News Archive, August 16-31, 2012

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
African central bank governors seek monetary integration
Newstrack India, August 31, 2012 – African central banks’ governors have called for speeding up of the process of monetary integration in Africa as a step towards achieving the goals of creating the African Central Bank (ACB) and ultimately issuing an African single currency.
Blocs seek to emulate EAC regional assembly – The Citizen (Tanzania), August 30, 2012 – Some regional economic blocs in Africa have shown desire to transform their legislative bodies into Assemblies with legislative powers, it was disclosed here yesterday. They want to copy the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) model which is the only regional Parliament in the continent out of the seven with legislative powers.

GCC flagGCC:
Greater unification of Gulf states in focus
Arab News (Saudi Arabia), August 31, 2012 – Foreign Ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold an important meeting on Sunday to discuss greater unification of the Gulf States and to review all aspects of a plan to transform the GCC into a strong unified “Gulf Union.”

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
US firms may shift some business from China to ASEAN
ABS-CBN News (Philippines) | Reuters, August 31, 2012 – According to AmCham Singapore, 92 percent of the executives surveyed said they were positive about investment opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN – a regional grouping that comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
US eyes ‘explosive’ trade growth with ASEAN – AFP, August 30, 2012 – US trade representative Ron Kirk spoke of mutually beneficial opportunities as he met with economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Cambodian tourist hub of Siem Reap.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA:
NAFTA 20 years later: North American leaders announce summit, promise NAFTA 2.0 – Examiner.com, August 30, 2012 – Originally dubbed the Trans Texas Corridor in Texas, four major trade corridors will run through Texas and eventually up into Canada: La Entrada al Pacifico, Ports to Plains, I-35, and I-69. Canamex will run from the border of Mexico through Arizona up into Montana connecting to Canada. But there are 12 total, with BC to Baja, Camino Real, Gulf Crescent, I-75, Spirit, North-South, and Trans-Can Connector rounding out the planned NAFTA superhighways (see larger map here).

PIF FlagREGION-BUILDING THE SOUTH PACIFIC:
Hillary Clinton sweep for Pacific region revival
The Australian, August 31, 2012 – “The visit also represents a concerted effort to strengthen regional multilateral institutions, develop bilateral partnerships and build on alliances – three core elements of US strategy towards the Asia-Pacific,” [Mrs Clinton's spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland] said.
Hillary Clinton arrives for Pacific Forum – Nine News (Australia), August 31, 2012 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has touched down in the Cook Islands, where she’s the most high-profile guest at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:
EU Plan Said to Give ECB Sole Power to Grant Bank Licenses
Bloomberg, August 31, 2012 – The European Central Bank would have….a monopoly on granting all bank licenses within the 17-nation euro area under the plan…

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION:
With free-trade pact ratified, Ukraine to seek natgas pipeline access
Ukrainian Journal, August 31, 2012 – Ukraine, citing a recently ratified free trade accord, will seek to get access to the Russian natural gas pipelines to start imports of gas from Central Asia, a senior official said
Putin praises Lukashenko as authority figure trusted by people
Kyiv Post, August 30, 2012 – The results achieved in these areas enable us today to move successfully towards the Eurasian Economic Union,” the Russian president said in a telegram posted on the Kremlin’s website on Thursday.

SAARC FlagSAARC:
Spachis appointed EU envoy to SAARC
Himalayan Times, August 31, 2012 – “….We look forward to continue working with you and SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] member States with the objective to advance regional collaboration in South Asia,” the letter addressed to the SAARC Secretary General reads.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA:
A New Chapter of NAFTA Unfolds
Financial Post (National Post – Canada), August 29, 2012“San Antonio is the hub of NAFTA,” says [Mexican Business Association Chairman Eduardo Bravo]. “It…serves as a vital center for NAFTA related surface trade and logistics, with Interstate 35—the Pan American Highway—and Interstate 10 providing unparalleled distribution access for every direction in North America.”
NAFTA20 summit to be held this fall in S.A. – San Antonio Express-News, August 30, 2012 – The summit is being organized by the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos and the North American Development Bank, a bi-national environmental bank created by the U.S. NAFTA legislation.
Canada to copy Obama’s fuel efficiency rules – Globe and Mail (Canada), August 30, 2012 – “The single national standard, harmonized between Canada and the United States, is what we support. That allows the standard to become in effect a continental standard…”

SAARC FlagSAARC:
Afghanistan problem ‘needs a regional solution’
The News International (Pakistan), August 30, 2012 – Professor Saikal stressed on the utilisation of Afghanistan’s potential to integrate with its neighbours through regional arrangements like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Deadlock in Pak, India trade talks – Utility Products: Power Industry News, August 29, 2012 – The discussions are part of efforts to create a strong electricity grid between India and other SAARC countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, according to state-run Power Grid Corporation (PGCIL).

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:
Europe’s Necessary Union
By José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Project Syndicate, August 29, 2012 – All of the steps taken so far have resulted in more European integration, not less.
Despite European Union bans, Japan imports Iranian oil – Japan Daily Express, August 30, 2012 – While Japanese imports of crude oil dropped in the month of July, imports of Iranian oil continued despite the European Union’s ban on insurance coverage of cargo from the Middle Eastern country.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
Pan-African Parliament seeks to Strengthen Linkages with National Parliaments in Africa
StarAfrica, August 30, 2012 – The Clerk of the Pan-African Parliament, Adv. Zwelethu Madasa, in his presentation to the meeting said that the Protocol establishing the PAP was still under review by the African Union Member States. This is to establish how the Pan-African Parliament can be transformed from its current advisory and consultative position into a full legislative body.

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
Single Asian currency not on the agenda, says Bank of Thailand chief
CentralBanking.com, August 29, 2012 – In July, Lei Lei Song, a principal economist at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) office of regional integration, said “in the very, very long run, there might be a common currency [in Asia]“.
Thailand’s New Infrastructure Projects To Link With Asean Countries – Bernama (Malaysia), August 30, 2012 – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong said the projects are aimed at linking Thailand with other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Indonesia short of naval muscle – Asia Times,August 30, 2012 – As tensions mount between China and other ASEAN states, and the US places new priority on Asian security, a strong and capable Indonesia represents the region’s best hope for maintaining peace and stability.
ASEAN+3 agree on free trade talks by end of year – Asahi Shimbun (Japan), August 30, 2012 – Free trade across most of Asia is now more likely, after Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian nations agreed in effect to talk about reducing barriers to trade and investment by year’s end.
Asean trading link goes live in September – The Globe and Mail (Canada), August 29, 2012 – The concept of the Asean link is similar to a three-way link launched last year in South America by bourses in Chile, Peru and Colombia.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR:
Uruguay and Argentina agree to cooperate on border control airspace
BioBioChile|AFP, August 29, 2012 (Google translation) – “The idea is, in the context of this policy of cooperation and integration in defense that exists in UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), to celebrate this kind of agreement because it gives guarantees and security for all countries…”
Venezuela to Mercosur – El Universal (Venezuela), August 30, 2012 (Google translation) – The new dynamics of regional integration, Mercosur seems guided by where the new projects coalesce Unasur and the Economic Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CELAC).

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION:
Toward a More Prosperous Union
Times.am (Armenia), August 30, 2012 – It is no secret that the EAU [Eurasian Union] is Putin’s project, and one which he is likely to devote much of his time in order to bring to a successful launch by the targeted date of 2015….Thus, a serious study must be launched by the Armenian government to assess the positives and negatives of Armenian membership in the EAU.
Eurasian integration in response to challenges of today’s world – Voice of Russia, August 29, 2012 (Google translation) – “The Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Area were founded on the principles and rules of the WTO….By year’s end to Kazakhstan to be fully prepared to join the WTO….We expect that Belarus will join the WTO next year.”

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION:
Putin’s Bad-Neighbor Policy
Project Syndicate, August 28, 2012 – Putin is using all sticks and no carrots. His three main policy instruments toward the post-Soviet states are the customs union implied by his proposed “Eurasian Union,” Gazprom, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Each intimidates Russia’s neighbors, while none benefits them…

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION – INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT:
Greece Plans Road, Rail, Airport Projects to Boost Growth
Bloomberg, August 28, 2012 – The government is negotiating the creation of a Greek investment fund, supported by European Union money…

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA:
The Long Road to Energy Independence
Energy and Capital, August 28, 2012 – There’s a twist in Mitt’s game plan that you may not pick up on immediately… Suddenly, our energy independence has become a team effort. Go, Team North America!
[And just as suddenly,
U.S. independence will be sacrificed for this contrived regional interdependence. ]

PIF FlagPIF:
Pacific islanders relish their moment on diplomatic stage
Sydney Morning Herald, August 29, 2012 – The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is the most talked-about guest at this week’s Pacific Islands Forum, and the most senior US official ever to attend.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
EAC to have forensic laboratory center
News of Rwanda, August 29, 2012 – The ministers also requested the EAC secretariat to establish regional police officer’s office at the secretariat for the purposes of sharing regular security news in the region.
EALA MPs’ plea on treaty – The Star (Kenya), August 28, 2012 – A House committee of the East African Legislative Assembly wants the treaty establishing the East African Community amended to fast-track the integration process.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:
Angela Merkel Wants A Convention On A New EU Treaty By The End Of The Year
Business Insider, August 28, 2012 – Angela Merkel wants leaders of European Union member states to set up a convention for a new EU treaty by the end of the year to formalise steps towards tighter political union, according to German press reports.
Banks face “colossal” problem without deeper European union-MPS – Reuters, August 27, 2012 – Failure to create a deeper euro zone union would represent an enormous problem for banks, the head of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena said on Monday.

GCC flagREGION-BUILDING GCC:
US arms sales hit record high over deals with Arabian Gulf countries
The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE.), August 28, 2012 – Amid a region in tumult, the official said, “We [the US] are looking primarily at the Gulf Cooperation Council and ways to cooperate more strategically with the GCC on military, security, and trade.”

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION:
‘Yerevan has no chance for a breakthrough except for the Eurasian Union’
Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), August 28, 2012 - Former Interior Minister and adviser to the first President of Armenia for national security, Ashot Manucharyan…in an interview to VK….As for the economic and global component, the Eurasian Union for all of us is a chance to break the existing system….I do not see another chance for a breakthrough for Armenia today, including integration into Europe.
Expert: cheaper Russian gas supply expected on Eurasian Union’s agenda – PanArmenian, August 27, 2012 – The problem of Russian gas supply to Eurasian Union’s new members below world market prices will be resolved in the framework of the Union, RA NAS Oriental Studies Institute representative said.
Russian expert says Eurasian Union in need of common ideology – PanArmenian, August 27, 2012

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
ASEAN looks to deepen cooperation with Korea: diplomat
Korea Times, August 28, 2012 – The Southeast Asian nations hope to bring their strategic partnership with South Korea to a new level as Seoul is set to open a diplomatic mission dedicated to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, a senior ASEAN official said Tuesday. Korea will soon become the third non-ASEAN nation to name an ambassador to the 10-member regional bloc…
Taiwan eyes greater role in Southeast Asian economy – China Post, August 28, 2012 – Taiwan is looking to participate in the process in which members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are developing closer economic partnerships with China, Japan and South Korea, Lien Chan said at a news conference.
ASEAN Braces For Regulatory Reforms – Manila Bulletin, August 28, 2012 – ASEAN is moving towards creating a template that would institutionalize regulatory reforms that would guide the region in its trade negotiations with other regional trade partners as the ten-member states fully integrate their economies by 2015.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR:
Andean Legislators discussed the creation of a South American Parliament
MSN.Latino News, August 27, 2012 (Google translation) – The Union of South American Nations (Unasur), composed of the twelve South American countries, has ministerial councils and presidents, but not an entity at the legislative level.
Latin America did change British decision against Ecuador, says expert – Radio Cadena Agramonte, August 27, 2012 – The reaction of Latin America forced the United Kingdom to withdraw his threat to enter Ecuador’s embassy in London to arrest Julian Assange, a U.S. expert said today. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research in the United States, referred to the rejection of that position [by] the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
Africa trade blocs calls for further regional integration
Coastweek (Kenya), August 24-30, 2012 – Created in 2001, IRCC [Inter Regional Coordinating Committee] brings together 4 African regional organizations, namely the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) alongside the European Union (EU) in order to enhance the aid delivery to the regions under the European Development Fund (EDF).

GCC flagGULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
GCC to spend $252 Billion on energy over next 5 years
Bikya Masr (Egypt), August 27, 2012 – Pushing better energy models has been a stalwart of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in recent years….Among the projects on tap are new power production plants, distribution systems and supply grids…
UN, GCC to open offices in Yemen – Yemen News Agency, August 26, 2012 – President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi has said that offices of UN secretary general assistant and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are to be opened in Yemen to follow up the political settlement.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION – Deeper Integration:
Why is Europe avoiding the F-word?
BBC News, August 26, 2012 – European leaders who think closer integration will fix the euro crisis rarely use the word “federalism”, but why not, if that is what they mean? Is this form of political alliance really so embarrassing?

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
Cambodia: Rich-poor gap hinders ASEAN integration
GMA News (Philippines), August 27, 2012 – In a step towards narrowing the gap between richer and poorer nations and achieving regional integration, the bloc last year set up a nearly $500 million ASEAN infrastructure fund offering loans to build roads, railways and other projects without direct foreign assistance.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
How the Media Can Play a More Critical Role in the East African Political Federation
AllAfrica, August 27, 2012 – For instance, although there are only three months to go for the five EAC [East African Community] member states to have one economic bloc, the member states belong to different economic blocs. While Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda are members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Tanzania, on the other hand, belongs to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
African Court on human rights underutilised – The Citizen (Tanzania), August 27, 2012 – Only 26 states out of the 54 African Union (AU) members have ratified the protocol establishing it while only five of those which have ratified the Protocol have so far authorised individuals and non-governmental organisations to institute cases directly before it.
China’s African influence expanding – WND, August 26, 2012 – Beijing is undertaking economic development with these countries in cooperation with the African Union. Analysts say that China’s approach with African countries is opposite from the history of Western colonial powers who extracted resources but left the countries destitute.

SAARC FlagSAARC:
SAARC’s success depends on India, Pakistan: National Conference
New York Daily News, August 26, 2012 – The political advisor said the success of South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) also depends on the relations between India and Pakistan….Rana said the anticipated dynamic changes in Afghanistan in 2014 will have a bearing on the peace and stability in the region.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR:
Unasur in solidarity with Venezuela largest refinery explosion
Netherlands Radio, August 27, 2012 – The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) expressed solidarity with Venezuela to the explosion suffered in its main oil refinery, which left 39 dead and 15 wounded, said Sunday the body’s general secretariat, based in Quito.
Julian Assange’s UK-Ecuador stalemate: One step closer to resolution – Alaska Dispatch, August 26, 2012 – Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa announced that he had received confirmation from London that the UK authorities had withdrawn a threat to storm the South American country’s embassy there, paving the way for negotiations after a tense two weeks….Much of Latin America has backed Ecuador. As well as the OAS, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)…

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM:
FMA’s Hughes proposes single trans-Tasman markets regulator
National Business Review (New Zealand), August 27, 2012 – In the submission, entitled Strengthening Economic Relations between Australia and New Zealand, Hughes says he appreciates a single regulatory approach straddling the two countries “can raise issues of sovereignty and political accountability, or at least the perception of such”.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA – Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement:
Do we really want U.S. police working on Canadian soil?
Victoria Times Colonist, August 26, 2012 – Maybe concerns got lost in the Olympic news tidal wave, or maybe nobody cared. But it is a fact that the Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act became law in Canada with only whispers of public doubts. The new law enables armed United States law enforcement officers to cross the Canadian border in pursuit of American lawbreakers. And, once across the line, grants them “the same power to enforce an act of Parliament as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION:
Ukraine’s Yanukovich flirts with Russia as election looms
Reuters, August 25, 2012 – The Kremlin has hinted that it may sweeten the gas deal if Ukraine joins a Putin-brokered alliance, including fellow former Soviet states of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Kiev has resisted the idea of jointly building Putin’s vision of a Eurasian Union…
Kazakhstan to supply oil to Belarus after creation of Eurasian Economic Union – PennEnergy, August 24, 2012 – Kazakhstan will supply oil to Belarusian refineries after creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, Kazakh ambassador to Belarus Yergali Bulegenov has said.

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
ASEAN ministers to discuss progress in economic integration
Channel News Asia, August 26, 2012 – Economic ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries are meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia on Monday to discuss the progress in regional economic integration initiatives. They will also focus on working towards establishing an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM:
Clinton’s Pacific Trip ‘Sends Message’
Manila Bulletin, August 26, 2012 – The reason is to attend a regional summit hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), a group consisting mainly of small island states, along with resource-rich Papua New Guinea and the dominant regional powers Australia and New Zealand, both US allies.

GCC flagGULF COOPERATION COUNCIL:
Saudi top investor in GCC power sector
Times of Oman, August 26, 2012 – This is a huge invitation to foreign players to invest in the Kingdom and be a partner, leveraging the opportunities of GCC power grid and Pan Arab power grid.

SAARC FlagSAARC:
India-Pakistan: Slow progress in trade talks for petroleum, power
Economic Times (India), August 26, 2012 – …India and Pakistan are in discussions for setting up an electricity transmission line to carry 500 MW power between Amristar and Lahore….The discussions are part of efforts to create a strong electricity grid between India and other SAARC countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh…
Normalisation of Pak-India ties vital for regional peace: Gilani – Pakistan Daily Times, August 26, 2012 – [Former prime minister Raza Gilani] said that his meetings at Thimpu, Bhutan and Maldives on the sidelines of SAARC summits further built up the trust between the two countries, leading to a number of confidence-building measures in the intermediary period.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION:
New high-level panel on science, technology and innovation
University World News, August 26, 2012 – The panel is supported by a working group comprising representatives of the African Union Commission, its agency the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the African Development Bank, the African Academy of sciences, and international organisations.
Non-tariff barriers threat to Sadc regional integration – The Standard (Zimbabwe), August 26, 2012 – “We [at Southern Africa Development Community level] are working on the customs union and free trade area, in consideration of the strategies and programmes in place on how best to facilitate trade between member countries. These issues are being frankly discussed and concerns have to be dealt with sector by sector.”

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Hollande Says Greece Must Stay in Euro Zone
Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2012 – French President François Hollande said Greece “must remain part of the euro zone” as the economically troubled country struggles to get its finances back in order, but said Greece must demonstrate that its recovery program is “credible.”
Germany calls for new EU treaty: press report – AFP, August 25, 2012 – According to the weekly, one of Berlin’s proposals concerns the role of the European Court of Justice, which “could for example acquire the right to monitor the budgets of member states and punish those that run up a deficit.”

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: David Frum: A continental energy strategy? Bring it on
National Post (Canada), August 25, 2012 – Speaking in New Mexico on Thursday, Mitt Romney announced an energy plan that promised energy independence — not for the United States only — but also for Canada and Mexico.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: European Commission likely to make proposal for central bank supervision on Sept 11
Washington Post|Associated Press, August 24, 2012 – A single authority over EU banks is viewed by some as part of the deeper integration the union needs in order to support a single currency.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Southern Africa: SADC for Stronger Solidarity
AllAfrica, August 25, 2012 – The master plan is in line with the African Union’s Programme for Infrastructure Development of Africa (PIDA) and will constitute a key input into the proposed Infrastructure Master Plan for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)-East African Community (EAC)-SADC [Southern African Development Community] tripartite.
East African railway master plan gets funding – International Railway Journal, August 24, 2012 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided $US 500m to the East African Community (EAC), which covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, to roll out projects under its Railway Master Plan starting this year.
Ambassador Bangali attends African Court clinic – Sierra Express Media (Sierra Leone), August 24, 2012 – The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a continental court established by Member States of the African Union to ensure the protection of human rights and peoples’ rights in Africa. The Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights…

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Ecuadorian proposal to create an ICC for Unasur
Andes (Ecuador), August 24, 2012 (Google translation) – The Attorney General, Galo Chiriboga, highlighted in his report of the first year in office, Ecuador’s proposal to create an ICC for the countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) , in order to combat international crime.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: The Romney Agenda: North America
mittromney.com, August 23, 2012 – from The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
PURSUE A NORTH AMERICAN ENERGY PARTNERSHIP
• Approve the Keystone XL pipeline;
• Establish a regional agreement to facilitate cross-border energy investment, infrastructure, and sales;
• Promote and expand regulatory cooperation between governments to encourage responsible energy production, including the creation of a forum for sharing best practices and technologies; and
• Institute fast-track regulatory approval processes for cross-border pipelines and other infrastructure.
[ Regional infrastructure and a regional regulatory forum are foundations for a North American political union. ]

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: UNASUR Representatives to Attend Venezuelan Elections‎
Press TV, August 24, 2012 – This will be the first time that UNASUR, a custom union made up of 12 member states and modeled on the European Union will participate in elections in South America.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: How Europe might muddle through
CBS Moneywatch, August 23, 2012 – Even as many experts predict the demise of the eurozone, the European Union so far has found a way to keep a lid on the crisis. Whether European governments can eventually restore the currency union to health remains unclear. But while the path to stability is unsure and politically complex, the EU may find ways to edge away from the precipice toward a solution.
Will China Rescue Europe from its Debt Crisis? – Turkish Weekly, August 23, 2012 – To understand EU-Chinese relations correctly in the context of the crisis, we must not fall into the error of regarding Europe as absolutely in need and China as absolutely capable.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: Will Chipata-Mchinji Railway Spur Regional Integration?
AllAfrica, August 23, 2012 – The Chipata-Mchinji railway line which is connected to the famous Nacala Development Corridor is another SADC [Southern Africa Development Community] initiative that grouped the various national railway companies to form corridor groups, with each consisting of railway lines that form a route carrying consistently similar flows of traffic.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Romney to declare goal of NORTH AMERICAN energy independence by 2020
Reuters, August 23, 2012 – A North American energy partnership with Canada and Mexico would also be sought and Romney would allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas, which has been delayed by the Obama administration. “I’m going to take advantage of our energy resources: Oil, coal, gas, nuclear, renewables, wind, solar. North America will be energy independent by the last year of my second term,” he said.
[In this statement, Romney — like Obama — shows his hand as a true globalist intent on establishing regional infrastructure for big-government/big-business (fascist) North American regional governance. Obama’s “Beyond the Border” agreement with Canada, the subject of the article below, sets the mechanisms in place to be implemented by whichever of them wins the election. If it is Obama, you can be sure he will go ahead full steam with the Keystone XL pipeline as well. See the GCC article below for more insight on how the components of regional infrastructure will apply to a “North American Union.” Hoping for anything positive from Romney is a wasted effort. This is an election between fascism and communism. Instead, emphasis should be placed upon electing a Congress with backbone to stand up to either one.]
U.S.-Canada Relations at 200: Symbiosis for the 21st century – Wilson Center (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars), August 22, 2012 – Neither Canada nor the United States can compete with a rising Asia unless economic inefficiencies are eliminated. Double-checking cargo, for example, adds additional costs and time to the delivery of goods, which makes both economies less competitive globally….In an era of BRICS, ASEAN, and emerging markets, collective and collaborative defense and growth on the North American continent will not be a luxury but a strategic necessity.
[Please note that the emerging economic and strategic competition comes from all the regions that our tax dollars enabled through the IMF & the World Bank. These threats now serve as a pretext to force North American integration upon us.]

GCC flagGCC: Bridge gap for Gulf Common Market
Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), August 23, 2012 – Each Gulf state needs to strengthen its efforts in extending the same facilities to nationals of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — be it investment, employment, education and property ownership….The GCC also needs to expand the physical infrastructure to allow greater cross-border mobility….In this regard, the GCC Power Grid and the GCC Railway need to be fast-tracked…. Otherwise, the GCM will remain a dream, let alone the single currency and the GCC Monetary Union.
[Nearly all of the infrastructure components necessary to build a geopolitical regional jurisdiction are pointed out in this article, and all are being implemented in North America. Notice that education facilities are to be offered to to people from other member nations. Is that not indicative of the real motive behind the various proposals from both democrats (Obama) and republicans (Rubio) in the U.S. for a “Dream Act” for illegal immigrant children from Mexico?]

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Russian Customs Union Encourages Growth in Eastern Europe
JURIST, August 22, 2012 – With the probability of expansion of the Customs Union (CU) into what has been called the “Eurasian Union,” closely echoing the European Union (EU) in terms of institutional framework, Russia envisions its recent integration with its neighbors as an incipient player in trade, investment and, ultimately, regional governance.
Russia will not reject, but will it actually give loan to Armenia? – newspaper – NEWS.am (Armenia), August 23, 2012 – Specifically, our sources inform that PM Tigran Sargsyan is against it because, according to him, in this way it would be much harder for Armenia to decline from the requirement for Eurasian Union membership.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: East African Community turns to West Africa for integration lessons
Africa Review (Kenya), August 22, 2012 – East Africa’s Monetary Union protocol currently under negotiation not only targets a single currency but also uniform fiscal and monetary regime by end of this year.
Comesa countries considering single travel visa – eTurboNews, August 22, 2012 – “One of the things we are going to agree among the stakeholders in the Comesa [Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa] region is to have borderless movement, so that both domestic and even international tourists can move freely from one country to the other,” -said Mwazo.

SAARC FlagSAARC: 18-member Pakistan parliamentary delegation leaves for India
Pakistan Today, August 23, 2012 – During its week-long stay in India, the delegation will hold meetings with parliamentarians of Delhi and Patna, office-bearers of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, industrialists and traders.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Unasur, only international body confirmed Venezuelan elections
ABC Color (Paraguay) | AFP, August 23, 2012 (Google translation) – The Unasur will debut as a sideman in the Venezuelan presidential election of October 7 and now is the only international organization accredited after the Carter Center declined to participate.
Assange impact on British-Latin American ties seen limited – Chicago Tribune|Reuters, August 22, 2012 – …Sunday foreign ministers from the Unasur bloc of South American states backed Ecuador’s right to grant Assange asylum. But while some Latin American states might subscribe to Ecuador’s accusations of British colonialism – notably leftist leaders Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales – others in the region have a more nuanced outlook.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: Asia’s imports of Iran crude to regain levels prior to EU ban
Reuters, August 22, 2012 – Top Asian buyers — China, India, Japan and South Korea together take more than half of Iran’s crude oil exports — have worked around the European Union embargo, suggesting imports will stay at least around these levels for the rest of the year.

GCC flagGCC: For GCC Countries, a Challenge Within Reach: The Gulf Rail Network
PolicyMic, August 21, 2012 – A significant part of the spending has been allocated to much-needed infrastructure projects. Among these, an ambitious project to construct an approximately 1,200 mile rail route extending from Kuwait to Oman and linking all GCC countries, with the possible inclusion of Yemen in the future.
Out of Work in New York? Here’s How to Find a Job in Dubai – FINS, August 21, 2012 – The GDPs of these surrounding Gulf Cooperation Council countries are steadily expanding, with neighboring countries like Qatar and Oman growing at more than 10% per year.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: SADC creates fund to accelerate infrastructure development- Mmegi (Botswana), August 21, 2012 – The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approved the setting up of a long-awaited Regional Development Fund, one of whose main priorities will be the financing of infrastructure in the region….along transport or trade routes, energy transmission grids, tourism conservation areas, river basins, and regional and international telecommunication backbones.
East African Community members to increase to eight
UGPulse (Uganda), August 21, 2012 – The East African Community members are set to increase from the current five members to eight if the new applicants South Sudan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo are finally enrolled.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS: US and China meet in South Pacific
The Interpreter, August 22, 2012 – The irony is that neither country is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum. Instead, they will be talking to Pacific representatives during the post-forum dialogue. For the first time ever, the US Secretary of State is expected to attend this dialogue.

Eurasec FlagEURASEC (‘EURASIAN UNION’): Russia the only real investor in Armenia’s economy – Democratic Party
NEWS.am (Armenia), August 21, 2012 – Any international cooperation with Moscow, including that within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community, should be welcomed, leader of Democratic Party of Armenia Aram Sargsyan told reporters on Tuesday.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Sweden: If Assange faces death row in US we won’t extradite him
RT, August 22, 2012 – The WikiLeaks founder is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual misconduct. He and his supporters, however, fear that if extradited to Sweden, he may be further extradited to the United States, where he could then face the death penalty for espionage….Ecuador has already taken the issue to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which unanimously backed the country’s right to grant Assange asylum…
Ecuador says UK would be ‘suicidal’ to try to enter embassy for Assange – CNN, August 21, 2012 – “Later on, they could have their own embassies violated in all corners of the globe, and they’d have nothing to say about it,” President Rafael Correa told state TV….UNASUR backed Ecuador’s decision to grant Assange asylum and called for more dialogue between Britain and Ecuador on the issue.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA: Canada And The United States, A Singular Partnership
Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, August 20, 2012 – The Editor interviews John F. Prato, Consul General of Canada in New York.
Prato: The goal of the Action Plan is to make the perimeter of North America more secure than ever and relieve pressures at the border itself so we can free up the flows of legitimate people, goods and services….For example, goods arriving in Canada or the United States from outside the North American perimeter will be screened once at their first point of arrival. They would then be shipped directly to their North American destination without the need for duplicate inspections along the way, even if they cross the land border.

GCC flagGCC: Gulf States Seek Help with Air Traffic Management
Aviation International News, August 20, 2012 – To help GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries maximize throughput in their local airspace, NATS hopes to contribute to airspace design and optimization. The plan will almost certainly entail a regional effort similar to the Single European Sky project.

PIF FlagPIF: Pacific Forum nations to focus on protecting ocean island states
Scoop (New Zealand), August 21, 2012 – While “Large Ocean-Island States – the Pacific challenge” is the theme for next week’s 43nd Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands, the region’s two key powers, China and the United States, will be jockeying for supremacy.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: US Military Comes to SADC
The Southern Times, August 20, 2012 – Both SADC [Southern African Development Community] and the African Union have made it clear that they do not want a permanent US military base on the continent. But there have long been suspicions that Botswana and Liberia are amenable to hosting the unit. AFRICOM is presently domiciled in Stuttgart, Germany…
SA welcomes SADC infrastructure plan – Bizcommunity (Cape Town, SA), August 20, 2012 – South Africa has welcomed the adoption of a regional infrastructure master plan by Southern African Development Community (SADC)….to guide setting up of efficient and cost-effective trans-boundary infrastructure connecting all SADC member states in areas of energy, water, ICT and transport.
Africa must work together: Dlamini-Zuma – SABC News24, August 20, 2012 – “Therefore, a strong, dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the African Union Commission and the regional economic communities is critical for the integration and development of Africa….This in turn requires the development of common standards and the harmonisation of legislation and other steps being taken within and between economic communities.”

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Assange: Nations condemn UK threat
Belfast Telegraph, August 20, 2012 – Foreign ministers of South America’s 12-nation union have condemned Britain’s threat to forcibly enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange berates United States from Ecuador Embassy balcony – Reuters, August 19, 2012 – Assange said the United States risked dragging the world into a dangerous era in which journalists would fall silent. He did not mention the rape allegations. “As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all of our societies,” Assange said…
As a background, here is one of the documents released by Assange’s WikiLeaks:

Placing a New North American Initiative in its Economic Policy Context [This document, released by WikiLeaks on April 28, 2011, is a 2005 U.S. embassy cable from Ottawa signed by then-U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci.] THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE USG [US government] CHANNELS – 2005-01-28….CURRENCY UNION: Canadian economists are split on whether a return to a fixed exchange rate, or adopting the U.S. dollar, would benefit Canada in current circumstances…. The central bank governor has taken the position that “monetary union is an issue that should be considered once we have made more progress towards establishing a single market.” [“Establishing a single market” means no less than establishing a North American version of the European Union, as the article below, reporting on the 20th anniversary of EU “single market confirms. Regardless of alleged wrongdoings or security breaches that Assange may be accused of, the release of the above government email exposed the complicity of government officials in the treasonous master plan to bring about North American integration — including a North American currency — while shielding the process from public review. It is my belief that this exposure of region-building efforts (under the pretext of a “war on terror and an economic crisis – both created by government officials’ own dereliction) is the real reason that they want to make an example of Assange.]

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: EU launches website to ‘celebrate 20 years of the Single Market – Inside Ireland, August 19, 2012 – The European Union has launched a website to ‘draw attention to the events of Single Market Week’ this October, marking 20 Years of the European Single Market.

GCC flagGCC: Lockheed’s Alabama missile programs touted as bright spot in gloom over defense budget
Alabama Media Group, August 19, 2012 – Lockheed officials said there continues to be strong interest from other countries in purchasing THAAD systems, particularly in the Middle East among Gulf Cooperation Council members, which include Saudi Arabia.

SAARC FlagSAARC: Pakistan-India thaw: Biggest-ever prisoner swap on the cards
Express Tribune (Pakistan), August 20, 2012 – Meanwhile, an 18-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians and traders will leave for India on a four-day visit on August 22 for the promotion of peace, harmony and expedite the flow of trade among Saarc member countries.

GCC flagGCC: Local views clash on Syria
WSU professor, Grafton resident take opposite stands on conflict
Worcester, MA Telegram, August 19, 2012 – The Gulf Cooperation Council, with its abundance of oil wealth, is sending money and mercenaries to fight the Syrian government, Mr. Saliba said….“The conflict in Syria is not for democracy, human rights, freedom of expression — far from it. If it was you would not see Saudi Arabia or Qatar … supporting it. None of the GCC states has a constitution; none of them believe in human rights.”
Human rights activist sentenced, West still quiet on Bahrain clampdown – Global Post, August 18, 2012 – Dhaif explained, “Bahrain’s allies (Great Britain and the United States) do not want to interfere in what is taking place because Bahrain has been a good ally for them in the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries (which besides Bahrain include Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) also cannot allow Bahrain to have more democracy and freedom because it will pressure other countries to do the same…

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Assange Case: Brazil to Support Inviolability of Ecuador Embassy at UNASUR Meeting
La Nacion (Paraguay), August 19, 2012 (Google translation) – Brazil will defend the sanctity of the Ecuadorian embassy in London during the UNASUR meeting to be attended Sunday in Guayaquil, to discuss the situation after the granting of diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Assange Case: UK launches campaign to win support in Latin America- Clarín (Argentina), August 18, 2012 (Google translation) – ALBA foreign ministers are meeting today and tomorrow Unasur to handle the conflict….Both Venezuela and Bolivia gave full support to Ecuador for having granted asylum to Assange. “Argentina also gave their support, in part by the historic dispute over the sovereignty of the Falklands (Malvinas)”…

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION: ECB could assume supervision in bank union – Chicago Tribune, August 18, 2012 – German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Friday, citing European Commission sources, that the Commission would next month propose giving the European Central Bank supervision over all of the euro zone’s major banks.

SAARC FlagSAARC: Saarc sensitive items list cut, likely to boost Indo-Pak trade
Hindustan Times (India), August 18, 2012 – “Through this, India has effectively performed a lead role in harmonising the SAFTA [South Asia Free Trade Agreement] framework, ensuring … normalisation of trade relations with Pakistan,” the government said in an official statement.

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: African Force for DRC
AllAfrica, August 19, 2012 – An African neutral force, working under the auspices of both the African Union and The United Nations, has been proposed for deployment by a regional subcommittee composed of seven defence ministers, to help restore peace in eastern [Democratic Republic of the Congo].
East Africa: EAC ‘Competent to Handle International Criminal Cases’ - AllAfrica, August 19, 2012 – [Court Registrar Dr John Eudes Ruhangisa] pointed out that it would be undermining the dignity of the regional citizens if they continue to be summoned by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in Europe instead of handling the disputes in the region. ” It embarrasses me as an East African citizen to see people from our region taken to ICC for trial…
Regional CID Chiefs Meet Over Cross Border Crimes – AllAfrica, August 19, 2012 – The East African police chiefs backed an initiative of establishing the Regional Referral Forensic Centre (RRFC) to tackle crimes. Its role will ensure that EAC countries have harmonised forensic centres….The EAC [East African Community] has already initiated the harmonisation of Peace and Security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigations, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance among the Partner States.

GCC flagArab League flagREGION-BUILDING THE MIDDLE EAST: Paul Ryan’s Bad Idea for the Middle East
Foreign Policy, August 18, 2012 – The congressman’s work promoting free trade in the Middle East — coupled with a pair of platitude-laden speeches he delivered at the Hamilton Society and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) — at least gives us a window into his thinking….The Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) initiative, announced in May 2003, was to be one of the cornerstones of the [Bush] administration’s new anti-terrorism policy — and Paul Ryan quickly emerged as its most stalwart champion.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: In UK threat to Ecuador, experts see mistake  – Associated Press, August 18, 2012 – But as the stalemate over Julian Assange settled, it appeared London’s veiled threat that it could storm Ecuador’s embassy and drag Assange out has backfired — drawing supporters to the mission where the WikiLeaks founder is holed up and prompting angry denunciations from Ecuador and elsewhere….The Ecuadoreans were outraged…calling a crisis meeting of the Union of South American Nations.
With Assange inside, British police guard Ecuador embassy – Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE) | AFP, August 17, 2012 – Ecuador granted asylum on Thursday to Assange — whose website enraged the United States by publishing a vast cache of confidential government files – but Britain has vowed not to grant him safe passage out of the country….Ecuador has called a meeting of foreign ministers from the South American regional bloc UNASUR on Sunday.
Assange asylum case ripples through Latin America – Christian Science Monitor, August 17, 2012 – For ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) to credibly argue that the UK must offer safe passage to Assange, Bolivia should relent and offer safe passage to Pinto. Brazil could make this a condition at UNASUR (The Union of South American Nations) in exchange for its support of Ecuador. It’s a case to watch, a sideshow in the bigger process that’s being watched internationally.

ASEAN FlagASEAN: Look to AEC, avoid Europe  Supachai urges harmonising rules  – Bangkok Post, August 18, 2012 – Thailand should prepare for a worsening global economy next year by using the Asean Economic Community (AEC) to promote global economic growth, says Supachai Panichpakdi, head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

AFRICAN UNION: African Development Bank Proposes Infrastructure Bond For Africa  – Bernama (Malaysia), August 18, 2012 – Bank president Donald Kaberuka said the investment would add up to US$22 billion and this could be used to finance construction of infrastructure such as rail, roads and power plants.
Promote security in Africa with cooperation
China Daily, August 17, 2012 – China strongly supports that the African Union plays bigger roles for peace and stability in Africa. China also actively takes part in United Nations’ peace-keeping missions and humanitarian aid work in Africa.

PACIFIC ISLANDS:Tiny Cook Islands a squeeze for Hillary  – China Daily, August 18, 2012 – Hosting such a high-profile guest and her entourage, however, is posing problems for a government that owns just three small SUVs and is scrambling to borrow cars from residents to create a proper motorcade. Clinton is expected to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, an annual meeting of Pacific leaders that begins on Aug 27 on the main island of Rarotonga.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Unasur Calls Crisis Summit Over U.K. ‘Threats’ to Seize Assange  – Bloomberg Businessweek, August 16, 2012 – Ecuador said the Union of South American Nations called an emergency meeting to discuss U.K. “threats” to seize WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange from inside its embassy in London.
Latam support for Ecuador could turn Assange case in another ‘Falklands issue’ for UK – MercoPress (Uruguay), August 17, 2012 – From Mexico City International Law professor Julio Sau anticipated “the conflict will most probably become multilateral and highly politicized too”. “Politically it is a good opportunity for Unasur. UK already has a major conflict with Argentina over the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, and it will be very interesting to see what happens because Unasur resolutions are by consensus”…
Senator Calls for Reinforced Popular Resistance in Paraguay – PrensaLatina, August 16, 2012 – Senator Sixto Pereira said today that popular and progressive resistance must be strengthened in Paraguay as a response to the coup that ousted President Fernando Lugo….He also referred in this regard to the sanctions imposed by the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the clear condemnation of the board of the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO) and other democratic sectors of the region.

ASEAN FlagASEAN & REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE: High-speed rail network to link Asean countries  – The Nation (Thailand), August 17, 2012 – By assigning Pansak to spearhead the Bt400-billion high-speed train schemes in Thailand, the government is playing a crucial role in pushing for fast-track implementation of Asean connectivity schemes, which cover highways, railways and other modes of transportation. It is hoped that the transport infrastructure will eventually be designed to cover the entire 10-country regional grouping, which has a combined population of 600 million.
[Similar regional infrastructure projects are underway in North America, SAARC, the Arab League, the GCC, the African Union, and UNASUR. The Keystone pipeline is also part of the North American infrastructure project.]

AU-FlagAFRICAN UNION: EAC monetary union team on study tour of UEMOA  – Panapress (Senegal), August 17, 2012 – A high-level task force negotiating the East African Monetary Union Protocol will next week undertake a five-day study visit to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to familiarise themselves with the conduct of the monetary policy in West Africa.
‘REGIONAL SECURITY’-BUILDING: US Africa Command denies plans to establish military base in Botswana
Global Times| Xinhua (China), August 17, 2012 – [Botswana Defense Force] Deputy Commander Placid Segokgo said exercises such as these ones allow them to prepare their forces in line to the country’s commitment to the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby force objectives.
East Africa to benefit from proposed continental domain name – Sahabi, August 16, 2012 – The African Union is working to establish a continental internet registry that will allow private and governmental entities to use a single domain — such as .africa — to attract traffic to their websites. So far, 44 African countries out of 54 have endorsed the project…
The Sabahi web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command.

SAARC FlagSAARC: India to cut number of items under sensitive list for SAARC countries – Economic Times (India), August 17, 2012 – India today decided to reduce the number of items in the sensitive list for SAARC countries, aiming to expand trade in goods in the region.

PIF FlagPACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM: Powerful diplomacy to play out at Pacific forum  – Radio Australia, August 17, 2012 – China and the United States are both preparing to send powerful delegations to the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands later this month.

GCC flagGULF COOPERATION COUNCIL: All (war) roads lead to Mecca  – Asia Times (Hong Kong), August 17, 2012 – It’s no secret the GCC badly wants Israel to attack Iran; it then could reap the benefits of inwardly delighting over a weakened regional Shi’ite power while publicly condemning Israel’s unilateral aggression.
Gulf states ‘need a more unified approach to R&D’ – Science and Development Network, August 15, 2012 – The study comes ahead of the meeting of GCC’s foreign ministers in September, when member states will discuss turning the council into a more closely-knit ‘Gulf Union’ — a move that some think may boost the integration of national science strategies.

Eurasec FlagEURASIAN UNION: Russia Uses Gas to Pressure Armenia on Eurasian Union  – ArmeniaLiberty.org (press review), August 16, 2012 – “Hraparak” says that the price of Russian gas is Russia’s only strong lever for exerting pressure on Armenia. “Russia sells gas to Armenia at a price slightly below the market level,” writes the paper. “Armenian government representatives are in no rush to specify Armenia’s official position on the Eurasian Union.

nafta-flagNORTH AMERICA – SELLING INTEGRATION: The Fraser Institute: Increased Delays and Security Checks at Canada-U.S. Border Cost Canadians More Than $19 Billion Per Year – Einnews Portugal, August 16, 2012 – The report suggests that the 2011 Beyond the Border Declaration between Canada and the United States, in which both governments agreed on creating an “integrated, multi-modal customs and transportation security regime,” could strengthen North American trade while reducing border costs for taxpayers, traders, and travellers. Overall, Beyond the Border offers fairly specific goals and a realistic timeframe (between one and three years) for most initiatives, including:
Harmonized border programs: ….
Harmonized regulations: ….
Improved border-crossing infrastructure: ….

SAARC FlagSAARC: Pak delegation to visit India to continue Indo-Pak dialogue  – Pakistan Today, August 16, 2012 – A delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians and businessmen will be leaving for New Delhi and Patna, India, on August 22 to participate in the fourth round of India-Pakistan Parliamentarians Dialogue….Vice President SAARC Chamber and Commerce Industry Iftikhar Malik and Vice Chairman of SAARC Chamber Young Entrepreneur Form Ali Bader will represent the country’s business community in meetings with Indian politicians and businessmen.

UNASUR FlagUNASUR: Infrastructure: Installation of electromechanical equipment in Tocoma  – Radio Nacional de Venezuala, August 15, 2012 (Google translation) – Engineer Jose Felipe Pedroza said the strategic and political importance it is in the consolidation of this project….”This is a work of great importance from the point of view of integration of energy policies in South America, through an entity such as UNASUR, which allows a new vision of the potential of our countries,” said Pedroza.
Mercosur and the European Union – El Universal (Venezuala), August 16, 2012 (Google translation) – As in Europe and the accession of other States, Mercosur [Southern Common Market] could be the real engine of American Union, customs clearing and financial borders between member countries. In the EU, free trade area in 1993 and the Schengen area since 1995 facilitated this task.
Tense relations between Ecuador and the United Kingdom in Assange case – Yahoo! Noticias Mexico, August 15, 2012 (Google translation) – The “threat” of the British government of “raiding” the Embassy of Ecuador in London to “arrest” the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, now strained relations between the two countries, pending that define Quito on Thursday whether to grant political asylum to Australian exhacker….[Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño] outlined the Ecuadorian position in one sentence: “We are not a British colony, the colonial times ended” and said he would ask for an urgent meeting of foreign ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to address this issue.

ASEAN FlagASEAN:
ASEAN states told to ease non-tariff barriers, laws  – The Nation (Thailand), August 16, 2012 – Thailand and other Asean countries have been urged to take strenuous steps to genuinely open up the regional market in trade and services ahead of the Asean Economic Community in 2015, as there are still far too many non-tariff barriers and restrictions hindering trade and service sector growth.

GCC flagGCC (‘GULF UNION’): Can U.S. help Gulf shield itself against Iran?  – CNN, August 14, 2012 – What’s new this past year is that five of the six-member states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (Oman being the outlier) are attempting NATO-like security cooperation despite their different agendas and historical antipathies. Longstanding differences are unlikely to be bridged in a matter of months — unless something forces them together….Iran’s actions may drive disparate actors, even Gulf Arab states and Israel, to unprecedented collaboration for their mutual defense.
Lockheed sees more Middle East missile-defense demand  – Reuters, August 15, 2012 – “Look, all of the (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations have an interest,” Dennis Cavin, a company vice president for army and missile-defense programs, told a teleconference. The GCC is a political and economic alliance linking Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

EU-flagEUROPEAN UNION:
The case against Europe: MEP Daniel Hannan reveals the disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU – London Daily Mail, August 14, 2012 – There is a popular joke in Brussels that if the European Union were a country applying to join itself, it would be rejected on the grounds of being undemocratic.

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