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Daily Brief: Countries Push to Revive TPP at Pacific Summit


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. November 9, 2017 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Countries Push to Revive TPP at Pacific Summit Editor's note: There will be no Daily Brief on Friday, November 10, for Veteran's Day. The eleven countries remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are pushing to establish a new free trade agreement (WaPo) on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit underway in Da Nang, Vietnam, even after the United States announced its exit from the pact earlier this year. U.S. President Donald J. Trump will address a CEO forum (WSJ) on the sidelines of APEC on Friday; Trump may also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin (CNBC). The summit will conclude with a leaders' meeting (Vietnam News) on Saturday, after which Trump will fly to Hanoi to meet with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang (FT). He will then continue on to the Philippines. ANALYSIS "The meeting will be overshadowed by regional anxieties over trade, and scepticism or anger over the changing role of the U.S.—traditionally seen in Vietnam and the rest of the region as a counterweight to China—under Mr. Trump," John Reed writes for the Financial Times. "[Trump] prefers bilateral agreements to multilateral ones like the TPP, which he called a 'disaster' and a 'rape of our country.' But now that it’s time to deal, he's finding that trading partners aren't so pliable after all," Peter Coy, Enda Curran, and Justin Sink write for Bloomberg. "Just as Trump has walked back his denigration of America's European and Asian allies, he should stifle his inclination for protectionism and unilateral action," Douglas H. Paal writes for Project Syndicate. PACIFIC RIM China Pushes Ahead on Alaska Pipeline Deal Chinese petrochemical firm Sinopec Group, the China Investment Corp., and the Bank of China Ltd. have agreed to move ahead on a $43 billion pipeline project (Bloomberg) with the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation. Western companies have distanced themselves from the venture as cost estimates rose and the timeline for constructing the pipeline was extended.  SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA EU's Top Diplomat to Visit Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan The EU foreign policy chief is traveling to the two Central Asian nations a month after the bloc began negotiations to update its bilateral agreement with Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL), which was signed in 1999. She will also meet with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. SRI LANKA: Some fifty men from the Tamil ethnic group who are seeking asylum in Europe say they were subject to extensive abuses, including rape, abduction, and torture, by Sri Lankan security personnel (AP) from early 2016 to July of this year. One advocacy group reported Sri Lanka is the most common country of origin among asylum seekers it has evaluated for evidence of torture (Guardian).  MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA UN Labor Agency Drops Complaint Against Qatar The International Labor Organization has closed a case against Qatar (BBC) over its treatment of migrant workers, citing recent reforms there including establishing a minimum wage and permitting employees to leave the country without their company's permission. The reforms are expected to affect some two million workers (Middle East Eye). IRAN: President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday defended a missile attack on the Saudi capital last week by Houthi rebels, which Riyadh decried as an "act of war" by Iran, saying Saudi Arabia would likely see a "positive reaction" if it would stop its own bombardment of Yemen (NYT). SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Angolan Wealth Fund Manager Accused of Corruption The asset manager of Angola's sovereign wealth fund (BBC), set up to invest revenue from its natural resource wealth, was paid more than $41 million in less than two years by offshore companies, according to the so-called Paradise Papers leak. The manager, Jean-Claude Bastos, has denied wrongdoing (Bloomberg). ZIMBABWE: The country's ousted vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has fled Zimbabwe amid death threats (BBC), according to his allies. President Robert Mugabe, who dismissed the former ally earlier this week, accused Mnangagwa of trying to wrest power from him.  EUROPE NATO Agrees to New Military Commands NATO defense ministers have backed proposals for two new headquarters in Europe (Reuters) to address rising tensions with Russia, including alleged Russian violations of the INF Treaty, an arms control agreement it has with the United States. The decision marks the first expansion of NATO operations (WaPo) since the end of the Cold War. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the uncertain future of the INF Treaty. The European Commission has predicted economic growth in the United Kingdom will drop to 1.1 percent in 2019 (FT), lagging well behind expected eurozone growth of 1.9 percent. AMERICAS U.S. Tightens Restrictions on Cuba Tourism New U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba ban Americans from doing business with 180 entities linked to the Cuban military (Miami Herald), which include dozens of hotels, marinas, and tour agencies. Travelers are also required to show detailed schedules (DW) that demonstrate "meaningful interaction" with the Cuban people while there. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the evolution of U.S.-Cuba relations. VENEZUELA: EU member states have agreed to impose an arms embargo on Venezuela (BBC) and a ban on sales of any equipment the state can use to suppress the opposition. Frank O. Mora writes in Foreign Affairs that a U.S. intervention in Venezuela would be risky, counterproductive, and expensive. UNITED STATES U.S. Ends Program for Central American Child Migrants The State Department has announced it is terminating on Thursday an Obama-era program that allowed children fleeing violence in three Central American countries (Reuters) to apply for refugee status there before making the perilous journey to the United States. The Trump administration said the majority of applicants were not eligible for refugee status. The number of career diplomats in the United States (Guardian) has dropped 60 percent since January, according to the country's foreign service association, due to a hiring freeze and a drop in the number of promotions.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. 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Date: November 09, 2017 at 11:05PM