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Apr 22, 2018

Anonymous Official | IS an Early WARNING Sign of whats to Come? - April 22, 2018.

BBC | No -deal Brexit 2Disastrous" for food firmson April 22, 2018.

No-deal Brexit 'disastrous' for food firms

Shopping basket Image copyright Getty Images
A free trade deal with the EU after Brexit is "crucial" for the UK food and drink industry and failure to secure one would be "disastrous", a committee of MPs has warned.
A no-deal outcome would have a "seismic impact", said the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.
An EU free trade deal should be the number one priority, the MPs said.
The £28.8bn industry is the UK's largest manufacturing sector, employing 400,000 people.
Rachel Reeves, who chairs the committee, said: "The success of the industry has been highly dependent on participating in the [EU] single market and customs union.
"To ensure the continued success of our food and drinks industry, the government must provide clarity and certainty on our future relationship with the EU and seek continued regulatory, standards, and trading alignment with the EU in the processed food and drink sector."

'Less choice'

Without access to EU markets after December 2020, when the post-Brexit transition period is due to end, UK exports of processed foods such as chocolate, cheese, beef, pork and soft drinks would suffer, the committee said.
At the same time UK consumers would see less choice on supermarket shelves and have to pay higher prices, it added.
Defaulting to World Trade Organization tariffs "would not be an acceptable outcome for the sector and would seriously jeopardise the competitiveness of UK exports", the committee said.
"The government should also seek to replicate all existing EU trade deals with third countries, as they constitute our biggest export destinations."
The committee also pointed out that the UK's food and drink industry was heavily reliant on EU workers and called on the government to ensure that the sector could "continue to have immediate access to the skills it needs".
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, described the committee's report as "an extremely valuable contribution to the debate about the UK's future trading relationship with the EU".
He added: "We echo the committee's call to government for increased customs capacity and support for businesses of all sizes to navigate the changes ahead. The proposed transition length is briefer than we believe would be optimum and government must review how 'readiness' is progressing."

Iran nuclear deal: Macron urges Trump to stick with 2015 accord | BBC on Aprij 22, 2018.

Iran nuclear deal: Macron urges Trump to stick with 2015 accord

U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., 18 September 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The two leaders have "a very special relationship", Mr Macron says
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to stick with the Iran nuclear deal, saying there is no better option.
He was speaking to Fox News ahead of a three-day state visit to the US starting on Monday.
Mr Trump has threatened to abandon the deal, which limits Iran's nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, unless it is toughened up.
He has until 12 May to decide whether to restore US sanctions against Iran.
Correspondents say such a move would effectively kill the landmark agreement between Iran and six major western powers.
The two leaders are expected to address the issue when Mr Trump hosts Mr Macron this week.
Mr Macron told Fox News he had no "plan B" for the deal if the US decided to restore sanctions, and said the US should stay in the agreement as long as there was no better option.
"Let's present this framework because it's better than the sort of North Korean-type situation."
He said the two leaders had "a very special relationship" and he wanted to address ballistic missiles as part of the deal - a key demand of the US president - as well as work to contain Iran's influence in the region.
President Trump is also demanding that signatories to the deal agree permanent restrictions on Iran's uranium enrichment. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.
He has put pressure on his European co-signatories to address these issues before the 12 May deadline, when he needs to decide whether to sign a waiver giving sanctions relief to Iran.
Under US law, passed during the Obama administration, the president needs to sign these waivers every 120-180 days acknowledging Iran's compliance with the deal.
When Mr Trump signed the last one, in January, he said it was a "last chance" to change the accord, before the US withdraws.
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned on Saturday that his country was prepared to resume its nuclear programme "at much greater speed", if the US withdrew from the accord.
Mr Macron also appealed to the US president not to pull troops out of Syria after the final defeat of so-called Islamic State, saying that would "leave the floor" to Iran and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

NYT | In Message to Trump, Europe and Mexico Announce Trade Pact, on April 22, 2018.

In Message to Trump, Europe and Mexico Announce Trade Pact

Ana Swanson and Milan Schreuer

In announcing a trade pact with Mexico on Saturday, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said, “Trade can and should be a win-win process and today’s agreement shows just that.” Vincent Kessler/Reuters
WASHINGTON — The European Union and Mexico on Saturday announced a major update to their existing free trade pact signed nearly two decades ago, a development that will allow almost all goods, including agricultural products, to move between Europe and Mexico duty-free.
The deal, which has yet to be formally signed, is expected to increase trade in dairy, pork, services, digital goods and medicines between the economies. It will also give Mexico greater access to an advanced consumer market, as negotiations with the Trump administration over the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement still appear to be on uncertain ground.
And it sends a message to Mr. Trump that some of America’s closest trading partners are moving ahead with deals of their own — potentially leaving American exporters on the losing end in foreign markets.
In its announcement, Mexico said the agreement would help modernize its existing commercial relationship.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said in a statement that “trade can and should be a win-win process and today’s agreement shows just that.” He added, “With this agreement, Mexico joins Canada, Japan and Singapore in the growing list of partners willing to work with the E.U. in defending open, fair and rules-based trade.”
The European Union and Mexico said they had reached an agreement in principle on the most important elements of the agreement, with some technical details yet to be resolved. They are aiming to finalize it by year’s end, after which it must be ratified by the European Parliament and the Mexican Senate.
The original trade pact, signed in 1997, was relatively narrow, mainly eliminating tariffs on cars and machinery. The deal came into force in 2000 and was the first free trade pact between Europe and a Latin American country.
Since then, the European Union has added 13 members, and the internet has dramatically changed global business. In May 2016, the countries started negotiations to update the pact. The revised deal adds in a variety of new rules governing agricultural goods, telecommunications, digital trade, intellectual property, climate change, anti-corruption measures, finance and energy.
The deal is particularly notable for giving Mexico access to another wealthy market similar to the United States. The European Union is Mexico’s second-biggest export market after the United States. Yet it is a distant second to the United States, where roughly 80 percent of Mexican exports go.
Mr. Trump has called those close economic ties into question by starting an ambitious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Nafta negotiators say they may be close to finalizing a deal in the coming weeks. But much uncertainty remains, as the United States, Mexico and Canada continue to advocate for vastly different measures.
Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a Brussels-based research organization, said that Mr. Trump’s aggressive posture on trade had pushed Mexico toward negotiations with Europe.
“The E.U. has for at least 10 years been knocking on the door of Mexico to upgrade the trade agreement, and it is only very recently that they have come along,” he said. “It’s perfectly obvious that what has prompted them to change their minds is Donald Trump.”
Both Europe and Mexico have actively been pushing forward with new trade deals amid a global resurgence of skepticism about the benefits of free trade.
Mexico remains part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multicountry trade deal that President Trump criticized and withdrew from on his fourth day in office. The remaining members, including Canada, Japan, Australia and Chile, signed a deal without the United States in March. Mexico is also negotiating with Argentina and Brazil, and has sought out potential alternatives to purchases of American grain and meat if Nafta were to fall apart.
The European Union now has close ties with both of America’s Nafta partners, after a new pact with Canada went into force in September.

DAVOS 2018 | A New Growth Paradigm for Emerging Economies - 23-26 January 2018 Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

The New York Times | China, Feeling Left Out, Has Plenty to Worry About in North Korea-U.S. Talks, on April 22,2018.


China, Feeling Left Out, Has Plenty to Worry About in North Korea-U.S. Talks

Jane Perlez

Kim Jong-un, center, at a banquet with President Xi Jingping of China, front left, in Beijing in March. Korean Central News Agency
BEIJING — As the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepares for his meetings with the presidents of South Korea and the United States, China has found itself in an unaccustomed place: watching from the sidelines.
Worse, many Chinese analysts say, North Korea could pursue a grand bargain designed not only to bring the isolated nation closer to its two former Korean War opponents, but also diminish its reliance on China for trade and security.
Such an outcome — a reversal of 70 years of history — remains a long shot, amid doubts about whether the North would agree to relinquish its arsenal of nuclear weapons. Still, China finds itself removed from the center of the rapidly unfolding diplomacy, and unusually wary about Mr. Kim’s objectives in reaching out to his nation’s two bitterest enemies.
Mr. Kim’s meeting with the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, is set for Friday, and a meeting with President Trump — the first ever between leaders of the two nations — is expected to follow in May or early June. In a sign of just how much is suddenly on the table, South Korea recently confirmed that it was in talks with the North and with the United States about signing a treaty to end the Korean War, which halted in 1953, but never formally ended.
With events moving so quickly, and Beijing finding itself largely left on the outside, analysts said China and its leader, Xi Jinping, must at least consider what they called worst-case contingencies.
“The loss of prestige is a big problem for China and Xi, who wants everyone else to view China as an essential actor of international relations, especially in the Northeast Asian context,” said Zhang Baohui, a professor of international relations at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. “Now, suddenly, China is no longer relevant.”
In a declaration over the weekend that North Korea would suspend nuclear and missile tests, Mr. Kim spoke as if the North was already a nuclear power, and no longer needed weapons tests, a direct challenge to the Trump administration’s stated goal of denuclearization. Washington has declared that the coming negotiations are about getting rid of the arsenal.
Still, President Trump apparently wants to claim a place in history as the American leader who formally ended the Korean War — even though he tweeted on Sunday morning that he was not rushing into a deal. And Mr. Moon is eager to edge toward the reunification of the two Koreas. So China fears the outcome could be either a North Korea or a unified Korean Peninsula leaning toward the United States.
Since the 1950-53 Korean War, when China fought on the side of the North against the United States and its ally in the South, the alliances have been immovable. The North has provided a convenient buffer for China against having American troops on its border; the South serves as a base in the region for the American military.
A banner in Seoul this past week showed a map of the Korean Peninsula and a wish for a successful outcome to the meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea on Friday. Chung Sung-jun/Getty Images
In negotiations over the denuclearization of the North, Beijing has to worry whether all that could suddenly be in play, Chinese analysts said.
“If a grand deal can be struck between Kim and Trump, in the form of denuclearization in exchange for normalization of bilateral relations, then Northeast Asia may see a major realignment,” Mr. Zhang said. “China does not run Kim’s foreign policy and they know that.”
The possible new alignment on the Korean Peninsula that most concerns Beijing is a loose unification between North and South Korea with American troops remaining in the South.
As part of its conciliatory moves before the meetings, the North has dropped its demand for the departure of the 28,000 United States troops stationed in the South as a condition for denuclearization.
“A unified, democratic Korea aligned with the U.S. will be dangerous to the Communist regime in China, though not necessarily the Chinese nation,” said Xia Yafeng, a North Korea expert at Long Island University.
From China’s point of view, a favorable outcome from the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim may simply be a less dangerous version of the status quo, Mr. Xia said.
There could be a “nice photo” of the two men, with vague promises from the North Korean leader to get rid of his nuclear weapons, and then long negotiations in which China would have a big say, he said.
What is curious is that China has for decades spoken in favor of a peace treaty to end the Korean War. Premier Zhou Enlai of China mentioned ending the Korean War in a 1971 interview with The New York Times columnist James Reston, Mr. Xia said.
China, however, has a very specific view of what such a treaty would entail: the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea, which would leave both Koreas leaning toward China.
“A peace treaty is good for China in that it will presumably denuclearize North Korea, and more important, it will end the legality of the U.S. military alliance and troop presence on the peninsula,” said Yun Sun, a North Korea expert at the Stimson Center in Washington.
Since North Korea is looking for security guarantees from the United States in return for denuclearization, that guarantee “will hopefully include the withdrawal of U.S. troops,” she said.
Mr. Xi, left, and Mr. Kim in Beijing in March. China Central Television, via Associated Press
But, like his grandfather and father who ruled North Korea before him, Mr. Kim has shown signs of wanting to reduce China’s influence.
When the young leader made a surprise visit to Beijing three weeks ago to meet Mr. Xi for the first time, the two men seemed to repair somewhat the traditionally close relationship between the two countries that had been in the freezer since Mr. Kim came to power in 2011.
In fact, the visit was probably not so much a gesture of rapprochement as a deft move by Mr. Kim to play China against the United States, just as his grandfather had maneuvered between China and the Soviet Union, Chinese analysts said.
Mr. Kim’s purpose was to give the impression to the Americans that he was entering the meetings with China at his back, they said. Mr. Xi accepted an invitation from Mr. Kim to make a return visit to Pyongyang, but there were no signs that would happen before President Trump meets with Mr. Kim, a Chinese government spokesman said.
Analysts say that since coming to power, the young Mr. Kim has resented his country’s almost total economic dependence on Beijing, which has only increased under the tough United Nations economic sanctions that China voted for last year.
About 90 percent of the North’s foreign trade in essential items — coal, minerals, seafood, textiles — passes through China, and China is its biggest supplier of fuel.
At the urging of the Trump administration, China approved the sanctions that have severely cut the North’s access to fuel and hard currency. North Korean ties with China seemed to hit a low, with Mr. Kim refusing to even meet a Chinese envoy in November, and conducting a ballistic missile test instead.
Perhaps wary of alienating the North, and unhappy with Mr. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese imports, Beijing was no longer so willing to punish the North, Chinese analysts said.
There are already signs that trade is picking up along China’s border with North Korea, Chinese traders say, which could mean a relaxing after six months of near total trade embargo.
Hours after the North’s announcement on Saturday of its suspension of nuclear tests, one outspoken Chinese state-run newspaper, the Global Times, said the United Nations should “immediately discuss the cancellation of part of the sanctions against North Korea.”
Further, the United States, South Korea and Japan should lift their unilateral sanctions against the North, the paper said.