Berlin: EU Has to Form ‘Independent Swift’ to Protect Firms From Iran Sanctions
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 21, 2018: The article highlights that the EU previously pledged to resist US sanctions on Tehran by implementing legislation allowing European businesses not to comply with restrictive US measures against the Islamic Republic, introduced after Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
In his statement written in the Handelsblatt business daily, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated that the EU requires adoption of payment systems that would be independent from the US in order to preserve the nuclear deal between Iran and dominant countries after the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw from the agreement.
It was right to legally protect European companies from sanctions. That is why it is essential that we boost European autonomy by setting up payment channels independent from the United States, by making a European Monetary Fund and building an independent SWIFT system,” Maas wrote.
(BattleForWorld: China has their own payment system, followed by Russia, and now the European Union is considering their own payment system. And Russia is not expecting the United States to pull back on much of these sanctions, because these sanctions against Russia are being used as a weapon for leverage. And this will continue even if Trump wins a second term. It will be interesting to see, when the United States has officially fallen into economic collapse, how the countries that have been shafted from all these sanctions respond to the financial crisis that has gripped the United States in the near future [in less than 10 years]. And according to Brendon O’Connell, paraphrasing: it is all scripted for President Trump to detach and draw the United States back into itself – as the country continues on the path of decline.)
U.S. Sanctions are Creating New Geopolitical Alignments
TRU NEWS – September 1, 2018: Turkey, Germany, and Russia have lost little love between each other over the years, but their responses to U.S. sanctions could lead to a new geopolitical alignment that was once considered unthinkable. (Note: Youtube is censoring videos and channels. The title of the video is “U.S. Sanctions are Creating New Geopolitical Alignments”.)
Trumps’ statements on lifting anti-Russian sanctions ‘just rhetoric’
TASS – August 21, 2018: The article highlights that the ultimate decision on that matter is up to the Congress, the politician stressed.’
US President Donald Trump’s pronouncements about possible lifting of the anti-Russian sanctions in exchange for Russia’s concessions on Syria and Ukraine are nothing but sheer rhetoric to meet popular demand in the United States for better relations with Russia as the ultimate decision on that matter is up to the Congress, a senior Russian lawmaker told TASS on Tuesday.
I don’t think the political weight of Trump’s pronouncements about his readiness to look at abandoning the anti-Russian sanctions in exchange for its concessions on Syria and Ukraine goes beyond sheer rhetoric. He cannot lift what was imposed by somebody else, bearing in mind the fact that the sanctions were shaped as a legislative act, which de facto strips the US leader of the right to acting and decision-making on that matter,” said Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house.
Iran, Russia, Turkey Discussed Non-Dollar Trade at Summit in Tehran – Reports
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 9, 2018: the article highlights Iranian Central Bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati has discussed with Turkish and Russian representatives at the recent trilateral summit of the Syrian ceasefire guarantor states the possible replacement of the US dollar by national currencies in trade, local media reported on Sunday.
According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), the use of national currencies is needed to reduce dollar’s influence on the economies and trade of the three countries.
“We have decided to proceed with further work in light of the reached agreements at a meeting with the Russian Central Bank governor in Moscow,” Hemmati was quoted as saying by the news outlet.
Expert comments on Merkel-Putin talks’ possible agenda
TASS – August 13, 2018: The article highlights that Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to meet in Berlin on August 18.
It is not ruled out that Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who are expected to meet in Berlin on August 18, will look at joint actions to bypass the United States’ extraterritorial sanctions, in particular, those imposed on Iran, a Russian expert told TASS on Monday (August 13).
“The agenda will be much wider: not only the Nord Stream-2 project, but also the United States’ extraterritorial sanctions,” said Vladislav Belov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe.
“Washington’s restrictions impact not only this gas pipeline project, but also interests of Russian and European companies in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program following the United States’ withdrawal,” he said. “The sanctions are impacting not only Nord Stream-2 but also other areas of our cooperation [with Germany]. So, the two leaders may discuss possible joint coordinated actions. A number of big companies, which are forced to leave Iran, participate in Nord Stream-2.”
EU Will Not ‘Sit Like Rabbit in Headlights’ in Face of US Sanctions – German FM
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 2, 2018: Washington’s decision to ramp up tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union has cost European producers billions in lost revenue and exacerbated US-EU tensions.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has urged the European Union to stand up for its interests in the face of sanctions and excessive tariffs imposed on its partners by Washington.
We should not sit like a rabbit in the headlights in the face of [US] economic sanctions and tariffs. We must protect our own interests. It is not only the 80 million Germans we are talking about, it is Europe and the 500 million people living there,” Maas said in an interview with the newspaper Bild published on Sunday.
“It leaves me wondering when Trump lumps Europe together with Russia and China and calls them all enemies of the US,” he noted.
Chinese FM Says Beijing Ready to Boost Ties With Iran Amid US Sanctions
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 18, 2018: The article highlights that China is ready to develop further cooperation with Iran and condemns the use of unilateral sanctions in international relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday during a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
China attaches a great importance to Chinese-Iranian relations and is ready to continue developing mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Iran,” Wang said, as quoted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, adding that Beijing had opposed the use of unilateral sanctions in international relations.
For his part, Zarif said Iran highly appreciated China’s role in safeguarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. The Iranian minister also expressed readiness to boost coordination with all parties to the accord.
China pledges $60bn to Africa. West is nervous, why?
RT AMERICA – September 5, 2018: Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged billions of dollars in infrastructure aid to the African continent. But the sweet deal has made some Western countries sour – even calling it a debt trap. (Note: Youtube is censoring videos and channels. The title of the video is “China pledges $60bn to Africa. West is nervous, why?”.)
Austria to Enhance Cooperation With Iran on Renewable Energy, Tourism – Envoy
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 14, 2018: Austrian Ambassador to Tehran Stefan Schulz said on Tuesday that Austria was planning to foster its ties with Iran in water resources, renewable energy, and sustainable tourism.
“Environment-friendly supply and security of water resources, renewable energies and sustainable tourism are among the objectives specified for the economic plan to cooperate with Iran,” Schulz said, as quoted by the Iranian Fars news agency.
The ambassador, who was currently visiting Iran’s central province of Yazd, added that numerous Austrian companies were ready to enter the Iranian market in the renewable energy sector.
Iran in Talks With Swiss Oil Giant Over $1Bln Deal – Reports
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 1, 2018: The article highlights that Iran is seeking to extend or renew a $1 billion oil deal with the Swiss giant Vitol Group ahead of the promised return in November of crippling U.S. sanctions, media reported.
The U.S. administration in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which eased sanctions on the Islamic Republic. It said restrictions on oil trade would be back by November 4 and urged foreign firms to phase out operations in Iran or face sanctions.
he National Iranian Oil Company is now in talks with Vitol to rescue their 2016 deal, in which the trader agreed to pre-finance the equivalent of $1 billion in exchange for future oil deliveries, sources familiar with the issue told the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. publication cited another source in the know who said the Swiss energy company was likely to scrap the agreement. A spokeswoman for the Group told the paper it complied with all international sanctions.
Merkel and Putin meet for talks in Berlin: joint statements
RT – August 18, 2018: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin deliver statements ahead of a meeting at the German Federal Government’s guest house Schloss Meseberg. (Note: Youtube is censoring videos and channels. The title of the video is “Merkel and Putin meet for talks in Berlin: joint statements”.)
Turkey Seeks to Crush Dollar Monopoly by Trading in National Currencies
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 2, 2018: Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Western rating agencies, such as Moody’s and Fitch, for their negative review of Turkey’s economy, having also accused them of trying to disrupt the country’s banking sector.
Speaking at a Turkey-Kyrgyzstan Business Forum in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that currency manipulations sought to “cast doubt on Turkey’s strong and solid economy.”
The Turkish president has suggested that dependence on the dollar in international trade constitutes a bigger problem that must be solved.
We need to gradually end the monopoly of the dollar once and for all by using local and national currency among us,” Anadolu news agency cited him as saying.
“America behaves like wild wolves. Don’t believe them. Using the dollar only damages us. We will not give up. We will be victorious,” he added.
Russia proposes deal with Turkey to ditch US dollar for lira-ruble trade amid currency crisis
RT – August 15, 2018: The article highlights that Moscow is still interested in trading with Ankara using the Russian ruble and Turkish lira, according to the Kremlin. Both currencies have been falling against the greenback, with lira setting new record lows every day.
“The issue of using national currencies in bilateral trade operations is a topic that has been raised by the Russian side for a long time and consistently at various levels, including at the top level,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“This is what we are striving for in our bilateral trade and economic relations, and what has been repeatedly mentioned at the bilateral Russian-Turkish talks,” he added.
And Ankara has given a green light to Moscow’s proposal to switch to ruble-lira trade between the countries. Turkey also has similar plans for trade with China and other countries.
“We are discussing the transition to national currencies not only with Russia and China, but also with other countries. It is not just Turkey’s request. In other countries, there has been reaction to US attacks,” said Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.
Putin Ready to Meet Kim in Near Future, Discuss Trilateral Projects – Reports
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 14, 2018: Russian President Vladimir Putin told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a congratulatory telegram he was certain that Moscow and Pyongyang could develop mutually beneficial ties, starting with trilateral projects, the North Korean state news agency KCNA reported.
Russian President also said in a telegram to North Korean leader that he is ready to meet Kim Jong-un in the near future to discuss regional issues and bilateral ties, according to the text of the message published by the Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday.
Putin’s telegram came in reply to Kim’s congratulatory message on the 73th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japan.
I confirm that I am ready to meet you in the near future, to discuss the pressing issues regarding bilateral ties and important regional matters,” the telegram read.
Seoul Intends to Establish Single Economic Community With Pyongyang – Reports
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 14, 2018: South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday his planned third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month would be another step towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
Establishing a joint economic community between North and South Korea and introducing the possibility of unrestricted cross-border travel will be “true liberation,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
“We must overcome such a division for our survival and development. Even though a political unification may be a long way from here, establishing peace between the South and the North and freely visiting each other, and forming a joint economic community is true liberation to us,” Moon Jae-in was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
Russia Should Consider Euro, Yuan-Based Alternatives to SWIFT – Business Group
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 4, 2018: The article highlights that a major Russian business group has responded favorably to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s calls for the European Union to free itself from its financial dependence on the United States by adopting its own international payments system, serving as an alternative to SWIFT.
Alexander Shokhin, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a major lobbying group promoting the interests of Russian businesses, both state and private, has expressed support for Russia joining new financial telecommunications networks established by either the European Union or China.
“Some of Gazprom’s partners on the Nord Stream 2 project are saying that if secondary sanctions will not allow them to carry out settlements in US banks (and any dollar settlement is a corresponding account in US banks) they will be forced to withdraw from the project,” Shokhin explained, speaking on Russian business TV network RBK.
Europe has not yet found a way, as seen with the example of Iran, to circumvent these secondary sanctions. If Europe does find a way, if they create a payment system like SWIFT, but based on the euro, we will need to join them. Perhaps the Chinese will help us create something [similar] based on the yuan,” he added.
Arab League Expects Russia to Propose Initiatives to Resist US Steps
SPUTNIK NEWS – August 16, 2018: The Arab League expects Russia to propose more initiatives in order to resist unilateral moves by the United States, such its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the organization’s new ambassador to Russia, Jaber Habib Jaber, told Sputnik on Thursday.
We are waiting for Russian ideas and initiatives in order to resist unilateral moves by the US administration on the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and others. We have a lot of areas in the region where Russia is playing an important role, for example, Syria and struggling against terrorism. We are waiting for sustainable and permanent dialogue with Russia and see the same intention of Russia,” Jaber said.
The US Embassy in Israel was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, prompting Palestinian unrest as well as condemnation by Arab states. The Arab League said it was devising a plan to counter the move and its secretary-general said that the organization should revise relations with the United States and any other countries that may recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move their embassies to this city. …
Europe, Japan, China and Russia line up against US
ASIA TIMES | By David P. Goldman – August 27, 2018: The article highlights that investment patterns are shifting in response to America’s new assertiveness.
The United States starts a tariff war with China. Japan and Germany jump at the chance to gain market share in China’s booming auto industry and boost their capacity in China, the world’s fastest-growing passenger car market.
The United States imposes sanctions on Turkey. Germany announces that it will offer economic aid to Turkey, Qatar pledges $15 billion in new investment and a $3 billion foreign exchange swap line, and Chinese banks provide billions of dollars in new loans to the cash-strapped Turks. Chinese commentators declare that crisis is a great opportunity to integrate Turkey into China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy.
US President Donald Trump chides German Chancellor Angela Merkel for buying Russian natural gas through the Nord Stream II pipeline. Merkel summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin and confirms the pipeline arrangement, and also strikes a deal to aid the reconstruction of Syria in cooperation with Russia.
The United States imposes economic sanctions on Iran, and Western insurance companies stop insuring Iranian oil cargoes. China responds by accepting Iranian insurance on oil imports, increasing oil imports from Iran, and shipping the oil in Iranian tankers, Reuters reported August 20.
And German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas proposes a new international payments system independent of the dollar sphere, a new interbank transfer system, and a European Monetary Fund, to “protect European businesses from [American] sanctions.
In the longer term, though, important shifts in investment patterns in response to America’s new assertiveness are likely to buttress China’s Eurasian ambitions.
This week, Japan’s largest automakers followed the German example. Toyota announced plans to increase Chinese capacity by 20% and Nissan slated a $900 million investment to raise capacity by 30%. Japan’s decision to expand into the Chinese market is an important gauge of America’s isolation.
On August 21 the Chinese financial news outlet The Asset wrote: “Economic crisis in Turkey is forcing the embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reach out for financial support, leaving the door open for China to grasp a not-to-be-missed opportunity to accelerate its Belt & Road ambitions in the region.”
For European and Japanese manufacturers, the Sino-American trade war offers a chance to obtain a privileged position in this growth market, most obviously in the automobile market.
The world’s great opportunity for growth lies in the Sinification of the rest of Asia – above all Southeast Asia, which has the preponderance of population. I wrote in a 2017 essay in The Journal of American Affairs:
“Aging countries seek to invest in countries with young populations, but the only countries with young populations are inaccessible to the world market and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. There is enormous room for productivity to grow in emerging markets, however, and that can more than compensate for demographics. The good news is that productivity growth – the mobilization of energy and talent now wasted in the backwaters of the world economy – can bring a billion people into the world market who until now have languished on its fringes. The bad news is that China is far ahead of the United States in learning to transform this boost in human capital into economic alliances and export markets. That is where we need to catch up and overtake China.