Gulf row holds back single currency plan – Bahrain cenbank
Reuters, Oct 26, 2017 – A row between Qatar and some other Gulf Arab states has paused progress to a single currency in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain’s central bank governor said on Thursday, adding he hoped work on the project would resume soon.
Russian PM: Eurasian Union states will consistently eliminate national barriers to trade
News.am (Armenia), Oct 25, 2017 – The states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will consistently eliminate national barriers to trade, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday…. A plan for 2018-2020 is being prepared, in order to eliminate the exceptions and limitations that hinder free movement of goods.
Belarus against delays in formation of common markets in EAEU
Belarus News, Oct 25, 2017 – Belarus thinks it is unacceptable to drag out the formation of the common markets of gas, oil, and oil products in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov noted at the session of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Yerevan, Armenia on 25 October, BelTA has learned.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS single currency tops Niger meeting
Journal duCameroun, Oct 24, 2017 – The implementation of a roadmap for the long proposed West African single currency topped the agenda of a meeting of five heads of state of the region in Niamey, Niger on Tuesday.The fourth meeting of the ECOWAS Presidential Task Force on the Single Currency Program, attracted to Niamey Presidents Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Togolese leader Faure Gnasssingbe.
The meeting was chaired by Niger’s head of state, Mahamadou Issoufou, who was appointed by his peers in 2013 to oversee the process for the realization of a single current for the region.
….The fifteen nations making up the regional grouping are looking to realize a single currency by 2020.
Business Inqjuirer (Philippines), Oct 17, 2017 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is moving further closer to creating a common market, but member-nations are concerned that the normalization of monetary policy rates in the United States would hinder growth in the region, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III….Currently chaired by the Philippines, Asean’s other members include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
A modest proposal for the U.K. as it eyes NAFTA — join Canada instead
Report suggests the U.K. is considering joining NAFTA, but here’s a backup plan if Trump kills the trade deal
By Don Pittis, CBC News (Canada), Oct 16, 2017 – Last week, the London Telegraph, a newspaper famously well-connected to the British conservative establishment, broke a story that Britain was seriously considering becoming part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The paper said government ministers were considering joining NAFTA as a Plan B if the U.K. failed to negotiate a post-Brexit deal with Europe.
But now that U.S. President Donald Trump is sowing seeds of doubt over whether NAFTA can survive, maybe Britain needs a Plan C.
And C stands for Canada.
This modest proposal may not be well-received by all Britons or by many Canadians, but if British ministers really did have their hearts set on redrawing the lines so that their islands are grouped with North America instead of Europe, joining the Canadian Confederation might be a good first step.
NAFTA – ‘MADE IN NORTH AMERICA’:
US Chamber warns against Trump’s ‘highly dangerous’ NAFTA demands
Mexico: ‘Country specific’ rules of origin within NAFTA ‘unacceptable’
Voice of America, Oct 6, 2017 -The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned on Friday that the Trump administration was making “highly dangerous demands” in the North American Free Trade Agreement modernization talks that could erode U.S. business support and torpedo the negotiations.
John Murphy, the chamber’s senior vice president for international policy, said the largest U.S. business lobby was urging the administration to drop some of its more controversial NAFTA proposals, including raising rules of origin thresholds….
Karen Antebi, the trade counselor at Mexico’s embassy in Washington, told a forum on Friday that while there were “rumors” of a 50 U.S. percent content demand for autos, formal texts had not been proposed on rules of origin.
“Mexico has been firm and consistent that country specific rules of origin within the NAFTA would be unacceptable,” she said.
Chamber of Commerce fears Trump will pull out of NAFTA
The Chamber of Commerce warned Friday that the Trump administration appears to be on the path to pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, on the eve of the fourth round of talks to renegotiate that deal….
Recent comments by top U.S. trade officials suggest there has been little progress in other areas and appear to be laying the groundwork for a pull-out. In an op-ed last month for the Washington Post, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross warned, “If we don’t fix the rules of origin, negotiations on the rest of the agreement will fail to meaningfully shift the trade imbalance. Our nation’s ballooning trade deficit has gutted American manufacturing, killed jobs and sapped our wealth. That is going to change under President Trump, and rules of origin are just the beginning.”
NAFTA Talks Expose Disagreement Over Mexican Trucking Access
NAFTA provision allows Mexican trucks to enter, operate in U.S.
Transport Topics, Oct 5, 2017 – As efforts to renegotiate terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement shift from Ottawa to Washington, two trucking industry groups and the Teamsters union are taking aim at a provision in the current agreement that allows trucks from Mexico to operate in the United States.
Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Sept. 28, said the original NAFTA trucking provision harms American truckers and jeopardizes highway safety….
American Trucking Associations Chief Economist Bob Costello responded with a letter in which he urged Lighthizer to support the Mexican truck program and decried what he said was “fearmongering” about Mexican trucks driving beyond the commercial border zones.
SOUTH PACIFIC – PIF:
Pacific Immigration explore regional labour mobility
Would ‘naturally’ require movements of people across borders
Scoop (New Zealand), Oct 5, 2017 – Immigration officials from across the Pacific are meeting this week to discuss how their agencies can support labour mobility efforts to contribute to development and regionalism.
Topics covered include the Australia and New Zealand seasonal worker schemes and the role of trade agreements in supporting labour mobility.
The Pacific Immigration Director Conference (PIDC) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat are hosting the event…. Republic of the Marshall Islands Ministry of Justice Division of Immigration director Damien Jacklick and Vice-Chair of PIDC said labour mobility, as one of the key economic drivers for the Pacific islands, would naturally require movements of people across borders.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS moves to harmonise educational system
The Guardian (Nigeria), Sep 25, 2017 – “The training would cover from primary to tertiary education and we are also looking at how to standardise certification of degrees and curricula in the sub-region. The training will start with a seven-member nation pilot project, involving the teaching of 300 train-the-trainers professionals from every nation.
AU – EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY (EAC):
E African region to harmonise tuition fees next year
PIE News (Professionals in International Education, London, UK), Sep 20, 2017 – University students across the East African region will, from January next year, begin paying the same amount of tuition fees, in the first step towards the actualisation of the newly created East African Common Higher Education Area.
While the institutions may charge different amounts for different programs, students from any country in the region will pay the same amount as domestic students in any of the six countries that form the common area – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and the newest East African community member, South Sudan.
This move is in line with the framework for implementation of the Common Higher Education Area agreed upon by the six member countries of the EAC…. Benedict Mtasiwa, IUCEA chief principal officer for exchange programs, said the decision was expected to facilitate and increase student mobility across the region.
Trump tells rally U.S. will ‘end up probably terminating’ NAFTA
CBC News (Canada), Aug 22, 2017 – U.S. President Donald Trump gave a long campaign-style speech peppered with many off-script moments to a crowd of admirers in Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday night…. At times going off-script for a long duration, Trump said he thinks the U.S. will “end up probably terminating” the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico “at some point.”
“Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal because we have been so badly taken advantage of,” he commented.
Why energy is one area where NAFTA’s Three Amigos might find common ground
Envision grandiose plan for ‘North American energy bloc’
Financial Post (Canada), August 11, 2017 – Energy ministers in Canada, Mexico and the United States have so far struck a conciliatory tone ahead of the August 16 talks, a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric in which he threatened to dismantle the deal in favour of more U.S.-friendly policies.
Energy trade and investment ties between the three markets have been highly integrated since the NAFTA came into effect in 1994, but all three see several opportunities for further integration, nudging the continent closer to forging a North American energy bloc — a grandiose plan that has been tried, and repeatedly failed, for decades.
The premise: in an increasingly uncertain energy market, harmonized economic and environmental ties between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico could position North America as the dominant energy superpower.
From the Archives – ‘Made in North America’: ENERGY ISSUES SEEN AS UNIFYING FORCE IN NORTH AMERICA
Dallas News, Sept 30, 2014 – The task force was chaired by retired U.S. Gen. David Petraeus and former World Bank president Robert Zoellick. Its 137-page report, known as the Independent Task Report No. 71, will be released Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City….
“In sum, we recommend a new partnership for North America, a new model for the world of integration and cooperation among sovereign states,” the report says. “The foundation for U.S. foreign policy in years to come should be ‘Made in North America.’”
The phrase “integration and cooperation among sovereign states” is a euphemism. In reality, the CFR advocates “cooperation among sovereign states” to surrender their sovereignty, superseded by a “North American” jurisdiction.
Eurasian Development Bank proposes creation of single currency for Eurasian Economic Union space
ARKA News Agency (Armenia), July 26, 2017 – The Eurasian Development Bank proposed the central banks of the Eurasian Economic Union member countries to create a single monetary unit for calculations, Vestifinance.ru reports.
….The regional monetary unit is first of all needed for servicing trade flows, he said, and ‘it would be a payment unit of the Silk Road’.
….Harmonization of national laws with taking into account all the countries’ interests is being considered now.
Is EEU returning to single currency unit? – Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), July 26, 2017 – The Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, said that he agreed with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev that the creation of a single currency unit is a necessary element of integration.
“As for currency units, is is an intermediate stage from national currencies to a single currency of the Eurasian Economic Union. It is necessary because it will create a full-fledged market of currencies, labor, capital flows, goods and services. I totally support this idea because I believe that a state formation can be full-fledged only if the number of consumers exceeds 200 million people,” the expert explained.
Trump list scraps NAFTA tribunals: ‘Biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand’
Canada May Walk Away From Trump’s NAFTA Talks Over A Single Issue
Huffington Post, July 25, 2017 – The Trump administration released its wish list for NAFTA talks last week, and among the items is a request to scrap Chapter 19 of the trade deal. The chapter creates multinational tribunals to rule on disputes when a NAFTA country wants to impose anti-dumping duties on exports from another country.
Canada’s Trudeau: NAFTA Dispute Resolution System Is Essential
US News & World Report | Reuters, July 25, 2017 – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that a fair dispute resolution system is essential for any trade pact that the country signs, including a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
….Under Chapter 19, binational panels hear complaints about illegal subsidies and dumping and then issue binding decisions. The United States has frequently lost such cases.
From the Archives: Review of U.S. Rulings by Nafta Tribunals Stirs Worries – New York Times, April 18, 2004 – The tribunal declared a Mississippi court’s judgment at odds with international law, leaving the United States government potentially liable for hundreds of millions of dollars…. “This is the biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand,” said John D. Echeverria, a law professor at Georgetown University…. The availability of this additional layer of review, above even the United States supreme Court, is a significant development, legal scholars said….The tribunals have the potential to upset the settled American constitutional order.
An integrated banking framework of the future: Can ASEAN avoid Europe’s mistakes?
Comparing ASEAN integration to its EU ‘model’
As ASEAN works towards its Banking Integration Framework goal, it is at risk of walking straight into the same traps as the EU did
ASEAN Today, July 25, 2017 – Indonesian bank, Mandiri, looks set to become the first ‘Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bank’ operating in Malaysia. The state-owned bank was granted a status as a cross-regional lender and has announced plans to begin operations in Malaysia. The move is a major stride towards the Asian Development Bank’s goal of achieving an ASEAN Banking Integration Framework (ABIF) by 2020.
In 1997, 30 years after the birth of ASEAN, the Heads of States gathered in Kuala Lumpur and hatched their plan ASEAN Vision 2020. The plan outlined closer economic integration, with the “free flow of goods, services and investments.”
Repeal bill has caused a constitutional crisis, says Scotland’s Brexit minister
UK’s Brexit legislation to transpose EU law into British, so same rules apply on Brexit day
The Telegraph (London, UK), July 16. 2017 – Officially the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, it would mean all powers, including those over fishing and agriculture, going to the UK Government before being devolved on to Edinburgh once common frameworks have been established on a UK basis.
But Mr Russell insisted the transfer should happen the other way round. He said that for the SNP to support the vital Brexit legislation, there would have to be an acceptance that “in all areas of devolved competence, the powers that presently exist in Europe will come back to the devolved administrations, to Scotland, to Wales and Northern Ireland”.
Britain Is Shamed and Brussels Triumphant. But Is That Good for Europe?
Bloomberg, July 12, 2017 – Now Brussels is reborn. Two events have changed everything. The first, ironically, was Brexit. Far from killing the EU, Brexit has helped reunite it. The second was the election of Emmanuel Macron in May this year, which has given the European project a purpose—or the promise of one.
For all the public talk of sorrow, Brussels can barely contain its glee at Britain’s spectacular reversal of fortune. The nation that had been Brussels’ main critic and the most adept earner of opt-outs from EU projects hasn’t so much shot itself in the foot as machine-gunned both legs repeatedly. Farage’s triumphant speech looks as premature as George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner after the invasion of Iraq. Far from acting as a beacon for other leavers, the chaos the Little Englanders created scared voters in the Netherlands and France into choosing pro-European leaders, while Theresa May’s mistaken desire to urge a hard Brexit united the other members of the EU against her. She called an election in June to consolidate that mandate but lost her majority in Parliament and her credibility—and revived talk of Britain ultimately staying in.
Scenarios such as described in these two articles were foreseen in Brexit and the Globalist Response, written shortly after the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016.
Don’t Renegotiate NAFTA: Get US Out!
While running for the oval office, President Trump noted to crowds how destructive NAFTA was to individuals, businesses, and states. Now he says he may keep NAFTA.
By Charles Scaliger, New American, June 26, 2017 – Whether President Trump truly believes renegotiating NAFTA could possibly benefit Americans is not for us to speculate. This author finds it difficult to believe, however, that President Trump can possibly be unaware of what internationalist elites have foisted on Europeans in the name of free trade; the entire European unification scheme has unfolded in the course of Trump’s lifetime, and is worth recalling here as a cautionary tale.
Corker vows to block US arms sales to GCC
DefenseNews, June 26, 2017 – Powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker announced he is blocking U.S. arms sales to Gulf Cooperation Council member states to pressure a resolution to the escalating row over Qatar…. The council is an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
GCC citizens launch petition to end Gulf crisis
Signatories: lack of effective political and economic integration between GCC nations
Aljazeera (Doha, Qatar) June 14, 2017 – One of the petition writers and key initiators, Qatar University PhD student Esraa al-Muftah, told Al Jazeera that the petition calls for the “immediate cessation of any actions that lead to the escalation of the situation and which the impact the ability of people to move and freely reside within the GCC states.”
….Lack of popular participation and the lack of effective political and economic integration between the GCC nations have rendered the people’s parliaments futile, the signatories told Al Jazeera.
Warning of U.S. desertion, EU chief calls for European defense
Juncker: ‘I see the tide turning’ for a European Army
Reuters, June 9, 2017 – Europe’s chief executive appealed to EU governments on Friday to forge a military alliance to defend the bloc and enhance its power abroad, warning that the United States was no longer prepared to do it for them.
Two days after unveiling a multi-billion euro plan to help fund European defense research, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was time to integrate militaries and defense industries, seizing on the strong backing from France’s new president and Britain’s decision to leave the bloc.
….Britain had long blocked EU defense integration, fearing a European army that would challenge national sovereignty.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
White House takes a harder line with Qatar
CBS News, June 9, 2017 – The Trump administration is supporting many of Saudi Arabia’s demands that Qatar drop all connections with and alleged financing of the Muslim Brotherhood — both inside its borders and in other countries, including Jordan, CBS News foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan reports.
….According to the White House, Mr. Trump also reiterated the importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in the wake of several key GCC members, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, cutting off diplomatic relations with Qatar.
The news seemed to contradict what Mr. Trump said in the Middle East last month, when he claimed he had helped unify the Muslim world. In the call with the Qatari leader, Mr. Trump said the U.S. wants a “united Gulf Cooperation Council to promote regional stability, but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism.”
U.S. Won’t Back France on Supporting an African Force to Fight Terrorism: Official
‘Mandate of the force way too broad, lacking precision; and would set a dangerous precedent’
Newsweek, June 9, 2017 – The United States is wary of a French push for the U.N. Security Council to authorize a West African force to combat terrorism and trafficking in the Sahel region because it does not believe it is warranted and does not want the world body to help fund it, diplomats said on Thursday.
….The United States is currently trying to cut the cost of U.N. peacekeeping and is reviewing each of the 16 missions as they come up for Security Council renewal. Washington is the largest contributor, paying 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC version of ‘DREAM Act’:
EAC inches closer to harmonised higher education
Key element is facilitation of free movement of students
‘Rationalisation of the labour market’ one of EAC goals
The New Times (Rwanda), May 31, 2017 – Expectations are high after the latest East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit in Tanzania declared the region as a common higher education area in a bid to harmonise and enhance quality of education.
….”Considering that rationalisation of the labour market is one of the goals for the EAC, a graduate from Rwanda will confidently apply for a job in Kenya or Uganda as the quality of graduates produced within the region will be the same,” Mbabazi said.
According to Lyambabaje, the key element is the facilitation of free movement of students to be able to take courses in one university, accumulate credits and validate those courses in the original university and graduate.
“It means that if you identify a course that is not offered in your country, you can go and take that course in another university in the region and come back and validate it and graduate,” Prof. Lyambabaje said.
GCC and ‘ARAB NATO’:
US, six Gulf countries join hands to curb terror financing
Business Standard, May 23, 2017 – The US and six Gulf countries have joined hands to curb financing terror organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Haqqani network and the Taliban.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed by the US and six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh on the sidelines of the historic visit of President Donald Trump, US Department of Treasury said
Gulf countries are a major source of funding major terrorist organisations across the globe including LeT which is responsible for major terror attacks in India.
Exactly. See Global Shakedown: ISIS, Ukraine and the New Cold War
Donald Trump to announce $350bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia – one of the largest in history
The deal will be part of the president’s proposal that Gulf nations form an ‘Arab Nato’
The Independent (London, UK), May 17, 2017 – The idea of an Arab Nato is not new. There was talk in 2015 of a “response force” in Egypt, comprised of approximately 40,000 troops from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and a few other Gulf nations.
The “response force” would have had a Nato-like command structure, with soldiers paid for by their own countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council made up of wealthy oil economies finance operations and management of the force.
From the Archives:
The EU Offers a Model for Unifying the Middle East
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), June 19, 2014 – Not long ago, Europe was a continent that resembled how the Middle East looks today…. Yet there is reason to hope Europe’s past and present can inform the Middle East’s future. Just as a warring continent found peace through unity by creating what became the EU, Arabs, Turks, Kurds and other groups in the region could find relative peace in ever closer union. After all, most of its problems – terrorism, poverty, unemployment, sectarianism, refugee crises, water shortages – require regional answers. No country can solve its problems on its own.
Joint Gulf army becoming a reality – Oman said to opt out
Arab Times (Kuwait), April 3, 2016 – The establishment of a joint Gulf army is becoming a reality with the final agreement on the formation of a great defensive and offensive military system with the participation of all military sectors, and decision of the Gulf states to build a number of nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, reports Al-Shahed daily quoting informed sources. The sources revealed the allocation of a common budget to support the Gulf project and make it a success so that it can preserve the unity of the Gulf territory from external threats, disclosing that all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries except Oman have agreed to participate in the Gulf army.
Gulf states warm to Israel, see possibility of Palestinian peace deal
Fox News, May 16, 2017 – Gulf states that long opposed Israel’s every move are proposing a rapprochemont in the hopes of restarting the Palestinian peace process. The development comes just days ahead of historic meetings between President Trump and Middle Eastern leaders. It consists of a draft proposal reportedly offered up by Sunni Muslim Gulf states and offers closer economic and diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for significant moves in restarting the Palestinian peace process….
After arriving in Saudi Arabia on Friday, [Trump] is expected to attend an “Arab, Islamic and American Conference” on Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and over a dozen heads of state from Arab and Islamic nations including Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
I’ll defend Europe!’ Macron snubs French national anthem & walks out to EU song after win
Express (London, UK), May 8, 2017 – In the past French politicians have announced their victory to the sound of La Marseillaise, which has stood as their anthem for hundreds of years. But Mr Macron, who has gained support from major European figures including Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel, instead blasted the anthem of Europe ‘Ode to Joy’ from the speakers as he waved to adoring crowds of voters outside the Louvre museum.
Unasur to be purged of its “ideological bias” anticipates Paraguay
To recover integration profile from ‘progressives’
Merco Press (South Atlantic News Agency, Uruguay), April 30, 2017 – Paraguay has stated it is time to put an end to the “ideological bias” of the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, and recover its integration profile which was the main purpose of its creation. A foreign ministers summit of the region will address and advance the issue.
Unasur was originally created as the brainchild of Brazil with the purpose of uniting and organizing the region, and became official in 2011. All South American countries are full members. However at the time Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and their “progressive” profile prevailed as the main force in the southern continent. It was the time of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, the Kirchners, Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa.
The leftist UNASUR bloc had been developing a divergent, maverick brand of regional mercantilism that could also be described as “regional protectionism.” Under their scheme, South American nations would still surrender sovereignty gradually to a continental authority like the European Union, but would combine continental resources and “Unite!” in protection and defiance against the corporate globalist network of regions managed by the EU, Western “colonialists,” “imperialists” and financiers.
A similar sentiment was occurring within the African Union, but globalist financiers encouraged both of these early integration efforts anyway, believing that they could overtly or covertly steer both blocs into the globalist web at a later stage of regional development. That is exactly what is happening on both continents today.
NORTH AMERICA – NAFTA:
Trump Tells Foreign Leaders That Nafta Can Stay for Now
New York Times, April 26, 2017 – “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up-to-date through renegotiation,” Mr. Trump said in a statement issued by the White House at 10:33 p.m. “I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”
The announcement appeared to be an example of Mr. Trump’s deal-making in real time. It followed a day in which officials signaled that he was laying the groundwork to pull out of Nafta — a move intended to increase pressure on Congress to authorize new negotiations, and on Canada and Mexico to accede to American demands.
Shot Across The Bow: Mexico Considers Boycott Of U.S. Corn
KPBS (San Diego State University), April 14, 2017 – A boycott would also hurt U.S. corn growers from the Dakotas to the Midwest to Arizona, California and Texas. Mexico’s deputy economy minister, Juan Carlos Baker, told the Financial Times that negotiations are underway with Argentina and Brazil to offer them duty-free access to the Mexican market now enjoyed by U.S. growers under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
NAFTA helped U.S. corn farmers, but may have boosted illegal immigration
KUAR | NPR, March 21, 2017 – But it turns out the policy wonks got it wrong. They didn’t count on stories like Elaine’s. She’s a 22-year-old woman who’s in the U.S. illegally. We’re identifying her by her middle name because she fears deportation.
“I was born in 1994,” she said. “For Mexico, it was a very monumental year — it was the year that NAFTA took place.”
Her mom’s family grew corn in Morelos, Mexico, back when NAFTA was signed. The trade deal opened up Mexico as a market for U.S. farm products. They poured in, including tons of cheap U.S. corn….
The farmers in Mexico couldn’t compete against the Midwestern corn giants. Many downsized or folded. Elaine’s mom left her farm family and headed to the U.S. in search of better economic opportunities.
China throws weight behind a strong European Union
Sees EU as ‘indispensable part of a balanced multipolar world order’
South China Morning Post, March 15, 2017 – China will continue to support a united European Union and a strong euro, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday, sending a clear message of the country’s hopes for the bloc’s future…. “I would like to stress specifically that China supports a united, prosperous and stable European Union. It supports a strong euro, and Europe integration,” Li said.
Cui Hongjian, director of European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that from China’s perspective, supporting the EU was essential. “Supporting the EU and the euro is the foundation on which all of Beijing’s Europe policies are built,” Cui said. “In terms of global governance, the Chinese leadership sees the EU as an indispensable part of a balanced multipolar world order.”
Germany claims officially impossibility to develop EU-Turkey economic cooperation
Turkey has already adopted a decision on joining the Eurasian Economic Union
ABC.az (Azerbaijan), March 13, 2017 – Earlier, Russian economist Mikhail Khazin stated that Turkey has already adopted a decision on joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and will announce this decision after relations with the EU are ruined completely.
Russia stands for stronger integration within EAEU
Regional integration processes ‘surging all around the globe’
TASS (Russia), March 13, 2017 – Russia stands for boosting integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) being aware of the importance of keeping a single global system, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the meeting with Tigran Sarkisyan, Chairman of the EAEU’s board, on Monday.
“Integration processes are surging all around the globe, particularly with regard to regional integration,” the minister said. “We are all in favor of their expansion, keeping in mind how important it is to maintain a single global system, including within the WTO (World Trade Organization – TASS),” Lavrov added.
Mexico warns U.S. it will end NAFTA talks if tariff pushed
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Bloomberg, March 3, 2017 – Mexico’s top trade negotiator doubled down this week on threats to break off talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border.
“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Monday in an interview. “Bye-bye.”
This doesn’t mean, Guajardo emphasized, that Mexico would be looking to scrap NAFTA. But by saying it refuses to even discuss the kind of tariffs President Donald Trump has long trumpeted, the country is ratcheting up the pressure on U.S. negotiators and essentially daring them to pull out of the 23-year-old pact.
EURASIAN UNION, EUROPEAN UNION:
Russia-Turkey Ties May Bring Ankara to Eurasian Union in Future – Erdogan’s Aide
Sputnik (Russia), Feb 27, 2017 – Bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia could lead to a Eurasian union in the future as the fate of the European Union is uncertain, the Turkish president’s chief adviser Ilnur Cevik said Monday. According to media reports, Kazakhstan invited Turkey to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2014.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
Morocco Shifts Its Policy Focus From Arab Ties To ‘pan-africanism’, Writes ECOWAS Chair
Global News Network Liberia, Feb 27, 2017 – Morocco has informed Liberia, the current chair of the Economic Community of West African States, of its desire to join the economic alliance as a full member…. The Maghreb country rejoined the African Union in January, signalling a move away from North African diplomacy and close ties with Arab states. Last year Morocco refused to host the Arab League summit.
AFICAN UNION – EAC:
EAC a step closer to Monetary Union after adoption of key draft instruments
The New Times (Rwanda), Feb 22, 2017 – Government lawyers from the East African Community partner states last week gave the green light to the draft legislation that seeks to establish the regional monetary institute that is seen as crucial in having a common currency in the bloc.
NAFTA, MERCOSUR (UNASUR):
Brazil and Argentina Agree to Move Closer to Pacific Alliance
Goal to bring the bloc closer together and its expand diplomatic ties with other regions of the world
IndraStra, Feb 17, 2017 – In his speech, Macri said he expects the partnership to cause a historical impact on MERCOSUR and lead to Brazil and Argentina taking better positions, and not just in the Latin-American scenario. According to the Argentine president, 2017 will be “a year of positive turns for the development of this strategic alliance as well as for the strengthening of the ties between the bloc and the world.”
Could Trump’s politics unite the divided countries of Latin America?
Election of Trump may well accelerate the process’
France24, Feb 16, 2017 – Currently the countries of Latin America are split between the Mercosur (or Mercosul) and Pacific Alliance organisations. Mercosur, formed in 1991, includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (current suspended), as well as five associate members. The Pacific Alliance consists of four countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.-
As Olivia Ronsain, a specialist in international relations and economics, remarked in a note on Diploweb, the two organisations are built on different models: “We believe that the Pacific Alliance is destined to become, in the short-term, a free trade zone, since it has eliminated 92% of customs barriers,” she explained. “The Alliance aims to evolve into a common market… Unlike Mercosur, the Pacific Alliance is not meant to be a customs union since it will not set up a common external tariff.”
Meanwhile, Mercosur was founded in the 1990s at the instigation of the progressive governments of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Mercosur has a political purpose beyond economic and customs integration, making it more similar to the European Union, if on a smaller scale.
As NAFTA Stumbles, Mercosur Senses Opportunity
STRATFOR, Feb 8, 2016 – To be clear, NAFTA talks are not necessarily going to collapse. There is still a long way to go before that could occur, and much is still uncertain. Regardless, members of Mercosur, a trade bloc thousands of kilometers to the south of NAFTA, are already cozying up with Mexico to secure their spot should NAFTA fall apart.
Argentina and Brazil hope to revive Mercosur – Global Trade Review, Feb 8, 2017 – Following their meeting this week, Brazil’s President Michel Temer said the two heads of states had discussed ways to remove “obstacles to trade” within Mercosur, as well as regional integration – namely with the Pacific Alliance – and a trade agreement with the European Union (EU)…. But according to Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, the two countries have a lot of work to do if they are to revive the 1991 agreement, which many consider a disappointment.
AFRICAN UNION – EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY:
Don’t fast-track East African Community integration, says IMF
Go slow on monetary union and federation in wake of Brexit from EU
The East African (Kenya), Feb 6, 2017 – The International Monetary Fund…managing director Christine Lagarde said fissures in the bloc over Economic Partnership Agreement, the single tourist visa, non-tariff barriers on movement of people, goods and capital were signs that the building blocks were not firmly in place.
“Coming from the European Union and a country that is part of the Eurozone, I would certainly stress that making haste slowly is probably the best way to go and consolidate one step at a time, to make sure that the steps you have taken are actually solid, sustainable and will take you to the next level,” Ms Lagarde said while on a visit to Kampala, Uganda last week.
She said the East African Community should focus on consolidating integration gains achieved in infrastructure, the Common Market and the Customs Union integration while going slow on the monetary union and federation projects in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU.
The Independent (London), Jan 30, 2017 – Guy Verhofstadt made the comment at a speech in London on Monday afternoon, warning that the union was facing a three-pronged attack from outside forces.
Germany urges EU to speed trade deals after Trump, Brexit – Reuters, Jan 27, 2017 – Germany called on the European Union on Friday to speed deals to open trade with a dozen or more countries, mainly in Asia, and to boost support for free trade around the world in response to scepticism about it from new U.S. President Donald Trump.
Think About the U.K. in Nafta. Really.
BloombergView, Jan 27, 2017 – Trump’s campaign description of Nafta as “the worst trade deal ever” would seem to box him in. But his recent emphasis on renegotiating the pact with Mexico and Canada suggests he’s aware of the enormous amount of bilateral trade at stake — U.S. trade with its neighbors more than tripled since the deal was signed — and maybe even the complex web of supply chains that would be disrupted by scrapping it. Tearing the deal apart and stitching it back together with the U.K. included would be a risky gambit, but it would allow him to claim that he reformed Nafta (maybe even renaming it), while also rebutting critics who say he is a reckless protectionist.
Britain could have ‘fast track back to EU’ after Brexit, says European Parliament chief negotiator
The Telegraph (London), Jan 27, 2017 – Britain could be handed an accelerated path to re-join the European Union if it decides to reapply for membership after it has left the bloc, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator has claimed.
Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and arch European federalist, said that future British governments would have a way back into Europe if they decided to reverse course after Brexit, possibly even on a fastrack.
With NAFTA under threat, Japanese automakers wary of Trump’s trade stance
Japan Times, Jan 24, 2016 – Trump has repeatedly said he will impose tariffs on cars imported from Mexico.
“The carmakers would have to raise the prices of those imported cars, so it would weaken their price competitiveness in the U.S. market,” said Shigeru Matsumura, a senior analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center. Analysts said Nissan is likely to be hit hard by the potential border tax. The Yokohama-based automaker runs three factories in Mexico.
Trump pulls U.S. out of TPP, will renegotiate NAFTA ‘at the appropriate time’ – CBC (Canada), Jan 23, 2017 – The new U.S. president made good on one of his campaign promises Monday, formally withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal, and signalling his intention to renegotiate NAFTA “at the appropriate time.”
….At a press briefing later on Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said no further executive orders are planned today, but more movements on trade are expected later this week.
Republican senator’s bill aims to reel in Trump’s trade power
CNN, Jan 19, 2017 – Donald Trump can get tough on America’s top trade partners on Day 1 of his presidency. Trump has threatened tariffs on goods coming from Mexico or China, and he doesn’t need approval from Congress to do it. On the eve of his presidency, his own party is trying to reel in those powers.
Republican Senator Mike Lee announced a new bill Thursday that would require Trump to go through Congress to use tariffs or to withdraw from free trade deals like NAFTA, the agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Lee’s bill, which is slated to be introduced Friday, is one of the most concrete signs of GOP opposition to Trump’s trade agenda.
Regional economic communities a conduit for South–South cooperation in science
‘A world increasingly characterized by economic blocs’
‘Economic communities have taken inspiration from the European Union model’
UNESCO.org, (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Jan 17, 2017 – Increasingly, the long-term economic plans adopted by regional communities in the South are accompanied by a policy or strategy for science. For instance, the Policy on Science and Technology adopted in 2011 by the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) ‘is an integral part of Vision 2020’, the subregion’s development blueprint to 2020.
The report observes that, even though the focus of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has always been on the creation of a single market along the lines of the European model, ‘leaders have long acknowledged that successful economic integration will hinge on how well member states manage to assimilate science and technology’. When ASEAN’s Vision 2020 was adopted in 1997, its stated goal ‘was for the region to be technologically competitive by 2020’….
Also new is the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). It, too, is modelled on the European Union and, thus, embraces the free movement of goods, services, capital and people among its 12 members. UNASUR plans to establish a common parliament and currency. Governments have also been discussing the idea of standardizing university degrees in member countries. Rather than creating other new institutions, UNASUR plans to rely on existing trade blocs like the Common Market for the South (Mercosur) and the Andean Community.
Not all the more established regional economic communities have enjoyed the same level of success. For instance, ‘since its inception in 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has failed to emulate the success of [ASEAN] in fostering regional integration in trade and other areas, including in science, technology and innovation’, observes the report. ‘South Asia remains one of the world’s least economically integrated regions, with intraregional trade accounting for merely 5% of total trade’.
How Trump’s Twitter tirades are changing the culture of the car industry
‘Of course, globalization isn’t a force of nature’
Vox, Jan 14, 2017 – Trump has put carmakers on notice that they’ll be denounced on Trump’s 20-million-follower Twitter account any time they announce plans to open factories in Mexico or close them in the United States….
Economic nationalism is not a new force in American politics. For decades, politicians have railed against multinational companies shipping jobs overseas. But until Trump’s election, complaints about outsourcing were often made with an air of resignation. Even people who criticized companies for outsourcing jobs and shuttering American plants didn’t have a serious plan for preventing them from doing so. Globalization was treated more like a force of nature than a matter of human choice.
Of course, globalization isn’t a force of nature. The global economy has become more and more integrated because of policy decisions that world leaders made over the course of several decades — culminating in the 1990s with the signing of NAFTA and the creation of the World Trade Organization.
European FBI – Possible Future For The European Union?
Hungary Today, Jan 13, 2017 – The Socialist Party supports a proposal to create a Europe-wide law enforcement agency similar to the FBI in the United States, Zsolt Molnár, the Socialist head of parliament’s national security committee, said. “The Hungarian Socialist Party welcomes the proposal put forward by Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, aimed at establishing a European security union and a European FBI,” Molnár said, adding that his party had long been calling for bolstering EU law enforcement agency Europol and the creation of an EU security agency that would run parallel to national secret services.
Mexico says it will negotiate with President-elect Donald Trump
USA Today, Jan 10, 2017 – Mexico’s foreign relations secretary says the country wants to negotiate changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible…. Videgaray said Mexico is willing to negotiate Trump’s plan to build a border wall but Mexico won’t pay for it.