Trade - Global Security

PM in Hiroshima for G7

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Japan today for the opening of a G7 summit in Hiroshima. Japanese PM Fumio Kishida chose his hometown for the meeting to highlight the risk of a nuclear confrontation as Russia ramps up its rhetoric about Ukraine and its allies. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. envoy backtracks on accusation

Reuben Brigety, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, has “apologized unreservedly” for claiming that the country exported weapons to Russia, the host foreign ministry said today. Brigety said on social media that he was “grateful for the opportunity to […] correct any misimpressions left by my public remarks” which prompted President Cyril Ramaphosa to order a judicial inquiry. [node:read-more:link]

Putin pushes back economically

A suggestion last October that the European Union could sell seized Russian assets to help to rebuild Ukraine has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to take what he says is temporary control of the Russian subsidiaries of German and Finnish energy companies. Putin’s decree today suggested that the EU notion is “unfriendly and contrary to international law.” [node:read-more:link]

Oil prices surge on production cut

International benchmark crude oil prices rose after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and several Gulf states announced April 2 that they were daily production by more than a million barrels (159,000 cubic metres). Russia also said it will extend its cut of 500,000 barrels a day until the end of 2023 as economists warned that higher prices could make it harder to deal with inflation in export markets. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. in Pacific trade pact

The British government announced today that it is joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership which includes Canada and Mexico but not the U.S., which pulled out of a precursor pact. Britain expects a long-term £1.8-billion economic boost as tariffs on a range of goods are reduced. [node:read-more:link]

Erdoğan presses Putin on war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called today for an “immediate cessation” of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Appealing directly to President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call, he also thanked the Russian leader for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative which enables Ukrainian grain exports during the conflict. [node:read-more:link]

Britain hikes key lending rates

The Bank of England today raised its key lending rate by a quarter of a point to 4.25 per cent, its highest in 14 years, after inflation spiked unexpectedly in February. “We were really a bit on a knife edge as to whether there would be a recession, Bank Governor Andrew Bailey said. “But I’m a bit more optimistic now” even though the economy was “not off to the races.” [node:read-more:link]

Xi-Putin “marriage of convenience”

On the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Moscow for talks with Russia President Vladimir Putin U.S. Secretary of State is dismissing the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.” Describing Russia March 22 as “very much the junior partner” in the relationship, Blinken noted that China had so far declined to provide weapons to Moscow for its war in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese leader consolidates hold

Xi Jinping was unanimously endorsed today for an unprecedented third term as China’s president. His reappointment by the political elite, largely seen as a formality, makes Xi the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since its founding in 1949. [node:read-more:link]

Ramping up the rhetoric in China

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang is warning that his country is headed for “conflict and confrontation” with the U.S. because it has “entirely deviated from the rational and sound track” in their relationship on many fronts. “If the United States […] continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing,” he said March 7. “Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity.” [node:read-more:link]

Von der Leyen visits Canada

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Canada for a short visit aimed at promoting transatlantic ties. Her schedule today included meeting with Canadian Armed Forces personnel who had deployed to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees and an evening speech to the House of Commons. [node:read-more:link]

China’s “no limit” support for Russia

In the year since Russian invaded Ukraine, a broad spectrum of western economic sanctions has undermined the Russian economy, but China is stepping in to fill the breach. It has declared “no limits to its friendship” as manifest by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Moscow and the prospect of a meeting between their presidents this spring. [node:read-more:link]

No Russian surprise at G20

Finance ministers from the G20 economic group failed to agree on their customary closing statement from their latest summit due to what the host country, India, called “different assessments of the situation” in Ukraine and on sanctions imposed on Russia. China declined to accept elements critical of Russia’s invasion while Moscow said “anti-Russian” countries had “destabilised” the G20. [node:read-more:link]

More U.S. sanctions on Russia

Banks and defence suppliers are among more than 100 entities within Russia and abroad targetted in new U.S. sanctions today, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. also announced $2 billion in new aid for Ukraine as well as $550 million to help Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova to strengthen their energy infrastructure. [node:read-more:link]


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