Saturday, June 8, 2013
In addition, the Members of the OAS elected new Commissioners to the the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Commissioner Jose de Jesus Orozco Henriquez, from Mexico, current Chair of the IACHR, was reelected. In addition, James L. Cavallaro, a Professor at Stanford Law School in the United States of America, and Paulo De Tarso Vannuchi, from Brazil, were elected. The period for which they were elected runs from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017. They will take the place of Dinah Shelton of the United States and Rodrigo Escobar Gil of Columbia, whose terms end December 31, 2013. The other members of the IACHR include Tracy Robinson (Jamaica), who is currently First Vice Chair; Rosa Maria Ortiz (Paraguay), who is the Second Vice Chair; Felipe Gonzalez (Chile); and Rose-Marie Antoine (dual citizen of Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago).
Friday, June 7, 2013
Earlier this week, the European Commission imposed 20 billion euros worth of anti-dumping tariffs on solar panels from China. (Dumping involves selling a product a less than fair market value.) News reports indicate that the average initial AD duties are 11.8%, but will increase to 47% in two months if Chinese exporters do not raise prices and reduce the volume of sales in the EU. The European Commission is also investigating subsidies provided by the Chinese government to its solar panel industry and may impose additional duties to offset those subsidies later this summer. The European authorities found that the dumped goods are causing injury to the domestic solar panel industry.
On Wednesday, China retaliated by initiating anti-dumping and subsidy investigations of wine imports from France, Spain and Italy. No tariffs have yet been imposed and the European Commission takes the position that there is no dumping or unlawful subsidization of wine exports. It is likely this trade war will be resolved by a combination of legal actions and negotiations between these two large trading powers.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
I am spending some time in Dublin again this summer, which has made me more aware of Ireland's Presidency of the Council of European Union (EU). The EU Presidency rotates among the 27 Member States every six months. This is Ireland's 7th time holding the Presidency and it comes at a time when Ireland is celebrating 40 years a member of the EU. During Ireland's Presidency, many of the relevant meetings are being held at the historic and beautiful Dublin Castle, which means that the Castle is not as available for tourists. The Irish Presidency covers a wide variety of issues, including justice, business expansion, immigration, environmental protection, fisheries policy and the fight against terrorism.
For example, yesterday, Ireland announced agreement on a key reform to the Common Fisheries Policy. Today, Ireland announced that an agreement had been reached among the appropriate EU bodies to expand the ban of mercury and cadmium in batteries. This now complete ban will reduce the amount of cadmium and mercury that is extracted, transported and released into the environment with attendant health benefits.
Lithuania will take on the rotating Presidency post for the first time as of July 1. It is expected to inherit a record number of legislative measures to be considered. Lithuania's President has said that economic matters will be the main priority. Lithuania is expected to bring an "Eastern" focus to the EU, with a focus on closer relations with the EU's Eastern neighbors, including the conclusion of an association agreement between the EU and the Ukraine and efforts to improve the situation with Belarus.
For more informaton about Ireland's Presidency of the EU, click here.
Yesterday, the European Commission approved Latvia's application to join the eurozone, making it the 18th Member State to adopt the common currency. The decision must still be approved by the EU Finance Ministers next month, which experts predict will not be a problem. Assuming the approval is received, Latvia is expected to join the euro in 2014. For more details, read this report from the EU Observer.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
June 5 is World Environment Day - a day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been celebrated every year since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. UNEP uses the day as a call for political attention and action on environmental issues of concern. This year, the focus is on reducing food waste. For more informaton and resources, visit the UNEP website.
And the Pope has described throwing away food is like stealing from the poor and the hungry.
Monday, June 3, 2013
The first international
treaty regulating the global arms trade opened for signature at United
Nations Headquarters this morning, culminating a decades-long push to
halt illegal shipments of weapons such as missiles, combat aircraft and
attack helicopters. Approved overwhelmingly two months ago in the UN General Assembly by a
vote of 154 to three – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),
Iran and Syria – with 23 abstentions, the treaty, according to the UN
Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), “will foster peace and security
by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions.”
Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, opened this morning’s special event, saying that the day opens “a new chapter in which States will sign up to an international contract bringing responsibility and transparency to the global arms trade.” While the treaty is “not perfect,” she said it is certainly “robust.” Some 30 countries are listed to take part in today’s events, which will be capped by a Ministerial segment this even, which will be opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and is expected to feature a keynote address by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The Treaty will come into force 90 days after it has been signed by 50 nations. Though it will not control the domestic weapons use, once ratified, it will require States to establish national regulations to control the transfer of conventional arms and regulate arms brokers, among other objectives.
(Adapted from a UN press release)
There has been a news blackout in Turkey about protests currently taking place there. The protests started after the Turkish government announced it would rebuild former Ottoman army barracks at Taksim Square, an historic space in Istanbul.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
transactions with that entity.