USChina trade battle hurting export sales of both countries

WASHINGTON — The trade war between the United States and China has had a substantial impact on trade flows between the world’s two largest economies. But one thing has remained constant — the United States is still running its biggest trade deficit with China.The Commerce Department reported Friday that America’s deficit in merchandise trade with China through the first six months of this year stood at $167 billion, down 10.1% from the same period last year.That is still well above the deficit the United States is running with Mexico of $50.3 billion, which is the second largest imbalance. The deficit with Mexico did increase by a sharp 34.2% in the first six months of the year.With both America and China in a tit-for-tat tariff war, trade flows of both countries have suffered. America’s goods exports to China have fallen 18.9% in the first half of this year to $52 billion while China’s sales to the United States have fallen by 12.4% to $219 billion.The Associated Press read more

IKEA sustainable lighting initiative seeks to brighten lives of refugees in UN

For every one of the company’s LEDARE brand LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs sold from 3 February until 29 March, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The funds raised through the “Brighter Lives for Refugees” campaign will help to provide solar-powered street lights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies such as fuel-efficient cooking stoves in camps in countries such as Bangladesh, Chad, Ethiopia and Jordan.“In 2013, over 2 million people became refugees – a near 20-year record. With each new humanitarian emergency, the support of the private sector becomes more vital and more urgent,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a news release on the initiative. “This campaign represents a new, unique chapter in our relationship with the IKEA Foundation, UNHCR’s largest private sector partner. Together, we hope to be able to transform the lives of many refugees.” Today, there are nearly 10.5 million refugees globally, around half of which are children, according to UNHCR. Some refugees have no choice but to live in refugee camps, where an absence or lack of light after sunset can have a devastating effect on safety and security. “Simple activities such as going to the toilet, collecting water or returning to the shelter can become difficult and dangerous, particularly for women and girls,” the agency pointed out.“The improvements funded by the campaign will make each refugee camp a safer and more suitable home for refugee children and their families,” it noted, adding that the campaign will also fund improved primary education.The IKEA Foundation has partnered with UNHCR since 2010, helping to provide shelter, care and education to families and children within refugee camps and surrounding communities. The Foundation has to date committed €73 million in support to the UN agency.The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Per Heggenes, said the campaign “will help bring lights and renewable energy into the streets and homes of refugee camps, so UNHCR can help build a better everyday life for refugee children and families.” read more