President Donald Trump may consider his travel ban to Nigeria, Burma, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania. A source in the White House disclosed.
The controversial Trump is expected to make the announcement on or before Monday, which will be the three-year anniversary of his original order. The order was designed to target several majority-Muslim nations.
What it means: Trump administration would place immigration restrictions on the countries in the list but not necessarily completely ban all citizens of those nations from entering the United States. The restrictions could apply only to certain government officials, for instance, or certain types of visas.
While there are chances that the list could be changed, as is not yet final, Nigerians should be bothered about the development if the nation made the list. The reason is that any new restrictions are likely to strain ties with the affected countries, some of which assist the U.S. on issues like fighting terrorism, and some of which Washington has been trying to court for strategic reasons.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Trump confirmed that he is trying to add additional nations to the travel ban, but declined to list the countries.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined to confirm any details about plans to expand the travel ban, but defended the original order in a statement.
He said, “The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world. While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs.
“They should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”
Details: Trump signed the original travel ban on Jan. 27, 2017, just a week into his tenure. The order initially denied visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, though it was later modified as it went through a series of court challenges.
The Supreme Court eventually allowed a third iteration of the order to go into effect. It restricts entry of some citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was removed from the original list.
The countries under consideration for the expanded travel ban include some that have either had solid relationships with the U.S., or which the U.S. has courted.
Nigeria, for instance, is a U.S. counter-terrorism partner and there is a large Nigerian diaspora community in the United States. At the same time, Trump has in the past referred to African nations as “shithole” countries whose citizens he did not want coming to the United States.
He also once said that if Nigerians come to the U.S., they will never “go back to their huts” in Africa, according to The New York Times.
Myanmar is another intriguing case: the United States has spent the last decade trying to improve ties with the country, which has embraced partial civilian rule after years of living under a military dictatorship. The U.S. still wants to coax Myanmar out of China’s orbit, despite the Myanmar military’s mass slaughter of Rohingya Muslims.
U.S. officials also have been keen to improve relations with Belarus, a country long seen as under the sway of Russia. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had planned to visit the country just weeks ago, but had to cancel the trip to respond to rising tensions with Iran.
Sudan, meanwhile, has long had poor relations with the United States. But it recently underwent a revolution, and longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted. Sudan’s new leadership has been trying to improve its standing in Washington. Being added to the travel ban could undermine the new government’s domestic standing.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf acknowledged Friday that the U.S. has been creating criteria for foreign governments to address in helping vet foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States.
“For a small number of countries that lack either the will or the capability to adhere to these criteria, travel restrictions may become necessary to mitigate threats,” he said in prepared remarks for a Homeland Security Experts Group event.
US government to ban WeChat and TikTok from app stores
Chinese-owned social media apps are facing a ban in the US over national security concerns.
The United States government says it will ban the services of Chinese tech giants, WeChat and TikTok, from online mobile application stores in the U.S. It also plans to prohibit any funds transfer/payment services through the WeChat mobile application.
This was announced by the U.S Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, in a statement on Friday, following President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders (E.O.) 13942 and E.O. 13943, on the 6th of August.
“In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States,” said Wilbur Ross.
He added that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has proven it has the means and the motive to use Chinese tech apps, to threaten America’s national security foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.
He said the following transactions will be prohibited from September 20th for WeChat and November 12th for TikTok
- Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates, through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
- Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application, for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
Mr. Ross said that with the Executive Order, the US government has taken a ‘significant action’ in fighting China’s malicious personal data breach on American citizens, and also promote democratic rule-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.
The U.S government announced that further prohibitive measures, relating to both companies may be announced in the future.
“Should the U.S. Government determine that WeChat’s or TikTok’s illicit behavior is being replicated by another app somehow outside the scope of these executive orders, the President has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities.”
President Trump has given until November 12, to resolve the TikTok security concerns of the US. He added that the prohibitions may be lifted, if they are addressed.
WTO: Okonjo-Iweala still in contention as 3 candidates depart race for DG
Okonjo-Iweala and the remaining 4 other candidates hope to succeed the current DG, Mr Roberto Azevêdo.
Three candidates running for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation have fallen out of the race after failing to secure enough votes in the first rounds of voting, leaving only 5 candidates left, including Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
This was disclosed by Bloomberg on Thursday, before the meeting on Friday. The Candidates that are out of the race are Jesus Seade (Mexico), Tudor Ulianovschi (Moldova), and Hamid Mamdouh (Egypt). The candidates were not able to secure the support needed for the first round of 3 rounds of voting.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweal joins 4 other candidates for the next round of voting. The candidates are; Liam Fox (UK), Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril (Kenya), Yoo Myung-hee ( South Korea), and Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri ( Saudi Arabia).
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed last month some of her plans for the Organization if made President. Nairametrics reported she noted that part of her vision is to build a trade institution where there is greater trust among its members. She also stressed that the WTO, at this critical time, is needed to ensure that trade and global markets remain open.
On healing the rift between the US and China, Okonjo-Iweala admitted that it is going to be challenging and not be easy. She said:
“Well, this is not going to be easy, if it was easy, it could have been done a long time since. So it would be very challenging but it is not an impossible job. It is very clear that both the US and China have been helped and benefitted from the multilateral trading system in the past. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. They have experienced shared prosperity in the economies and their countries.’’
She added she would listen to both countries to find out what really are the issues causing distrust among them. She said that she will not want to be involved in the larger political problems, but will rather separate the trade issues and focus on them and build this trust.
“You need to begin to find areas where there can be confidence-building and trade. Building trust is not talking about it, you have to have areas where both can work together and agree and we have a golden opportunity in the fisheries subsidies negotiations that are going on now because the US is a party to it, China is a party, the EU, all other members,’’ she said.
Okonjo-Iweala and the 4 other candidates will present themselves to the members of the global trade body for the later stages of voting in the hopes of securing the highest number of votes to succeed the current DG, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo.
WTO: Selection of new DG might be tied to the upcoming US presidential election
The eventual winner could be dependent on the outcome of the November 3 US Presidential elections.
The WTO’s effort to select a new leader entered a new stage this week, as the ambassadors from 164-member countries met for private consultations, on who they would support.
Six former WTO officials and trade experts revealed that the politicking in Geneva, Switzerland – WTO headquarters, could be a wild goose chase, as the decisive developments that will shape the future of the embattled global trade organization, are unfolding miles away in Washington, ahead of the November 3 presidential elections.
Although, the support of a particular candidate by the United States is critical; 4 trade experts, including former WTO employees, believe that the Trump administration is unlikely to breathe life into a multilateral body that he once threatened to leave. Donald Trump launched a trade war with China, repeatedly imposed tariffs on US allies, and destroyed WTO’s ability to intervene in disputes, by blocking the appointment of members to its Appellate Body.
David Tinline, a former adviser to Azevedo said, “I find it hard to imagine that the Trump administration would shift tack and do something very positive for the system.’’
The US Trade Representative (USTR), Robert Lighthizer, had in June told US lawmakers that, “the WTO needed a reform-driven leader and that he would veto any candidate who showed any whiff of anti-Americanism.”
The former WTO officials and trade experts said that the US-China economic conflict is a further divisive factor, as both countries will likely reject any candidate backed by the other.
The 8 candidates in contention for the top job, are expected to be trimmed down to 5 after the first confessional meetings on September 16. This will be further cut down to 2, and the final decision designed to be taken by convention before the November 7 deadline – just four days after the US elections.
Aside from the two influential African women vying for the role, Liam Fox, Britain’s former Trade Secretary, is a force to reckon with. If a favorite candidate does not emerge, some WTO members might prefer to wait until after the US election in case Joe Biden wins the US presidential election; especially, as Voting, seen as a last resort, has never occurred in WTO’s history.
A former member of WTO, Peter Van Den Bossche said, “They could play a waiting game, but that would push the decision until at least February or March 2021.”
Even though WTO is member-led, a strong leader who can facilitate decision making, and galvanize its 164 member nations, is crucial to reviving a severely embattled global organization.