…As Japan, EU to sign widespread trade deal eliminating tariffs***
China has been extending support to its “all-weather” ally Pakistan with an aim to counter India. The latest in its series of efforts, China is helping Pakistan with the construction of eight submarines to ensure a tough competition to the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean.
According to sources, under Project Hangor, China’s shipbuilding industry is building the submarines which will soon be handed over to Pakistan. India, as of now, has 16 submarines while Pakistan has 10. The acquisition of new submarines is a part of Pakistan’s effort to scale up its capabilities in underwater warfare.
At a time when instances of Chinese troops infiltrating into the Indian territory is also not new, the submarines will add to Pakistan’s strength and are likely to be a headache for the Indian Navy. The move comes at a time when China has already successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan which will also help keep an eye on India as they build the strategic $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The launch of the two satellites is yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of communication satellite PAKSAT-1R in August 2011.
The satellites — PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A — were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China using a Long March-2C rocket. The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer.
It is being said that the PRSS-1 will be used for land and resources surveying, monitoring of natural disasters, agriculture research, urban construction and providing remote sensing information for the CPEC under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese government.
The USD 50 billion CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China’s Xinjiang province with the Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, giving China an opening to the Arabian Sea.
The satellite can turn at wide angles to enable the cameras to cover a wider range. The PRSS-1 has an information security design, and the data can be encrypted.
In the meantime, the European Union and Japan are signing a widespread trade deal Tuesday that will eliminate nearly all tariffs, seemingly defying the worries about trade tensions set off by President Donald Trump’s policies.
The signing in Tokyo for the deal, largely reached late last year, is ceremonial. It was delayed from earlier this month because Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled going to Brussels over a disaster in southwestern Japan, caused by extremely heavy rainfall. More than 200 people died from flooding and landslides.
European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who arrived Monday, will also attend a gala dinner at the prime minister’s official residence.
Both sides are heralding the deal, which covers a third of the global economy and more than 600 million people.
Prices of European wine and pork will fall for Japanese consumers. Japanese machinery parts, tea and fish will get cheaper for Europe.
The deal eliminates about 99 percent of the tariffs on Japanese goods to the EU, but remaining at around 94 percent for European imports into Japan for now and rising to 99 percent over the years. The difference is due to exceptions such as rice, a product that’s culturally and politically sensitive and has been protected for decades in Japan.
The major step toward liberalizing trade was discussed in talks since 2013 but is striking in the timing of the signing, as China and the U.S. are embroiled in trade conflicts.
The U.S. is proposing 10 percent tariffs on a $200 billion list of Chinese goods. That follows an earlier move by Washington to impose 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing has responded by imposing identical penalties on a similar amount of American imports.
Besides the latest deal with the EU, Japan is working on other trade agreements, including a far-reaching trans-Pacific deal. The partnership includes Australia, Mexico, Vietnam and other nations, although the U.S. has withdrawn.
Japan praised the deal with the EU as coming from Abe’s “Abenomics” policies, designed to wrest the economy out of stagnation despite a shrinking population and cautious spending. Japan’s growth continues to be heavily dependent on exports.
By strengthening ties with the EU, Japan hopes to vitalize mutual direct investment, fight other global trends toward protectionism and enhance the stature of Japanese brands, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The EU said the trade liberalization will lead to the region’s export growth in chemicals, clothing, cosmetics and beer to Japan, leading to job security for Europe. Japanese will get cheaper cheese, such as Parmesan, gouda and cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.
Japanese consumers have historically coveted European products, and a drop in prices is likely to boost spending.
Zee with additional report from ABC