Thursday April 25, 2019
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13th EU-India Summit: Focusing on strategic partnership

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. Image source: dailyamin.com

Brussels, EU: The 13th EU-India Summit, a one-day event, is happening again. A news in itself, as opined by a senior Brussels-based diplomat.

It is well-known that India has partnered up with EU, projecting on them as the country’s largest export stop and topping the charts as India’s numero uno trade and investment partner.

The summit will be focusing on its strategic partnership for the next five years, which India and EU, has maintained since the year of 2004.

Though with the United Kingdom stressing on the limitations, it has struck against the Indians and other non-EU professionals and with the rest of the EU states demanding India to notch down the ‘high’ duties on vehicles, some of the experts are expressing their doubts about achieving the goal of the Free Trade Agreement in the near future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be having a discussion on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BIT). The scheme was launched back in 2007 but got stagnant after facing an amount of inhibitions in its path.

While returning to the track of political tensions along the lines of commercial relationships, there is to be an amalgamation of ministers particularly belonging to this sector.

According to an EU note:

“India has embarked on a process of economic reform and progressive integration with the global economy that aims to put in on a path of rapid and sustained growth. However, India’s trade regime and regulatory environment remain comparatively restrictive.”

India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU. In addition to tariff barriers and imports, India also imposes a number of non-tariff barriers in the form of quantitative restrictions, import licensing, mandatory testing and certification for a large number of products as well as complicated and lengthy customs procedures.”

The dignitaries- the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom and Mogherini, will be attending the summit where the recent Brussels attacks will be a point of discussion.

Finally, an evening on Wednesday will be dedicated to the issue of a diaspora by Modi, after which he will be departing for the Nuclear Security Summit at Washington DC. (Inputs from The Hindustan Times)

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China Opposes Washington’s Decision On Iran Oil Sanctions

The United States quit the deal in May 2018, and renewed U.S. sanctions have hit Iran's economy and contributed to the fall of the national currency, the rial.

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Iranian oil worker
An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle at a Tehran oil refinery. RFERL

Beijing has lashed out at a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil, warning that it will intensify turmoil in the Middle East and in the international energy market.

“China firmly opposes the U.S. implementation of unilateral sanctions and its so-called long-armed jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at an April 23 press briefing.

The White House announced on April 22 that the United States will not renew exemptions granted in 2018 to five buyers of Iranian oil — top customer China as well as India, Turkey, South Korea, and Japan — pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.

The exemptions, or waivers, allowed the five countries to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions. The White House has said that the decision to end them is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports — a key source of revenue for the authoritarian government — to zero.

The United States has said it was working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the largest oil exporters, to ensure the market was “adequately supplied.”

China
“China firmly opposes the U.S. implementation of unilateral sanctions and its so-called long-armed jurisdiction,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at an April 23 press briefing.
VOA

Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional rival, welcomed the U.S. decision to end all Iran sanctions waivers by May.

“Saudi Arabia fully supports this step…as it is necessary to force the Iranian regime to end its policy of destabilizing stability and its support and sponsorship of terrorism around the world,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said on April 23.

Japan has said it expects a limited impact from the U.S. decision.

“We will closely watch international oil markets and exchange views with Japanese companies involved in crude imports and may consider taking necessary measures,” Japan’s trade and industry minister Hiroshige Seko said on April 23.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said on April 23 that the United States will not succeed in cutting the country’s oil exports to zero, telling parliament that Iran will work “with all our might…toward breaking America’s sanctions.”

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the U.S. decision on April 22, calling sanctions “illegal” and saying that the country “did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers.”

oil refinery
The White House announced on April 22 that the United States will not renew exemptions granted in 2018 to five buyers of Iranian oil — top customer China as well as India, Turkey, South Korea, and Japan — pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran. Pixabay

The European Union said on April 23 it “regrets” the U.S. decision, warning that it would further undermine a 2015 agreement between world powers and Iran that granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange of restrictions on its nuclear program.

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The United States quit the deal in May 2018, and renewed U.S. sanctions have hit Iran’s economy and contributed to the fall of the national currency, the rial.

The EU will “continue to abide by [the deal] as long as Iran continues with full and effective implementation,” EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said. (RFERL)