Trade - Global Security

U.S. to curb investment in China

Dozens of Chinese companies with alleged ties to the country’s military will be off-limits to U.S. investors, effective August 2. President Joe has signed an executive order which initially targets investment in 59 companies but the prohibition is to be updated on a rolling basis. [node:read-more:link]

Korean tanker seized by Iran

A South Korean-flagged tanker has been seized by Iran and its multinational crew arrested. Tehran has cited “oil pollution” in the Strait of Hormuz as justification for the seizure but there are suggestions it is putting pressure on South Korea to release frozen assets. [node:read-more:link]

Softwood lumber redux

The decades-long dispute over Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. is heating up yet again as a protectionist lobby there insist that imports are unfairly subsidized. The U.S. has repeatedly lost when the issue is presented for arbitration and the B.C. Lumber Trade Council points out that the latest move to more than double duties affects U.S. housing costs. [node:read-more:link]

Canada blocks bulk drug exports

Responding to a U.S. plan to import of Canadian prescription drugs from Canada in a bid to reduce prices in the U.S., Canada has blocked bulk exports which would result in domestic shortages. “Companies will now also be required to provide information to assess existing or potential shortages, when requested, and within 24 hours if there is a serious or imminent health risk,” says Health Minister Patty Hajdu. [node:read-more:link]

China pushing back against sanctions

New rules designed to protect Chinese companies from “unjustified” foreign laws have been announced by Beijing. Among other things, they would facilitate prosecution of companies which comply with offshore restrictions such as those promulgated by the U.S. administration against telecommunications companies seen as national security threats. [node:read-more:link]

China-U.S. trade deal illusory?

An agreement aimed at easing a U.S.-China trade war which has had global fallout is described by President Donald Trump as “transformative” and by Chinese leaders as a “win-win” deal. However, while committing to increase imports from the U.S. in return for a reduction in some U.S. tariffs, the deal signed 15 January is already under pressure for more negotiations because it retains many U.S. protectionist mechanisms. [node:read-more:link]

No easy ride for NAFTA 2.0

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh wants a “thoughtful approach” to ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which suggests that the Liberal minority government’s preference for fast passage is at risk. Singh pointed out 22 January that the pact’s forerunner, the North American Free Trade Agreement, had to amended to suit U.S. political interests. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. seeks Canada-style trade pact

Having succeeded in taking Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson evidently is focusing his attention on getting the same kind of trade pact as the EU has with Canada. He told a Greenwich audience 03 February that if those negotiations don’t bear fruit, he is prepared to fall back on a Withdrawal Agreement signed by both sides in November 2018. [node:read-more:link]

NAFTA 2.0 awaits Canada’s signature

Canada’s approval now is the only element necessary to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. The leaders of the three federal governments signed to new trade pact in November 2018 on the sidelines of that year’s G20 economic summit in Argentina, leaving only legislative approval to complete the process. Mexico ratified it last June and U.S. President Donald Trump signed off 29 January on the package approved by Congress. [node:read-more:link]

Huawei remains an issue for U.S.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has revived concerns that permitting the Huawei 5G technology into the U.S. would give China access to “sensitive and personal information” through backdoors built into its software. The U.S. administration insists the global telecom giant is bound to spy on behalf of Beijing, a claim Huawei and China consistently deny. [node:read-more:link]

China’s new world order

A respected Japanese academic who has researched his country’s relationship with China says that Japanese and western policies of engagement based solely on trade and business interests has failed. Junya Nishino says it is apparent that the hope that liberalized trade and investment would lead to a more democratic China has run up against the political reality that Beijing is not interested. [node:read-more:link]

Caymans on tax blacklist

The Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, has been added to the European Union’s blacklist of tax havens. The EU says the three islands, which have no income, capital gains or corporates taxes, lack “appropriate measures” for preventing tax abuse, but Premier Alden McLaughlin says the territory has approved many reforms sought by the EU. [node:read-more:link]

New U.S. charges against Huawei

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is being charged by the U.S. with new offences, including stealing trade secrets and violation sanctions against North Korea. Huawei says the charges are without merit and based mainly on civil disputes already settled in court. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19 pandemic feared

As more confirmed diagnoses of potentially fatal respiratory problems caused the latest corona virus continue to emerge around the world, there are growing concerns about a possible COVID-19 pandemic. Most infections and deaths have been confirmed in China but the outbreak has spread elsewhere in Asia as well as to North America, Europe and the Middle East. The WHO officially named the Coronavirus as COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) on 11 Feb 2020. [node:read-more:link]

Bruising Brexit talks expected

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian expects that Britain and the European Union will “rip each other apart” as each side strives for advantage in a post-Brexit era. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new government wants “friendly cooperation” but Le Drian, citing huge differences on trade issues and the mechanism for future relations, says “everyone will defend their own interests.” [node:read-more:link]


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