VANCOUVER — Canada’s international trade minister is urging calm in response to renewed threats from Donald Trump to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the U.S. president described Sunday as the “worst trade deal ever made.”Francois-Philippe Champagne defended the 23-year-old pact between the United States, Canada and Mexico as one of the most fruitful trading relationships in the history of mankind.“We just have to make sure we don’t react to every news, comment, remarks,” Champagne told members of the Vancouver business community at a B.C. Chamber of Commerce luncheon.“Because at the end, every time I sit down with them and my counterpart (U.S. Trade Representative) Robert Lighthizer, I look at numbers. I don’t look at the comments. I look at the numbers. And the numbers speak for themselves.”Negotiations around NAFTA began earlier this month, and a second round of talks is scheduled to begin at the end of the week.Trump took aim at Canada over the weekend in a tweet that said both Mexico and Canada were “being very difficult.”Champagne said there is nothing worrisome about the push to modernize NAFTA, which has happened 12 times since the deal came into effect in the 1990s.“We want a chapter on the environment. We want a chapter on labour. We want a chapter on gender equality,” he said.“It’s 2017, so it’s about time we used these trade agreements to promote the best standards around the world and make sure trade is fair and balanced.”The American and Canadian economies are highly integrated, he said, with about $2 billion in goods and services crossing the border every day, along with 400,000 people.During his speech, Champagne also lauded the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, which he said would slash more than 98 per cent of transatlantic tariffs when the deal comes into effect on Sept. 22.“Canada will become the only country that is not located physically in Europe to have the greatest market access in Europe ever,” Champagne said.The deal will give Canadian business access to 510 million consumers in Europe, as well as $3.3 trillion in public procurement.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter
The appointments, detailed in a document released today at UN Headquarters in New York, come in response to a resolution adopted in January by the Security Council.By that measure, the Council established a New York-based Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to work at the direction of the existing UN committee dealing with sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban. The new team, operating for the next 18 months, will periodically report to the Council on the implementation of the sanctions regime.The resolution, which also tightened the sanctions on those groups, spelled out the kind of expertise required, calling for individuals with knowledge related to Al-Qaida and/or the Taliban in such areas as counter-terrorism legislation, terrorism financing, international financial transactions, alternative remittance systems, charities, the use of couriers, border enforcement, arms embargoes and drug trafficking.Mr. Annan selected Richard Barrett of the United Kingdom, Stanislav Frolov of the Russian Federation, Wilson C. Kalumba of Zambia, Franck Kasbarian of France, Christine Lee of Singapore, Ashraf Mohsen of Egypt, Gary J. Peters of the United States and Lynne Walker of Australia.The sanctions were originally adopted, and later tightened, in response to the indictment of Usama bin Laden for the 1998 terrorist bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.States are required to freeze financial assets, including property as well as funds derived or generated by any undertaking owned or controlled by the Taliban, and to ensure that they are not used by the group. Countries are also obliged to freeze funds, property and other financial assets of Usama bin Laden and his associates in the Al-Qaida organization, and to prevent their entry or transit through the State’s territory. In addition, nations must prevent the supply, sale and transfer of all arms and materiel – along with any form of military training – to the named individuals and entities.
FOUR FIANNA FÁIL councillors in Limerick have broken away from the main party.The split comes as a shock after the party secured 13 seats across the city and county council in last week’s local election – more than any other group.Eddie Ryan, Kevin Sheahan, Kieran O’Hanlon and Joe Crowley have formed a group called ‘Independent Fianna Fáil’ after a bitter row over leadership split the party.The Limerick Leader has reported that councillors Michael Collins, Fianna Fáil’s leader on the council, and James Collins met with the manager of the local authority, Conn Murray, behind deputy leader Ryan’s back.Ryan told the paper that he was “naturally disappointed to hear that two of my colleagues had met with management without including me in that mix”.A vote for the leadership resulted in Michael Collins being re-elected over Ryan, by eight votes to five. James Collins was elected deputy leader over O’Hanlon, by nine votes to four.‘Winding me up’TheJournal.ie attempted to contact several of the Fianna Fáil and Independent Fianna Fáil councillors this afternoon, but most were unavailable.One councillor said that those who remain within the original party group are meeting this evening at 5 pm to discuss how to move forward. He described the split as a “bombshell”.Eddie Wade, who retired as a Fianna Fáil councillor in the area last week, said he was shocked by the news, adding he thought his friend was “winding me up” when he told him the news this afternoon.Speculation has been mounting as to how the split will affect the council and what new alliances will be formed.In the election, Fine Gael secured 12 seats across Limerick City and County Council, Sinn Féin and independents both won six, while Labour secured three.Read: Who is your new local councillor? Here’s a list of everyone elected so farRead: John McGuinness: I’ll consider leadership bid if FF direction doesn’t change