Turkish Stream operator’s license revoked

It is ahead of schedule due to EU sanctions. The Netherlands, in another colonial operation after Nicaragua, broke diplomatic relations with them

South Stream Transport: license revoked from Turkish Stream operator due to EU sanctions.

The restrictive measures of the European Union, which came into force on September 18, led to the early revocation of the export license from the Turkish Stream operator South Stream Transport BV

The authorities of the Netherlands sent official notification of this. It is clarified that restrictive measures prohibit the supply of goods to Russia and the provision of services. And, in particular technical assistance and maintenance.

“As a result of the introduction of new sanctions, on September 18, 2022, the export license of South Stream Transport BV, the operator of the Turkish Stream offshore gas pipeline, through which Russian gas is transported through the Black Sea to consumers in Turkey and European countries, was prematurely revoked”

However, the restrictions do not restrict the further transport of the gas. Based on this, the fuel supply of various industries and millions of households in Turkey and European countries will not be affected in the short and long term, the operator stressed.

The company has already applied for the renewal of the export license. It is awaiting a response from the Dutch authorities. South Stream Transport BV said that they have every legal basis to receive an exception under the current sanctions regulation of the European Union. This is explained by the fact that the gas transported via the Turkish Stream is subsequently delivered to European countries through national gas transmission systems. It is thereby helping to ensure their energy security.

Turkish Stream is an export pipeline consisting of two lines. One is designed to supply gas from Russia through the Black Sea to Turkey. The second is for the countries of Southern and Southeastern Europe. Its design capacity reaches 31.5 billion cubic meters annually. The operation of the gas pipeline began in January 2020.

Russia sourcing products from Latin America

How Russian Importers Have Turned To The European Diaspora In Latin America To Provide Alternative Consumer Products From The European Union?

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Many EU nationals refuse to comprehend that Russian consumers are able to survive without them.

In fact, many of the consumer sanctions imposed on Russia date back to 2014. Whole eight years ago! That gave Russia plenty of time to adapt, absorb, and establish new supply chains now already in situ.

In this article I focus on cheese as a consumer item. Not least because it is relatively easy to examine – just requiring a trip to my local supermarket, which is situated 45km southeast of Moscow on the road to Smolensk and the border with Belorussia. That may sound bland, even irrelevant in the grander scheme of things. However bear with me. The findings are somewhat extraordinary, quite apart from possessing other supply chain and trade development implications.

The Linked In thread

The Linked In thread contained accusations from the (mainly EU based) comments that the theme of the piece was irrelevant because the supermarkets I had chosen were in too affluent a region, and the products I referred to (salmon, fruit, and vegetables) too expensive for normal Russian tastes. The implications were that the majority of Russians ‘could not afford them’ and ‘bought vegetables from horse and cart rather than supermarkets’, which is both inaccurate and way out of date to an almost laughable degree – other than then fact that these beliefs persist. It is, after all very hard to defeat a rival without fully understanding their strengths and weaknesses – a concept dating way back to Sun Zhu’s ‘Art of War’. Yet the EU naivety about Russia remains.

Back to cheese

But back to cheese. While it is true that cheese as a product in Russia could be considered an inconsequential upper to middle class consumer item, one should consider that Russia has its own long established dairy industry and cheese has been made in the country for centuries – it’s just that not much of it, to be frank, has been especially tasty. Come the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the subsequent market reforms in Russia that eventually lead it back to reach the Bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA)trade agreement with the European Union in 1997, things have changed.

Cheese has developed to become a popular imported consumer item throughout Russia. That taste was encouraged by the huge rise in Russian nationals travelling to the EU over the past 25 years. A figure that by 2019 alone saw 4.1 million Russians apply for Schengen visas.

This means tens of millions of Russians since 1997 have travelled to the EU. It resulted in a huge appreciation for European culture, food, and drink. As from 2014, that began to change with the first suspensions of various EU imported food items. A situation that has become even more extreme over the course of 2022 – and continues too. But it does mean that items such as European wines and cheeses, together with processed meats and other consumables, have found a market within Russia itself. They are not ‘elitist’ – they have entered the Russian middle-class mainstream. They can be found in stores throughout the country, with the exception of some of Russia’s more remote areas.

Domestic replacement for EU imports

However, since 2014, Russia has had to find ways to either manufacture these products themselves – a situation encouraged by various EU producers, who barred from the Russian market, moved to Russia, set up JV’s and began showing the Russians how to manufacture the produce in Russia. The other option was to find alternative sources.

Why has this occurred? Because the Russian middle-class market represents about 30% of the population at about 50 million. To put that into context, that is larger than the middle-class population of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the Russian middle-class is fairly concentrated. Meaning they are relatively easy to reach. Moscow and St. Petersburg dominate in terms of population. Another 13 cities across Russia, easily accessible via rail, have populations in excess of 1 million. Getting middle-class products to them is not an issue, and the market is there.

I have chosen cheese to illustrate the changing supply chains Russia is developing as it is a relatively inexpensive consumer item to purchase, and supermarkets are easy to find. With the EU supplies cut off, what has happened to replace it?

While 100g of the product may not be expensive, it’s not an inexpensive question. In 2013, the year before such products were barred from export to Russia, according to the European Commision, the European Union exported US$3 billion worth of dairy products to Russia. Cheese amounted to 50% – an export market worth US$1.5 billion. Again, to compare, that is larger than the value of cheese exported to the UK in 2020 at about US$1.2 billion – and the Brits do like their cheese.

Swiss, Russian and Latin American cheese

Examining the contents of my local Russian cheese counter, products are broadly, and equally divided into three: Russian, Swiss, and interestingly, Latin American. The loss of the EU’s cheese export market to Russia has been absorbed by their Swiss neighbors. Swiss are not bound by EU trade terms or sanctions. Swiss dairy farmers are now an estimated US$500 million better off than they were in 2014 in taking on exports to Russia of Swiss made varieties.

The surprise has been the strength of Latin American cheeses now appearing on Russian shelves.

The reason for this is the historic migration of Europeans to Latin America. Ethnic Italians make up 65% of the total Argentinian population. Chile has significant and established German, Austrian, and Spanish (Basque) populations. Uruguay is well known for its European ancestry – an estimated 88% of Uruguayans are of European stock, largely from Germany, Italy, and France. Migrations to these countries occurred in the mid-1800’s during colonialism and at the end of WWII as many fled their political past and the destruction of Europe at that time. Naturally, they bought with them their cultures and skills.

Cheese exports to Russia appears to be a growing export market worth about US$500 million to the Latin American economies. This is not small money. That is why these products are now turning up in Russian markets thousands of kilometers distant. Close facsimiles of Italian Parmigiana are now being sourced from Mendoza. Germany’s Cambozola blue cheese comes from Montevideo. Spain’s famous Manchego cheese comes from Santiago.

European wines begin to disappear

Naturally, as Russia’s stocks of European wines begin to disappear, these countries will also see their wine exports to Russia increase. And, along with the various European style traditional processed meats. It is a boom time for Latin American producers looking for new export markets.

Russia imported US$1.09 billion of wine in 2020, primarily from Italy, France, and Spain with transshipments of other EU wines (such as German) being exported to Russia from Latvia and Lithuania. Georgia is also a major wine exporter to Russia, but the bulk – until now – has been from the EU. Russia is the world’s ninth largest importer – a nice market to have, and the market has been growing too. Those EU exports are also likely to gravitate to Latin America. Wine bars with cheese dishes on the menu in Moscow and St. Petersburg’s trend setting scene are going to be taking on a decidedly Latin flavour.

Brazil is instrumental in this

Brazil has been instrumental in this, being part of the BRICS grouping along with Russia. Several Latin American countries have been keen to get on board. Argentina has expressed interest in joining the BRICS group. Ecuador. is negotiating an FTA with the EAEU. One can almost guarantee that other Latin American countries will be taking the developing trade potential with Russia very seriously. The reason Mercosur turned down Ukrainian President Zelinsky’s recent attempts to talk about the Ukraine conflict with them. They just don’t want to know and have already assessed Ukraine has nothing to offer but complaints and harassment when matched against Russia’s trade capabilities. That extend way beyond cheese and into areas such as nuclear energy and the building of nuclear power plants.

Cheese is an insignificant product in the larger scheme of Russia’s import requirements. These extend far beyond consumables and into technical mechanical and engineering needs such as semi-conductors and aircraft parts.

What it does show is that Russia can be most inventive when it comes to finding alternative sources to what it wants. The semi-conductor manufacturing market for example is often cited as being under US control. In fact, China’s manufacturing of semi-conductors is at roughly the same level as America’s.

In terms of aircraft parts, Brazil, China, and a fast-growing India are all developing while Russia has its own internal industry. Product and component shortages will be alleviated over time by increasing cooperation among these countries. Just as we are seeing between Russia and Mercosur and the cheese scenario. Collaborative surprises may well be in stor

FP: Saudi Arabia wants to get even and bets on Putin

 Saudi Arabia wants to get even with insulting Biden and bets on Putin

Saudi Arabia wants to get even with US President Joe Biden for his unfriendly attitude towards the country. It makes a choice in favor of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, writes the American magazine Foreign Policy.The author of the article, Anchal Vohra, drew attention to the fact that Riyadh is in no hurry to meet the requests of Washington and London to increase oil production, citing obligations under OPEC+ .

The kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud sees an opportunity to get even with US President Joe Biden for what he sees as unwarranted insults and unfriendly attitude.

In particular the crown prince is unhappy with the fact that during the election campaign Biden called Saudi Arabia a “rogue”. And as president, he released a report that refers to the involvement of Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In addition, the Saudis believe that the White House is ignoring their concerns about the possible restoration of the Iranian nuclear deal, and also refuses to take action against the Houthis for attacks on their ships and cities.

“The Saudi Crown Prince has bet on Putin. He not only believes, but also hopes that the Republicans will win the midterm elections, and Biden will turn into a lame duck. By 2025, Mohammed bin Salman surely believes, Biden and the Democrats will lose power, and Putin will remain the president of Russia,” Treta Parsi, a professor at Georgetown University, told FP.

Eh, western “values”

Columnist Vohra concluded that in order to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to lower oil prices, the West may have to sacrifice its values. The problem is, in my opinion, that the West has no values. Just interests. That is why their allies can suddently turn into their enemies and the other way around. If their interests change then any of their allies will be sacrificed without any mercy.

“The Saudis have too much leverage to be taken into account in geopolitics and not put up with constant criticism for human rights violations,”

Biden, seizing the opportunity, should fundamentally rethink American relations with the Saudi monarchy, stop all arms sales and cancel contracts for the repair and maintenance of military equipment of this country.

The author is suggesting introducing tough sanctions against Saudi Arabia. Just like that. The country that served American interests in the Middle East is about to be declared an enemy. The country that supported the American military-industrial complex with tens of billions of dollars is about to be refused to maintain that equipment. Despite all contract having the maintenance of the equipment included.

After the “Arab Spring” Saudi Arabia began to strengthen relations with both Russia and China . The United States continued to provide support to the state, especially in the field of security. Because of this, according to FP, the Saudis had a feeling that the US needed the partnership more than they did.

FP notes that further strengthening of ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia will be a great loss for the US.

Negotiations about using Yuan for oil payments with China are happening in the background.

US a big winner of China-Australia trade war

American exporters are emerging as winners from the China-Australian trade war. US goods filling market openings caused by Beijing’s punitive tariffs on Australian goods

Statistics from the Chinese Commerce Ministry, General Administration of Customs of China and trade associations in Australia all show deep dives in the value of Australian exports to China in recent months. 

Australian exporters have been ensnared in a wider geopolitical feud over everything from Huawei’s reputed security risks to the pandemic to alleged foreign interference in local politics. Beijing has taken particular umbrage to Australia’s call for an independent investigation into Covid-19’s origins.

At the same time, American exports ranging from wine, beef, cotton, timber to coal have seen their market share in China grow since last year. US producers are filling the void left by the China-Australia trade row. Beijing has also pledged to buy more from the US as part of its first-stage deal to ease trade tensions with the US. 

Winemakers in Australia who compete with American producers worldwide for market share are particularly being hung out to dry. They exported wines worth a paltry A$12 million (US$9.1 million) to China between December 2020 and this March, representing just 4% of the amount shipped in the same period a year ago.

Chinese tariffs as high as 218.4% on Australian wines have slowed shipments to its usual largest overseas market to a trickle, according to the Australian government’s Wine Australia portal. 

Dramatic changes in the past 12 months

Australian wines used to enjoy zero-duty treatment under a free trade pact between Beijing and Canberra ratified in 2015. Canberra is now seeking redress from the World Trade Organization as it contests Beijing’s sanctions against its wines and other exports.  

Meanwhile, Australian barley and other agricultural products face tariffs of up to 80.5%, after Beijing concluded in May 2020 that China’s annual import of A$2 billion worth of such cereal grain from Australia as animal fodder and beer and beverage ingredient put Chinese farmers at a disadvantage due to Canberra’s supposed “rampant trade subsidies.”

China Customs data also show the nation’s meat imports from Australia dropped 8.5% in the first four months of this while Xinhua said China had stopped importing live lobsters since October as a precaution against “food safety risks.”

Recent price surges of iron ore, which represents the bulk of Australia’s exports to China, have helped to offset slumps across other categories and pushed the total value of exports to China in May up 55.4% to US$13.6 billion. 

American barley has become the new favorite of Chinese brewers and fodder producers after Beijing opened the door for more US agricultural products in May 2020. In March, the US Department of Agriculture also hailed a new monthly high in beef exports to China, hitting 14,552 tons.

The final quarter of 2020 was also a blowout season for American coal exporters when Chinese power plants were told to boycott Australian mined coal and tap other nations’ supplies.

Not just agriculture is hit

A power shortage at the time caused China’s imports of American coking and thermal coal to soar more than sevenfold over the previous quarter. The momentum lasted well into the first quarter of this year, with monthly average imports hovering at around 280,000 tons, according to Xinhua which cited data from China Customs. 

Altogether China imported US$73.59 billion worth of goods from the US in the first five months of 2021, up a whopping 59.8%. Australia’s corresponding total stood at US$62.37 billion, up 33.3%, the latest data from the General Administration of Customs show. 

Xinhua and state broadcaster China Central Television have suggested in recent op-eds and current affairs programs that Beijing should leverage its purchasing power to drive a wedge between Canberra and Washington as Australian businesses and politicians complain about US exporters exploiting their woes and undercutting their markets in China. 

Can Australia achieve economic growth without China?

By Stan Grant

China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil: What do these five countries have in common?

They are the future. Our future depends on them. They are not the West.

Collectively, they will account for more than half of all global growth through to 2024, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. Think again about that: five countries, 50 per cent of growth.

The giant among the five is, of course, China. It has already surpassed the United States as the biggest engine of global economic growth — 28 per cent annually between 2013 and 2018.

By the end of this decade, China is expected to overtake America as the single biggest economy in the world. And of the other four countries — Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, India — each lists China as its biggest trading partner.

The IMF says there is no way the global economy can grow unless these countries also grow. Yet in this week’s budget, did we hear mention of any of them?

No. We did not even hear mention of China. Incredible, given China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, too.

How is Australia handling this hinge point of history?

Australia’s trade with China dwarfs its trade with any other country: more than $90 billion, an enormous 43 per cent of all our exports. For comparison, the next biggest market is Japan, at $19 billion.

Trade is equivalent to 45 per cent of Australian GDP and one in every five jobs in the country.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said this budget is about stimulating, spending and creating jobs. How do we seriously achieve that when our political leaders cannot speak to their counterparts in Beijing? 

In the meantime, we hear increasing talk of the “drumbeats of war”. How can we achieve economic growth and boost jobs when the Treasurer, in his budget speech, cannot mention China by name and instead makes allusions about a more dangerous world (read: China threat) and commits to ever more spending on our military?

This isn’t to deny that we live in a more perilous age or that an authoritarian China does not present a threat — or that we need to keep our defence force ready and equipped for any eventuality. But there are serious questions about how our political leaders are handling this hinge point of history.

China is an indispensable nation; our future depends on it. Our future depends on those other countries that make up half the world’s growth — countries we rarely even talk about.

This is not 1992. We have not just emerged from the Cold War; America is not the predominant or sole power in the world; this is not the end of history. We can no longer say, as Western political leaders did then, that China is on the wrong side of history.

The world is turning, history is turning

In its report The World in 2050, international professional services company PwC lists what will be the top 10 economies in the world:

1.China

2.India

3.US

4.Indonesia

5.Brazil

6.Russia

7.Mexico

8.Japan

9.Germany

10.UK

Where did the West go? The report says simply: today’s developing markets will be tomorrow’s economic superpowers.

Outside of the top 10, Vietnam, the Philippines and Nigeria will be the biggest movers in the rankings.

The report compares the E7 (emerging economies) with the G7. In 1995, the E7 were half the size of the G7; by 2015, the E7 had drawn level; by 2040, the E7 could be double the size of the G7.

A Rip Van Winkle “go to sleep and dream away the future” approach won’t work.

The West has been battered by war, growing inequality, stagnant wages, terrorism, economic collapse, declining democracy and rising political populism.

America — the so-called leader of the free world — is a country damaged by unending crisis.

President Joe Biden talks a good game about “America is back” and rebuilding alliances. But how does America lead a world where economic power has so dramatically shifted?

Betting against America

In his recent speech to Congress to mark the first 100 days of his presidency, Joe Biden said it was never a good idea to bet against America. But that’s precisely what many countries are doing.

China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative — one of the largest infrastructure and investment projects in history, covering 70 countries, 65 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of gross domestic product — is a bet against America.

It is part of Xi’s China Dream of a rejuvenated nation, returned to the apex of global power.

Australia is caught in the crosshairs of this global historical turn. We are still a European outpost in Asia, a country with historical ties to Britain and all in with the US. 

It has served us well, but that world is passing. The geopolitical, economic and military plates are shifting as the world walks ever more treacherous fault lines.

But this isn’t the discussion we have been having post-budget.

Instead, we are talking about debt and deficit and vaccine rollout and possible election dates. Journalists are engaging in the usual round of predictable “gotcha” questions, and politicians are looking to score tit-for-tat political points.

All around us, the world we knew is giving way to the world we don’t truly understand, let alone are truly equipped for.

China, our biggest trading partner, is now a global Voldemort — he who cannot be named.

But call it what we will — or won’t — China looms over our world and it is dragging those other emerging economic giants along with it.

To stay with the movie analogy, for the West, there is no back to the future.


Source: ABC

How China won its war on poverty?

Documentary with Lawrence Robert Kuhn

When the history of the 21st century is to be written, there is no doubt that the story of China’s eradication of poverty – i.e. lifting about 700 million people out of it – will be seen as a milestone, a turning point for humanity.

China’s poverty rate fell from 88 per cent in 1981 to 0.7 per cent in 2015, as measured by the percentage of people living on the equivalent of US$1.90 or less per day in 2011 purchasing price parity terms.

On November 23rd 2020, China announced that it had eliminated absolute poverty nationwide by uplifting all of its citizens beyond its set ¥2,300 (CNY) per year, or less than a dollar per day poverty line.

This result has been achieved within just four decades, after Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping declared the Open Door Policy in December 1978.

Very few Western mainstream media have seen it fit to report this. We should wonder why.

US President Lyndon B. Johnson declared his war on poverty in 1964. At that time, the official poverty rate was about 15 per cent. 60 years later, it’s 12.3% – according to the US Census Bureau. These are national averages; poverty hits various social groups very differently. An interesting source here: “Approximately 16.4 million American children – 22 per cent of the population younger than 18 – live in poverty. The rate for people 65 and older is 8.7 per cent…”

At TFF we believe that China’s development – for good and for bad – is important for us all, for the world’s future and for a fair, broad-minded understanding of contemporary China. And that this speaks volumes about respect for human rights.

That’s why we give our visitors here a series of links (under the documentary) to more information. In this documentary, one of the most impressive Western connoisseurs of China, Lawrence Robert Kuhn, guides you to a broader understanding of the question that first comes to mind: How did the Chinese government and people go about achieving this amazing result?

 Jan Oberg, editor

This article was originally published by TRANSNATIONAL


On the other side we have “world’s only super-power” that has lost its own war on poverty (just as many other wars). United States declared unprovoked trade war (and even more fierce propaganda war) against China. It was all wrapped as something that “unpredictable” Donald Trump has done himself. As usual, that is not true. Here we have new president of US who is continuing exactly the same way.

According to US officials and numerous Think Tank organisations closely connected to American government and even their “deep state” – Chinese advance in technology or anything else is – challenge to America. They even claim it is targeting their “way of life” that they are forcing upon the rest of the world through their dominance in media, social media and Internet as a network itself.

Eurasia News Online


Biden sends warning to China on chips and rare earths

US President signs executive order for a review of supply chains for semiconductor chips, rare earth elements, pharmaceuticals and large batteries; said he would seek $37 billion to supercharge chip manufacturing in the US; gets bipartisan support for these efforts

(ATF) President Biden sent an effective warning to China on Wednesday February 24 as he signed an executive order for a review of supply chains that will cover semiconductor chips and rare earths.

Biden signed the executive order after a meeting with both Democratic and Republican politicians that he hailed as “like the old days” of agreeing on shared goals.

He did not mention China by name at the signing, but said: “We should not rely on a foreign country, especially one that does not share our interests or our values.”

Biden announced a 100-day review that will cover chips, rare earths, pharmaceuticals and the large capacity batteries that are key for electric vehicles. A broader one-year review will cover multiple other sectors including food production and technology.

The US President said he would seek $37 billion in funding for legislation to supercharge chip manufacturing in the United States as a shortfall of semiconductors has forced US automakers and other manufacturers to cut production.

“I’m directing senior officials in my administration to work with industrial leaders to identify solutions to the semiconductor shortfall,” Biden said on Wednesday. “Congress has authorised a bill but they need … $37 billion to make sure that we have this capacity. I’ll push for that as well.”

The executive order directs six sector reviews, modelled on the process used by the Defence Department to strengthen the defence industrial base. It will focus on defence, public health, communications technology, transportation, energy and food production. 

The United States has been besieged by supply shortages since the onset of the pandemic, which squeezed the availability of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, hurting frontline workers.

Most pressing issues

A global chip shortage is the most pressing issue for US firms, with some automakers forced to temporarily suspend work and industry trade groups relentlessly urging action from the government. China is also scrambling to source more chips for its own industrial needs.

Biden’s new national economic council director Brian Deese moved last week to secure a greater share of chip supply from Taiwan for the US, while Japan and European countries are also trying to increase their supplies. Any moves by foreign governments to forge closer ties with Taiwan will almost inevitably raise tensions with China.

Rare earths could emerge as the next most important point of stress between the US and China, however. An internal debate appears to be taking place within China over whether or not to try to use an ability to control the price of many rare earths to demonstrate goodwill towards the new Biden administration, or as a weapon in an ongoing conflict with the US.

Reports said Chinese government officials recently asked industry officials how badly companies in the US and Europe, including defence contractors, would be affected if China restricted rare earth exports during a bilateral dispute.

China has in the past had mixed success in trying to use its dominance of rare earth production as a geopolitical tool, as previous price rises encouraged creativity in rare earth mining in other countries and ended up reducing the overall global Chinese share in some metals.

“Critical minerals are an essential part of defence, high-tech, and other products. From rare earths in our electric motors and generators to the carbon fibre used for airplanes — the United States needs to ensure we are not dependent upon foreign sources or single points of failure in times of national emergency,” a White House statement said on Wednesday before Biden signed the new executive order.

China has increased production quotas for the start of this year, but rare earth prices renewed their upward drive after the end of the recent Lunar New Year holiday, indicating that underlying demand will remain the main market driver – regardless of whether US/Chinese tensions mount or ease.