US-China relations and the WTO
In a context where investment levels between China and the US are at their lowest in the last 9 years, the US Commerce Department prohibited transactions on WeChat and TikTok, alleging national security concerns. This announcement follows the scrutiny under which these mobile apps were in the past few weeks, due to concerns that they may be utilized by the Chinese government. TikTok in particular is under focus this week, following the announcement of an agreement for the sale of a 20% stake on the company to Oracle, where the latter takes control of the data but not the algorithms powering it.
Also this week, the WTO declared that tariffs levied by the US on China were inconsistent with articles I and II of the GATT. It’s not expected that thte impact of this statement will be significant, which may result in a bigger erosion of WTO’s activity, seeing as the basis for its functioning is consent, as is the case with international law on a broader sense.
Simultaneously, arms sales by the US to Taiwan is causing discomfort in the PRC, something to which it is responding by escalating the frequency and the number of military planes crossing the mid line of the Taiwan straits.
After a statement by the Belarusian Defense Ministry, in which it was stated that it was ready to respond to threats and aggression, accusing Poland, Lithuania and the EU of contributing to escalating tensions in the country, the western borders were closed and the army placed on high alert on the 18th.
These developments follow a visit to Sochi by Lukashenko, where he met with Vladimir Putin, announcing a loan worth 1.5 billion dollars to Belarus. NATO is also undertaking annual military exercises in Lithuania, until September 25.
- The “yellow vests” resumed protests in the streets of France, resulting in 250 arrests by the police.
- The German government expects to contract 100 billion euros in new debt in 2021 to support the economy, having suspended constitutional limits to budged deficits.
- The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Órban, fired his internal intelligence services chief, who was in charge of counter-espionage, anti-corruption, among other things.
- Turkey emitted a new navigation alert in the island of Chios, claiming Greece is breaking the Lausanne Treaty of 1923.
- Italian oil major Eni claims a discovery of an offshore natural gas reserve in the Nile Delta.
- Inflation in Nigeria reached 13.22%, particularly due to rising food prices.
- Mustapha Adib, designated prime minister of Lebanon following the Beirut port explosions and subsequent crisis, was unable to present a new government proposal do Macron, with the three main political blocs refusing to take part.
- Uganda and Tanzania agreed on the construction of a 1.445 km oil pipeline worth 3.5 billion dollars.
- The largest israeli and emirati banks signed a cooperation agreement, following the normalization of relations which the UAE and Bahrain have already taken part in.