In your latest commercial awareness update, we share articles on the rising trade tensions between the US and Beijing, the gender pay gap figures and Barclays completed ring-fence. Also in the news, the automotive market continues to struggle as new registrations drop and top mobile networks fork out nearly £1.4bn to acquire bandwidth for 5G services.

Investors have their eyes on escalating trade tensions between China and the US. There are hopes that a trade war can be avoided, however, Trump’s announcement after markets closed last night that he was considering a new $100bn tariff on China has made this less likely. China responded with a promise that it would fight these tariffs “at any cost”.

The deadline for reporting gender pay gap figures was midnight on Wednesday and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has said that 1,557 firms missed the deadline. Reporting was compulsory for all companies, public sector bodies and charities with more than 250 employees. Of the firms that did submit their figures, almost 80% pay men more than women on average. It is important to note that these are company-wide figures and do not indicate whether men and women are paid equally for the same job. See our gender pay gap article to see the figures from top law firms.

Barclays has become the first UK bank to complete its “ring-fence” which separates its retail bank and investment bank. The £1bn transformation is designed to protect British businesses and consumers should there be another financial crisis.

Demand for diesel fell significantly in March compared with the same month in 2017 (37.2% according to the SMMT). New registrations for petrol vehicles held steady while alternative fuel vehicles rose by 5.7%. This resulted in an overall fall of 15.7% in the new car market.

Top mobile operators, such as EE, O2 and Vodafone, paid almost £1.4bn to secure bandwidth to launch 5G services. This is nearly double what City analysts had predicted.

Lawyers gather to declare it’s #Time4Justice

Image: The Bar Council via Twitter Hundreds of lawyers gathered outside the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday evening to support the strike action taken by criminal defence barristers since the beginning of the month. So far, 95 chambers have declined...

Clifford Chance to teach its lawyers to code

Clifford Chance has launched a global training programme to help its lawyers stay up to date with technological developments. The new Tech Academy will allow staff at the international law firm to learn about coding, artificial intelligence, blockchain and...

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