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Looming Trump Tariff Threat: Mexico attempts to slow migrants!

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MEXICO WALL

WASHINGTON: Mexico scrambled today to slow the flow of C. American migrants to the US as talks continued here to head off Trump’s threat of potentially catastrophic tariffs on its goods.
Mexico City blocked a new caravan of some 1,200 people near its southern border with Guatemala, detained two migrant rights activists, and froze the bank accounts of suspected human traffickers in hopes of appeasing Washington’s demands.
But in the US capital, negotiators holding the second day of talks at the State Department were far apart on issues including asylum application procedures and financial aid to the Central American countries where most of the migrants hail from.
With migrant apprehensions at the border with Mexico soaring to 144,000 in May, the highest number in 13 years, the Trump administration has threatened to hit all imports from Mexico with a five percent tariff starting Monday, a move that could savage the export-dependent Mexican economy.
Trump made the threat last week, saying that the tariffs would rise by five percentage points each month to a high of 25 percent if the southern US neighbor fails to halt the northward flow of migrants.
“They have step up to the plate, and perhaps they will,” Trump told reporters in France where he was attending D-Day commemorations.
“We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it too.”
“Looks like we’re moving toward the path of tariffs,” White House communications chief Mercedes Schlapp said on Fox News.
“What we’ve seen so far, the Mexicans what they are proposing is simply not enough.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard led his country’s delegation in the second day of talks in Washington.
“Yes, I think we have advanced today,” he told reporters after more than two hours of negotiations with mid-level US officials.
He declined to comment on whether the talks at the State Department revisited the so-called “safe third-country” option proposed by the United States, which aims at having Central American migrants fleeing chronic poverty and violence apply for asylum from Mexico rather than in the United States.
Earlier in the week, Ebrard rejected the idea, but the White House declared it one of its demands.
The Washington Post reported that Mexico has promised to deploy 6,000 of its national guard troops to lock down the Guatemala border region.
It also said a potential deal to avoid the tariffs would allow the United States to deport asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala, which they pass through to get to Mexico and then the United States.
Ebrard’s spokesman Robert Velasco Alvarez said Thursday afternoon that there was no deal as the two sides were far apart, but that talks continue.
“The US position is focused on migrant control measures, ours is on development,” he said, referring to Mexico’s support of a broader effort to support the economies of the three countries.
At Mexico’s southern border Thursday, there were visible efforts to slow the migrants and hinder their supporters.
In the southern state of Chiapas, AFP journalists reported increased police and military presence on roads typically used by migrants heading north.
Two activists from People Without Borders (Pueblo Sin Fronteras), which has helped organize migrant caravans, were arrested on allegations of offering migrants money to enter Mexico illegally.
Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said Mexico is also investigating “organizations that recruit migrants on social networks to enter (the country) in caravans.”
Meanwhile, Carla Provost, the head of the US Border Patrol, downplayed the issue of asylum, saying migrants simply understand that, due to US laws, if they arrive with children, they will likely be released into the United States.
She noted that since October, 230,000 children without legal travel documents have crossed the border into the United States, most with families but also tens of thousands of unaccompanied by adults.
“The issue is they don’t even have to claim asylum, they know that,” Border Patrol chief Carla Provost told CNN.
“They are telling us they are told by smugglers, they are hearing announcements in their own country, that if they come right now and bring a child, they will be released,” she said.
“That is a true statement because we cannot hold them longer than 20 days if they have a child.”

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Pakistan eyes trade opportunities at China expo

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Pak China trade

KUNMING (China): Pakistani business community is highlighting the country’s trade potential by showcasing its products at an ongoing week-long expo in Chinese Yunnan province for availing future opportunities under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Being held at Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center in capital city of Kunming, from June 12 to 18, the South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) is attracting the trade and business community from across and beyond the region, wherein various government and private entities have displayed their products to enhance their customer base.
Around 200 stalls set up by Pakistani business community were attracting thousands of the visitors taking interest in Pakistani products including textiles, jewelry, leather products, cultural and traditional handicrafts.
The objective of the expo was to highlight Yunnan’s key role in the President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative under which Pakistan was also undertaking a flagship project of CPEC. Yunnan is the gateway to Southeast and South Asia.
The inaugural ceremony was attended among others by President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Engineer Daroo Khan Achakzai, Deputy Mayor of Islamabad Syed Zeeshan Naqvi and renowned businessmen and media representatives.
The expo featured six major exhibition areas with 17 pavilions and around 74,000 booths set up by the business entities and international organizations from 74 countries.
The expo has attracted more than 3,300 entrepreneurs from home and abroad. Among the participating enterprises, nearly half were overseas.
Talking to APP’s Special Correspondent A J Zekria at the venue of the expo, Islamabad Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Naqvi said the expo would not only help highlight the trade and investment potential of Pakistan but also strengthen economic ties with the regional countries particularly China.
He said as Pakistan was fast executing CPEC, it was high time the country introduced its products in international markets to attract investment besides learning from success stories of other countries.
The seven-day event also marked the holding of the 2nd China-South Asia Cooperation Forum and China-South Asia Media Forum at Yuxi resort city, the 14th China-South Asia Business Forum and 7th China South Asia Southeast Asia Think Tank Forum.
President of FPCCI Engineer Daroo Khan Achakzai while addressing the 14th China-South Asia Business Forum and the 2nd China South Asia Cooperation Forum organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Yunnan Council in Kunming, said Pakistan’s business community perceived China as a time-tested friend and a very important partner in its economic development.
The involvement of Chinese enterprises, both in terms of technical and financial assistance in several projects of Pakistan is reflective of the cordial relations based on mutual interest, unstinting confidence, and sincerity.
Engr Daroo Khan Achakzai while addressing the forum said Pakistan was a viable and most favorable nation for foreign investment and the foreign investors could enjoy the benefits of Pakistan’s business-friendly policies.
He said China-South Asia Business Forum provided an opportunity to South Asian countries to cooperate and collaborate for joint ventures and market their products as the event was being attended by around 4,000 companies from 74 countries.
He told the audience that industrial zones being established adjacent to CPEC route would provide an opportunity to all the participating countries to improve their competitiveness and export their products to Africa and Middle East Region at a lower cost.
Addressing the media forum at Yuxi, Consul General of Pakistan at Chengdu Muhammad Mudassir Tipu said in economic development, media could become a key partner of the state, government, civil society, and private sector.
Highlighting CPEC projects, he said the Chinese government had invested nearly $62 billion for infrastructure development of Pakistan.
He said through enhanced participation of senior Pakistani journalists in the forum, millions of people in Pakistan would know about the fast development of Yunnan and the opportunities being created there to deepen its relations with Pakistan, Southeast, and South Asia.
He said business and tourism prospects of Yunnan province possessed greater attraction for Pakistanis which needed to be highlighted through media.
Vice President of China Federation of Internet Societies and President of Xinhuanet Tian Shubin noted that South Asia and China were home to 40 percent of the world’s total population which required robust representation at the international media fora through close cooperation and innovations in the media sector.
Through use of social media and modern technology gadgets, modern-day challenges could be countered, he opined.
Speaking on ‘integrating innovation and creating new prospects of connectivity,’ Hassan Shahzad, a senior journalist from Pakistan, said the power of media laid in its capability to adapt to the system of governance in which it worked. China and Pakistan had different systems of governance but one of their commonalities was their vibrant media mechanism.
He said infrastructure connectivity was going to enhance innovation. The BRI could prove to be an inclusive club of nations by keeping their individual cultural and ideological uniqueness. Being open and trustworthy could remove barriers to innovations and sharing of ideas, he added.
Yasir Rehman, an anchorperson from Pakistan Television, while highlighting the significance of the media forum said instead of indulging into the differences, media should create a harmonious environment through highlighting the commonalities among the nations.

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ADB to conduct feasibilities for AMI, ABC cables in PESCO, HESCO, SEPCO

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ADB Asian Development Bank

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Energy (Power Division) has said that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to conduct feasibilities in the different electricity distribution companies of the country for installation of smart (AMI) meters and Aerial Bundle Cables (ABC) to reduce losses of the companies.
This was decided during a meeting between Federal Minister for Power and Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan and ABD Director General for Central and West Asia Werner Liepach, a statement issued by the ministry here said on Friday.
The feasibilities for installation of smart AMI meters and ABC cables would be conducted in Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO).
The ADB was also ready to negotiate to introduce smart metering infrastructure in the gas sector to make it more efficient and reduce its losses, the statement added.
Mr.Werner Liepach appreciated the recent development in the Power sector and expressed the commitment of ADB for extending its support to the sector in its various fields.
He informed the minister that the ADB was providing its assistance to the various entities in the energy sector and had initiated many projects in that regard.
Omar Ayub Khan expressed his gratitude for the continued support and provision of assistance to various entities in the Energy Sector. He said that directions had already been given to all the entities to bring in international standards of transparency and quality in their projects to make them more beneficial for both the government and people of the country.
The minister said that he would conduct twice a month review meetings on the progress of projects initiated with the assistance of ADB to ensure their timely completion, besides removal of all bottlenecks.
ABD Country Director Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and other senior officials of Power Division and ADB also attended the meeting.
Earlier, the ADB was already undertaking million dollars AMI project in IESCO and LESCO.

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SC directs mineral water companies to pay tax on water

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SCP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has today directed the mineral water and beverage companies to pay government taxes over extracting underground water for sale purposes.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial heard the duo motto case.
The court also sought a copy of legislation regarding the use of underground water.
During the course of proceedings, Justice Umar Ata Bandial observed that except Sindh all three provinces Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan had submitted their reports regarding extraction and use of underground water.
He remarked that the Sindh government did not submit proposals yet while the federal government had only submitted the notification.
Advocate General Islamabad said that as many as 42 meters were installed in the federal capital.
He said that the federal cabinet would approve the legal draft after completion of the budget session in the parliament.
Advocate General Punjab said that the provincial government had suggested imposing one rupee tax per liter on service stations and five-star hotels.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the court had formed the committee to save water not to punish anyone.
The court directed that all industries pay tax on water usage and
adjourned hearing of the case for two weeks.

 

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