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MOSCOW, August 15, 2018 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday preparations were underway for a meeting in Geneva next week between Russian officials and White House national security adviser John Bolton, the first top-level meeting since the Russian and US presidents met in Helsinki.

“Such contacts are indeed planned and being prepared,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday. Peskov did not elaborate further.

US President Donald Trump faced criticism at home after he met Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital in July, and refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 US election.

A new round of US sanctions targeting Russia was announced in the wake of that criticism, prompting the Russian rouble to fall sharply.

Last week, Rand Paul, a Republican senator and Trump ally, traveled to the Russian capital, saying his trip aimed to encourage diplomacy amid the tense relations between Moscow and Washington.

Washington had said on Tuesday Bolton would meet Russian officials as a follow-up to the Helsinki summit.

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2017 (News Wires) - The first set of US sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect early Tuesday under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, targeting financial transactions that involve US dollars, Iran’s automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes and metals including gold.

More US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump said the re-imposition of sanctions mean, “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.”

“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”

The stiff economic sanctions ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after Trump pulled the US out of the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.

Trump declared the landmark 2015 agreement had been “horrible,” leaving the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

Iran accused the US of reneging on the nuclear agreement, signed by the Obama administration, and of causing recent Iranian economic unrest. European allies said they “deeply regret” the US action.

As the sanctions loomed Monday, Trump said in a statement, “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilising behaviour and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”

Trump warned that those who don’t wind down their economic ties to Iran “risk severe consequences.”

The Europeans didn’t like any of it.

Despite Trump’s claims, the accord “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear programme, said a statement by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2018 (News wires) - The Trump administration plans to propose slapping a 25 per cent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 per cent, in a bid to pressure Beijing into making trade concessions, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump’s administration said on July 10 it would seek to impose the 10 per cent tariffs on thousands of Chinese imports.

They include food products, chemicals, steel and aluminum and consumer goods ranging from dog food, furniture and carpets to car tires, bicycles, baseball gloves and beauty products.

While the tariffs would not be imposed until after a period of public comment, raising the proposed level to 25 per cent could escalate the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.

The source said the Trump administration could announce the tougher proposal as early as Wednesday. The plan to more than double the tariff rate was first reported by Bloomberg News.

There was no immediate reaction from the Chinese government. In July it accused the United States of bullying and warned it would hit back.

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump hailed roaring US economic growth as a “miracle,” and said the quickest expansion in almost four years was a vindication of his economic agenda.

With the size of the American economy now surpassing $20 trillion, GDP expanded by 4.1 per cent in the April-June quarter, making the United States the fastest-growing of advanced countries, according to a government report.

“We’re on track to hit the highest annual average growth rate in over 13 years,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. “Everywhere we look, we’re seeing the effects of the American economic miracle.”

The second quarter acceleration came in part after the injection of stimulus and Republican tax cuts.

But economists warned it could be a blip caused by temporary factors, including a one-off bounce produced by Trump’s trade confrontation with China.

The robust results put growth in the first half of the year at just over 3 per cent, matching a White House target and faster than the trend in previous years.

Trump said the United States was “the economic envy of the world,” and “As the trade deals come in one by one, we are going to go a lot higher than these numbers and these are great numbers.”




WASHINGTON, July 27, 2018 (News Wires) - President Donald Trump is open to visiting Moscow once he receives a formal invitation, the White House said on Friday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had issued that invitation.

"President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, referring to the beginning of 2019.

JOHANNESBURG, July 25, 2018 (News Wires) - China and South Africa urged fellow BRICS governments on Wednesday to fight protectionism and promote multilateral global trade in the face of tariff threats by US President Donald Trump that threaten global trade.

Trump’s warnings have given Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa fresh impetus to enhance trade cooperation, and officials at a three-day summit that kicked off in Johannesburg on Wednesday found a collective voice championing global trade.

The meeting of presidents from the trade bloc is the first since Trump’s administration launched a push to rebalance trade multilateralism that Trump has deemed unfair, relationships which the United States once championed.

“It is our sincere obligation to showcase our commitment towards the multilateral trading system, to safeguard the existence of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and also show our clear and strong position against any unilateral action and protectionism,” Zhang Shaogang, Director General in the Ministry of Commerce of China, told the summit of BRICS member states.

“Trade and investment cooperation is the propeller for overarching BRICS cooperation. We need to make our cooperation more pragmatic and institutionalised.”

South African Trade Minister Rob Davies said Africa’s most industrialised economy was being hurt in collateral damage.

“All of us in BRICS agree that this moment in the global economy requires us to strengthen our partnership,” Davies said.

“This moment is characterised by unilateralism, by a move towards discriminatory policies on tariffs above WTO boundaries applied to some and not to others.”

Last week, Trump said he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of imported goods from rival economic superpower China. But even South Africa - a tiny exporter of steel, aluminum and automobiles to the United States - is facing barriers.

The United States did not grant South Africa an exemption from tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, proclaimed by Trump in March.

Davies said 7,000 South Africans work in jobs affected by the metals tariffs and that an effort to secure an exemption from the US government had been unsuccessful.

He said South Africa was also aware of a threat to impose tariffs on auto imports into the United States. “We have argued against that formally, and also I have met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to make our point,” Davies said.

He said South African poultry import concessions from which US suppliers benefited were linked to the preferential terms South Africa currently receives for auto imports into the United States.

The BRICS summit was to be officially launched by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at 13:00 GMT. Other BRICS leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, who oversees the world’s second-largest economy, will also speak at the event. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to arrive in South Africa on Thursday.

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