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.