NEWS UPDATES

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

SOUTH AMERICA:
Mercosur nations agree to let police cross borders in pursuit of criminals
Buenos Aires Times, Nov 8, 2019 – The security ministers of nations aligned under the Mercosur bloc agreed Thursday to allow their respective police officers to cross each others’ borders when pursuing criminals on the run.
The agreement, sealed in Foz de Iguaçu was signed by the security ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. However, to enter into force, the accord must be ratified by the governments and legislatures of each individual country.

EUROPEAN UNION:
European Union establishes standalone border force to boost Frontex service
Security force for bloc’s perimeter border will be ‘Europe’s first uniformed service’
WION (New Delhi), Nov 8, 2019 – The EU on Friday formally established its first standalone border force, boosting the Frontex service with a new permanent corps that will number 10,000 officers by 2027.
The adoption by EU member states means Frontex, the border and coast guard agency for the bloc’s Schengen area, will have personnel wearing its uniform and on its payroll who can be deployed to the EU’s external borders to handle crises or general management….
Frontex says its new corps will be “Europe’s first uniformed service”, a boast affirming the EU’s goal to build integrated security institutions to match its economic and political heft.

SOUTH ASIA:
Securing South Asia Through Regional Economic Integration
Afghan ambassador: SAARC, other regional blocs’ dreams of integration not ‘on a par with Europe’
The Diplomat, Nov 6, 2019 – These harsh experiences and Western Europe’s resulting adoption of a common economic market soon began inspiring other regions of the world to form such regional groupings as SAARC, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Eurasian Economic Community, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the African Union, and the Union of South American Nations, to name a few. As we know, however, not all these regional groupings have achieved their dream of meaningful economic integration on a par with Europe.
SAARC stands out in having lagged far behind others because two of its key member-states [India and Pakistan] remain hostile to each other….
Indeed, this won’t come to pass unless South Asian governments learn relevant lessons from pre- and post-war Europe…. The government of Afghanistan has done our part and continues to do so.
M. Ashraf Haidari is the Ambassador of Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, as well as a Senior International Security Fellow at the New America in Washington DC.

SOUTHEAST ASIA:
Asean Should Unite Against Trump and EU on Trade, Mahathir Says
Will Kissinger’s ‘new mercantilism’ of ‘competing regional units’ become reality?
Bloomberg, Nov 2, 2019 – Southeast Asian countries should band together and speak with one voice in global trade disputes with the U.S. and European Union to avoid being bullied, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad….
“We don’t want to go into a trade war but sometimes when they do things that are not nice to us, we have to be unnice to them,” he said. “Always try to speak with one voice. You go alone, you’ll be bullied.”
In 2009, globalist and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger threatened a “new mercantilism” of “competing regional units” would grip the world if nations dared to resist the advance of globalism. The ASEAN regional bloc’s threat of a trade war against Trump nationalism, as well as against the hegemonic EU regional bloc, fits Kissinger’s scenario.

EUROPEAN UNION:
U.S. State Dept Pushes EU Expansion Despite Trump Backing Brexit, Sovereign States
Breitbart, Oct 22, 2019 – The U.S. Department of State told Breitbart London it respects the sovereignty of European states after appearing to swerve from President Donald Trump’s long-standing commitment to Brexit and independent nation-states by publicly backing the further expansion of the European Union….
Yet the State Department later moved to qualify their remarks, insisting they respected both the hopes of North Macedonia to enter the European Union, and of the British people to leave it.

EUROPEAN UNION:
The Hotel ‘European Union’: You Can Check Out Any Time You Want, But You Can Never Leave
Does Brexit give glimpse of chaos if Trump withdrew from NAFTA?
Forbes, Oct 21, 2019 – So it must seem, at times, to Britsh Prime Minister Boris Johnson…. Imagine President Trump trying to force Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to bring USMCA to a vote by formally filing for withdrawal from NAFTA. Granted, they are differently constructed agreements, the European Union and NAFTA, but are we not getting a glimpse of the chaos that could ensue?
….Boris on Saturday was, if not fully throttled, at least temporarily thwarted in his efforts to extract the United Kingdom from the European Union…. Johnson sent a letter to the European Union, as required by law, asking for an extension.
But he didn’t sign it.
He sent another letter asking those same European leaders not to grant the extension he requested in the unsigned letter.
Come on, Boris. You can check out any time you want but you can never leave…
‘Anger, frustration’ and ‘betrayal’ in Northern Ireland after new Brexit deal
CNBC, Oct 21, 2019 – The border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — a 310-mile frontier set to represent the only land border between the U.K. and the European Union from Oct. 31 — has proven to be one of the biggest hurdles to a Brexit deal….
“We will feel like we will be second class citizens … whenever they decide to bring in laws and legislation on tariffs and all the other things, we will be subject not to Westminster … but subject to the EU,” [Jim] Shannon [Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party] told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“Makes me less British, less of a Unionist,” he said.

WORLD ORDER OF REGIONS:
United Nations Is Dead, Democratisation Alone Can Save It
Proposes Security Council of Regional Blocs
Mohan Guruswamy, The Citizen (India), Oct 19, 2019 – ….Thus the major political and economic groupings such as the European Union (EU) or North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) or Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) or South Asian Association of Regional Countries (SAARC) or Organization of American States (OAS) or the Organization of African Unity (OAU) or Asia Pacific Union (APU) could each chose its member in the Security Council. Instead of a single veto being able to derail its intentions, a certain minimum threshold, say of three or four members should only thwart the Security Council’s majority.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Johnson says: I’ll tell the EU that Brexit delay is not a solution
Reuters, Oct 19, 2019 – Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to lawmakers on Saturday saying he would tell the European Union that a further Brexit delay was not a solution and that the bloc might well reject what he said was parliament’s request for an extension.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the European Union,” Johnson said in the letter, Sky News reported. “I will tell the EU what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.”

GCC:
Meetings in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh highlight deepening Russian-GCC ties
Arab Weekly, Oct 19, 2019 – The meetings, analysts said, reflected a turning point in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign policy as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increasingly look to the East and Russia for security support.
“Putin’s visits come amid what seems to be a US withdrawal from the Middle East,” said Albadr Al Shateri, professor of politics at the National Defence College in Abu Dhabi….
Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser at Gulf State Analytics in Washington …. said Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with China, are likely to build “a growing clustering of like-minded states that are creating an arena of influence that will find its interests growing in Africa.”
“In addition, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are going to continue to coordinate their foreign policy objectives throughout the MENA region,” he said.

EUROPEAN UNION:
European Union is a sideshow in Syria conflict
Verhofstad: Europe should build defence union, part of emerging ‘world order that is based on empires’

Guy Verhofstadt

Arab Weekly, Oct 19, 2019 – In truth, the European Union has very little leverage with Turkey because it relies on Ankara to help manage migration…. European politicians are only now waking up to the fact that without military power they are, outside international trade, a minnow.
The European Union depends on the whim of the United States and sometimes Russia but the former is a long-standing ally, which decided, before Donald Trump was elected president, to reduce its footprint in the Middle East.
Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt recently said: “Europe must take its destiny into its own hands by building a defence union.” He was making the case that the European Union needed to be part of an emerging “world order that is based on empires.”

AFRICAN UNION:
As World Wavers on Free Trade, Africa Embraces It
AfCFTA to facilitate movement of capital and people in continent-wide customs union
Washington Post, Oct 17, 2019 – Amid trade tensions between the U.S., China and Europe, and the U.K.’s fraught departure from the European Union and single market, African leaders are moving in the opposite direction to establish the world’s largest free-trade zone. The African Continental Free Trade Area formally went into effect in May, four years after negotiations began. If it comes to full fruition, the deal could cover a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion….
Among other things, it aims to lower or eliminate cross-border tariffs on 90% of goods, facilitate the movement of capital and people, promote investment and pave the way to the establishment of a continent-wide customs union….
While the agreement recognizes eight decades-old trade communities as the building blocks of AfCFTA, the continent-wide deal will take precedence if there’s a conflict or inconsistency.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
Can a West African Currency Union Work?
Project Syndicate, Oct 15, 2019 – The eurozone’s experience showed how unruly currency unions can be, and how important it is to continue experimenting and adapting. A currency union comprising the 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States will be no different – but that doesn’t mean it can’t work.
….A successful ECOWAS currency union would likely spur progress on the proposed East and Southern African Monetary Zones. This would go a long way toward advancing progress on the ambitious African Continental Free Trade Area.

GCC:
Qatar joins emergency GCC security meeting in Saudi
Middle East Monitor, Oct 4, 2019 – Qatar’s envoy yesterday joined the Chiefs of Staff of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held an emergency joint meeting to discuss security cooperation and counter terrorism.
According to a statement published by Saudi media, the GCC states declared that their military forces are ready to counter any threats or terrorist attacks.
The statement, issued at the end of the meetings held in Riyadh, stressed that any attack on a GCC member state targets all countries who are part of the body.
Trump intensifies ‘Arab NATO’ talks after Iran strike – Al-Monitor, Oct 1, 2019 – Even as the Donald Trump administration has struggled to rally the international community to respond to a series of alleged Iranian attacks in the Gulf that culminated in this month’s strike against a Saudi oil facility, the US is making another effort to forge a military alliance of Middle Eastern states.

Remarks by President Trump to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
September 24, 2019
whiteouse.gov, Sep 25, 2019
‘The future does not belong to globalists…. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations’
Looking around and all over this large, magnificent planet, the truth is plain to see: If you want freedom, take pride in your country. If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty. And if you want peace, love your nation. Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first.
The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors, and honor the differences that make each country special and unique.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
An evaluation of the single currency agenda in the ECOWAS region
Would mean governments transfer national political authority to ECOWAS institutions
Euro ‘never just about monetary policy and trade,’ but vision of ‘united Europe’
Brookings Institution, Sep 24, 2019 – Earlier this year, the 15 heads of states and governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to launch a new currency, the “Eco,” in January 2020…. A monetary union with a single currency for the 15 member states would mean that governments would transfer national political authority to ECOWAS institutions. Are the member states willing to subordinate national interests to regional interests? Are there lessons from the eurozone? Will Nigeria ever give up its national currency, the naira? Let us also be clear that the euro was never just about monetary policy and trade. It was shaped by a vision of a united Europe.

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
East African bloc eyes single currency to boost intra-regional trade
East Africa Monetary Institute to be transformed into East Africa Central Bank
Xinhua (China), Sep 24, 2019 – Kenneth Bagamuhunda, director general of customs and trade at East African Community (EAC) said in Nairobi ….that the East African Monetary Union Protocol which is a requirement of a single currency has already been signed and ratified by all partner states.
“The law on the establishment of the East Africa Monetary Institute that will be gradually transformed into the East Africa Central Bank has also been finalized,” he said.

NORTH AMERICA:
Bannon: Warren-Trump Election Would Be ‘Populist Nationalism vs. Populist Socialism,’ Warren Is ‘Trump-Lite’
USMCA: ‘Nobody’s talking about it… It makes North America a geo-strategic manufacturing base’
Real Clear Politics, Sept 19, 2019 – He also said the trade deficit with China “is why Donald Trump is president.”
“….This is about shifting the supply chain back to the United States,” he explained, citing the US/Mexico/Canada trade agreement Trump is trying to push through the Senate. “Nobody’s talking about it… It makes North America a geo-strategic manufacturing base, the U.S., with Mexico and Canada, you’ve got the India deal he is talking about, and Japan. Pieces on the chessboard are coming together, and this is the industrial democracies now working together….”

U.S. RETALIATION AGAINST EU CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF:
Politico, Sept 16, 2019 – A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel has formally submitted to Washington and Brussels its decision on how much European Union cheese, wine, aircraft and other goods the U.S. will be able to hit with new retaliatory tariffs as part of a long-running case on commercial aircraft subsidies…. The decision means U.S. President Donald Trump is almost certain to soon announce tariffs on European products. One official said Trump had won the right to collect a total of €5 billion to €8 billion.
As if he needed their blessing, the WTO’s ruling underscores the fact that Trump didn’t “start” any trade war with the EU by his long-needed response to the EU’s ongoing trade war provocation against the US.

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

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

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

AFRICAN UNION – EAC:

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

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

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

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

EUROPEAN UNION, SOUTH AMERICA – MERCOSUR:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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