Finance (International)

Afghanistan neighbours seek assistance

As the Taliban continue to call for Afghanistan’s frozen assets to released, leaders from an Asian political and economic alliance, including close neighbours, are calling for more foreign support to avoid further economic turmoil and a wave of refugees. [node:read-more:link]

G7 Summit next month in U.K.

Ministers responsible for foreign affairs and development in the G7 group of nations are scheduled to meet Dec. 10-12 in Britain Dec. 10 to Dec. 12 together with some ministers from countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations. The British Foreign Office’s draft agenda includes talks on economic resilience after COVID-19, global health and human rights. [node:read-more:link]

Sour notes on foreign aid

An internal audit of Global Affairs Canada has disclosed that a third of approved applications for grant applications disclosed that nearly a third had incomplete paperwork, and funds were used for questionable procurements. Among other things, unspent funds from a $20.5 million typhoon recovery package for the Philippines had been spent on karaoke machines. On a more serious note, staff managing Afghanistan aid were pressed to spend money despite misgivings about the program’s effectiveness. [node:read-more:link]

Polish border tensions renewed

Poland accused Belarus today of trucking hundreds of migrants back to the border and pushing them to attempt to cross illegally, a day after clearing camps at the frontier. European governments accuse Belarus of flying in thousands of Middle Easterners, some of whom have died as winter set in, as part of President Alexander Lukashenko’s push back against EU sactions. [node:read-more:link]

China lobby active in U.S.

U.S. companies, their executives and business groups are being pressed by The Chinese embassy in Washington to fight what are seen as anti-China bills currently before Congress. The bills seek to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the embassy is warning companies and legislators that approval could mean lost market share in China. [node:read-more:link]

Putin to Lukashenko: Not so fast!

A suggestion by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko last week that he could off natural gas supplies to the European Union in response to economic sanctions is proving to be problematic in that Russia supplies the gas. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on the weekend that he had no inkling of Lukashenko’s idea. “He didn't even hint,” Putin said on the weekend. “This would mean a breach of our gas transit contract and I hope this will not happen. . . . I will raise this with him in case this wasn't something said in the heat of the moment.” [node:read-more:link]

European natural gas threatened

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko threatened today to shut down two natural gas pipelines which carry Russian gas through his country to Europe. He was reacting to the threat of further EUK sanctions over a migrant crisis at the border with Poland. “If they impose additional sanctions on us . . . we must respond,” he said. “What if we halt natural gas supplies? Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking.” [node:read-more:link]

Pakistan hosts Afghanistan multilateral

Diplomats from the U.S., China and Russia have been meeting in Pakistan to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Afghanistan which has forced many Afghans to migrate to neighbouring countries since the Taliban takeover in August. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, warned before the meeting that Afghanistan is “at the brink of economic collapse” and the international community must urgently resume its support. [node:read-more:link]

Moscow sides with Belarus against EU

The European Union was blamed by Russia today for a migrant crisis between Poland and Belarus and Moscow stepped up its presence by deploying two Tupolev bombers to test Belarusian defence systems. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped the EU, which has slapped sanctions against Belarus, would “not allow themselves to be drawn into a spiral that is fairly dangerous.” [node:read-more:link]

Planning renewed nuclear talks

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has told his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that when talks to revive a stalled nuclear accord resume Nov. 29, they must pick up where the left off in June. The statement reflects concern about Iran’s public rhetoric about resurrecting a 2015 multinational agreement abandoned by the former U.S. administration. [node:read-more:link]

Iran seeks U.S. guarantees

An Iranian foreign ministry official said Nov. 8 that the U.S. must guarantee that it will not abandon any resurrected nuclear agreement if talks scheduled to begin Nov. 29 restore the 2015 multinational accord the U.S. walked away from in 2018. “The U.S. should show that it has the capability and will to provide guarantees that it will not abandon the deal again if the talks to revive the deal succeed,” the official said. [node:read-more:link]

Money “is there” for climate change

Mark Carney, the former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor and now UN special envoy on climate change and finance, evidently has persuaded an array of global investors to commit funds for climate change. “It's a mammoth transition,” he said at the latest UN climate change summit. “We have banks, asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies from around the world . . . “totalling US$130 trillion,” which was $30 trillion more than the target. “The money is there.” [node:read-more:link]

Struggle over Canadian mining rights

A Chinese company’s attempt to acquire Argentinian lithium mining rights held by a Canadian company has sparked a bidding war. Contemporary Amperes Technology’s initial bid for Vancouver-based Millennial Lithium resulted in a competing offer by Lithium Americas, also headquartered in Vancouver. The resource at stake is a believed to have enough to yield 24,000 tonnes annually of the technologically-critical metal for 40 years. [node:read-more:link]

U.S.-EU steel and aluminum deal

Protectionist tariffs on U.S. aluminum and steel imports imposed by the previous administration in 2018 are being eased in a deal with the European Union. However, the agreement does not fully revoke tariffs already in place. [node:read-more:link]

Corporate profits targetted by G-20

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of the 19 other major world economies have approved an agreement to impose an income tax of at least 15 per cent on their countries’ largest companies, beginning in 2023. The U.S.-led initiative at the G20 summit in Rome is in response to growing concerns that multinationals route profits through low-tax jurisdictions. [node:read-more:link]


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