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Wednesday, November 8


Wednesday, November 8

Trump Xi DB


Donald Trump to meet with Xi Jinping

Trump Xi DB
Photo: AAP

US President Donald Trump will arrive in Beijing today, as he continues his 12-day trip to Asia.

The two leaders will discuss a myriad of issues, including trade. After labelling the US’ $347 billion trade deficit with China “embarrassing” last week, expect the two leaders to announce billions of dollars in trade deals; China will likely buy US energy, agricultural products and machinery to address that imbalance.

But North Korea is expected to dominate the agenda. Mr Trump is counting on China to solve the North Korean problem, and will likely demand that Beijing exert pressure on its neighbour. Specifically, Trump will push Xi to honour the sanctions placed on the rogue regime by the UN Security Council and request that China work harder to prevent cross-border smuggling activities that keep resources flowing into the Hermit Kingdom.

For his part, expect Xi to typically make the right responses but avoid enforcing Trump’s demands on Pyongyang.


NATO defence ministers to discuss countering Russia

NATO submarine
Photo: Thomson Reuters

Today, defence ministers from NATO member countries gather in Brussels.

Topping their agenda will be a proposed North Atlantic Command to patrol and defend shipping routes between Europe and North America, a successor to the Atlantic command that was abolished in 2002. If created, it would be the first new command established in two decades, a dramatic reversal from NATO’s downsizing since 2011.

The command would counter an increasing Russian submarine presence in the North Atlantic, which has reached a level unprecedented since the end of the Cold War. The number of submarines increased by 50% from 2014 to 2015 and has continued to rise.

Despite fears the Russia-friendly Donald Trump would act on anti-NATO campaign rhetoric, expansion of trans-Atlantic security cooperation continues apace. NATO has even expanded its military cooperation with Finland, a neighbour of Russia who leans towards NATO though it is not a member. Expect NATO to continue to mobilise, both externally and internally, to counter Russia aggression in Europe.


EU to release proposal on limiting car CO2 emissions

Cars EU co2
Photo: Joerg Huettenhoelscher/Shutterstock

The European Commission will today propose new CO2 standards for cars and vans to come into effect after 2020. The proposal is designed to help the bloc achieve its goal of cutting its overall greenhouse emissions by 40% of 1990 levels by 2030.

Today’s proposal was originally expected to require a 25-35% cut in vehicle CO2 emissions by 2025 and would force European automakers to produce a minimum of 15-20% zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

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The proposals could now be watered down, however, following intense lobbying by Germany’s auto industry. How effective that lobbying has been will be revealed today; it is speculated that both the zero-emission vehicle mandate and 2025 target will be removed. After seven countries called for stricter CO2 targets last week, today’s proposal will be important, as it will provide insight as to where power lies in the EU.

A watered-down proposal, which is backed by powerful auto industries in France, Germany and Italy, could see tensions in the trading bloc rise and will raise questions over the EU’s commitment to its climate goals.


Election results in the US, general strike in Barcelona, Macron visits the UAE

Northam Gillespie
Photo: Ed for Virginia

Results start coming in from elections across the US, including the Virginia governor’s race between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie. While polls show Northam narrowly ahead, the outcome is uncertain. A big win for Northam could spell trouble for Republican efforts to hold Congress next year under the unpopular Donald Trump, while a Gillespie win would momentarily calm GOP nerves. Follow this and other American election results here.

There will be a general strike in Barcelona today to protest the arrest of several of Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders. Ex-Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was recently released on bail after surrendering to authorities in Belgium. Though he faces a potential 30-year prison sentence if extradited to Spain, Puigdemont hopes to bring together a pro-independence coalition in Catalonia’s December 21 regional elections.

French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in the United Arab Emirates today to inaugurate the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

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