• TPP-11 now turns focus to recruiting new members – With the Trans-Pacific Partnership coming into force in December, its 11 members are planning a meeting early next year to discuss inviting Thailand and other nations, hoping to quickly expand the trade bloc positioned as a bulwark against protectionism. Cabinet-level representatives from the 11 Pacific Rim nations will meet in Tokyo as early as January to decide on the procedures to let in new members, with expansion targeted for next year. In addition to Thailand, the U.K. and South Korea have expressed interest. As the U.S., which pulled out of the pact in early 2017, wages a trade war with China, the TPP members hope to counter the rise of protectionism by inviting countries concerned about the trend. For Japan, the pact could provide leverage as it starts bilateral trade talks with Washington. The U.K., which is due to exit the European Union in March, is planning to negotiate with the Pacific bloc after the departure. (Nikkei)
  • National crime agency to investigate Arron Banks – The UK National Crime Agency is investigating Arron Banks, the insurance entrepreneur who was a key pro-Brexit donor in the EU referendum, following a probe into him by the elections watchdog. The Electoral Commission said on Thursday that it believed “a number of criminal offences may have been committed” after investigating Mr Banks and some of his companies. The commission referred Mr Banks to the NCA after examining £8m of funding that he and his group of insurance companies were reported to have provided to Better for the Country, an entity controlled by him, and Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign group founded by him. (FT)
  • Employers to have transition period before EU right-to-work checks – Employers will have a transition period before being forced to make immigration checks on EU citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government has said, contradicting comments from the immigration minister, Caroline Nokes. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, told ITV there would be a “sensible transition period” for EU citizens should an agreement not be reached. “We’ve just got to be practical,” he said. Downing Street confirmed Javid was right to say a transition period would be a likely solution to help employers adapt to new immigration enforcement, contradicting Nokes’s remarks. (The Guardian)
  • Brexit deal could accelerate interest rate increases – The Bank of England has indicated there could be a faster pace of interest rate increases if the UK manages a smooth exit from the European Union. Although the Bank kept rates unchanged at 0.75% this month, its latest forecasts suggest that rates could rise to 1.5% over the next three years. It said that Brexit uncertainty was preventing some firms from investing. However, Bank governor Mark Carney said a smooth Brexit could see a rebound in that investment. (BBC)