Iran Interested in Free Trade Zone With Eurasian Economic Union

“Iran is interested in the introduction of a free trade regime with the EEU and considers that the establishment of closer ties with the union may become the basis for the development of economic cooperation of Iran with the association’s member countries,” Sanaei told the Gaidar Forum in Moscow.

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An Unofficial Plebiscite

BERLIN/BARCELONA (Own report) – The German establishment is sending mixed signals in reaction to the announcement of an unofficial plebiscite on Catalonia’s secession from Spain. Catalan Prime Minister Artur Mas has declared the September 27 regional elections a de facto plebiscite on the region’s secession. Should his alliance secure the absolute majority, he will proclaim independence from Spain within 8 months. In the past, Germany had repeatedly supported Catalan secession. Influential German think tanks are demanding that secession not be obstructed. However, there is opposition rising from within business circles. Catalonia is a central site for German companies in Spain. Engaged in trade throughout Spain, they do not want to see their business possibilities limited to one region and Barcelona’s secession from Madrid could possibly prove an obstacle. According to German government advisors, on the other hand, these problems could be solved. Some economists contend that the EU’s currency, the Euro, can, in the long run, only be maintained within a uniform economic area. This would exclude Spain, but include a seceded Catalonia, the strongest economic zone on the Iberian Peninsular. Continue reading

Vietnam, Customs Union may sign free trade agreement in early 2015

HANOI, December 15. /TASS/. The Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and Vietnam have finalised discussions on draft agreement on free trade; they may sign the document in early 2015, Russia’s trade representation told TASS on Monday following the 8th round of consultations between the parties. Continue reading

Vladimir Putin: oil price decline has been engineered by political forces

As slumping oil prices dampen Russia’s economic outlook, the country’s President has said that “at some moments of crisis it starts to feel like it is the politics that prevails in the pricing of energy resources”.

Recent tumbles in the value of oil on global markets have been the creation of politicians, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, suggested on Thursday.

“The obvious reason for the decline in global oil prices is the slowdown in the rate of [global] economic growth which means consumption is being reduced in a whole range of countries”, Mr Putin said. Continue reading

Using Double Talk (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – On the occasion of the German chancellor’s visit to China, Berlin’s China experts are predicting tangible “turbulences” in German-Chinese relations. Chancellor Merkel is, above all, using her visit to the People’s Republic to seek new business opportunities for German industry. However, growing tensions between the USA and China could soon be expected, according to a recent statement by the director of Berlin’s Mercator Institute for China Studies. Germany and the EU will have to more clearly choose sides than has previously been the case. Government advisors are also proposing that relationships in the field of security policy with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) be enhanced. This would strengthen the German-EU position in China’s direct vicinity and could possibly be combined with cautious naval expeditions. Comprehensive arms deliveries are flanking these plans for a closer military cooperation. Three East and Southeast Asian countries are among the top-ten customers of German military hardware. They are among those countries, Washington is seeking to pit against China. Continue reading

Russia EU Entry Favored by Czech President Zeman

‘From sea to shining sea’…

Russian membership in the European Union within 30 years would benefit both sides by combining the trading bloc’s diversified economy with its eastern neighbor’s energy resources, Czech President Milos Zeman said.

“I support, in the very long-term point of view, the entrance of the Russian Federation into the European Union, maybe after 20 years, after 30 years,” Zeman, 69, said in an interview in Prague yesterday. “On the one side, there’s the very modern, very productive economy of western Europe. On the other side,” there’s a “country with enormous energy resources, but not a diversified economic structure.” Continue reading

Xi’s speech on China-Central Asia ties catches global attention

For more information on the Silk Road and its possible revival, click here and also here.

BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) — Foreign experts spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech on China’s foreign policy toward Central Asia, referring to the Silk Road economic belt he proposed as a grand cause benefiting regional countries.

Xi, currently in Kazakhstan for a state visit, proposed that China and Central Asia join hands to build a Silk Road economic belt to boost cooperation, in a speech delivered at Nazarbayev University on Saturday.

The Silk Road boasts a three-billion population and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential, said Xi, urging relevant parties to facilitate trade and investment and remove barriers. Continue reading

Rosneft – The new star of Russian energy

In Energy Strategy-2030 of Russia, enacted at the end of 2009, it was stated that Moscow would put emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region in its energy exports in the coming years. Petrol and petroleum exports going to this region were targeted to be raised from 6% to 22-25% of total exports, and currently non-existing natural gas export to this region to 19-20% scale of total natural gas export. This Asia-Pacific opening is part of Moscow’s strategy to increase national revenues while promoting economic development in East Siberia and the Russia Far East, and, as well as to stem these regions’ chronic emigration problem. Also, increasing negotiating margin in its economic cooperation with EU by operating new oil and gas pipelines to the East also constitutes an important column of this strategy.

Rosneft, Russia’s newest energy giant, is a key pillar of this initiative. As one of Putin’s favoured firms, Rosneft owes a great deal of its success to Kremlin’s state-centred energy strategy — itself a part of a larger strategy to re-establish Russia as a global power. In that context, efforts to develop the company seem to have gained pace over the past years, and Russia’s currently rank, first with its 12.7 share in world oil production as of 2012, would likely to stay same, at least in short term. Continue reading

US and China: The Fight for Latin America

According to Robert Valencia, China is vying for greater economic influence in Latin America, to include possibly constructing and operating an alternative ‘Panama Canal’ through Nicaragua. One unanticipated consequence of this burgeoning US-China rivalry, Valencia observes, is that it might push Latin American countries closer together.

During the first weekend of June, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California to discuss cyber espionage and territorial claims in the Pacific Rim. While tension on these topics has hogged the headlines, the fight for influence in another area could be even more important—Latin America. Other emerging markets in Africa, where China has an overwhelming influence due to foreign direct investment in mining and oil, also offer economic opportunities, but Latin America has an abundance of natural resources, greater purchasing power, and geographic proximity to the United States, which has long considered Latin America as its “backyard.” Continue reading

Partner Nation Russia

From a historical perspective, the last two times Germany and Russia went down this road of ‘partnership’, and eventually non-aggression pacts, it led to two world wars.

HANNOVER (Own report) – The German Chancellor and the Russian President attended yesterday’s opening of the annual Hannover Industry Trade Fair. This year, Russia was the fair’s chosen “partner nation,” a move to help promote German-Russian economic relations. The German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations announced a German-Russian economic summit to be held today. Since the SPD/Green coalition government encouraged the economic cooperation ten years ago, the trade volume has grown from 15.1 billion Euros in 1998 to more than 80 billion in 2012 – to Germany’s advantage. Germany is ensuring its access to energy resources from Russia’s huge deposits, while also tapping into the lucrative market for the German export-oriented industry. The German industry needs this market, since its sales to the southern Euro zone are tapering off, due to the economic crisis. Berlin is also seeking to boost this cooperation because of China’s growing influence in Russia. Moscow and Beijing are not only planning to expand their bilateral economic relations, they are also increasing their political and military cooperation – at the expense of Western hegemony, as seen from the German perspective. Continue reading

Hawks Ascend to Power in Asia

Japan and South Korea underwent leadership changes this week, which means all four of North Asia’s major powers now have different leaders in office since this time last year. As these nations undergo leadership transitions, they’re also jockeying for position in a shifting world order, which places China in a dominant role.

Japan’s new premier is the grandson of a World War II minister who helped run Japanese-occupied Manchuria, and who later tried to abolish the pacifist clause in Japan’s constitution. China is now ruled by the son of a Communist Chinese revolutionary hero—who was a close comrade of Chairman Mao. And both Koreas are now in the hands of descendants of Cold War dictators. Continue reading