Trade - Global Security

Germany prepares for gas rationing

Amid growing concerns about a possible suspension of Russian natural gas deliveries, Germany began gearing up today for possible rationing due to a dispute over Moscow’s insistence that it be paid in rubles. It activated an “early warning” phase” of emergency legislation, setting up a “crisis room” in the energy ministry. [node:read-more:link]

G7 Rejects “rubles for gas” plan

Russian President Vladimir Putdin’s insistence that “unfriendly countries’ must pay for natural gas in rubles is unacceptable to the G7 countries, says Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, calling on “the companies concerned not to comply.” Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the U.S. are the other G7 members. [node:read-more:link]

Global grains supply at risk

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now in its fifth week, highlights the fragility of the global food supply at a time when sustained investment is needed. Between them, Ukraine and Russia account for nearly a third of global wheat and barley exports as well as some 20 per cent of corn exports and the fate of some six million hectares planted to wheat in Ukraine remains uncertain. [node:read-more:link]

Putin determined to stay in economic summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to attend the next G20 summit, currently set for the end of October in Bali, Indonesia. There had been suggestions that Russia should be barred because of its invasion of Ukraine, but China pushed back, saying “expulsion of Russia from this kind of forum will not help (global) economic problems to be resolved.” [node:read-more:link]

Who’s Who of sanctioned Russians

Politicians, influential oligarchs and media figures are among the Russians sanctioned by Canada and other countries over President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Poland and essentially wage all-out war. Canada has continued to add to its sanctions list in smaller and more thematically-targeted batches three times since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. [node:read-more:link]

Shell admits goof on Russian oil

Having disclosed that it had purchased a cargo of Russian crude oil last week, Shell apologized today and promised to stop the practice and suspend all refining and retail activities there. “We are acutely aware that our decision . . . was not the right one,” CEO Ben van Beurden said. [node:read-more:link]

Growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine

Despite the perception that Russian ground forces’ invasion of Ukraine seems to have stalled after 12 days of intense bombardments, Ukrainian officials say the humanitarian crisis continues to grow. Nearly two million Ukrainians have fled to neighbouring countries and one official says his country expects that “the catastrophe in Ukraine will lead to a catastrophe in the world with food because Ukraine was a major supplier of wheat and grain.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran a doomed “zombie” state?

Forty-three years after Iranians celebrated the end of the Shah’s regime and welcomed the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington and an authority on rogue regimes, says Iran has become an illegitimate “zombie state” set to fail. A key element is the way the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has gained significant control of the country’s economy without political oversight. [node:read-more:link]

Pentagon’s industry link upgraded

Congress is raising the profile of the Department of Defense official who liaises with industry to Assistant Secretary of Defense from a Deputy Assistant Secretary. This subjects appointees to Senate confirmation hearings at a time of growing administration concern about Chinese investment in U.S. supply chains. [node:read-more:link]

Bridge blockade hits manufacturers

The ongoing blockade of the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit by vaccine protesters forced Ford to shut down its engine plant in Windsor and reduce operations at its assembly plant in Oakville west of Toronto. The bridge carries 25 per cent of all trade and manufacturers on both sides of the border are reporting supply-chain issues. [node:read-more:link]

PEI potato exports resume on a limited basis

Nearly three months after Canada blocked shipments of Prince Edward Island potatoes to the U.S. due to concerns about a fungus found on a couple of farms, the U.S. is permitting shipments to Puerto Rico. The territory, which has no domestic potato farming, normally gets at least 80 per cent of its potatoes from PEI which, in turn, account for about a quarter of the province’s potato exports. Since the fungus can affect yields, the rest of the U.S. market remains closed for the time being. [node:read-more:link]

Lithuania in a Chinese black hole

Lithuania’s decision to accept a Taiwanese “representative” in Vilnius has backfired badly for the Baltic state which used to do more than $500 million in annual business with China. There was immediage diplomatic recalls but China also has delisted Lithuania from its customs register, which means, according to Deputy foreign Minister Mantas Adomėnas, that “anyone who tried to declare cargo coming from Lithuania would simply not find this country on the database.” [node:read-more:link]

Britain presses France on migrants

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on French President Emmanuel Macron to “take back” migrants who cross the Channel to Britain. Hoping to avoid a repeat of this week’s tragedy in which 27 people drowned when their inflatable boat sank, Johnson publicly proposed, among other things, joint patrols to prevent more departures from France as well as reciprocal maritime patrols of territorial waters, and airborne surveillance. [node:read-more:link]

Softwood retaliation considered

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is prepared to retaliate against the latest hike in U.S. protectionist duties on Canadian softwood lumber. She was not specific when she broached the prospect Nov. 24, but a previous trade dispute in 2018 resulted in countermeasures on a range of products. [node:read-more:link]

“Grim outlook” for global economy

The World Bank’s latest forecast is for global growth to slow to 4.1 per cent this year from 5.5 in 2021 due to ongoing coronavirus threats, unwinding government support programs and fading demand. Bank President David Malpass said Jan. 11 that as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on growth, especially in poor countries, the outlook is “grim.” [node:read-more:link]


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