NEWS UPDATES

BOOKMARK THIS PAGE FOR RECENT UPDATES REGION NEWS INDEX NEWS ARCHIVE Editorials appear in italics.

REGION-BUILDING:
Chamber of Commerce Begs Trump to Surrender to China: ‘Nobody Wins a Trade War’
Breitbart, Aug 23, 2019 – Executives at the Chamber of Commerce, stalwart defenders of free trade at all costs, are now asking Trump to end the trade war with China and return to standard negotiations, calling U.S.-China free trade “for the most part productive, constructive, and mutually beneficial,” despite having cost Americans at least 3.4 million jobs across all 50 states….
Earlier this year, the Chamber of Commerce lobbied members of Congress to tank a plan that would have allowed the U.S. to impose reciprocal tariffs on imported products. The law would have given Trump the power to raise tariffs on specific foreign products if those countries’ tariffs were much higher on the same U.S. product.


‘Stupidly’?
President Trump should know that past US trade negotiators, backed by Chamber of Commerce “free traders,” were not stupid. They expertly deceived Americans for decades by purposely ignoring tariffs and unfair trade practices from China and the European Union against the US, and refusing to reciprocate against those practices.
Covert foreign aid, ‘region-building’

These officials’ supposed incompetence, was, in reality, part of an intentional act of covert foreign aid, in addition to the billions of dollars in openly legislated foreign aid, wealth-transferred overseas. This cabal has actually been “nation-building” China into an economic and military threat.
As for the EU, the practice has been even worse than nation-building: It’s been “region-building.” Without overt and covert foreign aid from the days of the Marshall Plan unto the present day, the EU monstrosity would not even exist.

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:

From “Strengthening economic relations between Australia and New Zealand” ( Joint study of Australia and New Zealand productivity commissions ) April 2012

 

‘Free trade’ duplicity revealed: ‘Eliminate tariffs’ mantra cast aside for EAC regional integration
“Free trade’ bloc pushes common Regional external tariffs against non-members to expedite open borders among member nations
EAC states call for swift review of tariffs to boost trade
Xinhua (China), Aug 22, 2019 – The East African Community (EAC) bloc on Thursday called for swift review of the regional common external tariff (CET) in order to boost trade in the region….
The member states put together country positions on how they intend to review duties on goods entering the regional bloc that set the stage for negotiations ahead of the then-proposed deadline of July 1 for implementation.
E.Africa confederation constitution making starts
Confederation transitional step toward full political federation of nations
The East African (Kenya), August 17, 2019 – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni is expected to launch the East African Community constitution-making process in Kampala on August 19, setting the pace for the attainment of the bloc’s fourth and last integration pillar — political federation.
However, the region has decided to start with a political confederation. At the 20th Ordinary Summit in Arusha in February, the EAC heads of state asked President Museveni to oversee and provide political guidance to the legal experts tasked with the drafting of the Confederation Constitution.
East or South? ‘Inevitable’ dual membership for Dar
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania), August 12, 2019 – There is no conflict of interest in Tanzania’s dual membership to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the East African Community (EAC), former President Jakaya Kikwete has said….
The former president was also quick to point out that Sadc and EAC were not rivals competing for markets, but partners spearheading the agenda for deeper integration and trade in Africa.
Common East African currency to be in use soon
Kenya News Agency, August 9, 2019 – The  East  African Community (EAC) and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Adan  Mohamed speaking on Thursday during the East African Business Council 20th annual general meeting (AGM) said that the Monetary Union envisages a situation where there are a common monetary and fiscal policies that enables people to trade in a common currency….
“The monetary institute is going to be created very soon and it is going to be responsible for laying the foundation for an environment where we can start using one another’s currency initially and after that we envisage to have one common currency for EAC,” said Mohammed.

NORTH AMERICA – ‘NEW NAFTA’:
Trump Is Betraying America’s Ranchers With NAFTA 2.0
Truthdig, Aug 18, 2019 – COOL stands for Country-of-Origin-Labeling, a straightforward law simply requiring that agribusiness giants put labels on packages of steak, pork chops, and other products to tell us whether the meat came from the United States, China, Brazil, or wherever else in the world….
In 2012, the meat monopolists got the World Trade Organization to decree that our nation’s COOL law violated global trade rules — and our corporate-submissive congress critters meekly repealed the law.
Then came Donald Trump and his Made-in-America campaign, promising struggling ranchers that he’d restore the COOL label as a centerpiece of his new NAFTA deal. Ranching families cheered because getting that “American Made” brand on their products would mean more sales and better prices.
But wait — Trump has now issued his new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and — where’s the beef? In the grandiose, 1,809-page document, COOL is not even mentioned once.

SOUTH ASIA – SAARC:
Efforts should be made to revive SAARC: Experts
Outlook India, Aug 9, 2019 – ….Asked if the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan”s reaction to it, would have a bearing on the prospect of the revival of SAARC, Brig Gen Azim said, “India has an important role to play in this new multilateral order, and, though there are challenges associated with it, India can actually turn these challenges into opportunities”….
Lt Gen P S Rajeshwar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, and Chairman, Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS), said India saw many benefits in joining organisations that harmonised peace, development and security.
“The changing nature of the world order and the uncertainty that it brings to international affairs is pushing countries to invest in multilateral and bilateral initiatives as well as in creating new groupings both regional and global,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

EUROPEAN UNION, SOUTH AMERICA – MERCOSUR:

Mercosur’s Delayed Case of Free Trade Fever
Brazil’s President Bolsonaro now proposing ‘free trade’ Mercosur agreement with US
America’s Quarterly, August 6, 2019 – It may have taken 20 years for Mercosur and the European Union to reach an agreement on a trade deal. But since the accord, the South American block seems ready for more….
That would be a departure for Mercosur. Historically, the customs union, established in 1991, has failed to link its members to global value chains. Though it successfully integrated member economies, and moderated the historic Argentina-Brazil rivalry, it has until recently been largely a protectionist architecture.
Now, however, the EU deal is poised to open doors to a range of Mercosur agreements.
Bolsonaro, the rotating Mercosur leader and a close ally of President Donald Trump, followed the EU-Mercosur announcement by proposing a free trade agreement with the United States….
The deal is a leap into the unknown for the South American trade bloc, carrying both opportunities and risks. The EU, for example, is known for its rigorous standards regarding environmental, social, labor, health and safety rules. Reaching those standards will not be easy for Mercosur…But the sacrifices of synchronizing regulatory standards will pay off, giving Mercosur exporters not only access to the EU, but to other markets with compatible requirements.
Leftists Hugo Chavez, Lula da Silva, et al, made the “regional protectionism” of their South American UNASUR bloc an aberration among the “free trade” regional blocs of the world. Now, South America is more in line with the globalist network under Mercosur’s trade agreement with the European Union.
Imposing its standards within trade agreements has been the EU’s strategy  to gain regulatory control over the entire global “free trade” structure of regional blocs.
Surely, Europa is riding this beast.

SOUTH ASIA – SAARC:
Pakistan calls for revitalising Saarc
Proposes regional monitoring system over natural resources
The Nation (Pakistan), July 30, 2019 – Pakistan Monday emphasised on need to revitalise the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to combat climate change.
Speaking at the SAARC Regional Workshop on Climate Data Analysis for Agricultural Drought Monitoring in South Asia here, Director General South Asia and SAARC at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Mohammed Faisal said SAARC summit should be held in Islamabad at the earliest.
The aim of launching the monitoring system is to create resilience in agriculture system of the region against the adverse impacts of rapid climate changes….
The other objective of establishing the monitoring system is to strengthen the coordination among the member states to develop a common strategy to conserve the natural resources….

ASEAN – SOUTHEAST ASIA:
More manufacturers to relocate from China to Southeast Asia
Thailand Business News, July 11, 2019 – JLL anticipates the trend to accelerate as the China-US tariff war is driving more companies in China to relocate their operations to other countries to avoid US tariffs and maintain their competitiveness.
A new research report by property consultancy JLL indicates that Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia are winning more manufacturers moving out of China….
Thailand and Malaysia have mid-tech workforce whose cost is now 60% lower than China, compared to 33% in 2010.
ASEAN considering inviting North Korean foreign minister to its ‘plus-3’ meeting in Bangkok next month
Japan Times, July 6, 2019 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is considering inviting North Korea’s foreign minister as a special guest to an upcoming ASEAN-plus-three meeting of ministers and their counterparts from Japan, China and South Korea, ASEAN sources have said.
The idea, floated by South Korea, has been “quietly discussed” by ASEAN and its three dialogue partners, the sources said Friday….
“ASEAN must be part of the picture to help solidify these game-changing dynamics in Northeast Asia,” the diplomat said.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree
‘Part of a larger process’ including Arab Parliament, Peace and Security Council
Egypt Today, June 14, 2019 – Egypt’s official Gazette published Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s decree approving Egypt’s acceptance of the Arab Charter on Human Rights adopted at a summit of the League of Arab States in May 2004….
Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is “part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament,” according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
Ecowas launches Regional Competition Authority
Would ‘promote adherence to the ECOWAS Competition Law in our region’
The Point (Gambia), May 30, 2019 – The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) has a core mandate of keeping under review commercial activities in the community market with a view to ascertaining practices which may distort the efficient operations of the market conduct or which may adversely affect the economic interest of consumers.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ebrima Drammeh, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, recalled that the supplementary protocol establishing the ECRA defined it as a specialised, autonomous and quasi-judicial body mandated to implement the Regional Competition Rules, thus contributing towards the promotion of economic growth and competitiveness in the ECOWAS common market.

EUROPEAN UNION:
What Is ‘Europe’s Destiny’? Why EU’s Right Turn Points to Stalingrad-Style Shutdown
Stalingrad was turning point where the Germans were stopped in WWII
CBN News, May 29, 2019 – After a strong showing by Eurosceptic parties in last week’s elections, European leaders are now worried about their future….
In Britain, where many expect the Trump-like Boris Johnson to take over from Theresa May, Farage is warning against any further delay on Brexit.
“If we do not leave the European Union on October 31st, then just as we’ve surprised people in these European elections we will go forward and absolutely stun them in the next general election. There’s a big wake-up call here to Westminster. Let’s see whether they listen,” Farage said.

AFRICAN UNION:
Continental free trade pact comes into effect June
In theory, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions
Business Daily (Kenya), May 5, 2019 – This in theory implies that from July, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions as it is the case now….
All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalise work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit slated for July 7.
African Continental Free Trade Area
‘All these borders will become meaningless, will become ficticious….This will take time’
Single African passport
African Union, April 27, 2019, YouTube
Following the path of the European Union from its beginnings as the European Common Market

NORTH AMERICA:
Time to say goodbye to NAFTA’s replacement?
By David Olive, Business Columnist, Toronto Star, May 5, 2019 – It might be that U.S. President Donald Trump has reverted to his years-long preference to simply kill NAFTA without replacing it.
Trump won’t budge on the reasonable changes that Congressional Democrats seek to make to the USMCA agreement.
He also seems determined to keep in place the steel and aluminum tariffs he applied against Canada and Mexico about a year ago. And that alone pretty much guarantees that all three national legislatures will reject USMCA….
But the odds of NAFTA’s demise are also low. Only Capitol Hill, not the president, can kill a treaty.

AFRICAN UNION:
East African nations mull referenda on political confederation
Xinhua (China), April 29, 2019 – The East African Community (EAC) member states each plan to hold national referenda to decide whether to have a political confederation or not, officials said on Monday.
Alice Yalla, acting integration secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development told Xinhua in Nairobi that a committee of experts, three from each of the six partner states is currently developing a draft constitution for governing the political confederation….
EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

EUROPEAN UNION:
European Union to create central biometrics database
Computer Weekly, April 25, 2019 – The European Parliament has agreed to build a single biometric database that will weave various border control, security and migration systems across the European Union (EU).
Called the Common Identity Repository, the system will provide law enforcement agencies with facial recognition data and fingerprints, as well as personal information, such as passport numbers and birth dates of more than 350 million citizens.
Vatican Proposes European Union as Example of ‘a Supranational State’
Breitbart, April 26, 2019 – The European Union (EU) is “an example of what could become a supranational state,” according to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the lead-up to a major conference against nationalism.
In its full-court press for globalism and international migration, the Vatican insists on describing nationalism in exclusively negative terms, opening its “Concept Note” for its May 1-3 conference by saying that the world “is facing today a growing threat of nationalist revival,” which “leads to mutual rejection and enduring conflicts.”….
“Globalization and migrations inspire the fear that nations could lose their cultural identity and their political independence.”

EUROPEAN UNION:
Believe It Or Not, Brexit Is Actually Helping The European Union
Whole process of Brexit being so complicated, so difficult, made people realize that you don’t leave the EU so easily
Morning Edition, National Public Radio (transcript), April 22, 2019 – ….Euroskeptic parties in France, the Netherlands and Sweden have since backed off calls for Frexit, Nexit (ph) or Swexit (ph) referenda and focused on changing the EU from inside. In the last decade, the EU has weathered an immigration and a financial crisis.

NORTH AMERICA:
College students are told 18 states offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Check out how they react
The Blaze, April 18, 2019 – At least 18 states offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Armed with those facts, Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips recently teamed up with itsmikeaye_ to ask University of Nevada, Las Vegas, students their opinions concerning illegal immigrant students getting in-state tuition. The reactions were unanimous: Not cool.
‘Free flow of goods, services, and people’ would include access for education

NORTH AMERICA:
Trump says Mexico auto tariff threat supersedes new NAFTA pact
‘This will supersede USMCA’ if ‘for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from’
Politico, April 5, 2019 – President Donald Trump said Friday that the deal his administration struck with Mexico on its auto exports won’t count if the country fails to stop Central American migrants from illegally crossing the border to enter the United States.
If “for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to Tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“This will supersede USMCA,” Trump continued, referring to the new North American trade deal, which has yet to be ratified in the U.S., Mexico or Canada. “Likewise I am looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border. Over 100,00 Americans die each year, sooo many families destroyed!”

EUROPEAN UNION:
UK removes words ‘European Union’ from British passports
Old blue British passport emblem of government’s promise to ‘take back control’ from EU
The Guardian (London, UK), April 5, 2019 – The UK government has started issuing British passports without the words “European Union” even though the UK remains a full member of the bloc. It removed the two words from passport covers issued this week on the working assumption that Brexit day would have been 29 March….
The Home Office said the inclusion of the words “European Union” was part of the policy of the EU but was not legally binding, and consumers who receive the new-look passports in the coming months have nothing to worry about. “They are perfectly legal,” it said.

AFRICAN UNION:
Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area takes effect
North Africa Post (Morocco), April 5, 2019 – Gambia’s National Assembly has ratified the agreement that seeks to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
With Gambia’s ratification, the continent’s free trade agreement has drawn enough signatures to go into operation….
Once in place, the trade agreement will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion—making it the world’s largest free-trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

GCC:
Qatar Is the Weakest Link in an ‘Arab NATO’
National Review, April 4, 2019 – It is a good idea in theory: Assemble a coalition of Sunni Arab states, call it the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), and create a multinational military force meant to serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, and extremism….The latest iteration of MESA is supposed to be an amalgamation of Sunni Muslim forces, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council members — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman — in addition to Egypt and Jordan.
When President Trump visited Riyadh in May 2017, he implored the dozens of Muslim leaders gathered at the Arab Islamic American Summit to “drive out” the terrorists in their midst and unite to push back on Iran. Those in attendance understood the reference to the Qatari elephant in the room and shortly thereafter acted to bring the emirate in line with the priorities they share with the United States. Rather than changing its behavior, Qatar widened the scope of its relations with the other regional, non-Arab, Muslim Brotherhood–boosting regime in Turkey, posing additional challenges to America’s interests in the Middle East.

SAARC:
Congress manifesto positive on Saarc, Kashmir
Dawn (Pakistan), April 3, 2019 – India’s Congress party announced its election manifesto here on Tuesday, which revealed an indirect connect with Pakistan through the Saarc template.
The party appeared contrite on Kashmir, making particular references to human rights and anti-torture steps. The manifesto drew instant criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which described it as appeasement of terrorists and separatists.
The promise of quietly positive turn of events between the neighbours hinges on the party supplanting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rightwing government in the April-May elections.
The Congress offered clear hopes of working with Saarc to improve regional ties, something the Modi government was averse to.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
New ECOWAS Travel Card and Nigeria’s economy
Unhindered movement of persons and goods within regional bloc modeled after NAFTA Free Movement of Persons Protocol
Daily Trust (Nigeria), April 1, 2019 – The implementation of the ECOWAS Travel Card by some member countries has been hailed as the right decision to facilitate the unhindered movement of persons and goods within the regional bloc….For Nigerian businessmen and women and for travelers within the region, the ECOWAS Travel Card is easy to obtain and has two-year validity.  The travel is card synchronized with the digital features in the National Identity Management documents and is fashioned after the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Free Movement of Persons Protocol.

EURASIAN UNION:
Too early to discuss single Eurasian Economic Union currency, warns official
‘We have just began taking steps in this direction’
TASS (Russia), March 20, 2019 – Introducing a single currency within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is possible in future, but its member states are not ready yet, Assistant Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Fedor Chernitsyn said.

SOUTH AMERICA
Regional leaders convene in Santiago to kick off PROSUR initiative
‘Pragmatic integration’ a ‘new stage in the integration of South America’
‘Opportunities for regional integration’ to focus on health, social security, energy, defense, natural disasters and the environment   

Buenos Aires Times, March 22, 2019 – Prosur has been born amid the resurgence of the conservative right in Latin America….
The new agreement would take the place of UNASUR, which was promoted by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and has been inactive for more than three years. The countries plan to model their forum on the successful Pacific Alliance, according to reports, which is made up of Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia…
Over the course of the discussions, the group of South American leaders will “appreciate, assess and sort out the experiences of the past,” as well as look at “what comes next,” said Piñera. They also plan to address “challenges and opportunities for regional integration,” with a focus on issues such as health, social security, energy, defense, natural disasters and the environment.
South American nations form new regional group
Prosur to replace Unasur
UPI, March 22, 2019 – Several South American leaders met Friday to create a new regional group after a previous decade-old attempt to achieve broader regional integration failed to achieve unity.
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Colombia’s Ivan Duque, Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, Paraguay’s Mario Abdo and Peru’s Martin Vizcarra met Friday with [Chilean President] Pinera in Santiago to start a new regional organization named Prosur and replace Unasur as the biggest regional group, Chile’s La Tercera reported….
The Unasur separation occurred as countries within the organization had disagreements about issues in Venezuela that deepened in recent years.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Euroskeptics to gain seats as EU Parliament tug of war escalates
Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 11, 2019 – Polls suggest that nationalistic and euroskeptic parties will make considerable gains at the expense of the center and far left groups in the upcoming May elections….
The European Parliament is the only body within the European Union to be directly elected, and even so, while it’s been given the right to either pass or reject laws handed down to it by the unelected European Commission, it does not possess any form of legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of the European Union do.
Merkel protege warns against centralised European Union – The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Reuters, March 9, 2019 – “Our Europe needs to become stronger,” Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as party leader in December, wrote in an opinion piece for the Welt am Sonntag weekly newspaper.
But she added: “European centralism, European statism, the collectivisation of debts, a Europeanisation of social systems and the minimum wage would be the wrong way.”

ARAB GULF – GCC:
Gulf countries mull regional water grid to boost ties
Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), March 10, 2019 – Gulf countries are considering a regional water grid on the lines of electricity grid to meet the growing demand for water, a senior official from Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water said in Abu Dhabi.
“The idea is to have all GCC countries connected with a grid. Kuwait is ready, Bahrain is ready and also Saudi Arabia,” said Iqbal Al Tayyar, director of technical supervision department at the Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water.
Gulf rift seems to ease as Qatar takes part in GCC military meeting in Riyadh
Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 7, 2019 – Qatar on Thursday took part in a Riyadh-hosted meeting of ground forces commanders from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states…. Participants also reportedly discussed proposals for establishing a unified GCC military command.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS Single Currency to debut in 2020 with select countries
Recommended that member states ‘….promote regional integration through the free movement of factors of production. Create a permanent integration framework among the ECOWAS commission, WAMA, WAMI and the ECOWAS parliament’
Vanguard (Nigeria), March 9, 2019 – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through its parliament has reaffirmed its commitment to introducing the community’s unified monetary unit by next year….
According to the forum, “to ensure the sustainability of the ECOWAS single currency, it is key to continue efforts to harmonize monetary and budgetary policies. This requires the strengthening of the multilateral surveillance mechanism through greater involvement of Central Banks and Finance Ministries.”

SOUTH ASIA:
SAARC: A defunct organization
Fancies European Union, but little motivation for transforming into such ‘cohesive entity’
The Nation (Pakistan), March 8, 2019 – Regretfully, the achievements of the organization are far below its potential thus far. At the moment, it has been on the point of being defunct for several years….
Although a South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) came into force in 2006 but that was only limited to goods with no place for investments and services like information technology etc. It envisioned a duty free area between members by 2016, but nothing happened on the ground. If we had acted on Vision for SAARC (1998) there would have been a Customs Union by 2015 and an Economic Union by 2020. Majority of us fancy workings of the European Union but, strangely enough, when it comes to SAARC little motivation is found for transforming it into such a cohesive entity.
Sub-regionalism is superseding a stagnant SAARC
East Asia Forum (Australia), Feb 23, 2019 – India recently acknowledged the long-standing demands of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to remove non-tariff barriers to trade and liberalise the energy sector. The three countries of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative have tremendous hydropower potential waiting to be harnessed by an energy-starved India. New guidelines will allow cross-border trade in energy through multi-country public-private partnerships and the creation of a robust regional power market.
While India continues to outflank Islamabad by investing in sub-regional initiatives like the BBIN and BIMSTEC, Pakistan is similarly looking beyond the SAARC for regional camaraderie with China.

EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION:
Iran Says Grounds Prepared for Its Membership in Eurasian Union
Meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership
IFP News (Iran), Feb 20, 2019 – Despite sanctions imposed on and restrictions created for Iran’s economy, arrangements for membership of the Islamic Republic in the Eurasian Economic Union have been made, said Iran’s Energy Minister.
According to [Reza] Ardakanian, with the arrangements made so far, Iran and the union will hold a meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership….
Back in December 2018, member states of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union formed a Free Trade Zone with Iran, preparing the grounds for Tehran’s long-awaited accession to the EEU.

EUROPEAN UNION:
EU Elections ‘Last Chance to End Nationalist Nightmare’ – Verhofstadt
MEP, EU Brexit coordinator wants to shut down opposition to federal EU superstate
Breitbart, March 6, 2019 – This year’s EU election will be the “last chance” to kill populism, Guy Verhofstadt has warned, calling for sovereignty-destroying “reform” which would transfer national powers to Brussels….
Asked why he believes populist sentiment has been strengthening across the bloc, the former Belgian prime minister blamed the internet, before going on to echo Macron in endorsing an EU-wide purging the internet of so-called “hate”.
Socialist European Union insider and Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has long had a radical vision for an EU superstate within a New World Order framework of similar regional blocs. When he was prime minister of Belgium in 2001, Verhofstadt revealed the following framework model:

‘MIDDLE EAST STRATEGIC ALLIANCE’ (MESA) – ‘THE BIG 6’:
In Arab world, a new alliance is on the rise
Christian Science Monitor, Feb 13, 2019 – The grouping has no official name – people refer to them verbally as “the six states” or the “big states” or the “six big states.” Let’s call them the Big 6. On the surface, it is the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, minus Qatar and Oman but with the addition of Jordan and Egypt….
The Big 6 is first and foremost a Sunni Arab coalition that seeks to act as a bulwark against Iran, coordinate Arab foreign policy, and prevent the encroaching influence of non-Arab regional actors such as Turkey…. The bloc also supports the ongoing blockade of Qatar over what they claim is an unwillingness to take stances against Iran and Turkey.
What brings Israeli and Arab leaders together in Warsaw? – TRT World, Feb 13, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first raised the idea last month ahead of his 8-nation tour of the Middle East where he tried to gather support for President Donald Trump’s containment policy for Iran. At the time, the initiative was seen as a prelude to forming the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) – a proposed regional security alliance comprising members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), plus Egypt and Jordan….
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist the meeting is mainly about the Islamic republic of Iran.
Israel Says It Wants ‘War with Iran’ and Is Meeting with Arab Countries to ‘Advance’ It – News week, Feb 13, 2019 – The United States has rallied countries from across the world, especially from Europe and the Middle East, to attend a summit in Warsaw in a bid to form a united front against revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran….
“What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] added.

SOUTH ASIA:
We need to restructure SAARC
SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth
DailyMirror.lk (Sri Lanka), Feb 8, 2019 – The move to promote China’s entry as a full member was seen by Indian analysts as an attempt to challenge India’s dominance within SAARC. Pakistan fully supported the move. Of course, Sri Lanka, too, appeared supportive of the proposal then.
However, for China to enter SAARC, the consensus of all member states is required. If India can work with China within BRICS and become a partner in the China-led Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank, there is no reason other than India’s ambitions to be South Asia’s big brother for it to oppose China’s membership.
SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth and the grouping could extend its trade links to Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region via China, especially in view of China’s Belt-and-Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Also if China is given full membership, the India-Pakistan issues that stymie SAARC’s growth can be overlooked and the South Asian grouping could make progress.

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
You say you want a federation
A political union for east Africa?
Regional leaders have big ambitions but short tempers

The Economist (London, UK), Feb  7, 2019 (Google link) – Africa’s regional institutions do not lack ambition. The African Union’s master plan promises a rich, peaceful continent criss-crossed by high-speed trains. Eventually. Its target is 2063, a date well past the likely retirement date of all the bigwigs who signed the plan.
The East African Community (EAC), by contrast, has no time to waste. It wants to form a single currency by 2024. At a recent summit, heads of state discussed drafting an east African constitution, with the ultimate goal of political federation. The EAC is the most successful of Africa’s regional blocs. Since its revival in 2000 it has established a customs union and the rudiments of a common market. But its leaders are getting ahead of themselves: deepening rifts have put the project in jeopardy.

SOUTH AMERICA:
Chile organizes a meeting of presidents to promote the creation of Prosur, replacing Unasur
Will be attended by ‘practically all’ the leaders of the region
To ‘strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America’
Infobae (Argentina), Feb 5, 2019 – The Chilean government is organizing a meeting for March in which it is intended to give impetus to a new international institution to replace Unasur, an organization formed in the boom of the leftist wave in Latin America and which today suffers from strong discrepancies and little weight in the region….
The Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Luis Alberto Castiglioni,…. added that, ” since we all share the same principles and values, ” Prosur must serve to ” strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America….”

NEW WORLD DISORDER:
Time for Humility for Davos Elite
By Michael Barone, RealClear Politics, Feb 1, 2019 – So the political, financial and media elites have taken beatings at the ballot box — Brexit, Trump, anti-establishment European rebellion parties. The 1990s elite projects and policies were not crazy, but their failures to make course corrections and their lack of respect for decent nationalism have been costly. Something to talk about if they slink back to Davos next year.

EURASIA:
Eurasian Economic Commission Prepares Report on Cryptocurrencies
Crypto Digest, Feb 1, 2019 – The Commission’s minister for integration and macroeconomics, Tatyana Valovaya, said that the EEU aims to create a consolidated financial market by 2025, as the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries are becoming more robust, the EEU has to study them. And accordingly, Russia’s Ministry of Finance is considering launching a digital currency backed by the countries in the EAEU by 2020 or 2021.
Eurasian Economic (dis)Union
The bloc has not ‘re-Sovietised’ the region and is stretched by competing priorities
Financial Times (London), Jan 29, 2019 (Google link) – A popular conception about the EAEU is that it is Russia’s attempt to “re-Sovietise” the region (in then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s phrase), if not as a political force then at least as an economic one. Indeed, to some western observers, the EAEU has been a successful vehicle for Russian interests: only four years after inception, it has made impressive strides towards economic integration, achieving the free movement of goods, capital and people faster than its model and rival, the European Union….
Despite such successes, recent internal challenges to Russian leadership have dispelled any fears that the EAEU is becoming a neo-USSR. While the member states share a post-Soviet legacy, they have little else in common (apart from Kazakhstan’s and Russia’s reliance on hydrocarbons), while closer ties to Russia are not a priority for most of the other members.

SOUTH ASIA:
Pakistan blocks South Asia’s trade growth
New Indian Express, Jan 27, 2019 – The one stumbling block in this effort has been Pakistan, which has not implemented the SAARC Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2006. This agreement was part of a larger vision to make SAARC a Customs Union and then an Economic Union by 2020.

NORTH AMERICA:
Trump duped, globalists love new NAFTA/TPP agreement
By Dr. Harold W. Pease, Journal Tribune (Biddeford, Maine), Jan 25, 2019 – No one has been more outspoken against the globalist agenda than President Donald Trump.  His “America First” platform is the very antithesis of their plans for world government.  This is primarily the reason all globalists, Democrat and Republican, and all globalist mediums, have come out of the closet to oppose him at all costs.  Hence the shock when globalists are now praising his newly negotiated and rolled out Oct. I, 2018 USMCA (United States/Mexico/Canada) sovereignty destroying replacement of NAFTA—seemingly a merged agreement of the worst parts of NAFTA and TPP.

SOUTH AMERICA:
Brazil eliminates Mercosur symbol from new passports
New Brazilian passports to strengthen national identity
Merco Press, Jan 25, 2019 – The purpose of the new Brazilian passports is to strengthen national identity and love for the motherland, explained Lorenzini.
“We are going to eliminate from Brazilian passports the Mercosur identification; we are going to return the symbol of the Republic to the document”, underlined the cabinet chief.
….However in a recent meeting between Bolsonaro and his Argentine peer, Mauricio Macri, the two leaders did point out the importance or reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, a deal that has been on the negotiations table for almost two decades.

GCC:
Pompeo calls for Gulf unity to fight Iranian influence
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 14, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Sunday for greater unity among the Arabian Gulf states to combat Iran’s malign influence in the region. Pompeo arrived in Riyadh on Sunday evening on the latest leg of his nine-nation tour of the Middle East…. Pompeo said Gulf unity was essential for a planned Middle East Strategic Alliance that would also include Jordan and Egypt.

GCC:
Pompeo heading to Middle East to shore up US alliances
Daily Mail, (London, UK), Jan 4, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will tour eight Middle East capitals next week in an effort to shore up crucial alliances strained by the Yemen war, US plans to exit Syria and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
State Department officials say Pompeo also hopes to fortify the alliance of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The group was weakened in 2017 after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sought to isolate GCC member Qatar from other countries in the region, over its alleged support for extremist groups. The rift is “unhelpful,” another US official said, opening a cleavage that Iran could exploit. To strengthen the group, the US is hoping a GCC summit can be arranged as early as the first quarter of this year, the official said.

EUROPEAN UNION:
‘Make France great again!’ Trump mocks Macron over world wars as Merkel calls for ‘real true European army’
The Telegraph (London, UK), Nov 13, 2018 – Donald Trump has hit out at Emmanuel Macron with a volley of tweets saying the French were “starting to learn German in Paris” before US intervention in the world wars, rounding off the attack off with a mocking plea to “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia,” tweeted Mr Trump, just back from the Paris commemorations.
“But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”
….Mr Trump called the comments “very insulting”….
Minutes after his online outburst, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave her unprecedented backing to Mr Macron’s defence plans, saying she too wanted a “real true European army”, which would complement, but not rival, the Northern Atlantic Alliance, Nato.
Farage THANKS Merkel’s failure for getting Brexit ‘over the line’
Express (London, UK), Nov 13, 2018 – Nigel Farage thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a passionate speech in the European Parliament claiming her failed policies regarding immigration helped to get Brexit “over the line”.
“Without you, we would never have made it over the line with Brexit, and I want to thank you very much for that.”
He added: “Of course, many of these eurosceptic groups on the right, centre and the left will come back here after the next European elections will come back here in huge numbers, directly as a result of your immigration and asylum policy.
“You’re ‘we can cope’ led to a huge migrant tide, indeed a stampede that came across the Mediterranean. Young men, coming from very different cultures who were not going to integrate.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Macron urges European army to defend against Russia, US
Agence France Presse, Nov 6, 2018 – French President Emmanuel Macron called Tuesday for a “real European army” as the continent marks a century since the divisions of World War I, to better defend itself against Russia and even the United States….
Faced with “a Russia which is at our borders and has shown that it can be a threat”, Macron argued: “We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”

REGION-BUILDING:
Creating a New World Order Out of Regional Orders
By Alex Newman, The New American, Nov 5, 2018 – The Deep State’s globalist plan for what insiders refer to as the “New World Order” — basically, a global government controlled by themselves — begins with submerging the sovereignty of nation-states into regional “orders.” These are better understood as regional governments built using “free trade” deals as the foundation, with the European Union serving as the premier example. How do we know this is the plan? Because top Deep State globalists have said so publicly and repeatedly, and because that is the exact strategy being pursued openly.
This article originally appeared in the November 19, 2018 print edition of The New American.

NORTH AMERICA:
What’s Wrong With the USMCA?
The New American, Nov 5, 2018 – ….Chapter 30 of the USMCA establishes the creation of a “Free Trade Commission,” which is broader in scope and power than the original 1994 NAFTA Free Trade Commission. According to Article 30.2, the USMCA reads, “The Commission shall”:
(a) consider matters relating to the implementation or operation of this Agreement;
(b) consider proposals to amend or modify this Agreement;
(c) supervise the work of committees, working groups, and other subsidiary bodies established under this Agreement;
(d) consider ways to further enhance trade and investment between the Parties;
(e) adopt and update the Rules of Procedure and Code of conduct; and
(f) review the roster established under Article 31.8 (Roster and Qualifications of Panelists) every three years and, when appropriate, constitute a new roster.
In other words, the USMCA’s Free Trade Commission can make changes to the agreement itself, implement changes to the agreement, change the rules by which it operates, approve who serves on its lower subordinate committees, and oversee the work of those committees like an international bureaucracy or government — all without the consent or approval of Congress….
In fact, a North American Competitiveness Committee is to be established with “a view to promoting further economic integration among the Parties” (i.e., the United States, Mexico, and Canada) and “enhancing the competitiveness of North American exports.” (Emphasis added.) It reads as though the purpose is to make the North American bloc competitive with other trade blocs such as the EU, ASEAN, and Eurasian Economic Union, but of course, this is simply a ploy by the Deep State to abolish the modern international system of sovereign nation-states to, in turn, replace it with a transitional world order composed of interdependent transnational unions, with the view of further global integration toward a socialistic one-world economic union….
The new USMCA’s Free Trade Commission fits the criteria of James Madison’s definition of “tyranny”: Writing in The Federalist, No. 47, Founding Father James Madison stated, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The USMCA underscores the urgent need not only to get out of the original NAFTA but to likewise reject the USMCA and all other so-called trade agreements that erode American sovereignty through the establishment of transnational executive commissions and that subordinate the United States to international regimes such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and ILO….
This article originally appeared in the November 19, 2018 print edition of The New American.

EURASIAN UNION, EUROPEAN UNION:
Moldova vote may herald end of EU integration
Russia appears to have the upper hand in Chisinau
Eurasianet (Harriman Institute, Columbia University), Oct 15, 2018 – Since his election in 2016, the Moldovan president has criticized integration efforts with the EU and NATO and pursued closer ties with Russia, namely by gaining observer status in the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
A shift toward Russia could mean normalized trade flows and other economic wins like cheaper natural gas. It could also advance further integration within the EAEU and less confrontation over Transnistria.

EURASIAN UNION:
Armenian Deputy PM: We Should Give up the Dollar
Georgia Today, Oct 1, 2018 – Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, Mher Grigoryan, has suggested the country give up use of the US dollar for trade and transition to the unified currency of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
Ready for a United States of East Africa? The wheels are already turning
The East African, Sep 30, 2018 – The East African Community has kicked off the process of forming a political federation by appointing a 12-member Committee of Experts to draft a regional constitution.
This is in line with a directive by the region’s heads of state to the Council of Ministers, asking it to begin drafting laws that will pave the way for the achievement of the last pillar of East African integration.
Julius Maganda, Uganda’s EAC Minister and chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, said each partner state has appointed two members to the CoE to conduct research, consultations and eventually draft the East African Community Constitution by 2021.

SOUTH ASIA – SAARC:
Roles of China, India challenge for regional connectivity: seminar
New Age Bangladesh, Sep 4, 2018 – A seminar on the opportunities and challenges in attaining regional connectivity has identified nearly two dozens of challenges, including influences of China and India, in getting a successful regional cooperation in South Asia.
The daylong seminar on Monday repeatedly stated how and why the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation, better known as SAARC, had turned into a ‘dead-horse’ instead of having successful cooperation like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and North American Free Trade Agreement.

EURASIAN UNION:
Turkey’s meeting in Tabriz could signal turn towards Eurasia – scholar
Ahval News, (Turkey), Sep 3, 2018 – Turkey, Russia and Iran are set to meet in the northwest Iranian city of Tabriz on Sep. 7, and the United States will have to sit on the side lines as three of the most influential states in the Syrian conflict hold critical discussions, scholar John C. K. Daly wrote in an op-ed for the Arab Weekly.
Similarly, after Turkey’s long-running accession bid to the European Union was frozen over human rights concerns in 2016, it could “seek affiliation with either the Eurasian Economic Union or BRICS — the grouping of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa,” he said.

NORTH AMERICA – NAFTA:
Will Chapter 19 be a deal-breaker for Canada in NAFTA talks?
U.S. critics view its bilateral panels as unconstitutional infringements on national sovereignty
Toronto Star, Sep 2, 2018 – The provision gives countries the ability to challenge each other’s tariff duty decisions in front of an expert panel made up of members from both countries, instead of leaving it to a U.S. or Canadian court to preside over its government’s own trade squabble.
The dispute mechanism focuses on punitive duties imposed on imports that a government believes are being unfairly subsidized by the exporting country, or dumped on the foreign market at a significantly lower price than they are sold for domestically.
Critics in the U.S. have long despised Chapter 19, and view its bilateral panels as unconstitutional infringements on national sovereignty. In a new draft trade deal between Mexico and the U.S. announced last week, the provision appears to have been dropped.
NAFTA talks set to resume with key dispute resolution system at centre of table
Globe and Mail (Canada), Sept 3, 2018 – ….One industry source said there was discussion of a Chapter 19 compromise that would keep the provision but subject it to an expiration date or renegotiation in a few years’ time. Such a move would allow Mr. Lighthizer to claim victory, but give Canada the hope of keeping the system in place in future, post-Trump negotiations.
A Canadian government source, however, said the United States had not proposed any compromises, including the expiration date, to Canadian negotiators.
The proposed U.S. deal with Mexico on Chapter 11 offers another possible compromise that could be applied to Chapter 19: An “exhaustion clause” that would oblige Canada to see its case through the U.S. courts system before taking it to a NAFTA panel.
A third possibility, said Ohio trade lawyer Daniel Ujczo, is that Chapter 19 be made non-binding, effectively defanging the provision but giving Canada a fig leaf to claim victory.

SOUTH AMERICA – UNASUR:
Trump to visit Colombia in December
Bogata Post, Sep 2, 2018 – ….The issue of Venezuela and the increasingly despotic Maduro regime will also likely feature among discussions between the two heads of state. President Trump has privately pressed for more aggressive options though Colombian President Duque has expressed reservations to a military solution to the problem of Maduro’s rule. Instead, Duque insists on maintaining diplomatic pressure on the regime, which includes Colombia’s recent withdrawal from the Latin American alliance UNASUR in protest of Maduro’s continued grip on power in Venezuela.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Globalist Macron Vows to Kill Nationalism, While Italy’s Salvini Declares EU ‘Filth’
‘European sovereignty’ must become ‘model for a humanist refoundation of globalisation’
Breitbart, Aug 29, 2018 – Emmanuel Macron has vowed a globalist bloc determined to impose a progressive EU superstate on the continent will defeat “extremist” pro-national sovereignty conservatives at European Parliament elections next year.
Declaring that the world is at a “moment of great transformations”, the French President outlined his vision for a “European sovereignty” in which Brussels would have autonomy comparable to that of China or the United States of America.
Europe must become “the model for a humanist refoundation of globalisation”, he told the annual French ambassadors’ conference Monday, vowing to “redouble efforts” against patriotic conservative parties in the face of a world “where nationalisms have reawakened”.

FIND OLDER ARTICLES IN NEWS ARCHIVE
About CircumspectNews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *