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FirstFT: Nancy Pelosi set to meet Taiwan president

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Buenos dias. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, is set to meet Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday in a controversial visit that has triggered concern about a possible military response from China.

Three people familiar with the situation said Pelosi would meet Tsai in Taipei as part of a wider visit to Asia this week. Pelosi did not include Taiwan on her official itinerary because of security concerns, but the FT’s Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille report that Pelosi would be the first Speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years.

President Joe Biden dispatched senior officials, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, to lay out the risks to Pelosi, but people familiar with the situation said she had decided to press ahead with the trip.

What could be the potential repercussions be? China has issued strong warnings to the Biden administration suggesting that the People’s Liberation Army could take action if the 82-year-old Democrat went ahead with her planned visit from her.

The US military has been preparing to protect Pelosi, who is flying on a US Air Force aircraft. Few experts believe China would try to shoot down her aircraft from her, but Chinese fighter jets could attempt to intercept her plane from her. This could trigger a dangerous situation because the US military would be compelled to intervene to protect Pelosi and her delegation from her.

Do you think Nancy Pelosi should visit Taiwan? Email me at firstft@ft.com or hit reply on this email and tell me what you think and I may feature your response in a future edition of FirstFT. Here’s the rest of today’s news — Emily

1. Hong Kong falls into second recession in 3 years Official data released yesterday showed that the city’s gross domestic product contracted 1.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, after a 3.9 per cent decline in the first three months. Tough Covid-19 restrictions continue to batter the Chinese territory’s reputation as an international financial centre.

2. Grain exports department Odessa A grain shipment has left the port of Odesa for the first time in months, in a crucial test of a deal between Russia and Ukraine intended to alleviate soaring global food prices.

3. Alibaba will ‘strive’ to keep New York listing The Chinese tech group said today it would “strive” to keep the company’s New York listing after the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday it would ban the company if it did not provide access to certain audit files. The SEC statement triggered an 11 per cent fall in Alibaba’s New York-listed shares. Alibaba shares in Hong Kong fell 3 per cent today.

4. HSBC pledges to restore dividend to pre-pandemic levels Europe’s biggest bank promised to restore its dividend to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels “as soon as possible” as it pushed back against its largest shareholder, which is pushing for the bank to split its Asian and non-Asian operations.

5. Heineken warns of higher prices to come driven by soaring costs The drinks company has warned that the price of a pint will continue to rise over the next year as the Dutch brewer expects to pass on higher costs to consumers. Heineken, which beat revenue and profit estimates in the first six months of the year, said it was selling more beers than before the pandemic as consumers across Europe shrugged off rising prices.

The day ahead

Reserve Bank of Australia meeting The central bank will hold its monthly rate-setting meeting. Policymakers are expected to hike interest rates by a half-point for the third consecutive meeting. (Reuters)

Ukrainian grain shipment due to arrive in Turkey The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni carrying 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn is due to arrive in Istanbul today, according to a statement by the Joint Co-ordination Centre, established in line with the UN-led grain agreement.

earnings Companies reporting results today include Airbnb, JetBlue Airways, Man Group, Mitsubishi, Starbucks and Uber.

What else we’re reading

Life under the Taliban: ‘what matters is that we’re hungry’ The economic collapse since the group of Islamists retooled power a year ago has left many Afghans struggling to make ends meet. For Nurzia Rashid and her husband de ella Rahatullah Qalandari, anxiety about Afghanistan’s Taliban regime is overshadowed by more immediate concerns: where to find the next meal for their six children.

England victory heralds breakthrough commercial for women’s game When an event provokes a public response from the Queen, the prime minister and the Spice Girls, questions about relevance are quickly dismissed. While the main challenges for the game remain much as they were: generating commercial income, attracting spectators, and giving more women and girls the opportunity to play — there are reasons to be hopeful.

Chipmakers battle for slice of US government support Congress has agreed to make Chips Act grants available to foreign companies, but domestic chipmakers are lobbying hard to make sure the lion’s share of the money goes to American companies. TSMC, which is building a $12bn fab in Arizona, and Samsung, which is working on a $17bn facility in Texas, are staying in the fight.

Venture capital’s silent crash Investors of all stripes have crashed the clubby VC world, drawn by the potential of technology start-ups. But there are signs the party is over. But unlike the stock market, there are no daily market indices to broadcast the pain, and no individual share prices for anxious tech employees to watch as their personal wealth evaporates.

Generation Z: how to recruit and retain them The old rules have gone as graduates expect a conversation rather than an interview and want jobs with a wider purpose. Jonathan Black, head of the careers service at the University of Oxford, reports on how employers are having to change their recruitment practices.

chess

A record budget and a nation’s grandiose sporting ambition are the driving forces behind the 180-nation Olympiad in Chennai, which approaches its closing rounds this weekend. The state of Tamil Nadu and its chief minister, MK Stalin, originally approved a $10mn budget, which has since overrun by more than a third.

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