Signs are surfacing of renewed competition in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey condemned claims made against it at the trilateral summit Greece, Egypt and the Greek Cypriot Administration held earlier this week and vowed “to preserve its rights and interests” in and around Cyprus. Summit participants reportedly proposed maritime demarcations for exclusive economic zones that would marginalize Turkey. The Egyptian press also reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow is ready to boost cooperation with Cairo, particularly in defense, with the goal of maintaining regional stability. The announcement comes on the heels of reports that Greece wants to host U.S. military bases, recalling the small air base the U.S. had on Cyprus between 2013 and 2017 and reviving rumors of Russian military activity in Libya. Energy deposits in the area, meanwhile, are also drawing interest from foreign companies and governments. Between its proximity to the Middle East and its access to the Red Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean is strategic real estate, and no party will readily back off claims to the sea.
The fallout of NAFTA’s successor continues to spread. Despite a clause in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement all but prohibiting members from making future free trade agreements with China, Ottawa and Mexico City are still pursuing stronger economic ties with Beijing. Bloomberg reported that Canada and China are still looking for ways to increase bilateral trade. Earlier this week, their foreign ministers discussed the trade and legal frameworks of the World Trade Organization and the USMCA. And in Mexico, the Zhonghua Business Association said the new North American free trade deal would only encourage further Chinese investment in Mexico. The two countries, in fact, will hold a business forum and expo early next month in Mexico City. It’s unlikely that the U.S. could introduce similar anti-China commerce clauses in other trade agreements, but it may try for less aggressive provisions against China. The stipulation in the USMCA prohibiting currency manipulation, for instance, may become a regular feature of future U.S. trade deals. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said including such a clause should be considered a best practice – one that Washington would use in its current trade negotiations with Japan and in other talks with parties such as the EU.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was not worried about Beijing unloading $1.2 trillion worth of Treasurys as part of the ongoing trade war. He added the Treasurys market is very liquid, with plenty of other potential buyers.
- On Friday, Japan and Ukraine held their first bilateral defense consultations, during which they agreed to further security exchanges and cooperation.
- DP World, the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned port operator, will invest $101 million to expand its port at Berbera, in the East African breakaway region of Somaliland.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article misstated the value of the Treasurys held by Beijing. It has been corrected.