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Belt and Road Advisory: Weekly top BRI headlines

Weekly top BRI headlines
 
US, Canada & Mexico FTA clause prevents FTAs with China: A clause in the USMCA FTA between US, Mexico, and Canada prevents any one member from signing FTAs with a non-market economy. With talks progressing between Canada and China on an FTA, the clause, in essence, gives the US a right to veto.

Pakistan cuts BRI loan by $2 billion: Islamabad has reduced the loan of its largest Belt and Road project in Pakistan by $2 billion, railway minister Sheikh Rasheed said on Monday, citing government concerns about the country's debt levels. This will likely mean the project will be downsized too.
 
Close encounter between Chinese and US naval vessels: A Chinese warship has forced an American destroyer to change course in the South China Sea by sailing close to it in an "unsafe and unprofessional" manner, the US Navy says.
 
Italy to join BRI: Italy’s government is scrapping the previous administration’s efforts to limit Chinese investment in strategic sectors in favor of fostering relations with Beijing by opting to participate in Belt and Road. They will become the first G7 country to join.
 
North Korea praises BRI: North Korea sings BRI’s praises. North Korea would clearly like a piece of the “Belt and Road” action and China desperately wants to loop them in, once sanctions against the North’s nuclear program have been lifted.
 
…And all other BRI related news
 
Trade & Investment
 
China-Norway FTA talks continue: The 12th round of negotiations on China-Norway free trade agreement (FTA) was held in Beijing on September 25-28. The two sides carried out negotiations about issues such as trade in goods, trade in services and investment, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, IP, e-commerce,. 
 
Overseas profit of Chinese companies rises: Profit of Chinese companies overseas jumped by 52% to $137.8 billion in 2017. By the end of 2017, Chinese companies had invested in and established more than 39,200 companies in 189 countries and regions worldwide, with the total asset value of around $6 trillion. 
 
Chinese manufacturing slows: Growth in China's manufacturing sector sputtered in September as both external and domestic demand weakened, two surveys showed on Sunday, raising the pressure on policymakers as U.S. tariffs appear to be inflicting a toll on the Chinese economy.
 
Tencent Music seeks US IPO: China's Tencent Music has filed a much-anticipated request to list its shares in the US, in what could be one of the biggest US initial public offerings by a Chinese company. The company is seeking a valuation of about $25bn (£19.2bn), according to reports.
 
China to reduce tariffs further: From Nov 2018, China will slash tariffs on a total of 1,585 items. The average tariff rate will be reduced from 10.5 percent to 7.8 percent for these items, said the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.
 
US dollar continues to rise: The US dollar continued to soar in value this week, signaling the likelihood of more interest rate rises and spelling trouble for developing countries that have borrowed heavily in the greenback. 
 
China-Australia trade breaks records: Record two-way trade with China helped Australia to log a monthly trade surplus in August, its 13th in the last 15 months, and backed by a surge in gas exports. Exports grew 15.3% in the year to August, the strongest annual rate in a year. 
 
 
Politics
 
China-Turkey trade booming: In the last five years China-Turkey trade has reached $100 billion, seen a growth of 120 percent in terms of China's investment in Turkey, and the establishment of branches or offices in Turkey by 1,000 Chinese companies.
 
China cancels security summit with US: China canceled a high-level annual security meeting with the U.S. planned for mid-October, the latest sign of simmering tensions between the two countries. The Chinese side was set to meet U.S. Defense Sec. Jim Mattis in Beijing
 
Projects
 
Laos BRI project complete: A major power transmission line project in Laos has been completed. The $200 million power transmission and transformation line project will enable electricity transfer from production sites to the northern and central provinces in Laos.
 
Dubai to build BRI hub: Dubai Ports has announced plans to build a ‘Belt and Road’ hub in partnership with Zhejiang Provincial Seaport Investment & Operation Group. The station will integrate logistics, warehousing, e-commerce, circulation processing, and distribution display services through an e-platform.
 
Trieste to become BRI hub in Europe: The seaport city Trieste of just over 200,000 residents in northeast Italy could play a significant geopolitical role in promoting Eurasian integration. The port of Trieste is only the 11th busiest in Europe by tonnage but is set to become the western end of the Maritime Silk Road.  
 
Silk Road Visa: Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan may introduce a common visa entitled "Silk Road", Kazakh media reported. This was announced at the "Tourism on the Silk Road" conference, which opened yesterday in Tashkent. The common visa involves free movement from country to country for tourists.

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