- Canada and E.U. Sign Trade Deal, Bucking Resistance to Globalization
The European Union and Canada signed a far-reaching trade agreement on Sunday that commits them to opening their markets to greater competition, after overcoming a last-minute political obstacle that reflected the growing skepticism toward globalization in much of the developed world.
Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, had been forced to call off an earlier trip to sign the deal after Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, used its veto to withhold Belgium’s approval of the deal. The pact required the support of all 28 European Union countries.
On Friday, Wallonia, which has been hit hard by deindustrialization and feared greater agricultural competition, withdrew its veto after concessions were made by the Belgian government, including promises to protect farmers. Hours later, the European Union announced that the deal was back on track.
Mr. Trudeau signed the pact on Sunday, joined by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, which represents the leaders of the member states; Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the body that runs the bloc’s ministerial meetings; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.
The deal will help to demonstrate that “trade is good for the middle class and those working hard to join it,” Mr. Trudeau said at a news conference in Brussels. Mr. Trudeau said he wanted to “make sure that everyone gets that this is a good thing for our economies but it’s also a good example to the world.”
But the Walloon intransigence has underlined the extent to which trade has become politically radioactive as citizens increasingly blame globalization for growing disparities in wealth and living standards. Across Europe and the United States, opposition to trade has become a rallying point for populist movements on the left and the right, threatening to upend the established political order.
A compromise among the regions of Belgium, which persuaded Wallonia to drop its veto, called for language to clarify the handling of trade complaints brought by Canadian or European companies.
Belgium pledged to refer the arbitration system to the Court of Justice of the European Union, where judges can assess its legality.
Nonetheless, several dozen anti-trade activists held a rowdy protest on Sunday outside the building where Mr. Trudeau signed the pact, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The protesters splashed red paint on the forecourt of the building and condemned a planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between Europe and the United States.
That much larger deal, known as T.T.I.P., has already stalled amid opposition from large numbers of Europeans, including many Germans and Austrians. The protesters see the Canadian deal as a warm-up for a much larger battle.
The spectacle of tiny Wallonia, with just 3.6 million people, holding up a deal that affects more than 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians and prompting European Union leaders to delay a summit meeting has rattled Western leaders.
“In the end, people who favor free trade survived to fight another day,” said Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
“Now that we see the Canadian deal has made it over the finish line, the Atlantic trade deal still has a fighting chance,” he said. “But it won’t be easy. T.T.I.P. could similarly threaten traditional farming interests and arouse knee-jerk European suspicions about common trans-Atlantic health and environmental standards.”
As a legal matter, the member states’ legislatures still need to ratify the Canadian agreement. That could mean more hiccups before it goes into effect.
Mr. Tusk, of the European Council, said he was cautiously optimistic that the deal would survive the ratification process and could send a positive message about globalization.
“Today’s decisions demonstrate that the disintegration of the Western community does not need to become a lasting trend,” Mr. Tusk said. “Free trade and globalization have protected hundreds of millions of people from poverty and hunger. The problem is that few people believe this.”
“The European Union is not yet in the group of hard protectionist and state-controlled economies like China or Russia,” said Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, the director of the European Center for International Political Economy, a research organization in Brussels. “Instead, the E.U. is carving out a new middle ground between those two countries and the United States.”
Europe, Mr. Lee-Makiyama said, is pivoting to a position as “neither an ally of East nor West.”
Once ratified, the Canadian deal would cut many tariffs on industrial goods and on farm and food items, according to the European Commission. The deal also would open up the services sector in areas like cargo shipping, maritime services and finance to European firms, the commission said.
The Canadian deal is also regarded by trade advocates as a template for advanced, industrial economies by making it easier for their regulators to recognize one another’s rules, and by updating the rules on how companies can make sure governments protect their investments.
If the Obama administration has its way, the next major regional trade accord to make it over the finish line will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes the United States, Canada, Japan and Vietnam.
The Pacific deal — largely because it involves a number of emerging economies — is a more traditional trade accord aimed mainly at cutting tariffs and knocking down impediments to trade.
But like the Europeans, many Americans do not want to make concessions that would lower wages or threaten jobs at home. The Asia-Pacific deal has become a hot issue in the United States presidential election; both major-party nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump, oppose it.
Mr. Funk Kirkegaard, the senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, said he gave the Pacific deal about a 30 percent chance of being concluded while President Obama is still in office. “Beyond January,” he said, “it’s all dependent on the results of the election and who’s the next president.”
Over 1M Nigerians Have Completed Online Voters Card Pre-Registration – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) affirmed that over 1 million additional voters have completed their online pre-registration for the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) within the last four weeks across the country.
INEC’s national commissioner, and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this through a statement released in Abuja on Monday.
Of the 1 million new eligible voters, 259,450 people have completed their registration in Osun State and it is currently been followed by Edo state with 98,286 new voters.
These two states were closely followed by Anambra state with 65,014, followed by Bayelsa with 63,250, and later Lagos State with 61,991, this came as Yobe with 1,893, followed by Sokoto State with 2,453, Jigawa 2,593, and Zamfara with 2,769 were some of the least stare registered.
The state’s distribution of the online fresh registration released by INEC in Abuja on Monday showed the weekly update provided by INEC for week four which also reveals that the commission received 1,135,395 applications.
The figure of the total applications received includes those for voter transfer, requests for replacement of Permanent Voter Cards, and update of voter information record, etc.
According to the commission, the distribution of the 1,135,395 total applications by age group showed that 740,063 of them were youths between the ages of 18 to 34 years.
The applications from the middle-aged of between 35 to 49 years old were 278,042; the elderly from 50 to 69 years were 102,578; while the old from 70 years and above were 14,712
The distribution by occupation indicated that artisan constituted 75,877 of the total applications; farming/fishing – 81,096; public servants -25,298; business -230,551; house wives -25,816; students 355,227; civil servants 44,093; traders 97,624; others/not specified 199,813.
Also, the distribution by gender showed that females constituted 492,449 of the received applications while males were 642,946 as well as showed that 12,274 of the applicants indicated to be persons living with disabilities.
Okoye, providing an update on the online pre-registration which started nationwide on June 28, disclosed that the commission, also on Monday, commenced physical registration at its 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
According to the statement, “As of 7 am today, Monday, July 26, the number of new registrants has risen to 1,006,661. The detailed distribution of the registrants by age, State/FCT, gender, occupation, and disability for week four of the exercise has been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms.
“However, the distribution by age still shows that 740,063 (or 73.5 percent) are young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 34. As earlier announced by the commission, physical or in-person registration begins today, Monday, July 26 at our 811 state and local government area offices nationwide.
“The exact locations of the designated centers have already been uploaded to our website and social media platforms. For further details, citizens are encouraged to contact our state offices through the dedicated telephone numbers provided in the uploaded publication.
“‘Nigerians who pre-registered online can now complete their registration at those centers based on scheduled appointments. In addition, other Nigerians who prefer to register physically/in person can now do so at those centers.
“Both online pre-registration and physical/in-person registration will continue simultaneously until the suspension of the CVR exercise on June 30, 2022, to enable the commission to clean up the data and compile the voters’ register for the 2023 General Election.”
Okoye appealed to all citizens who wished to register to approach any of INEC’s state or local government area offices nationwide to do so, as the commission entered the next phase of the CVR exercise.
Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs
Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.
The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.
He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.
Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.
Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.
“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.
“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.
“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.
“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.
“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.
“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.
“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.
“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.
“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.
Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic
The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.
President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.
“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.
“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.
“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.
“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.
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