Home Tech FirstFT: VW prioritises US plant over Europe for potential €10bn in incentives

FirstFT: VW prioritises US plant over Europe for potential €10bn in incentives

FirstFT: VW prioritises US plant over Europe for potential €10bn in incentives

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Big Tech tops today’s agenda with our scoop about the EU telling Elon Musk to hire human content moderators over artificial intelligence and a bipartisan bill in the US that paves the way for a ban on Chinese app TikTok.

Helen Thomas discusses whether the UK is turning into “Death Valley” for global tech, and Martin Wolf looks into why there are barely any European players on the world tech stage — among other problems plaguing the EU.

Also, happy International Women’s Day. We have a webinar on four things women need to know about money, led by the Financial Literacy & Inclusion Campaign charity. Join for free here.

Today I’m keeping tabs on:

  • Economic data: The UK has estimates of the impact from strikes. The EU publishes fourth-quarter gross domestic product and employment figures, and Italy and Germany have retail sales figures for January.

  • Results: UK insurers Admiral, Royal London, Hiscox and Legal & General report. See The Week Ahead newsletter for the full list.

  • International Women’s Day: European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde and World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala mark the occasion with a dialogue about the role of women in the economy.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any feedback on FirstFT at firstft@ft.com.

Today’s top news

1. EXCLUSIVE: Volkswagen is prioritising a battery plant in the US over Europe after estimating it could receive €10bn in American incentives. Read more on the latest fallout from Joe Biden’s $369bn green subsidies package.

2. EXCLUSIVE: The EU has told Elon Musk to hire more staff to moderate Twitter. Regulators are concerned about the billionaire’s plan to use volunteers and artificial intelligence to monitor content.

3. EXCLUSIVE: A London-based lawyer said he hired a firm linked to one of the “Qatargate” suspects for “ethical lobbying services” which included resolutions condemning war crimes in Syria and Yemen. Read about the “parliamentary services” for which Hakan Camuz believes he paid.

4. Jeremy Hunt is set to unveil a new capital allowances regime for businesses next week, with the UK chancellor expected to use the Budget to offset a rise in corporation tax and the end of a £25bn “super-deduction” tax break for investment. Here’s why Hunt is making the move.

5. The US Federal Reserve is prepared to return to bigger interest rate rises to fight inflation, chair Jay Powell warned the Senate banking committee yesterday, ahead of the release of the central bank’s Beige Book today. Powell’s remarks prompted a stock market sell-off.

The Big Read

Torrents of water have broken through the main road linking villages in Pakistan’s Dadu district, further isolating communities and restricting movement between areas devastated by last year’s floods © Asim Hafeez/FT

As it rebuilds from devastating floods, Pakistan will be a test case for an issue of growing global importance: how vulnerable countries, many of which have contributed little to global greenhouse gas emissions, recover from the havoc wreaked by increasingly frequent and extreme weather events — and how much polluting rich nations should help them.

We’re also reading . . . 

Chart of the day

The lack of dynamism in EU tech can be partly explained by the fact that its single market is not integrated like the US’s, writes Martin Wolf. Only one European company, ASML, a producer of chipmaking equipment, is among the 10 most valuable tech groups in the world.

Bar chart of Latest market value of tech stocks  ($bn) showing The EU is at best an ‘also ran’ in the technology stakes

Take a break from the news

Apart from Black Panther, which features a fictional country conglomerating 54 countries into one, what other African comic book superheroes do you know? Local publishers are now mining their countries’ rich histories and mythologies to tell forgotten stories and challenge western narratives.

© Khadija Farah for the FT

Additional contributions by Darren Dodd and Emily Goldberg

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