News Archive – 2020-2019


ASEAN: New Currency Union Possible Numismatic News, Dec 29, 2020 – The world has its newest and largest trading block. Along with this new trading block comes the possibility the 15 countries involved may consider using a common currency. On November 15 Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea joined the 10 Association of Southeastern Asian Nations or ASEAN members to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership…. Common currency proposals on the drawing board that have yet to become a reality include the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, West African Economic and Monetary Union, Gulf Cooperation Council, East African Community, Caribbean Single Market and Economy, South African Customs Union, Southern African Development Community, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Union of South American Nations, Economic Community of Central African States, Economic Community of West African States, African Economic Community, Union States of Russia and Belarus, Arab League, and the Eurasian Economic Union….
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SAARC: In sickness and in health Himal Southasian, Dec 21, 2020 – In many ways, the call for the regional revival of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 was designed to fail. After all, the geopolitical red tape that followed the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Fund played to a predictable pattern of gridlocked regionalism, with India and Pakistan at loggerheads about how the funding was to be disbursed. Plagued by chronic trust deficit, weak institutionalisation and stasis, Southasia once again finds itself between a rock and a hard place.
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NORTH AMERICA, ASEAN, EU: Post-pandemic: welcome to the multi-speed world of regional disparities Global Geneva, April 26, 2020 – It is important to note that these trends were underway before the pandemic. Owing to the US-China trade war, by 2019 America’s trade with each Canada and Mexico had risen to above US$300 billion per year, while US-China trade had fallen to $270 billion. Meanwhile, China’s trade with its Southeast Asian neighbors in ASEAN had nipped $300 billion, showing how Asia continues to integrate…. For its part, Europe had also announced in 2019 an EU-wide strategic industries initiative to support more national champions in clean-tech and other industrial areas to stave off competition from China.
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GCC: Former Qatari Premier: Israel and Gulf States to Sign Non-Aggression Pact Between Israel, GCC nations, Egypt, Jordan,  possibly Morocco The Algemeiner, February 13, 2020 –
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Qatar’s former prime minister said on Monday that Israel and the Persian Gulf states would soon sign a non-aggression pact that could also include Morocco. “Now it [Trump’s peace plan] will be followed by a non-aggression agreement between Israel and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in addition to Egypt, Jordan and possibly Morocco,” wrote Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani on Twitter, according to i24 News. EUROPEAN UNION & BREXIT: Conservatives Win Commanding Majority in U.K. Vote: ‘Brexit Will Happen’ New York Times, Dec 13, 2019 – Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party won a commanding majority in the British Parliament, a striking victory that redraws the lines in British politics and paves the way for the country’s exit from the European Union early next year. The Conservatives won 365 seats in the House of Commons, versus 203 for the Labour Party, according to the official results. That would give the Conservatives about a 75-seat majority, their largest since that amassed by Margaret Thatcher in 1987. British Election, Advancing Brexit, Heralds End of a Global Trade Era New York Times, Dec 13, 2019 – For more than seven decades, the global powers that be operated on the assumption that greater economic integration amounts to historical progress. But that era is over, as Britain’s voters have now made clear. The decisive majority secured by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party all but ensures that the country will proceed with its abandonment of the European Union. ‘Celebrate Boris!’ – Trump Hails UK Election Result, ‘Massive New Trade Deal After Brexit’ Potential deal ‘Far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the EU’ Breitbart, Dec 13, 2019 – U.S. President Donald Trump has hailed Prime Minister Boris Johnson “great WIN!” in Britain’s general election, anticipating a British-American free trade agreement which will put Britain’s commercial arrangement with the European Union in the shade. “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN!” wrote the President, who as a pro-border, pro-sovereignty nationalist has been a long term supporter of the Brexit movement. “Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the EU,” he added. “Celebrate Boris!” Victory for nationalism – Johnson’s win puts UK’s future in doubt Reuters, Dec 13, 2019 – The election result was hailed as a victory for English, Scottish and Irish nationalism – and it could spell the end of the United Kingdom…. Scotland, England’s political partner for 300 years, voted against secession from the United Kingdom by 55% to 45% in 2014. But Scots backed staying in the European Union in the 2016 referendum and Sturgeon argues Brexit means they should have another say on independence…. A majority in Northern Ireland also voted against leaving the European Union and anti-Brexit parties took more seats in the province for the first time. Nationalists said the result paved the way towards a vote on whether there should be a united Ireland. The Brexit party folded, but make no mistake: Farage won it for Johnson Crushing Conservative majority set to secure an exit from the EU Farage to give stump speeches for Trump The Guardian, Dec 13, 2019 – Until 11 November, many had assumed that Nigel Farage’s Brexit party was revving up for a general election. But that morning, Farage told an audience of supporters and journalists in Hartlepool that his Brexit party would be standing down in 317 Conservative-held seats to avoid splitting the leave vote. The audience was stunned; there was muted applause after he finished. This election will be remembered as a resounding, crushing victory for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Just as has happened countless times before, Farage will be written off and ridiculed for his party not winning a single seat. But that morning of 11 November was the single most important moment of the campaign. Farage won it for Johnson…. In Farage’s speech, and in the weeks following, he pledged to scoop up the leave vote in Labour heartlands and places people were unlikely to ever vote Tory…. Farage, whatever you think of him, was right. Many Labour leavers, who couldn’t bring themselves to vote Tory, did vote for the Brexit party…. With Brexit a done deal, Farage himself is rumoured to be heading for the US to cash in via the lucrative speaker circuit. Farage basically admitted to Andrew Neil on election night that he would be giving stump speeches for Trump on the campaign trail for the US presidential election 2020. NORTH AMERICA: U.S., Mexico, and Canada Sign ‘Progressive’ USMCA Regional Government Scheme Mexican senator says judges on USMCA bi-nation panels will have ‘regional jurisdiction’ The New American, Dec 11, 2019 – [Senator Ricardo Monreal Ávila of Mexico’s socialist National Regeneration Movement, known by its Spanish acronym MORENA] didn’t waste any time in touting the supranational nature of the USMCA. “It will now be easier to establish panels of regional jurisdiction, or with regional jurisdiction, composed of judges from both countries that address all types of differences that may arise on any subject covered by the treaty,” Monreal proclaimed. The “regional jurisdiction” Monreal described would operate outside the established judicial systems or courts of Mexico, the United States, and Canada and not be subject them — thus potentially subordinating U.S. citizens and companies to these panels in the event of a dispute — much like NAFTA’s international dispute settlement mechanisms or “NAFTA courts.” ….On the subject of integration, Freeland added, “These amendments will ensure that rules-based trade between our three countries will continue to support the economic prosperity of all of our people and the global competitiveness of North America as a region.” (Emphasis added.) In other words, the USMCA is not intended to strengthen the individual competitiveness of Canada, the United States, and Mexico as independent sovereign nations, but as an amalgamated “region,” similar to the European Union’s Eurozone or common market. R-CALF USA says beef industry ‘ignored’ in USMCA agreement, urges Congress to vote against No restoration of country-of origin labels (COOL) on imported beef DRGNews (Dakota Radio Group, South Dakota), Dec 11, 2019 – R-CALF USA, the nation’s largest producer-only cattle trade association that lobbies on behalf of America’s cattle farmers and ranchers released the following statements following announcement of an agreement between House Democrats and the White House on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “Once again the House of Representatives and the White House have reached an agreement on a measure that will provide windfall profits for Agribusiness giants at the expense of America’s hard-working cattle farmers and ranchers…. “In fact, the new USMCA is worse than the old NAFTA because at least for several years during the old NAFTA American cattle farmers and ranchers received the tool they needed to finally compete against the growing volume of cheaper imported beef and cattle from Canada and Mexico. From 2013 through 2015, mandatory country-of-origin labels for beef empowered America’s cattle producers to finally begin competing against this growing tide of cheaper, undifferentiated foreign beef. “We’ve asked Congress and the President to, at the very least, restore mandatory country-of-origin labels (COOL) so American cattle farmers and ranchers could compete against the duty-free, cheaper and undifferentiated cattle and beef flowing into our country and depressing our markets. “We’ve been ignored. “We should now expect the downward trends caused by NAFTA to continue, if not accelerate, under the USMCA. NORTH AMERICA: Moving Jobs to Mexico Was a Feature, Not a Bug, of NAFTA By Dean Baker, FAIR, Dec 4, 2019 – The Washington Post (11/21/19) gave readers the official story about NAFTA, diverging seriously from reality, in a piece on the status of negotiations on the new NAFTA. The piece tells readers: NAFTA was meant to expand trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico by removing tariffs and other barriers on products as they were shipped between countries. The pact did open up trade, but it also proved disruptive in terms of creating new manufacturing supply chains and relocating businesses and jobs. This implies that the disruption in terms of shifting jobs to Mexico to take advantage of low-wage labor was an accidental outcome. In fact, this was a main point of the deal, as was widely noted by economists at the time. Proponents of the deal argued that it was necessary for US manufacturers to have access to low-cost labor in Mexico to remain competitive internationally. No one who followed the debate at the time should have been in the least surprised by the loss of high-paying, union manufacturing jobs to Mexico; that is exactly the result that NAFTA was designed for. Economist Dean Baker is a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. EUROPEAN UNION: Will Answer US Tariff Threats Against France “As One”: European Union NDTV (India), Dec 4, 2019 – The European Union will answer tariff threats by the United States against France “as one” and urged Washington to engage in dialogue, an EU spokesman said on Tuesday. “As in all other trade-related matters the EU will act and react as one and it will remain united,” said EU Commission spokesman Daniel Rosario after the US threatened tariffs on French goods on Monday. The threat was in response to a French digital services tax that Washington says is discriminatory, claiming that it singles out US tech giants such as Google and Facebook. US May Increase Tariffs After WTO Rejects European Union Claims Over Airbus New York Times, Dec 3, 2019 – The World Trade Organization on Monday rejected European Union claims that it no longer provides subsidies to planemaker Airbus, prompting the United States to say it could increase retaliatory tariffs on a wider range of European goods. A new compliance report from the Geneva trade watchdog found that the Airbus A380 and A350 jetliners continue to be subsidised as a result of past European government loans. GCC: Qatar emir’s invite to join Gulf summit signals regional thaw San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 3, 2019 – Qatar said its emir has been invited by the Saudi monarch to attend this month’s summit of Gulf Arab nations in Riyadh, in what would be a major breakthrough in intensifying attempts to end a 30-month feud. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar in 2017 after accusing the gas-rich state of building close ties with their chief regional foe, Iran, and funding militant groups. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges. King Salman’s written invitation was delivered to Qatar’s foreign minister by the secretary-general of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, the official Qatar News Agency reported. SOUTH AMERICA: Mercosur presidents meet, stung by U.S. metal tariffs Member nations not able to agree on reducing common external tariff Reuters, Dec 3, 2019 – The presidents of South America’s Mercosur trade bloc meet on Wednesday under the cloud of tariffs restored by U.S. President Donald Trump on steel and aluminum imports from its two largest members, Brazil and Argentina. Hobbled by political differences and government changeovers, the four-nation common market is not expected to take a joint stance against Trump’s surprise move on Monday, which shocked South American officials and left them scrambling for answers…. But Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has less than a week left in office and his left-leaning Peronist successor, Alberto Fernandez, has sparred openly with Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, who called the incoming leader a “red bandit.” Brazil to leave Mercosur educational area Xinhua, Nov 30, 2019 – Brazil would leave the educational area of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) due to its lack of concrete results, the country’s Education Minister Abraham Weintraub announced on Friday…. The decision would take effect immediately, the minister said, adding that it would have no immediate impact on Brazilian students studying in other Mercosur countries to obtain diplomas…. Brazil’s departure from the educational area did not mean that the country is leaving the entire bloc, Weintraub added. Mercosur is a South American trade bloc that gathers Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Solá asked to “deideologize” foreign relations Ratifies Argentina’s membership in Lima Group: ‘Unasur is not going to be reborn….I don’t think Prosur has a destiny’ El Pais (Spain), Dec 3, 2019 (Google Translate) – Felipe Solá, future foreign minister, confirmed Monday that Argentina will continue in the Lima Group, an alliance of countries with a position that condemns the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela. At the same time, he asked to “deideologize” relations between countries…. However, he clarified that he cannot be “that the only point of unity among so many countries is what is thought of Venezuela.” “There are a number of factors that unite us or lead us to debate,” he added. Solá referred to the block of countries in the region. He considered that “Unasur is not going to be reborn, it is something that has already happened, I think”. “I don’t think Prosur has a destiny, which was absolutely temporary,” he added. The most important definition was made on that subject, when he said: “there is the Lima Group, so we will be there.” NORTH AMERICA: Column: New NAFTA not good for Iowa Quad City Times, Nov 26, 2019 – My name is Bob Morrison. I spent the last 30 years of my life being well paid to build steam turbines at the Siemens plant in Burlington. It was meaningful work that gave me a very good quality of life…. Just before Christmas last year, I lost my job when Siemens outsourced our work to pay sweatshop wages to workers overseas who face repression when they try to organize unions…. Siemens is one of many federal contractors who receive U.S. government contracts but contrary to Trump’s campaign promises are not being required to stop job outsourcing or carry out those contracts with U.S. workers. Indeed, despite Trump’s talk, when he renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he left in place NAFTA’s ban on the Buy American procurement rules in place since the Roosevelt administration. AFRICAN UNION: UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health Drive towards universal health coverage (United Nations), Nov 18, 2019 – In the drive towards universal health coverage, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union (AU) Commission cemented their mutual commitment to global health by signing on Monday an historic agreement…. “The Addis Ababa Call to Action is a powerful commitment from African Union leaders to increase domestic financing for health, and to hold themselves accountable for that commitment”, he added…. Following a political declaration on universal health coverage, which was approved in September by all UN Member States, the General Assembly adopted a global resolution to translate that commitment into reality by legislators in 140 countries. NORTH AMERICA: The New NAFTA Won’t Protect Workers’ Rights Trump’s new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement repeats the disasters of the original agreement. By David Bacon, The Nation, Nov 8, 2019 – In NAFTA’s first year, 1 million Mexicans lost their jobs. According to Jeff Faux, founding director of the Economic Policy Institute, “The peso crash of December 1994 was directly connected to NAFTA.” Yellow corn grown by Mexican farmers then had to compete with corn from huge US producers, subsidized by the US farm bill. Corn imports into Mexico rose from 2 million to over 10 million tons, driving 2.5 million Mexican farmers and farm workers off their land. In 1990, 4.5 million Mexican migrants had come to the United States. In 2008 that number peaked at 12.67 million. About 9 percent of all Mexicans now live in El Norte. This displacement and forced migration was a direct consequence of the economic damage the treaty dealt to Mexico’s economy. Timothy Wise, senior research fellow at Tufts University, says, “The real assault was NAFTA, along with the neoliberal economic policies adopted by the Mexican government, of which NAFTA was an integral part.” David Bacon is author of Illegal People—How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (2008), and The Right to Stay Home (2013), both from Beacon Press. 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, 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. Israel Says It Wants ‘War with Iran’ and Is Meeting with Arab Countries to ‘Advance’ ItARAB LEAGUE: Egypt joins Arab Charter of Human Rights per presidential decree ‘Part of a larger process’ including Arab Parliament, Peace and Security Council Egypt Today, June 14, 2019 – Egypt’s official Gazette published Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s decree approving Egypt’s acceptance of the Arab Charter on Human Rights adopted at a summit of the League of Arab States in May 2004…. Mervat Rishmawi, a legal advisor at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, said that the charter is “part of a larger process of modernization of the Arab League, which includes the creation of a Peace and Security Council as well as the establishment of an interim Arab Parliament,” according to an article published in Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS: Ecowas launches Regional Competition Authority Would ‘promote adherence to the ECOWAS Competition Law in our region’ The Point (Gambia), May 30, 2019 – The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) has a core mandate of keeping under review commercial activities in the community market with a view to ascertaining practices which may distort the efficient operations of the market conduct or which may adversely affect the economic interest of consumers. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ebrima Drammeh, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, recalled that the supplementary protocol establishing the ECRA defined it as a specialised, autonomous and quasi-judicial body mandated to implement the Regional Competition Rules, thus contributing towards the promotion of economic growth and competitiveness in the ECOWAS common market. EUROPEAN UNION: What Is ‘Europe’s Destiny’? Why EU’s Right Turn Points to Stalingrad-Style Shutdown Stalingrad was turning point where the Germans were stopped in WWII CBN News, May 29, 2019 – After a strong showing by Eurosceptic parties in last week’s elections, European leaders are now worried about their future…. In Britain, where many expect the Trump-like Boris Johnson to take over from Theresa May, Farage is warning against any further delay on Brexit. “If we do not leave the European Union on October 31st, then just as we’ve surprised people in these European elections we will go forward and absolutely stun them in the next general election. There’s a big wake-up call here to Westminster. Let’s see whether they listen,” Farage said. AFRICAN UNION: Continental free trade pact comes into effect June In theory, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions Business Daily (Kenya), May 5, 2019 – This in theory implies that from July, Africans will be free to trade, work and move all over within the continent without restrictions as it is the case now…. All that is now left is for the African Union and African Ministers of Trade to finalise work on supporting instruments to facilitate the launch of the operational phase of the AfCFTA during an Extra-Ordinary heads of state and government summit slated for July 7. African Continental Free Trade Area ‘All these borders will become meaningless, will become ficticious….This will take time’ Single African passport African Union, April 27, 2019, YouTube Following the path of the European Union from its beginnings as the European Common Market NORTH AMERICA: Time to say goodbye to NAFTA’s replacement? By David Olive, Business Columnist, Toronto Star, May 5, 2019 – It might be that U.S. President Donald Trump has reverted to his years-long preference to simply kill NAFTA without replacing it. Trump won’t budge on the reasonable changes that Congressional Democrats seek to make to the USMCA agreement. He also seems determined to keep in place the steel and aluminum tariffs he applied against Canada and Mexico about a year ago. And that alone pretty much guarantees that all three national legislatures will reject USMCA…. But the odds of NAFTA’s demise are also low. Only Capitol Hill, not the president, can kill a treaty. AFRICAN UNION: East African nations mull referenda on political confederation Xinhua (China), April 29, 2019 – The East African Community (EAC) member states each plan to hold national referenda to decide whether to have a political confederation or not, officials said on Monday. Alice Yalla, acting integration secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development told Xinhua in Nairobi that a committee of experts, three from each of the six partner states is currently developing a draft constitution for governing the political confederation…. EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. EUROPEAN UNION: European Union to create central biometrics database Computer Weekly, April 25, 2019 – The European Parliament has agreed to build a single biometric database that will weave various border control, security and migration systems across the European Union (EU). Called the Common Identity Repository, the system will provide law enforcement agencies with facial recognition data and fingerprints, as well as personal information, such as passport numbers and birth dates of more than 350 million citizens. Vatican Proposes European Union as Example of ‘a Supranational State’ Breitbart, April 26, 2019 – The European Union (EU) is “an example of what could become a supranational state,” according to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the lead-up to a major conference against nationalism. In its full-court press for globalism and international migration, the Vatican insists on describing nationalism in exclusively negative terms, opening its “Concept Note” for its May 1-3 conference by saying that the world “is facing today a growing threat of nationalist revival,” which “leads to mutual rejection and enduring conflicts.”…. “Globalization and migrations inspire the fear that nations could lose their cultural identity and their political independence.” EUROPEAN UNION: Believe It Or Not, Brexit Is Actually Helping The European Union Whole process of Brexit being so complicated, so difficult, made people realize that you don’t leave the EU so easily Morning Edition, National Public Radio (transcript), April 22, 2019 – ….Euroskeptic parties in France, the Netherlands and Sweden have since backed off calls for Frexit, Nexit (ph) or Swexit (ph) referenda and focused on changing the EU from inside. In the last decade, the EU has weathered an immigration and a financial crisis. NORTH AMERICA: College students are told 18 states offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Check out how they react The Blaze, April 18, 2019 – At least 18 states offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Armed with those facts, Campus Reform’s Cabot Phillips recently teamed up with itsmikeaye_ to ask University of Nevada, Las Vegas, students their opinions concerning illegal immigrant students getting in-state tuition. The reactions were unanimous: Not cool. ‘Free flow of goods, services, and people’ would include access for education NORTH AMERICA: Trump says Mexico auto tariff threat supersedes new NAFTA pact ‘This will supersede USMCA’ if ‘for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from’ Politico, April 5, 2019 – President Donald Trump said Friday that the deal his administration struck with Mexico on its auto exports won’t count if the country fails to stop Central American migrants from illegally crossing the border to enter the United States. If “for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to Tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the Border to us. If that doesn’t work, which it will, I will close the Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “This will supersede USMCA,” Trump continued, referring to the new North American trade deal, which has yet to be ratified in the U.S., Mexico or Canada. “Likewise I am looking at an economic penalty for the 500 Billion Dollars in illegal DRUGS that are shipped and smuggled through Mexico and across our Southern Border. Over 100,00 Americans die each year, sooo many families destroyed!” EUROPEAN UNION: UK removes words ‘European Union’ from British passports Old blue British passport emblem of government’s promise to ‘take back control’ from EU The Guardian (London, UK), April 5, 2019 – The UK government has started issuing British passports without the words “European Union” even though the UK remains a full member of the bloc. It removed the two words from passport covers issued this week on the working assumption that Brexit day would have been 29 March…. The Home Office said the inclusion of the words “European Union” was part of the policy of the EU but was not legally binding, and consumers who receive the new-look passports in the coming months have nothing to worry about. “They are perfectly legal,” it said. AFRICAN UNION: Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area takes effect North Africa Post (Morocco), April 5, 2019 – Gambia’s National Assembly has ratified the agreement that seeks to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). With Gambia’s ratification, the continent’s free trade agreement has drawn enough signatures to go into operation…. Once in place, the trade agreement will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion—making it the world’s largest free-trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. GCC: Qatar Is the Weakest Link in an ‘Arab NATO’ National Review, April 4, 2019 – It is a good idea in theory: Assemble a coalition of Sunni Arab states, call it the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), and create a multinational military force meant to serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, and extremism….The latest iteration of MESA is supposed to be an amalgamation of Sunni Muslim forces, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council members — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman — in addition to Egypt and Jordan. When President Trump visited Riyadh in May 2017, he implored the dozens of Muslim leaders gathered at the Arab Islamic American Summit to “drive out” the terrorists in their midst and unite to push back on Iran. Those in attendance understood the reference to the Qatari elephant in the room and shortly thereafter acted to bring the emirate in line with the priorities they share with the United States. Rather than changing its behavior, Qatar widened the scope of its relations with the other regional, non-Arab, Muslim Brotherhood–boosting regime in Turkey, posing additional challenges to America’s interests in the Middle East. SAARC: Congress manifesto positive on Saarc, Kashmir Dawn (Pakistan), April 3, 2019 – India’s Congress party announced its election manifesto here on Tuesday, which revealed an indirect connect with Pakistan through the Saarc template. The party appeared contrite on Kashmir, making particular references to human rights and anti-torture steps. The manifesto drew instant criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which described it as appeasement of terrorists and separatists. The promise of quietly positive turn of events between the neighbours hinges on the party supplanting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rightwing government in the April-May elections. The Congress offered clear hopes of working with Saarc to improve regional ties, something the Modi government was averse to. AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS: New ECOWAS Travel Card and Nigeria’s economy Unhindered movement of persons and goods within regional bloc modeled after NAFTA Free Movement of Persons Protocol Daily Trust (Nigeria), April 1, 2019 – The implementation of the ECOWAS Travel Card by some member countries has been hailed as the right decision to facilitate the unhindered movement of persons and goods within the regional bloc….For Nigerian businessmen and women and for travelers within the region, the ECOWAS Travel Card is easy to obtain and has two-year validity.  The travel is card synchronized with the digital features in the National Identity Management documents and is fashioned after the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Free Movement of Persons Protocol. EURASIAN UNION: Too early to discuss single Eurasian Economic Union currency, warns official ‘We have just began taking steps in this direction’ TASS (Russia), March 20, 2019 – Introducing a single currency within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is possible in future, but its member states are not ready yet, Assistant Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Fedor Chernitsyn said. SOUTH AMERICA Regional leaders convene in Santiago to kick off PROSUR initiative ‘Pragmatic integration’ a ‘new stage in the integration of South America’ ‘Opportunities for regional integration’ to focus on health, social security, energy, defense, natural disasters and the environment   

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

EUROPEAN UNION: Euroskeptics to gain seats as EU Parliament tug of war escalates Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 11, 2019 – Polls suggest that nationalistic and euroskeptic parties will make considerable gains at the expense of the center and far left groups in the upcoming May elections…. The European Parliament is the only body within the European Union to be directly elected, and even so, while it’s been given the right to either pass or reject laws handed down to it by the unelected European Commission, it does not possess any form of legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of the European Union do. Merkel protege warns against centralised European Union – The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Reuters, March 9, 2019 – “Our Europe needs to become stronger,” Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as party leader in December, wrote in an opinion piece for the Welt am Sonntag weekly newspaper. But she added: “European centralism, European statism, the collectivisation of debts, a Europeanisation of social systems and the minimum wage would be the wrong way.” ARAB GULF – GCC: Gulf countries mull regional water grid to boost ties Gulf News (Dubai, UAE), March 10, 2019 – Gulf countries are considering a regional water grid on the lines of electricity grid to meet the growing demand for water, a senior official from Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water said in Abu Dhabi. “The idea is to have all GCC countries connected with a grid. Kuwait is ready, Bahrain is ready and also Saudi Arabia,” said Iqbal Al Tayyar, director of technical supervision department at the Kuwait’s ministry of electricity and water. Gulf rift seems to ease as Qatar takes part in GCC military meeting in Riyadh Daily Sabah (Turkey), March 7, 2019 – Qatar on Thursday took part in a Riyadh-hosted meeting of ground forces commanders from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states…. Participants also reportedly discussed proposals for establishing a unified GCC military command. AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS: ECOWAS Single Currency to debut in 2020 with select countries Recommended that member states ‘….promote regional integration through the free movement of factors of production. Create a permanent integration framework among the ECOWAS commission, WAMA, WAMI and the ECOWAS parliament’ Vanguard (Nigeria), March 9, 2019 – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through its parliament has reaffirmed its commitment to introducing the community’s unified monetary unit by next year…. According to the forum, “to ensure the sustainability of the ECOWAS single currency, it is key to continue efforts to harmonize monetary and budgetary policies. This requires the strengthening of the multilateral surveillance mechanism through greater involvement of Central Banks and Finance Ministries.” SOUTH ASIA: SAARC: A defunct organization Fancies European Union, but little motivation for transforming into such ‘cohesive entity’ The Nation (Pakistan), March 8, 2019 – Regretfully, the achievements of the organization are far below its potential thus far. At the moment, it has been on the point of being defunct for several years…. Although a South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) came into force in 2006 but that was only limited to goods with no place for investments and services like information technology etc. It envisioned a duty free area between members by 2016, but nothing happened on the ground. If we had acted on Vision for SAARC (1998) there would have been a Customs Union by 2015 and an Economic Union by 2020. Majority of us fancy workings of the European Union but, strangely enough, when it comes to SAARC little motivation is found for transforming it into such a cohesive entity. Sub-regionalism is superseding a stagnant SAARC East Asia Forum (Australia), Feb 23, 2019 – India recently acknowledged the long-standing demands of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan to remove non-tariff barriers to trade and liberalise the energy sector. The three countries of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative have tremendous hydropower potential waiting to be harnessed by an energy-starved India. New guidelines will allow cross-border trade in energy through multi-country public-private partnerships and the creation of a robust regional power market. While India continues to outflank Islamabad by investing in sub-regional initiatives like the BBIN and BIMSTEC, Pakistan is similarly looking beyond the SAARC for regional camaraderie with China. EURASIAN ECONOMIC UNION: Iran Says Grounds Prepared for Its Membership in Eurasian Union Meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership IFP News (Iran), Feb 20, 2019 – Despite sanctions imposed on and restrictions created for Iran’s economy, arrangements for membership of the Islamic Republic in the Eurasian Economic Union have been made, said Iran’s Energy Minister. According to [Reza] Ardakanian, with the arrangements made so far, Iran and the union will hold a meeting in the next three months to discuss Iran’s membership…. Back in December 2018, member states of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union formed a Free Trade Zone with Iran, preparing the grounds for Tehran’s long-awaited accession to the EEU. EUROPEAN UNION: EU Elections ‘Last Chance to End Nationalist Nightmare’ – Verhofstadt MEP, EU Brexit coordinator wants to shut down opposition to federal EU superstate Breitbart, March 6, 2019 – This year’s EU election will be the “last chance” to kill populism, Guy Verhofstadt has warned, calling for sovereignty-destroying “reform” which would transfer national powers to Brussels…. Asked why he believes populist sentiment has been strengthening across the bloc, the former Belgian prime minister blamed the internet, before going on to echo Macron in endorsing an EU-wide purging the internet of so-called “hate”. Socialist European Union insider and Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has long had a radical vision for an EU superstate within a New World Order framework of similar regional blocs. When he was prime minister of Belgium in 2001, Verhofstadt revealed the following framework model: ‘MIDDLE EAST STRATEGIC ALLIANCE’ (MESA) – ‘THE BIG 6’: In Arab world, a new alliance is on the rise Christian Science Monitor, Feb 13, 2019 – The grouping has no official name – people refer to them verbally as “the six states” or the “big states” or the “six big states.” Let’s call them the Big 6. On the surface, it is the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, minus Qatar and Oman but with the addition of Jordan and Egypt…. The Big 6 is first and foremost a Sunni Arab coalition that seeks to act as a bulwark against Iran, coordinate Arab foreign policy, and prevent the encroaching influence of non-Arab regional actors such as Turkey…. The bloc also supports the ongoing blockade of Qatar over what they claim is an unwillingness to take stances against Iran and Turkey. What brings Israeli and Arab leaders together in Warsaw? – TRT World, Feb 13, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo first raised the idea last month ahead of his 8-nation tour of the Middle East where he tried to gather support for President Donald Trump’s containment policy for Iran. At the time, the initiative was seen as a prelude to forming the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) – a proposed regional security alliance comprising members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), plus Egypt and Jordan…. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist the meeting is mainly about the Islamic republic of Iran. Israel Says It Wants ‘War with Iran’ and Is Meeting with Arab Countries to ‘Advance’ It – News week, Feb 13, 2019 – The United States has rallied countries from across the world, especially from Europe and the Middle East, to attend a summit in Warsaw in a bid to form a united front against revolutionary Shiite Muslim Iran…. “What is important about this meeting. and it is not in secret, because there are many of those—is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran,” [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] added. SOUTH ASIA: We need to restructure SAARC SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth (Sri Lanka), Feb 8, 2019 – The move to promote China’s entry as a full member was seen by Indian analysts as an attempt to challenge India’s dominance within SAARC. Pakistan fully supported the move. Of course, Sri Lanka, too, appeared supportive of the proposal then. However, for China to enter SAARC, the consensus of all member states is required. If India can work with China within BRICS and become a partner in the China-led Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank, there is no reason other than India’s ambitions to be South Asia’s big brother for it to oppose China’s membership. SAARC could benefit from China’s economic growth and the grouping could extend its trade links to Central Asia and the Asia Pacific region via China, especially in view of China’s Belt-and-Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Also if China is given full membership, the India-Pakistan issues that stymie SAARC’s growth can be overlooked and the South Asian grouping could make progress. AFRICAN UNION – EAC: You say you want a federation A political union for east Africa? Regional leaders have big ambitions but short tempers

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

SOUTH AMERICA: Chile organizes a meeting of presidents to promote the creation of Prosur, replacing Unasur Will be attended by ‘practically all’ the leaders of the region To ‘strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America’ Infobae (Argentina), Feb 5, 2019 – The Chilean government is organizing a meeting for March in which it is intended to give impetus to a new international institution to replace Unasur, an organization formed in the boom of the leftist wave in Latin America and which today suffers from strong discrepancies and little weight in the region…. The Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Luis Alberto Castiglioni,…. added that, ” since we all share the same principles and values, ” Prosur must serve to ” strengthen the democratic institutions that govern all of South America….” NEW WORLD DISORDER: Time for Humility for Davos Elite By Michael Barone, RealClear Politics, Feb 1, 2019 – So the political, financial and media elites have taken beatings at the ballot box — Brexit, Trump, anti-establishment European rebellion parties. The 1990s elite projects and policies were not crazy, but their failures to make course corrections and their lack of respect for decent nationalism have been costly. Something to talk about if they slink back to Davos next year. EURASIA: Eurasian Economic Commission Prepares Report on Cryptocurrencies Crypto Digest, Feb 1, 2019 – The Commission’s minister for integration and macroeconomics, Tatyana Valovaya, said that the EEU aims to create a consolidated financial market by 2025, as the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries are becoming more robust, the EEU has to study them. And accordingly, Russia’s Ministry of Finance is considering launching a digital currency backed by the countries in the EAEU by 2020 or 2021. Eurasian Economic (dis)Union The bloc has not ‘re-Sovietised’ the region and is stretched by competing priorities Financial Times (London), Jan 29, 2019 (Google link) – A popular conception about the EAEU is that it is Russia’s attempt to “re-Sovietise” the region (in then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s phrase), if not as a political force then at least as an economic one. Indeed, to some western observers, the EAEU has been a successful vehicle for Russian interests: only four years after inception, it has made impressive strides towards economic integration, achieving the free movement of goods, capital and people faster than its model and rival, the European Union…. Despite such successes, recent internal challenges to Russian leadership have dispelled any fears that the EAEU is becoming a neo-USSR. While the member states share a post-Soviet legacy, they have little else in common (apart from Kazakhstan’s and Russia’s reliance on hydrocarbons), while closer ties to Russia are not a priority for most of the other members. SOUTH ASIA: Pakistan blocks South Asia’s trade growth New Indian Express, Jan 27, 2019 – The one stumbling block in this effort has been Pakistan, which has not implemented the SAARC Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2006. This agreement was part of a larger vision to make SAARC a Customs Union and then an Economic Union by 2020. NORTH AMERICA: Trump duped, globalists love new NAFTA/TPP agreement By Dr. Harold W. Pease, Journal Tribune (Biddeford, Maine), Jan 25, 2019 – No one has been more outspoken against the globalist agenda than President Donald Trump.  His “America First” platform is the very antithesis of their plans for world government.  This is primarily the reason all globalists, Democrat and Republican, and all globalist mediums, have come out of the closet to oppose him at all costs.  Hence the shock when globalists are now praising his newly negotiated and rolled out Oct. I, 2018 USMCA (United States/Mexico/Canada) sovereignty destroying replacement of NAFTA—seemingly a merged agreement of the worst parts of NAFTA and TPP. SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil eliminates Mercosur symbol from new passports New Brazilian passports to strengthen national identity Merco Press, Jan 25, 2019 – The purpose of the new Brazilian passports is to strengthen national identity and love for the motherland, explained Lorenzini. “We are going to eliminate from Brazilian passports the Mercosur identification; we are going to return the symbol of the Republic to the document”, underlined the cabinet chief. ….However in a recent meeting between Bolsonaro and his Argentine peer, Mauricio Macri, the two leaders did point out the importance or reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, a deal that has been on the negotiations table for almost two decades. GCC: Pompeo calls for Gulf unity to fight Iranian influence Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Jan 14, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Sunday for greater unity among the Arabian Gulf states to combat Iran’s malign influence in the region. Pompeo arrived in Riyadh on Sunday evening on the latest leg of his nine-nation tour of the Middle East…. Pompeo said Gulf unity was essential for a planned Middle East Strategic Alliance that would also include Jordan and Egypt. GCC: Pompeo heading to Middle East to shore up US alliances Daily Mail, (London, UK), Jan 4, 2019 – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will tour eight Middle East capitals next week in an effort to shore up crucial alliances strained by the Yemen war, US plans to exit Syria and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. State Department officials say Pompeo also hopes to fortify the alliance of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The group was weakened in 2017 after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sought to isolate GCC member Qatar from other countries in the region, over its alleged support for extremist groups. The rift is “unhelpful,” another US official said, opening a cleavage that Iran could exploit. To strengthen the group, the US is hoping a GCC summit can be arranged as early as the first quarter of this year, the official said.