Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

EU head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal

EU head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal EU head slams Trump over trade policies, Iran deal
Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2018, 12:53

A decision by European Union leaders to begin the "blocking statute" process, which aims to neutralize the extraterritorial effects of United States sanctions in the European Union, has not stopped companies from pulling out of Iran.

Mr. Trump's unilateral actions leave the United States allies and other signatories to the Iran deal in limbo.

However, many views expressed at the summit indicated that while the re-adoption of the regulation may help smaller and medium sized European businesses trading with or investing in Iran, it may not be enough to keep big European companies, and especially those with assets in the U.S. or American shareholders, involved with the Iranians. "The condition for all talks is to lift all threats and tariffs, without mention of a time limit".

The European Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 28 EU members, has insisted that the EU be granted a permanent exemption without conditions.

Recall that in late March, the United States imposed duties on aluminium and steel in 25% and 10%.

The EU wants to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, which lifted most of the global sanctions that have badly hurt the Iranian economy in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. The "limited" deal would focus in particular on cars, a strategic sector that US President Donald Trump has brought sharp attention to in several tweets.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on May 16 that Tehran will not bow to USA pressure.

The EU would be ready to "improve reciprocal market access, for industrial products, including amongst others cars, and liberalisation of public procurement", the source said.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will "present their assessment of the situation" to their colleagues, he said.

However, EU officials say there is no easy way to protect EU firms from USA sanctions and that it will take time for the bloc to devise what will likely be a complex mix of national and EU-level measures.

In addition to funding new transport and electricity links and a large increase in Erasmus grants for students to study in the European Union, the leaders welcomed the "partners' commitment to the primacy of democracy and the rule of law, especially the fight against corruption and organised crime, good governance, as well as respect for human rights and rights of persons belonging to minorities".

Leaders of Europe are as much to blame for having relinquished their historical European legacy in favor of blindly following the American model and policies, only to now find themselves struggling to salvage Total's contract to develop Iran's South Pars natural gas field - the world's largest, the Airbus aircraft supply deal and Renault and Peugeot deals, which will lose tens of billions of US dollars, among others. Meanwhile, German insurer Allianz and the world's largest container shipping firm, Denmark's A P Moller-Maersk Tankers, said they were winding down their businesses in Iran, while German giant Siemens said it would not be able to do undertake any new commercial activity with Tehran.

The EU is planning to use a so-called "blocking statute" to keep US sanctions from impacting European companies. The U.S. move has paved the way for U.S. sanctions that are likely to hit European companies doing business with Iran.

"With the withdrawal of the USA from the treaty the banks are no longer ready to fund Iranian projects for fear of secondary sanctions", Danieli CEO Alessandro Trivillin said.

It was the first such contract since Washington withdrew from a nuclear agreement on May 8 and said it would reinstate sanctions on Tehran.

We already have three examples and all of them pertain to Asia - the continent with the most number of volatile regions - and Trump's actions in each of those have flouted all levels of normality in the diplomatic realm and putting universal peace at stake.

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