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Gasum to Supply LNG to Equinor’s Shuttle Tanker Newbuilds | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Gasum

As informed, the LNG bunkering deliveries will mainly take place off Skagen, the most northern part of Denmark, and in Mongstad, close to Bergen, Norway.

Gasum will use its 5,800 cbm LNG bunker vessel Coralius to carry out the operations.

“We’re happy to support Equinor in its ambition towards cleaner shipping,” Kimmo Rahkamo, Vice President at Gasum, commented.

“Last week (Jan 24) we celebrated the 200th ship-to-ship LNG bunkering performed by Coralius. That was a major milestone for us, increasing not only the numbers but also expanding the geographical area. We now bunker vessels over an area ranging all the way from Rotterdam to the Gothenburg waters.”

In February 2019, Equinor also signed an LNG bunkering deal with the Gas4Sea partners – Engie, Mitsubishi Corporation and NYK. Under the contract, Gas4Sea will supply LNG to Equinor’s four crude shuttle tankers planned to enter service in Q1 2020.


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Weekly Currency Outlook February 10-14

The week now ending had several memorable events: life outside the EU began for Britain, Trump escaped being tossed out of office, there were a number of excellent US economic indictors, and the Democratic primary season got off to a disastrous start (so too did the Republican primary season for a different reason – but we’ll leave that one alone). But the financial markets are only looking at one thing: the coronavirus.

If you’re interested in tracking the virus, Johns Hopkins University has a great site with a map of the outbreak and much data. You can see it here. The World Health Organization (WHO) has its own coronavirus pages, including a daily situation report. Thursday’s situation report has a rather discouraging graph of cases of the virus identified outside of China, which had been trending down but suddenly jumped up again. (There was another graph that did not show the same jump in the last two days, but that graph seems to be less complete than this one.)

I’m not an epidemiologist, so I’m not going to try to discuss the virus. I am a pessimist though so I’ll give you my opinion: why would China put Wuhan — an entire city of 11mn people — on lock-down unless this was really, really serious? There are indications that the worst is over — the absolute number of cases outside of China has declined and the rate at which the virus is spreading outside of Wuhan province appears to have peaked. However, China unilaterally cut its tariffs on $75bn of US goods Thursday – why would they do that now if things are starting to get under control? I can’t help but think that it won’t be over soon or easily.

As an FX strategist, my main question would be, How has the market moved over the period when the virus has been in the news, and how might it move in the future? Google Search data shows that people started searching for the word “coronavirus” from Monday, 20 January. So let’s take Friday, 17 January as our starting date.

Image: Searches for Coronavirus on Google

Since then it’s been a pretty classic “risk off” result, with the safe-haven JPY and CHF gaining and the commodity currencies falling. The oil-dependent NOK and CAD were particularly hard hit, followed by the China-dependent NZD and AUD. The order maybe isn’t exactly what one would expect, as Australia is more dependent on exports to China than New Zealand is, plus New Zealand’s exports to China are mostly food, which is less sensitive to economic activity than Australia’s iron ore and coal. People still have to eat even when the steel mills are shut.

Image: Currency movements since coronavirus outbreak panic started

The good performance of the dollar is in accord with the “dollar smile” theory of how the dollar trades. That’s the idea that when things are good, people buy USD because the US economy is the strongest. When things are bad — like in 2008 or now with the coronavirus – people buy USD because it’s the ultimate “safe haven” currency. It’s when we’re in a “Goldilocks” scenario, neither too hot nor too cold, that people sell USD and buy EUR.

Image: The dollar smile theory chart

The dollar has also seen a number of better-than-expected US economic indicators over the last week, which has also boosted it no doubt, especially in contrast to the disappointing EU indicators. The two currencies’ economic surprise indices are mirror images of each other. .

Image: Economic indicator surprise indices

There may also have been some measure of closing out of carry trades, as one would expect when investors are becoming risk-averse. The currencies that depreciated the most tended to be those that started out with the highest yields

Image: Level of 2-year yields at start vs change in USD/FX since 17 Jan 2020

In that respect, CAD held up relatively well – this analysis would suggest it should’ve fallen much more, particularly because of the fall in oil prices at the same time. Perhaps it isn’t being used much in carry trades. The same perhaps could be said in the opposite direction for EUR – despite having the lowest 2-year yields, it did not appreciate vs USD, which suggests that it isn’t being used as a funding currency as much as one might’ve expected. (Note that the graph above shows the movement of the currency relative to the dollar, not the movement in the currency pair as usually quoted, so that all of them are shown on a consistent basis.)

Here’s how the major currency pairs, plus gold, silver and oil, have fared since the beginning: .

Image: Bar chart showing currencies and commodities change since coronavirus started trending

One point that’s clear from this graph, as well as the graph of trade-weighted indices, is that GBP has done relatively well over this period too. I think GBP is a special case; it’s not affected so much by the general risk on/risk off trend as it is marching to the beat of its own drummer, who is playing more like Keith Moon than Joe Morello. The market is much more concerned about how the UK-EU negotiations will affect the UK than how the virus will. There’s naturally a lot of concern about how the Bank of England will react to events as well. It’s what George Soros called “reflexivity” – the market reacts to the economy, say by pushing down the currency or pushing up bond yields, and the Bank of England then reacts to the market, which causes the market to react to the Bank. So the ultimate end-point is hard to predict until you’ve thought through all the iterations of what will happen and how various actors will respond to it.

Note too in the graph above of economic surprise indices that UK economic indicators have been improving recently – less and less disappointing. That’s supporting the currency as well.

Personally though I expect the reality of the task that the UK has ahead of it to start making more of an impression on the trading community. For example, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab is going to meet with Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham for a few hours next week. Great! Go for it! Meanwhile, a team of EU officials will meet their Australian counterparts for four days during the week for the sixth round of negotiations towards the EU-Australia free trade agreement. Got that? One British guy is talking with his Australian counterpart for a couple of hours, vs a team of EU officials talking to their counterparts for several days. Who’s likely to come out with the better deal, and by when? Repeat that process around the world and you see how unlikely it is that Britain will be able to improve its trade position after Brexit. And the country already has one of the widest current account deficits as a percent of GDP of any country in the world.

On other topics, I was surprised to see gold rise relatively little during this risky period, and for silver to actually fall over that time. The gold/silver ratio has been rising, but it remains well below its recent peak.

Image: Gold/silver ratio chart

I think the gold/silver ratio can rise further. My guess is that the fall in silver at a time when gold is rising is a forecast of reduced industrial demand as investors mull the impact of the coronavirus on economic activity. Similarly, the US yield curve has inverted once again, another sign that the market fears recession is near.

Image: US yield curve

And yet despite all this, FX vol continues on what seems to be its inexorable path downwards. Sigh.

Image: JP Morgan FX Volumes

Image: G10 currencies: change from Friday close vs USD

The coming week: Powell testimony, US CPI, UK GDP, RBNZ meeting

The coming week has a few points of interest for the market.

The main focus, more out of habit than anything else, will probably be Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the House Financial Services Committee (Tuesday) and the Senate Banking Committee (Wednesday). I say “out of habit” because of course everyone pays attention when the Fed Chair speaks, but that doesn’t mean he always says anything new. The FOMC meeting and his press conference afterwards was about two weeks ago. Not much has changed in the world since then; why should his comments change then? Maybe he knows a bit more about the coronavirus, but I don’t think anyone knows that much more now than we did then. So I’d expect him to sing the same tune that he sang back then. To remind you, he said monetary policy was “well positioned” and “appropriate,” but could be changed if there were a “material reassessment” of the outlook. It was nothing new then and it’s not likely to be anything new when he says it again this coming week.

Among the US economic indicators, the main focus will be on the US consumer price index (CPI) on Thursday. This isn’t the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge – that’s the US personal consumption expenditure deflator – but the market treats this as if it is. In any case the two measures do tend to move together over the long term, although nowadays the more important core PCE deflator is substantially below its CPI counterpart by around 70 bps.

The headline CPI figure is expected to show an acceleration in inflation, but the core figure is forecast to show a slowdown – and looking at what’s happened to the oil price since January, I expect the headline figure will slow down next month as well. But in both cases inflation remains comfortably above the Fed’s 2% target level, so this should by no means trigger the kind of “material reassessment” that would be necessary for a change in policy. USD neutral .

Image: US consumer price index

The US also announces US retail sales on Friday. This is a key indicator as Powell and other officials have placed the burden of supporting the US economy on the broad shoulders of the US consumer. It’s expected to be up 0.3% mom, which would be exactly in line with the six-month trend. No change in the trend would most likely be neutral for the dollar.

Image: US retail sales

Britain has “short-term indicator day” on Tuesday, when they announce GDP, industrial & manufacturing production, and the trade balance. The key one here is GDP, which this time includes the figure for Q4 as well as for December alone. The qoq figure is expected to be -0.1%, i.e. it will show that the UK economy contracted in Q4. There’s some confusion here though; the consensus forecast for the monthly GDP figure, for December, is +0.2%, which following October’s +0.1% and November’s -0.3% would put Q4 at unchanged from Q3. The discrepancy arises because only three economists forecast the monthly figure, whereas quarterly forecast uses data from six economists. It can cause some confusion in the marketplace if say the release misses the mom forecast but beats the qoq one – people have a hard time deciding whether the data is better or worse than expected.

Image: UK GDP chart

A result in line with the qoq forecast probably won’t be bad for sterling, in my view. That’s because at the moment the market believes that that’s the trough for UK growth and that it will rebound to +0.3% qoq in Q1 and +0.4% qoq each quarter for the rest of the world. Unless the figure is bad enough to force a reassessment of the future prospects of Britain, it should be neutral for the pound. Although I must say, I think those forecasts are overly rosy – but I did warn you above that I tend to be a pessimist (I started out as a bond analyst, and bond analysts are always hoping for disaster as that’s when bonds really soar!)

Image: UK Real GDP

(Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the forecast in the above graph is not negative; on the contrary, it’s for +0.1% growth. This is because Bloomberg has two different sets of forecasts: the near-term forecasts, which they get by calling around and surveying brokers, and the long-term forecasts, which they get by scraping brokerage research. The forecast in the first graph is the short-term one, whereas the second graph uses the long-term forecast. I kept it that way so that the second graph would be consistent throughout the forecast period. QoQ growth of +0.1% in Q4 is not impossible; it would require December growth of +0.3% mom, whereas the consensus forecast is +0.2%, so not so big a beat.)

The only major central bank meeting of the week is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). The market isn’t expecting the RBNZ to change rates any time soon, and those expectations haven’t changed much recently, either.

Image: Market estimates for probability for RBNZ rate cut

The key point for this week’s decision was Wednesday’s New Zealand employment data. Like the Fed, the RBNZ has a “dual mandate” – it’s required to set monetary policy “with the goals of maintaining a stable general level of prices over the medium term and supporting maximum sustainable employment.” That level isn’t spelled out, but at the last RBNZ meeting, in November, Monetary Policy Committee members opined that “employment remains close to its maximum sustainable level…” That was when the unemployment rate was 4.1% – it fell to 4.0% in Q4. So if it was close then, it’s even closer now.

Image: NZ employment data

Meanwhile, inflation is right in the middle of the RBNZ’s 1%-3% target range, and inflation expectations are well anchored at that level, too

Image: NZ inflation actual vs forecast

Accordingly while they may make some worried noises about the impact of the coronavirus on the New Zealand economy, I would expect them to echo the Reserve Bank of Australia’s relatively optimistic response and not make that many changes. I expect a relatively dull meeting with little market reaction.

Weekly update written by special guest analyst: Marshall Gittler, Head of Investment Research at BDSwiss Group

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Commissioning LNG Cargo Shipped to India’s Mundra LNG Terminal | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: Qatargas

The 216,000 cbm vessel arrived in India on January 22, 2020.

As informed, Mundra is the second LNG terminal that Qatargas helped commission in India within the past year. It followed an earlier commissioning cargo which was delivered by the company to the Ennore LNG receiving terminal, near the southern Indian city of Chennai, in February 2019.

Located in Adani Ports and Special Economic zone in the Kutch district of the western Indian state of Gujarat, the Mundra terminal has a nominal capacity of five million tons of LNG per annum (Mtpa), and can receive vessels with a capacity between 75,000 and 260,000 cbm. The terminal comprises two storage tanks – each with an overall capacity of 160,000 cbm.

According to Qatargas, India is set to increase its LNG import capacity from 30 to 44 Mtpa with upcoming developments such as new terminals and other gas related infrastructure.


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Time to sieze the benefits of trade to transform lives

Speaking at The Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said that any future UK-US trade deal can only be successful if public trust in trade is rebuilt, and trade is shown to increase investment, opportunities and prosperity in communities across the UK and the USA.

Highlighting the unique commercial ties between the two countries, she outlined three major areas of opportunity in a trade deal – services, small and medium-sized enterprises and engagement with individual states.



Good morning, thank you to the Atlantic Council for welcoming us today. You are doing extraordinary work in the field of international trade and collaboration. It is a privilege to be with you. And to be here at a time of such change for both our countries.

This is the first week outside the E.U. for the U.K. of which more in a moment – a

And certainly an eventful week in U.S. politics.

And as always, I have been struck in my visit here by the many ties that bind us. Not least your raucous democracy that reminds me of ours.

We don’t have an Iowa caucus, but we have had a very eventful year on the floor of the House of Commons. It may be messy, but it’s democracy in action.

And our shared history is everywhere. This year marks the 400th anniversary year of the Mayflower voyage. when 102 men, women and children left the U.K., for the New World.

Since then, the relationship between our two countries has only grown deeper. With, of course, a pause in the 1700s. When our unquenchable thirst for tea and taxes sparked your fight for independence.

Thankfully, King George is no longer a member of the U.K.’s trade negotiating team!


So today, I’d like to talk about how the U.K. and the U.S. can use these strong ties to take a fresh approach to modern international trade.  

And see if together we can help global trade move into forward gear again at a time when it can feel as though it has gone into reverse.

And I do so from the perspective of British business, and of international firms who operate in Britain.

For those of you who don’t know the CBI, we speak for 190k businesses across all sectors in the U.K., employing a third of the private sector workforce.

And our members are both excited and concerned about the current shape of global trade.

We are all familiar with the forces shaping our world — the Atlantic Council has done exceptional work here. Growing protectionist instincts. Rising populism across the West.

An introspective Europe. And, yes, a United States questioning the value of multilateralism in some areas.

We also stand at the foothills of an extraordinary tech revolution. With 80% of tech start-ups now ‘born global’ – with international customers, investors and suppliers from day one.

And – as we’ve seen with Australia’s recent shocking wildfires, the climate crisis is growing.  

But while the past is there to learn from. And we must.

The future is ours to shape. Perhaps in trade more than anywhere else.


Of course, the U.K. has had its own recent challenges. You might have wondered where we went for a while. Well, we start this new decade with a new U.K. government.  

Their message to the world, and mine to you, is this: The U.K. is ready to get back to business.

Last Friday at 11 pm, the U.K. left the European Union after nearly five decades of membership. This has been an incredibly difficult process, causing rifts in families, communities and inevitably politics.

And it’s been a tough time for business. But the decision is now taken, we can move on. It is a great relief.

And one of the main areas for action will be trade. As a country, we believe profoundly in the benefits of free trade. It is woven into the fabric of our history, with merchants from England selling cloth across the world as far back as the 1200s.

We also remain one of the best places in the world to do business. Ranked in the global top ten for ‘Ease of doing business,’ by the World Bank, and second only to the U.S. in the G7 economies.

With four of the top 10 universities in the world. The global leader in fintech. Known for our innovation and creativity.

And more $1 billion dollar unicorns than any other European country.

From Glasgow to Portsmouth, Belfast to London, Liverpool to Hull, our country has always looked outward for success.


And currently, no-one is thinking about trade like the U.K. is. After years seen as the old guard, we are now the new radicals.

So who better to break new ground on trade than we, the new radicals, alongside you, the world’s biggest economy, with whom we share so much?

Yes, we’ve both got challenges. For the U.K., forging a new relationship with the E.U. – still our largest trading partner. Or, in the U.S., strategic competition with China.

But we’re also building on the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship on the planet.


Here in the U.S., British investment supports over one million jobs across every sector, and all 50 states.

At the same time, your investment generates close to 1.5 million UK jobs. And businesses on both sides of the Atlantic recognise the significant political will and ambition to negotiate a free trade agreement between our two governments.

This is very good news. Thousands of British firms see great opportunities to extend our trading relationship. We are huge fans.

But in trade deals, the substance really matters.

So, our request of both negotiating teams will be this – this is a chance for the U.K. and U.S. to show the world how to secure an agreement fit for the future. Let’s set the bar high. Use these trade discussions to design global standards in areas like e-commerce, Artificial Intelligence, FinTech, and the regulation of autonomous vehicles.

For example, on AI – an area that has traditionally not been covered by global trade agreements. The U.K. and the United States have an opportunity to build on the landmark agreement on AI principles at the OECD earlier this year and set new standards on how artificial intelligence can support innovation, trust, human rights and democratic values in both our countries.

And put business at the heart of the policy-making process, bringing our most forward-thinking companies on both sides of the Atlantic together in a new dialogue to advise policymakers on future regulation.


Of course, however great our ambition, it’s important to remember that trade deals don’t happen in isolation. Not only is the U.K. starting to negotiate trade deals on its own for the first time in a generation, it also intends to negotiate these deals in parallel – beginning with the E.U. and the United States. Two of the most formidable negotiating partners in the world.

Yes, we know. But we have thought and planned for this. At the CBI, we understand how important the European market is to our members, as well as the many U.S. investors who value seamless access to E.U. markets.

So, we need to work hard to get the best trade deal possible with our European partners. But we feel equally strongly this shouldn’t be seen as an either/or choice: a deal with the E.U. or a deal with the U.S.

If we approach them in the right way, with collaboration and vision, they can and must be complementary. And I can see a future where the U.K. can play a vital role as a leader and a bridge between the world’s two largest trading blocks.

Together, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure a trade deal that not only drives growth but also wrestles with the realities of the modern global economy. 

We have spent the past year consulting our members on the opportunities they see in a U.S. trade deal. And they are very much about the modern economy.

First, services. There’s huge potential to expand services trade across the Atlantic, particularly through easing skilled migration.

Second, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Simplifying customs procedures can make exporting far easier for smaller firms on both sides.

And third, State-level engagement. Many sectors stand to benefit from a closer relationship with individual states and vice versa, whether on procurement or recognition of professional qualifications.

And, in the coming months, the CBI, as the voice of British business, will work with our government to drive progress in all three areas.


But if I may, I’d like to end by talking about an issue I feel is too absent from the traditional trade debate and that’s public trust.

Look around the world – people have lost faith in trade. They’re not convinced it delivers the great jobs, lower prices and better lives that politicians promise.

And there’s real power in that scepticism, stalling countless past negotiations. I believe we will only win back the trust of communities if we have the courage to be honest that in a globalised economy – free trade and open markets will sometimes affect jobs.

And the confidence to argue that the right response to this is not to close the door to foreign competition but to invest at home, particularly in skills for the changing world of work to help more people succeed and share in rising prosperity.

This is a challenge we share and can tackle together. There are so many examples of where trade can transform communities.

Like the Welsh founders of Penderyn whisky – who were inspired by two pioneering US distillers with their own links to Wales, Jack Daniels and Evan Williams.

Named after the small village where their distillery is based, Penderyn has grown into a world-leading whisky brand, exporting to the U.S., China, and elsewhere.

Today, Penderyn supports hundreds of jobs – in a region once dominated by heavy industry. Just one example of the powerful community impact global trade can have.

We need to tell these stories and make them feel local, real and, above all, human.


The good thing is that the answers lie in our hands. I am an optimist for global trade and believe business has a profound role to play.

As providers of evidence, yes.

As vocal champions for trade, yes.

But most important of all, in seizing the benefits of trade to transform lives. We know there will be hard trade-offs ahead – I have deliberately not mentioned food, or healthcare, for example. There will be plenty of time for that – perhaps even in questions in a few moments.

But let’s start with a sense of ambition on what the U.K. and U.S. can achieve together. We the new radicals on the block, and you, the largest economy in the world with whom we already share so much.

Thank you.




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MOL in Restructuring Mode | Brazil Modal

Illustration; Source: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license

Firstly, within its energy transport business unit, MOL will create offshore gas project division focusing on FSRU projects and LNG bunker vessel projects as the company is investing heavily to boost its offshore business.

In addition, the Japanese shipping company plans to form ferry and associated business division as an organization for reinforcing group business management with abolishing the new & clean energy business division.

The third division would be the steaming coal & renewable energy project in which functions of the offshore wind power project will be integrated into the steaming coal & energy project division. In this way, MOL said it strengthens its commitment to environmental and emission free businesses.

What is more, the company will create new roles including a chief environment and sustainability officer and a chief digital officer.

The announcement coincided with the company’s financial results for the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, showing that MOL delivered a net income of JPY 22.8 billion (USD 209.6 million), an increase compared to JPY 14.3 billion seen in Q3 FY2018.

The company also saw a significant increase in ordinary profit in a year-on-year comparison, which rose to JPY 21.1 billion in Q3 FY2019 from JPY 14.4 billion in Q3 FY2018.

Specifically, the energy transport business recorded a higher profit, thanks to a favorable tanker market and an increase in profit from long-term contracts for LNG carriers. Furthermore, the containership business, ONE, which marks the second year since its integration, showed a significant improvement.

On the other hand, MOL’s revenue decreased to JPY 292.9 in Q3 FY2019 from JPY 322.3 reported in the same quarter a year earlier.

As explained, revenue dropped due to the negation of MOL’s non-consolidated revenue for the containership business which was included in the results for the same period of the previous year.

The full-year fiscal year 2019 forecast remains unchanged, with ordinary profit expected to be JPY 50 billion and net income JPY 40 billion.


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NGOs Urge European Parliament to Postpone Consent to EU-Vietnam Trade Deals

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

We are writing ahead of the February 11th plenary vote on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) to urge you to vote for postponing Parliament’s consent to the deals until the Vietnamese government agrees to meet concrete and verifiable benchmarks to protect labour rights and human rights.

Despite Vietnam’s failure to meaningfully meet repeated requests for human rights improvements formulated by MEPs, on 21 January a large majority in the International Trade Committee (INTA) voted in favour of granting swift consent to the agreements, countering the opinion given by the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) and ignoring repeated pledges formulated by many international and Vietnamese NGOs[1]. For the reasons detailed in the annex, we deeply regret that decision, and call on MEPs in plenary to correct that mistake.

There are notable precedents of the European Parliament setting human rights benchmarks to be met before giving their consent to bilateral deals in order to promote human rights progress, in line with the commitments laid out in article 21 of the Treaty of the European Union. Among the most recent ones is the 2016 consent to the EU textiles trade deal with Uzbekistan, which Parliament only granted after there was reasonable ground to conclude that the country had taken serious efforts to eradicate child labour. Similarly, the EP has persistently refused to ratify the EU-Turkmenistan PCA, due to the country’s reluctance to make any progress in the field of human rights and the rule of law – a position last reiterated in a March 2019 resolution.

The European Parliament should take the same approach with Vietnam, withholding Parliament’s consent and approving a parallel resolution laying out the human rights conditions that Vietnam should meet for MEPs to greenlight the deal. These should include, at a minimum:

  • A public commitment and roadmap by Vietnamese authorities to amend or repeal its draconian penal code provisions, including articles 109, 116, 117, 331 and 318, which are routinely used to prosecute peaceful human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, religious leaders, and political dissidents;
  • The release of political prisoners and detainees, including, among others, journalist Pham Chi Dung, who was jailed for his advocacy and outreach to the European Parliament about the EU-Vietnam trade agreements;
  • Commit to a detailed timeline for the ratification of ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize) by 2021;
  • In connection with the EU-Vietnam trade deals, the creation of an independent monitoring and complaints mechanism providing people harmed by the agreements effective recourses, remedies, and tools to address grievances.

The choice MEPs have to make on 11 February is a very simple one: either postpone consent to the agreements and send Hanoi a clear message that they are serious about their calls for human rights improvements; or grant consent despite the lack of any meaningful improvement or imminent prospect thereof, and send the opposite message.

We hope that you make the right choice.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Alliance for Independence and Democracy of Vietnam
  2. Association for the Advancement of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam
  3. Boat People SOS
  4. Buddhist Solidarity Association
  5. Campaign to Abolish Torture in Vietnam
  6. Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam
  7. Con Dau Parishioners Association
  8. Defend the Defenders
  9. Federation Free Viet Labor
  10. Front Line Defenders
  11. Hmong United for Justice
  12. Human Rights Watch
  13. Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam
  14. Legal Initiatives for Vietnam
  15. Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ
  16. Organisation zur Wahrung der Menschenrechte in Vietnam e.V.
  17. People in Need
  18. Save Vietnam’s Nature
  19. The 88 Project
  20. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Office of International Relations
  21. Van Lang
  22. VETO! Human Rights Defenders’ Network
  23. Vietnamese Americans for Human Rights
  24. Vietnam Coalition Against Torture
  25. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
  26. Voice Vietnam


Regrettably, on 21 January the International Trade Committee (INTA) endorsed the EVFTA and IPA, paving the way for the upcoming plenary vote. Trade MEPs decided not to follow the position expressed by their own foreign affairs colleagues, as well as by many international and Vietnamese NGOs, who called for postponing Parliament’s consent in light of the Vietnamese government’s failure to meet any of the requests for human rights improvements formulated by MEPs[2] and by EU member states[3].

Despite repeated requests, human rights NGOs have never had a chance to brief the Committee. We also note the recent decision by MEP Jan Zahradil to step down from his longstanding role as rapporteur for the trade deals, following allegations of conflict of interests over his institutional links with the Vietnamese government, bearing in mind the alleged conflict of interest may have had impact on the parliamentary process leading to the 11 February vote.

INTA Members have justified their vote making reference to what they consider as two positive developments stemming from their diplomacy with Vietnamese authorities, namely:

  • The disclosure of basic information by the Vietnamese government concerning the roadmap to finalise its ratification of core ILO conventions. However:
    • In fact, the Vietnamese government didn’t disclose any new information – or at least none that shouldn’t have already been available to the Committee – nor did it move up the plan for ratification, which remains set for 2023. This was not therefore a new step or progress;
    • Furthermore, that roadmap remains voluntary, without any accountability or penalty in case of delays or failure to ratify the treaties;
    • In 2016, when concluding the TPP, the Vietnamese government committed to ratify ILO Convention 87 by 2021. It is remarkable that no deadline whatsoever for ILO ratification was included in the EVFTA and IPA texts, whose negotiations were officially concluded in June 2019, and that the 2023 plan for ratification is self-imposed and non-binding;
    • The ILO itself has conceded in a recent INTA debate that Vietnam’s penal code remains a major obstacle to the full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in those conventions, mainly in C87 on freedom of assembly, even if they were ratified.
  • The second one is the introduction of some modest improvements in Vietnam’s labour code by the Vietnamese National Assembly in November 2019. Trade MEPs overlooked the reform’s many shortcomings, most notably the persisting de facto impossibility to register and operate as independent trade unions.

INTA had requested a commitment to reform the penal code to be compatible with labour rights, but this request was patently ignored. They had also called for the release of Pham Chi Dung, the Vietnamese activist detained for his outreach to the European Parliament, but the Vietnamese ambassador, in a risible reply, defended the arrest and compared limits on freedom of expression in Vietnam to those in place in Europe. 

The detention of Pham is far from an isolated case. Scores of human rights defenders, trade unionists, environmental activists, religious leaders, journalists, bloggers and lawyers are sent to prison under draconian penal code provisions that criminalise any expression of criticism to the government or Communist Party of Vietnam. Increasingly, people are being prosecuted for nothing more than the publication of Facebook posts. In 2019 alone, at least 30 people were arrested or convicted for peacefully expressing their views, leading the total number of political prisoners in Vietnam to at least 144 , in a trend of systematic repression of peaceful expression which the EU itself recognised has been intensifying in recent years.

Some argue that the EU-Vietnam trade agreements will indirectly lead to general human rights improvements in the country as a result of potential creation of jobs and economic development; others make reference to the agreements’ trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapter. Others also argue that the human rights clause in the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which provides that the EU can suspend the trade deals in the event that Vietnam commits grave human rights violations, would provide the EU with strong leverage over the country.

All these claims are highly questionable.

Firstly, Vietnam has already enjoyed major economic growth without these agreements: there is little evidence to suggest that EU tariff restrictions have unduly held back economic improvements in Vietnam in the last two decades. Meanwhile, there is little empirical evidence that economic growth in repressive regimes leads to general improvements in civil and political rights – it has not for example been the case in China.

Secondly, the TSD chapter’s provisions are weak and contain no enforceable language. They include only vaguely formulated commitments with no penalties, timelines, or deadlines. In the current climate of systematic repression of independent civil society in the country some of the TSD provisions –for instance, the creation of domestic advisory groups, or DAGs, tasked with overseeing the implementation of the deals, are in practice unrealistic. According to the text, the DAGs should be comprised of independent civil society from both the EU and Vietnam, yet it would be very difficult if not impossible to identify any group in Vietnam that could operate independently and properly exercise a monitoring role without fear of government harassment, retaliation, violence or prosecution. The delegation of INTA MEPs who travelled to Vietnam in later October was promised that independent trade union representatives would be included in the DAGs; to date, as noted above, independent trade unions are not even allowed to form and operate.

Thirdly, it is also in practice unrealistic to foresee the PCA’s human rights clause being used to suspend the EU-Vietnam trade deals as a retaliatory measure for human rights abuses by the government, even if theoretically possible:

  1. The EU has never before suspended any trade agreement, with any country, on human rights grounds;
  2. The suspension of the agreement would be extremely harmful to EU businesses and investments in the country, ensuring that EU officials would come under intense pressure not to do so, regardless of human rights issues;
  3. Vietnam currently benefits from unilateral trade preferences through the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), and yet the country’s ongoing and patent failures to uphold its numerous existing human rights obligations under the scheme (including the long-overdue ratification of the core ILO conventions referenced above) has yet to result in any meaningful reaction by the EU;
  4. Human rights violations in the country are so widespread and severe that, were the agreements in place at the time of writing, there would arguably already be grounds to suspend them.

Once Parliament grants consent to the deals, it will relinquish all leverage on Vietnamese authorities.


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Costamare Modernizes Fleet, Enjoys Higher Rates | Brazil Modal

Illustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

“We acquired all four vessels using cash in hand and we are currently in advanced discussions with a leading European financial institution for their financing,” the company added.

Meanwhile, Costamare sold four oldies: Sierra II, built in 1991, the sale of which was announced earlier.

The company also sold 1991-built Namibia II, 1992-built Reunion, and 2000-built Neapolis, which is slated for delivery to its new owners in January 2020. All the sold vessels had an average capacity standing at around 2,000 TEU.

The company entered into four separate loan agreements with European and U.S. financial institutions for a total amount of up to USD 265 million.

The loan proceeds have been used for the refinancing of the existing indebtedness of four 2017-built, 11,010 TEU containerships and for general corporate purposes. The new facilities will be repayable over 5 years.

“During the fourth quarter and the year, net income and earnings per share increased substantially boosted by higher charter rates and the addition of new ships,” Gregory Zikos, Chief Financial Officer of Costamare Inc., commented.

“During the year larger vessels enjoyed a rising charter market and today there is limited supply available in the post-Panamax sizes. We have 18 post-Panamax ships coming off charter over the next twelve months, which positions us favorably, should market momentum continue.”

During the fourth quarter of 2019, the company’s net income increased by 82% to USD 35.9 million compared to USD 19.7 million recorded in Q4 2018.

Costamare said that its adjusted net income available to common stockholders increased by 189% to USD 38.4 million in Q4 2019 compared to USD 13.3 million in Q4 2018. Voyage revenues increased by 17% year-on-year to USD 124.5 million, mainly due to revenue earned by its newly acquired vessels and higher charter rates and lower off-hire days.

For the year ended December 2019, Costamare’s net income reached USD 99 million, up from USD 67.2 million earned in 2018.

The company has a fleet of 76 containerships, with a total capacity of approximately 549,000 TEU, including five newbuild containerships currently under construction.


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MEANING RELIABILITY ECO (Foreign Economic Policy of the United States) ePub download

Meaning & Reliability Eco book. MEANING & RELIABILITY ECO (Foreign Economic Policy of the United States).

Meaning & Reliability Eco book. 0815312539 (ISBN13: 9780815312536).

For foreign policy as well as economic reasons, unilateralism is simply not an option for the United States in the 21st century

For foreign policy as well as economic reasons, unilateralism is simply not an option for the United States in the 21st century. This book concludes that the United States needs to undertake, with considerable urgency, a series of major policy initiatives to head off the immediate international economic risks just cited. A major theme of this book is that the foreign economic policy of the United States must embrace a wide-ranging set of domestic measures to address the costs of globalization. Its overall benefits for the United States, both to date and prospectively for the future, are far too important to roll back or forgo.

The United States has not always been a forceful advocate of free trade The United States and members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) took a step toward greater transparency in the 1990s.

The United States has not always been a forceful advocate of free trade. The United States and members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) took a step toward greater transparency in the 1990s by agreeing to outlaw the practice of bribing foreign government officials to gain a trade advantage.

Foreign economic policy involves the mediation and management of economic . For all the potential of the United States, institutional weaknesses hindered the pursuit of a coherent foreign economic policy.

Over two and a half centuries, the context for . foreign economic policy has transformed. Embracing commerce meant repudiating mercantilism, an early modern doctrine that Britain’s Navigation Acts (first introduced in 1651) exemplified. The Navigation Acts excluded foreign merchants from trading within the British Empire, which became, in theory, a closed economic zone.

With the election of Bush, however, government policy changed in 1989, and this book analyses the different approaches of both administrations, the successes and failures of their policies, and the eventual resolution of the debt crisis.

Semiconductor Industry Association, phone interview by author. 1 Following its convincing defeat in World War II, Japan developed what was later called the Yoshida Doctrine, named after the architect of postwar Japanese foreign policy line, Shigeru Yoshida. 2 The Yoshida Doctrine is often summarized as.

American Foreign Policy in an Age of Economic Power. The national interest in the field of foreign economic policy is clear, said Eisenhower. As Michael Mandelbaum put it in his latest book, The heart of politics is power; the aim of economics is wealth. 220. 10. Geoeconomics,U. Grand Strategy, and American National. That this would also strengthen our military allies adds urgency. Their strength is of critical importance to the security of our country.

The economy of the United States is highly developed and mixed. It is the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP and net wealth and the second-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP)

The economy of the United States is highly developed and mixed. It is the world’s largest economy by nominal GDP and net wealth and the second-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).

Электронная книга “. Foreign Economic Policy and the Latin American Debt Issue”, C. Roe Goddard. Эту книгу можно прочитать в Google Play Книгах на компьютере, а также на устройствах Android и iOS. Выделяйте текст, добавляйте закладки и делайте заметки, скачав книгу “. Foreign Economic Policy and the Latin American Debt Issue” для чтения в офлайн-режиме.

The State and American Foreign Economic Policy. Going Bipartisan’: Politics by Other Means. Cornell University Press. Johnson, Robert David. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Kemp, Murray C. 1995. Political Science Quarterly 120 (3):433–53. Uslaner, Eric M. 1998.


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Teekay Tankers Seals USD 533 Mn Loan, Sells Assets | Brazil Modal

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license

“We are grateful for the continued strong support we receive from our bank group, as represented by our new USD 533 million debt facility, which was approximately two times oversubscribed, and provides the company with increased financial flexibility,” Kevin Mackay, Teekay Tankers’ President and CEO, said.

The new debt facility extends balloon maturities from 2020/2021 until the end of 2024.

The size of the loan was reduced since announcing the term sheet signing in November 2019 as a result of excluding five vessels from the new facility, including three 2003-built Suezmax tankers that were sold for a total of USD 57 million.

The first vessel was delivered to the buyer in December 2019 and the remaining two vessels are expected to be delivered during February 2020, according to Teekay.

The proceeds from the vessel sales will be used to cut debt, including USD 30 million of debt directly secured by these three ships.

Teekay Tankers added that it had reached an agreement with Hili Ventures to sell a portion of its oil and gas ship-to-ship transfer support services business, for approximately USD 26 million.

The sale is expected to close late in the first quarter of 2020 or early in the second quarter of 2020.

The company said it would retain its entire Full-Service Lightering business that operates in the U.S. Gulf, which provides ship-to-ship oil transfers for both U.S. crude imports and exports.

In addition, the tanker owner added it would continue to operate oil ship-to-ship transfer support services in North America and the Caribbean, a business that has synergies with its core Full-Service Lightering business.

“We are excited to announce these opportunistic asset sales for combined proceeds of approximately USD 83 million, which is consistent with our strategy presented at our November 2019 Investor Day and accelerates our planned balance sheet delevering efforts,” commented Mackay.

 “The sale of a portion of our ship-to-ship transfer business also allows us to focus and simplify our core business of crude oil and clean product shipping. Importantly, by retaining our core Full-Service Lightering business in the U.S. Gulf, we will continue to benefit from U.S. import and growing export volumes, which provides synergies with our existing Aframax tanker fleet.”

The latest moves are expected to increase the company’s liquidity by around USD 73 million.

Teekay Tankers currently owns a fleet of 55 double-hull tankers, has six time-chartered-in tankers, and has interests in five ship-to-ship support vessels. The company also owns a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) through a 50 percent-owned joint venture.


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US Foreign Trade Policy Report Card

Trump's Score. Democratic Rivals. Scope. C (2.0). Incomplete. Success. C (2.0). Incomplete. Transparency. C (2.0). Incomplete. Enforceability. B (3.0).


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