihoods depend on palm oil plantations?
Manuela Saragosa speaks to Shara Ticku, co-founder of the biotech firm C16 Biosciences, which is pioneering the new plantation-free product, as well as Anita Neville of Indonesia's largest privately owned palm oil grower, Golden Agri-Resources. Plus Veronika Pountcheva of the international food wholesalers Metro Group explains why they are actively looking at the synthetic alternative.
Producer: Laurence Knight
(Picture: A tub of palm oil; Credit: Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images)
Golden passports and cash for citizenship - a legitimate way to for countries to get investment or a scheme open to abuse and corruption? That’s the big question we’ll be looking at on this episode of Business Weekly. We look at why the wealthy want to acquire them. We also hear from Cyprus where a passport corruption scandal has rocked the nation. Meanwhile, the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Economics tells us about the unusual way in which he discovered he'd won, and of course, about the game theory that netted him and a colleague the award. And we hear from the African animators who are taking on the world. Business Weekly is presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Matthew Davies.
As talks between the EU and the UK enter their final stretch, what sort of Brexit are businesses preparing for? Manuela Saragosa speaks to Chayenne Wiskerke of the Dutch onion growing company Wiskerke Onions which exports to the UK. She also speaks to Martin Bysh the founder of Huboo, a UK fulfilment company which works mostly with the e-commerce industry and exports all over the world. They tell her how they've been coping with the years of uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations.
(Picture credit: Getty Creative)
It’s been a tough year for much of the entertainment industry, with the pandemic causing production to be halted on all but a few projects. Filming bubbles and closed sets have been costly and time consuming. But one sector is booming – animation – especially in Africa. We hear from animators and producers across the continent about why demand for their work has never been higher. Vivienne Nunis speaks to Chris Morgan of Fundi Films, which recently produced the animation series My Better World. She's also joined by award-winning Kenyan animator and artist Ng’endo Muki and Nick Wilson, founder of the African Animation Network. Self-taught Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood tells us how his passion for the craft took him from watching video tutorials in the internet cafes of Lagos to his own production company.
(Picture credit: A still from the animated series My Better World. Picture Credit: My Better World/Chris Morgan)
What's it like for older people losing their job during the Covid pandemic?
Tamasin Ford speaks to 59 year old lighting crew chief Michael Heggett. He's worked on events like Princess Diana’s funeral, the London’s Olympic games and Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert. He had a fantastic career until Covid hit and he lost all his work. He fears he might never be employed again. Patrick Button, an assistant economics professor at Tulane University in the USA says his research shows that older workers are being disproportionately impacted by Covid. And Yvonne Sonsino from Mercer, a global human resources firm, says that the long term outcomes for older people are not good, particularly for their pensions?
(Picture credit: Getty Creative)
Why do female entrepreneurs in Africa not get the investment capital they need? When women are navigating the male dominated finance and start-up scene in Africa, sexism can be a daily occurence. Efe Ukala is the founder of Impact Her - an organisation to help female entrepreneurs in Africa get access to finance. She says at one meeting she went to she was the only woman in the room and when one man joined them he went round the table to introduce himself to everyone except her. Mélanie Keita is the co-founder and CEO of Melanin Capital, a financial advisory firm that connects social impact entrepreneurs in Africa with investors. She tells Tamasin Ford that on a number of occasions she has set up meetings with potential investors only for them to hit on her. Manka Angwafo, the founder and CEO of agribusiness company, Grassland Cameroon, says women just aren't listened to on the continent. And Tokunboh Ishmael is the co-founder and MD of Alithea Capital, a private equity fund management firm based in Nigeria which has set up a fund aimed at proactively seeking out female founders and diverse management teams to invest in their businesses.
(Picture credit: Getty creative)
Can Hong Kong retain its position as Asia's financial capital? The National Security Law passed in Hong Kong saw violent protests in the middle of 2020. The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani takes us through how businesses have changed the way they work to avoid getting in to trouble with Beijing. Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce says the new law won’t change the basic pillars of Hong Kong’s society, and that it will continue to attract big corporate names to hold on to its place as a key financial hub. But it’s not ‘business as usual’ by any means, says Tara Joseph, the president of the American Chambers of Commerce for Hong Kong, saying the worsening relationship between the US and China, coronavirus and the new law means some business people are holding back from their usual activity. And two key business figures, Weijan Shan, CEO of private equity firm PAG, and Curtis Chin, former US Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, try to unpick the difficulty of the ‘one country, two systems’ approach which China has historically promised in its governance over Hong Kong.
(Image: A silhouetted figure looks pensively over Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbour and the cityscape, lit up at night time. Credit: Tse Hon Ning / Getty Images)
Are big technology companies the modern versions of monopolistic oil barons or simply innovative companies that provide a service to enthusiastic consumers? That's the question we'll be looking at on this edition of Business Weekly as Democratic lawmakers in the US release a report detailing uncompetitive behaviour. We also look at the allegations made by a former Facebook employee who says she feels she has blood on her hands because the company failed to adequately act on political misinformation and propaganda she reported on the site.
We head to Venice where we hear from workers in the tourism sector who are desperate for cruise ships to return; meanwhile environmental campaigners want them to stay away. We get to hear how human beings need to adapt to working in extreme heat and why musicians want the British government to support them during the pandemic.
Presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Clare Williamson.
(Image: Social network icons on phone screen, Image credit: Press Association)
How will the energy transition transform geopolitics? Which countries will be the winners and losers?
The answers may not be as obvious as you might think - not at least according to Jason Bordoff, a former energy advisor to President Obama, and director of Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.
In a long interview with Manuela Saragosa, he explains why the future may not be so bleak for oil producers, how the transition could be bumpy and last decades, and why even once the world has finally weaned itself off fossil fuels, a future energy based on clean renewable energy could bring a whole new series of risks with it.
Producer: Laurence Knight
(Picture: Old oil tankers; Credit: timnewman/Getty Images)
Can the cruise ship industry survive? Once a lucrative market, with giant vessels boasting 100% occupancy, cruises have been all but wiped out since the coronavirus.
Manuela Saragosa hears from reporter Vivienne Nunis in Venice. Pre-covid, Venice was the poster city for over-tourism. Cruise ships towered over the city’s fragile, historic buildings, filling the air with their exhaust fumes. Many campaigners wished to see the back of them. The pandemic has granted those campaigners their wish. But it’s come at an economic price. And it’s highlighted the cruise ship industry’s precarious future. Manuela also speaks to Simon Calder, travel expert, about the prospects for this hard-hit sector of the industry.
Producer: Sarah Treanor
(Image: Two luxury cruise ships being dismantled at Turkey's shipbreaking yard. Credit: Chris McGrath/ Getty Images)
A leading Silicon Valley boss says big tech companies need more empathy and diversity. Maelle Gavet, is a French-born tech entrepreneur with experience in building firms in her native France, India, Russia, South Africa, and now as chief operating officer of online real-estate broker, Compass.Inc. She's been listed as one of the most influential women in US tech. In her new book 'Trampled by Unicorns' she critiques what she sees as the cultural deficits of Silicon Valley and says that these companies cannot be relied upon to self-regulate. This comes as a report backed by Democratic lawmakers has urged changes that could lead to the break-up of some of America's biggest tech companies. But James Ball, an award-winning investigative reporter, and author of a new book himself, 'The System: Who Owns the Internet and How it Owns Us' says we shouldn't be too quick to do this as it won't actually fix the real problems.
(Image: A friendly robot is seen through a shattered phone screen. Credit: SimoneN / Getty Images)
How the social media platform is poisoning politics around the world. A former Facebook employee says she has "blood on my hands" after struggling to contain the misinformation and manipulation conducted through the platform.
Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla describes the coordinated Facebook campaigns against activists and politicians in her country. Berhan Taye, Africa policy manager at digital rights group Access Now, tells us why Facebook isn't doing enough to prevent the spread of hate speech in Ethiopia. And Siva Vaidhyanathen, author of a book 'Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy' explains why Facebook can't stop the spread of toxic content without undermining its business model.
(Photo: A mobile phone advert featuring Facebook in Myanmar, where Facebook has been blamed for helping spread hate speech. Credit: Getty Images)
Are our century-old grids fit for the era of solar and wind power, or is a completely new kind of electricity transmission needed?
Justin Rowlatt looks at the mess in California, where President Trump has blamed rolling blackouts on the state's rush to embrace renewable energy. But former regulator Cheryl LaFleur says one big reason is California's poor integration with neighbouring electricity grids. A US government report recommended linking all the nation's grids together, but then the report mysteriously disappeared - investigative journalist Peter Fairley explains why.
Meanwhile Britain is looking to integrate its own National Grid more closely with the rest of Europe, according to the director of the UK Electricity System Operator Fintan Slye, so that it can handle a glut of new wind power. But why not go one step further and build a global electricity grid? It's a possibility discussed by energy consultant Michael Barnard.
Producer: Laurence Knight
(Picture: Stork on an electricity pylon at sunset; Credit: James Warwick/Getty Images)
This week saw the rather unedifying spectacle of the first 2020 US presidential debate. Did either of the candidates offer solid policies on the economy or the environment?
As further investigations shed more light on Donald Trump’s financial affairs we’ll ask why he has been so reluctant to make them public.
We’ll also find out why Facebook is threatening to ban all news on its Australian sites and ask whether clubbing can survive during a pandemic.
Business Weekly is presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Joshua Thorpe.
Why state aid may be the sticking point for a Brexit trade deal
(Image: Two boxing gloves punching each other, one with the UK flag, one with the EU flag. Credit: Getty Images Stock)
What can the New York Times' revelations can tell us about the President's financial affairs?
President Trump paid only $750 in tax federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and paid none in 10 of the past 15 years. That's according to an investigation by The New York Times earlier this week. The President says its all fake news. He's for years refused to publish his income tax returns. David Cay Johnstone, an investigative journalist and editor with DCReport.org, says the Times revelations show why he's keeping them hidden.
Adam Davidson who's written extensively on the President's business ties, says the only way to join up the dots since the death of his father, who was continuously propping up the President's finances, and the end of his lucrative appearances on the reality TV show, The Apprentice, is to work out who's bankrolling Trump's businesses.
But Dan Alexander, writer for Forbes magazine and author of White House Inc: How Donald Trump turned the Presidency into a Business, says that the President does have more assets than debts but he could come across conflicts of interest when he tries to re-finance these debts.
(Image: Novelty US dollar bills printed with Donald Trump's image on. Credit: Joel Forrest / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Simulmatics Corporation pioneered data analytics in the 1960s - raising the same qualms then as fake news and social media manipulation do today.
Manuela Saragosa speaks to historian Jill Lepore, whose book "If Then: How Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future" charts the company's rise, and its role in helping John F Kennedy get elected US President in 1960.
At the heart of their work was using mainframe computers - a novelty at the time - to crunch polling, census and electoral data on voters in order to figure out the best targeted messages for their candidate to voice. It foreshadows the far more sophisticated modern use of data to target voters on social media. So what lessons from history are there for us today?
(Picture: Two men work at a console in a Univac computer room in 1960; Credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
Should Facebook and Google pay for news that appears on their platforms? The Australian government thinks so. It’s drafted a law that would force them to pay - and Facebook is now threatening to ban all news from its Australian site. It’s a high stakes stand-off with potential global repercussions.
Veteran local newspaper publisher Bruce Ellen tells Manuela Saragosa how his business has suffered the past decade as articles are shared online for free. Journalist Zoe Samios of the Sydney Morning Herald says the pushback from Facebook has been especially forceful, while Belinda Barnet of Swinburne University in Melbourne says she thinks they are unlikely to back down.
But consultant Hal Crawford has little sympathy for the news companies, which he says get a lot more value from social media platforms than vice versa. Plus, Peter Lewis from the Centre for Responsible Technology worries that if Facebook follows through with its threat to remove news altogether from its platform in Australia, what will fill the void?
(Image: Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone with 100 dollar bills in the background. Credit: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)