Category Archives: Personal Opinion

O.P. O último grande industrial


O último grande industrial

Faleceu Sábado passado o Senhor Pedro Queiroz Pereira.

À Família apresento os meus sentidos pêsames.

Era meu Amigo.

O PQP, como era assim conhecido desde os tempos em que foi corredor da automóveis, era acima de tudo um Homem Bom.

O Homem para quem a palavra dada bastava.

Tive o privilégio de ser amigo dele, como da sua Mãe Dona Maud, que lhe sobrevive e a quem envio de aqui os meus sentidos pêsames,e nunca o vi a não ser com um sorriso nos lábios.

Tinha um sentodo de humor fantástco.

Nunca deu, nos negócios, um passo maior que a perna, e julgo ser o unico herdeiro de uma das grandes Famílias Portuguesas que deixa um património maior do que aquele que herdou.

Aumentou consideravelmente a capacidade produtora da Portucel, hoje Navigator, que se tornou a maior exportadora nacional em valor acrescentado.

Posso dizer hoje em dia, porque representantes do próprio confirmaram à ìmprensa na altura, que intermediei para ele, como Corretor, os 10% que a Semapa detinha na Cimpor que vinham do tempo da luta com a Lafarge na Cimpor.

Tinham disso já passado anos e a posição já não era estratégica e era para vender.

Todos os Bancos de Investimento nacionais, e muitos Bancos de Investimento estrangeiros já tinham tentado durante anos fazer o negócio.

Mas sem sucesso.

Com o meu saudoso e querido Sócio Dr António Mardel Correia fomos à Semapa.

Encontrava se também presente o meu amigo Dr José Honório.

Os vendedores disseram o que queriam.

Nós expusemos as nossas ideias.

Não foi preciso um único documento.

Cerca de uma semana depois o negócio estava feito e a transação liquidada.

Se a memória não me falha o negócio foi à roda de um bilião de euros.

Fizemos depois muitos outros negócios mas de menor dimensão.

Estava sempre atento às causas sociais e nunca deixou de acolher a uma causa que eu lhe tivesse indicado.

Um Grande Senhor e um Homem Bom.


Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

P.O. (GUA) RBS bankers joked about destroying the US housing market


That the world big banks had sold, mainly in the US, products sub prime related, that were worth nothing or quasi nothing we all knew.

But what is striking in this case of the Royal Bank of Scotland, now under investigation in the US, are the terms and words that RBS’s own US Chief Credit Officer used at the time to describe RBS’s own products…

Underwriting standards were “Like quasi organised crime” and the packages of subprime loans were “total f***ing garbage”. This account is in the US Department of Justice damning report (click here to see).

What people usually don’t realise is that the, until recently, almost total impunity of these large World banks has to do with the fact that it’s the banks that actually create money when they lend to their costumers.

Central Banks only account nowadays for around 7% of the money created. And Authorities and Regulators have lived since the first third of the 20th century under what i call the 1929/33 syndrome. The Great Depression occured, among other reasons, because the banks could not create money. Essencialy because of the Gold Standard.

So the reasoning was that nothing could endanger money creation by banks…
We all know were this idiocy took us…

Out of the blue I cannot remember one of these large World Banks were crimes were not committed.

In a simmilar idiocy, 
take a look to the case of the crashing Turquish Lira, after the announcing of the US retaliation measures… Mr Erdogan, which in my point of vue is a dictator, is recommending prayers against the Lira devaluation…

Give us a break!

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(GUA) Transcripts of pre-financial crisis conversations show senior bankers’ disregard for customers.

A boarded up building in Cleveland, Ohio, in January 2008
 A boarded up building in Cleveland, Ohio, in January 2008. In the build up to the crisis mortgage lenders were incentivised to make as many loans as possible. Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

RBS bankers joked about destroying the US housing market after making millions by trading loans that staff described as “total fucking garbage”, according to transcripts released as part of a $4.9bn (£3.8bn) settlement with US prosecutors.

Details of internal conversations at the bank emerged just weeks before the 10-year anniversary of the financial crisis, which saw RBS rescued with a £45bn bailout from the UK government.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) criticised RBS over its trade in residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) – financial instruments underwritten by risky home loans that are cited as pivotal in the global banking crash.

It said the bank made “false and misleading representations” to investors in order to sell more of the RMBS, which are forecast to result in losses of $55bn to investors.

Transcripts published alongside the settlement reveal the attitude among senior bankers at RBS towards some of the products they sold.

The bank’s chief credit officer in the US referred to selling investors products backed by “total fucking garbage” loans with “fraud [that] was so rampant … [and] all random”.

He added that “the loans are all disguised to, you know, look okay kind of … in a data file.”

The DoJ said senior RBS executives “showed little regard for their misconduct and, internally, made light of it”.

In one exchange, as the extent of the contagion in the banking industry was becoming clear, RBS’ head trader received a call from a friend who said: “[I’m] sure your parents never imagine[d] they’d raise a son who [would] destroy the housing market in the richest nation on the planet.”

He responded: “I take exception to the word ‘destroy.’ I am more comfortable with ‘severely damage.’”

Another senior banker explained to a colleague that risky loans were the result of a broken mortgage industry that meant lenders were “raking in the money” and were incentivised to make as many loans as possible.

Employees who might raise the alarm about the riskiness of such lending “don’t give a shit because they’re not getting paid”, he said.

The bank made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from selling RMBS, the DoJ said, while disguising the risk they posed to investors, which included a group of nuns who lost 96% of their investment.

By October 2007, as signs of stress began to show in the banking system, RBS’ chief credit officer wrote to colleagues expressing his true feelings about the burgeoning volume of subprime loans in the housing market.

He said loans were being pushed by “every possible … style of scumbag”, adding that it was “like quasi-organised crime”.

“Nobody seems to care,” he added.

The DoJ criticised RBS’ failure to do due diligence on the loans it was packaging, saying the bank feared it would lose out to rivals if it performed stricter tests.

One analyst at the lender referred to the bank’s due diligence procedures as “just a bunch of bullshit”, according to the transcripts.

When the bank became concerned about the poor quality of loans and started imposing tighter due diligence, one senior banker complained, saying: “Oh, God. Does anyone want to make money around here any more?”

RBS expected to make $20m from one deal that involved trading particularly risky loans, but faced resistance from the bank’s chief credit officer.

A senior executive responded to the concerns by telling the bank’s head trader: “Please don’t fuckin’ blow this one. We need every dollar we can get our hands on.”

Internal conversations between bankers also offer some insight into their growing realisation of the poor quality of the loans the bank owned and sold.

In September 2007, one trader referred to an appraisal of loans as giving “pretty shitty results”.

The transcripts were released by the DoJ as it confirmed the details of the settlement with the bank over its trading in RMBS.

RBS said: “Under the terms of the settlement, RBS disputes the allegations but will not set out a legal defence, while the settlement does not constitute a judicial finding.”

Certainty over the scale of the settlement will allow the bank to pay its first dividend in a decade this year.

The dividend is worth £240m and the Treasury will receive £149m as RBS is still 62%-owned by the government.

Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, said: “This settlement dates back to the period between 2005 and 2007. There is no place for the sort of unacceptable behaviour alleged by the DoJ at the bank we are building today.”

He added that the bank could now “focus our energy on serving our customers better”.

But league tables published by the Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday placed RBS joint bottom for customer service, with fewer than half of customers saying they would recommend the bank to a friend.

RBS will have to publish the results in branches, on its website and mobile app from today.

O.P. (DN) Portugal campeão europeu sub-19


Portugal no seu melhor!

Faltam me as palavras.

Viva Portugal!

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(DN) Portugal sagrou-se campeão europeu ao bater a Itália, após prolongamento, por 4-3. Jota bisou e foi o homem do jogo (e melhor marcador da prova com Trincão, que também faturou neste jogo). É o quarto título continental nesta categoria, o primeiro sub-19

Num jogo que levou as emoções ao extremo, Portugal só garantiu o título europeu de sub-19 com um golo de Pedro Correia aos 108′, depois de a Itália ter respondido às anteriores vantagens lusas (de 0-2 para o 2-2 que levou o jogo para prolongamento; de 2-3 para 3-3 já nos 30 minutos suplementares). Jota foi o homem do jogo e um dos mais valiosos do torneio, tornando-se o melhor marcador com Francisco Trincão, ambos com cinco golos.

Portugal marcou 17 golos em cinco jogos e um terço (o prolongamento da final), com Jota e Trincão responsáveis por mais de metade (dez). Os dois jogadores igualam o número de finalizações que deram o prémio de goleador a José Gomes no Euro sub-17, em 2016. Ou seja, a caminhada vitoriosa desta equipa já tinha começado. E nunca uma mesma geração tinha conseguido ganhar os dois torneios de enfiada. Histórico.

O jogo até começou com contrariedades: Diogo Costa tinha-se lesionado frente à Ucrânia, na meia-final (5-0) e logo aí João Virgínia assumiu a baliza (tendo sido chamado à Finlândia Ricardo Benjamim, para o banco). No aquecimento, Miguel Luís lesionou-se e Nuno Henrique, ou Nunes, saltou para o onze. A equipa não pareceu afetada, o que prova a qualidade geral deste grupo de 21 (com a chegada de Benjamim).

Pelo contrário, foi Portugal que jogou mais e melhor num encontro sem especulações ou predomínio do futebol físico. Foram jogadores finos como Trincão e Jota que deram o tom a esta final, disputada no Estádio Seinajoki. O tom e o ritmo do marcador: Jota (45’+1′) e Trincão deram uma vantagem que parecia encaminhar o título nos 90 minutos. Mas o recém-entrado Moise Kean virou do avesso a final, bisando em dois minutos (75′ e 76′).

Portugal acusou o golpe, mas continuou a ter as melhores oportunidades, embora os italianos nunca tivessem desistido de tentar ser felizes no ataque. Mas o 2-2 não se alterou e seguiu-se para prolongamento.

A equipa de Hélio Sousa provou que não ficara encolhida por deixar fugir dois golos de avanço. E no prolongamento, embora se notasse menos energia dos dois lados, a seleção portuguesa voltou para a frente do marcador. Jota bisou (104′). No intervalo dos 30 minutos suplementares, Portugal estava na frente.

Mas pouco depois (107′), Scamacca voltava a mostrar a face lutadora dos italianos. O 3-3 não tolheu os portugueses, que tiraram do coração para dar às pernas, sem perder grande discernimento na cabeça. Aos 115′, Pedro Correia, que tinha saltado do banco para substituir Trincão aos 101′, foi precioso na execução e fez o 4-3.

Nos últimos seis minutos, a Itália quase não conseguiu incomodar o novo campeão europeu (exceto um remate perigoso de Frattesi após mais uma jogada desconcertante de Moise Kean, aos 118′). E aos 121′, o árbitro deu por finalizada a final do Euro 2018 de sub-19. E Portugal sagrava-se campeã europeia.

Foi a primeira vez neste formato (sub-19, desde 2002), mas a quarta desde que o torneio arrancou em 1948. Então, como Torneio Jovem FIFA, mudando em 1955 para Torneio Jovem UEFA e em 1981 para Euro sub-18. Finalmente, em 2002, assentou em Euro sub-19. Portugal soma quatro títulos (1961, 1994, 1999 e 2018) e oito finais perdidas (1971, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2003, 2014 e 2017). A do último ano, frente à Inglaterra (1-2), teve agora a desforra (bem como a de 2003, em que Portugal foi batida pela Itália).

No ranking do torneio, Portugal salta do grupo com três títulos e, com quatro, persegue Rússia/União Soviética (6), Alemanha (6), França (8), Espanha (10) e Inglaterra (10). No total, as seleções de Portugal somam 13 títulos mundiais e europeus, sendo atualmente detentoras do emblema de campeão europeu em sub-19 e na categoria principal (título conquistado em 2016, na França).

Além do título, Portugal apurou-se diretamente para o Mundial sub-20 2019, que se vai realizar na Polónia (qualificação reservada aos cinco primeiros deste Euro). E será este grupo a defender um pecúlio que coloca Portugal no pódio (dois títulos, em 1998 e 1991), só atrás de Brasil (5) e Argentina (6).

P.O. (TheWeek) Love Island is more lucrative than a degree from Oxbridge


"The things we've seen..."
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II


‘Love Island’ is more lucrative option than Oxbridge

Appearing on the show boosts your lifetime earnings more than Oxbridge degree, economists find

And that’s were we are today…

As you might imagine, this is not a great incentive for young people to study and work hard…

At the same degree of success i would argue that a young boy or girl is wealthier earlier in life than an academic…

And that is precisely were the problem is.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(TheWeek) Economists find that appearing on hit ITV show boosts your lifetime earnings more than attending Oxford or Cambridge.

A group of economists have revealed that appearing as a contestant on Love Island is more lucrative than a degree from Oxford or Cambridge.

Analysis by Frontier Economics, an economic consultancy, estimated that someone who appears on the show could expect to earn at least £1.1m from subsequent sponsorship and appearance fees, while completing an undergraduate Oxbridge degree would leave you with with a comparatively meagre average return of £815,000.

“If you’ve got an offer from Oxbridge and Love Island, you’re better off going on Love Island,” Kristine Dislere, who completed her masters degree in economics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, told the Financial Times.

In order to estimate how lucrative a stint on the show could be, Dislere and fellow economists made calculations based on a number of factors. These included the typical rates for sponsored Instagram posts, club appearances, how often they appear and how much their earnings will decrease every year.

According to Frontier Economics, contestants who have been in the villa for the full series can be expected to earn £2.3m over the next five years.

Winners can expect to earn more, but not much more. Their expected return is £2.4m.

Even for those slightly less lucky it’s still a good proposition. Someone who is accepted onto the island (at any stage in the series) can expect to make an average of £1.1m once back out in the real world.

And it appears British school leavers “have instinctively come to a similar conclusion, with 85,000 applications to appear on the 2018 series, compared with only 37,000 applications for undergraduate degree courses at Oxford and Cambridge universities combined”, says the FT.

However, Dislere conceded, an academic path might actually be a better bet once acceptance rates are factored in. “One major thing we haven’t included are the odds of getting in [to Love Island], and the odds are stacked against you,” she said.

P.O. (FinancialTribune) EU Walks Tightrope on Dealing With US Anti-Iran Sanctions


In my opinion the EU has a close to zero percentage points chance of protecting its Companies,in view of the long arm of the US, or maintaining normal bussiness with Iran.

In spite of its ideas of grandeur, the EU faces an humiliating duck down on this issue.

Only a fool would think (unless given a waiver) an European Company would take the risk of doing business with Iran.

But unfortunately the European Union is full of fools.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(FinancialTribuneIf it wants to keep the nuclear deal alive, the EU will need to reduce the impact of US sanctions on its trade with Iran.

As an initial step, European governments are offering legal advice to companies and seeking exemptions from US sanctions in the hope that they can continue to do business with Iran, although they are highly unlikely to obtain them.

The EU could also attempt to revive its blocking statute. Introduced in 1996, following the adoption of new US sanctions on Cuba, the statute prohibits EU-based companies from complying with certain US extraterritorial sanctions.

European countries could also set up credit lines for businesses to make it easier to make payments in Iran, without going through the international payments system, as Italy has done. However, these steps will not be enough to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.

The EU’s blocking statute did not stop European companies following US law: Firms were more fearful of US sanctions than of the statute. Likewise, if businesses have to choose between the US and the Iranian market, only companies that do limited business in the US are likely to choose Iran, reads an article published on the website of the London-based think tank Center for European Reform. Excepts follow:

In theory, the EU could take more ambitious steps to curtail the impact of US sanctions. For example, the EU could offer trade liberalization to Iran. The EU could also agree to indemnify European businesses for the costs of US sanctions and offer euro-denominated loans to Iran through the European Investment Bank.

Finally, the EU could also threaten to retaliate against US sanctions imposed on European companies by sanctioning US companies in Europe. However, all of these steps would lead to a sharp rupture in transatlantic relations and it seems doubtful the EU will have the appetite to implement them.

If US President Donald Trump thinks that the EU is sabotaging US policy and helping Iran, he is highly likely to immediately impose the so-far delayed steel and aluminum tariffs, and to hit European firms with sanctions.

Mindful of the risks inherent in starting a trade war with the US, the EU will probably not be able to provide Tehran with extensive support. The risk is that the JCPOA will unravel over time, as business dries up and the Iranian economy suffers.

The EU can take steps to preserve the deal while keeping confrontation with the US below the critical threshold of tit-for-tat sanctions. It will also have to continue the diplomatic efforts of the past few months, trying to iron out the contentious elements of JCPOA with Iran and the US.

+++ P.O. (Caixin) Anbang Denies It Is Unloading Overseas Assets


…I am not going to devalue the currency said the Finance Minister of Country XXX…

…One week later the currency of Country XXX was devalued…

Got it…?



Troubled insurer Anbang has disputed foreign media reports that it is planning to sell off its overseas assets. Photo: VCG
Troubled insurer Anbang has disputed foreign media reports that it is planning to sell off its overseas assets. Photo: VCG

Embattled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group said it does not plan to sell off overseas assets, contradicting some foreign media reports.

The government team in charge of running the country’s third-largest insurer said in a statement released Monday night that “Anbang does not have any plans to sell off its overseas assets, nor does it have a concrete timeline for optimizing assets it holds.”

+++ P.O. (BBG) FIFA’s New Competition Will Destroy World Soccer: Alex Webb


…In my opinion, and i agree with the Author, there is already too much discrimination between the rich and the poor Soccer Clubs.

…With this new proposed competition it will be the end of World Soccer as we know it.

…Between corruption and these idiotic measures one doesn’t know what is Fifa’s rationale anymore…

…Unless it is to perpetuate the “cosy club” in power there.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(BBG) Another big pot for champions will worsen the divide between rich and poor clubs.

FIFA seems to be on the cusp of creating an oligopoly which could destroy club soccer around the world.

Two years after assuming the chairmanship of the sport’s global governing body, Gianni Infantino is seeking to create a new competition which will see the world’s top clubs compete for a $1.9 billion prize pot.

It risks exacerbating the wealth gap between the world’s biggest and smallest clubs to such an extent that the trend of recent years, where just a handful of clubs have any realistic chance of winning a title, is sure to get even more acute.

It’s unclear how entirely the league will be structured, but the Financial Times has reported that it will consist of 24 club teams competing in a tournament once every four years, which will be held in one region or country. It is likely that the top-performing teams from the continental tournaments (the respective Champions Leagues in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa) will then get a chance to compete for the global trophy.

The plan doesn’t have a straight shot to fruition. The Spanish are dead set against it, and controversy has prompted FIFA to delay the approval vote.

But were it to be realized, it would give the richest clubs a chance to become yet richer, giving them more financial clout to secure the world’s best players and qualify for the top prizes, and so on. England’s Premier League is instructive. English clubs competing in the Champions League, Europe’s top club competition, generated sales averaging 398 million pounds in the 2015-2016 season, according to consultancy Deloitte. The average Premier League club that didn’t participate in a European competition posted revenue of just 110 million pounds.

The ramification of that financial dominance is reflected in who has won England’s Premier League title. There are 20 clubs in the league at any one time, but just six teams have won it since its inception in 1992. With the exception of a single win each by Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City, the only winners have been Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Under Infantino’s new plan, the 24 teams from around the world that would compete would all receive some extra revenue, while the teams that get stuck in domestic leagues would receive no money. The 24 would also benefit from greater global exposure, letting them secure additional sponsorship and retail income.

It could be yet worse for non-European leagues. Competitions outside the region, including the continental ones, are significantly less lucrative. The handful of teams who qualify for Infantino’s championship would therefore benefit significantly from the vastly expanded income, which should translate into substantial dominance at home.

The logic from the FIFA side is clear. The organization secures a major payday once every four years from the World Cup, and so the timing of this new tournament could even out those peaks and troughs.

But at what cost? Not only could it create a further imbalance in the club game, the current plan will also see private companies take a 49 percent stake in the new venture, according to the FT. FIFA is, ostensibly at least, a nonprofit which aims to reinvest all surplus revenue back into the game. That’s all well and good if you agree with the premise of the tournament, but given its effect, the added factor of handing over so much power to private investors whose primary motive is profit rather than the good of the game is troubling.

When considered holistically, global soccer is a huge business. But individually, even the biggest clubs are really little more than SMEs: Manchester United’s 2017 revenue was 581 million pounds. FIFA has to ask itself: Is its primary motive to make a handful of clubs richer, or supporting the sport itself? This proposal achieves the former at the expense of the latter.

P.O. (BBG) Saudi Govt Is Said to Halt Orders from German Companies: Spiegel


…A huge slap in the face and rebuff of Germany by Saudi Arabia…

…And i have to say that if i were in the shoes of the Saudi Government i         would have done the exact same thing.

…Iran is an obvious and fierce enemy of Saudi Arabia.

…So why would Saudi Arabia promote business and give money to a Country that    defends its enemy…


(Bloomberg) — Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister
Mohammed bin Salman ordered a halt to government orders for
German companies, German weekly Der Spiegel reports without
saying where it got the information.
* Cites anger over German position on Iran
* Large companies including Daimler, Siemens, Bayer, Boehringer
* 800 German companies are active in Saudi Arabia; exports from
Germany amounted to EU6.6b in 2017: Spiegel
* NOTE, Mar. 18: Saudi Arabia Is Said to Block Some German
Business Over Rift
* NOTE, Nov. 18: Saudi Arabia Recalls Ambassador to Germany, SPA

+++ P.O. (BBG) Trump in Reversal Says U.S. to Help China’s ZTE Stay Afloat


…President Trump repaying the North Korea ‘s favours of President Xi Jinping…?

One thing is for sure…

The actual turn around of the policies of North Korea would not have been possible without China’s approval and encouragement.

«This is a typical case of “confrontation tactics” which are a form of negotiation,(that most of the media usually does not understand), which is risky but often produces spectacular results.»

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Please be so kind and visit Confrontation analysis 

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(BBG) President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Commerce Department to get ZTE Corp. back into business, weeks after cutting off the massive Chinese telecom equipment maker from its U.S. suppliers with a condemnation of ZTE’s “egregious” behavior.

Trump said in a Sunday morning tweet, posted minutes after arriving at his golf course in Virginia, that he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are working together to give ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast.”

In a major reversal for a president who has accused China many times of stealing U.S. jobs, Trump said the “Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” because “too many jobs in China lost.” The tweet comes as China plans to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington this week to discuss trade tensions.

The U.S. blockade has choked off the revenue of the No. 2 Chinese telecom gear maker, which employs about 75,000 people. The firm said last week it’s suspended all major operations, and its shares stopped trading in Hong Kong last month.

With ZTE facing possible ruin, Chinese officials have stepped in. The U.S. delegation that held talks with China this month was expected to be told that reversing the Commerce Department’s action was a condition for discussions to continue, said administration officials who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

ZTE suppliers rallied after the Trump tweet. Mobi Development Co. jumped as much as 18 percent in Hong Kong, while Nextronics Engineering Corp. rose as much as 8.5 percent in Taiwan and Zhong Fu Tong Co. surged the daily limit of 10 percent in mainland trading.

More Talks

This week’s Washington trip by China’s vice premier comes after the U.S. delegation to Beijing, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, didn’t produce a deal following Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on $150 billion of Chinese imports with promised Chinese retaliation.

While Trump said in his tweet he’d “instructed” the Commerce Department to “get it done,” the White House said the president expects Secretary Wilbur Ross to “exercise his independent judgment, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts.” Specific questions were referred to the Commerce Department, and a spokesman could not be immediately reached Sunday. The State Department referred comments to the White House and Commerce.

ZTE has been trying to resolve the blockade that Trump’s Commerce Department imposed in April as punishment for violating the terms of a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea, then lying about it. That seven-year ban prohibited ZTE from buying American technology it needs to build most of its products, including Qualcomm Inc.’s semiconductors and optical chips from Lumentum Holdings Inc.

Illegal Conduct

In a sharply-worded statement on April 16, Ross said ZTE made false statements to the U.S. government and “covered up the fact” that the company paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct.

“ZTE misled the Department of Commerce,” Ross said. “Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management, ZTE rewarded them. This egregious behavior cannot be ignored.”

U.S. military exchanges also have stopped selling smartphones made by ZTE and Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest mobile and telecommunications company, after the Pentagon warned that the devices pose a security risk to military personnel and operations, the Defense Department said earlier this month.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a tweet that U.S. intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones “pose a major cyber security threat.” He told Trump “you should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.”

‘Be Cool’

The president’s most recent call with Xi was on May 8. A White House readout at the time said the president “affirmed his commitment to ensuring that the trade and investment relationship between the United States and China is balanced and benefits American businesses.”

In another tweet on Sunday, Trump said the U.S. and China “are working well together on trade” but past negotiations “have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries.”

“But be cool, it will work out!” Trump said.

Trump’s apparent directive to the Commerce Department was stunning, said a former Commerce official who worked on the ZTE case during the Obama administration.

Exacerbating Tensions

“That’s never happened before, because the rules are not designed this way. I don’t know how to even think through this,” said Kevin Wolf, a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington who helped oversee export controls as an assistant secretary at the Bureau of Industry and Security.

ZTE’s precarious position is exacerbating tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, now involved in sensitive negotiations to try and forestall a trade war. Trump is also weeks away from a high-stakes summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, where having China on his side would be beneficial.

The company also has been working on new, faster fifth-generation wireless technology, along with local rival Huawei. That’s a key technology battle between the U.S. and China — and one that China has a chance to win.

Networking Gear

The U.S.’s only major telecom-equipment maker, Lucent Technologies, was acquired by France’s Alcatel SA in 2006, with the combined company later absorbed into Finland’s Nokia Oyj. Nokia and Ericsson AB have floundered as their Chinese rivals churned out capable and relatively cheap gear for wireless networking customers such as China Mobile Ltd. and Telefonica SA.

But ZTE still relies on U.S. companies to supply it with components for its networking gear. Qualcomm and Micron Technology Inc. provided chips. Lumentum Holdings and Acacia Communications Inc. sold key optical equipment. ZTE’s smartphones used Google’s Android operating system. The moratorium disrupted these relationships, putting the Chinese company on life support.

Even though Trump is reversing course, the blockade will make Chinese companies more reluctant to rely on U.S. firms on grounds that “the U.S. is an unreliable supplier,” said Andrew Bartels, an analyst at Forrester Research.

The move by Trump, who’s bragged about the relationship he has forged with Xi, also has larger implications for Trump’s threats to impose sanctions and tariffs, Bartels said in a telephone interview.

“People might say the only thing you have to do to counter those is have a relationship with Trump,” he said.

Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, a technology research firm that works with ZTE suppliers including Qualcomm, said he thinks it’s the right move to give a company another chance, because no one wants to see it die or go bankrupt.

“I think we can be sure that Trump is going to get something out of this,” Moorhead said. “It’s all part of the big picture, which is to get a fair shake for U.S. companies.”


+++ P.O. (BBG) Deutsche Bank Is Said to Weigh Cutting U.S. Staff About 20%


…And the question is…

…What is Deutsche Bank’s future as an investment bank taking into account all the mishap’s, all the scandals, all the law suits (most of them not reflected in the balance sheet),and the loss of credibility?

…And taking into account what it seems to be an innate corporate culture of not abiding by any rules.

…I would argue somber at least.

…And that’s being kind.

Please be so kind and revisit my Personal Opinions on Deutsche Bank

Thank you for your time.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(BBG) Deutsche Bank AG is considering a sweeping restructuring in the U.S. that could result in the firm cutting about 20 percent of staff in the region, according to people briefed on the matter.

The bank is nearing a decision and the final reductions may end up lower, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are confidential. Bloomberg reported in April a plan to slash more than 10 percent of jobs in the U.S. — where its workforce was 10,300 at the end of 2017 — as the German lender retreats from businesses it deems less competitive.

“There are no such plans,” said Joerg Eigendorf, a spokesman for the firm in Frankfurt.

Deutsche Bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing, is considering cuts to businesses including prime brokerage, rates and repo, according to a bank statement last month and people familiar with the matter. The firm is already planning to close an office in Houston and shrink its presence in New York City, moving from Wall Street to a midtown Manhattan space that’s 30 percent smaller.

Deutsche Bank shares were little changed at 11.45 euros as of 9:02 a.m. in Frankfurt. They’ve declined about 28 percent this year, making the lender the second-worst performing stock on the Bloomberg Europe 500 Banks and Financial Services Index.

Read more: Deutsche Bank joins exodus from Wall Street

Deutsche Bank isn’t targeting a specific level of cuts at the U.S. unit and the final figure will depend on each business line’s decisions, according to another person briefed on the matter. The U.S. makes up about a tenth of its global workforce.

The U.S. business is already seeing some senior defections. The bank said in memos Tuesday that Barry Bausano, a longtime senior executive overseeing relations with hedge fund clients, and Jonathan Richman, head of trade and financial supply chain for the Americas, are leaving.

Bausano will step down as chairman of the business with hedge funds and as CEO of Deutsche Bank Securities, the company’s U.S. broker-dealer. The 54-year-old has helped lead efforts to retain big trading clients in recent years, after some grew concerned about the bank’s strength as a counterparty.

Richman, who has spent 10 years at the firm, is pursuing another opportunity and will be replaced by Juan Martin and Giovanni Saladino. The trade business is part of the bank’s global transaction banking unit, which produced 15 percent of its revenue last year.

P.O. (BBG) Iran, EU Face Uphill Fight to Keep Nuclear Deal Alive Post-Trump


…Make no mistake…

…The Iran nuclear deal is dead and buried…

…Today’s announcement was only the public notice of the funeral…

…No deal can survive with a veto from the United States…

…Just imagine if the US’s legal authorities start going after all the world’s companies that deal with Iran, on reinstated full sanctions…

…No way Jose.

…Regardless of all the crap one might listen to…

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(BBG) Donald Trump didn’t kill the Iran nuclear deal. He just shrank its membership by one.

That was the line taken by the European Union immediately after the U.S. president announced his withdrawal from the 2015 accord. Germany, France and the U.K. all said they’ll stick to their commitments. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he wants to see them deliver.

“I don’t trust these three countries either,” Khamenei said on his website. “If you want to have a deal, we need practical guarantees otherwise they will do the same as the U.S. If they can’t give definitive guarantees, it won’t be possible to continue.”

But it’s not clear whether the EU, China and Russia will be able to ensure Iran receives the promised economic benefits — including free access to international oil markets and accelerating flows of trade and investment — that persuaded the Islamic Republic’s leaders to sign up to an agreement capping its nuclear program.

Before Trump’s announcement Tuesday that he’ll pull the U.S. out of the deal, Western businesses had already been reluctant to take the plunge into a country still subject to multiple curbs imposed by Washington. The exit throws billions of dollars of European investments that had been planned into disarray. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will push to make the deal work but may step up uranium enrichment again if the efforts of the remaining parties don’t yield tangible results.

“The international reach of U.S. sanctions makes the U.S. the economic policeman of the planet, and that is not acceptable,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Wednesday in an interview on France Culture radio. He branded Trump’s decision a “major mistake” and said he’ll lobby Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week to grant exemptions for European firms. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak to Rouhani later in the day.

Oil rebounded to trade at the highest level since 2014 with the sanctions aimed at cutting exports from OPEC’s third-largest producer. Brent for July settlement climbed as much as 3.1 percent to $77.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange and was 2.9 percent higher at 12:46 p.m. in the British capital.

Trump’s now promising to introduce a host of new restrictions that will test an economy already under strain. Iran’s rial has hit record lows against the dollar in recent months, forcing Rouhani’s government to impose currency controls. Protests that spread through several Iranian cities in December and January were linked to stagnation and rising costs of living, as the nuclear deal failed to deliver economic liftoff.

‘Wind Down’

In Iran’s capital, where many were glued to Trump’s speech on TV, 32-year-old masters student Golnaz said she’s worried that hard times may be ahead. “What if the Europeans also apply sanctions,?” she said by phone from north Tehran. “If people go back to those times when money was tight, food was even difficult for many to buy, it’ll be really bad.” She declined to be identified by her family name because of the sensitivity of speaking to foreign media.

“Iran will now turn to the Europeans and say: “This happened. What are you going to do?’,” said Amir Handjani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

“Iran wants more than just political rhetoric from European leaders,” he said — and that won’t be easy to deliver. “It’s one thing for the EU to say we remain committed and we won’t take steps that will undermine the deal. It’s another for European companies and banks to trade and invest in Iran.”

The EU has policy tools available that it’s used in the past to protect companies from U.S. sanctions — but they’re often outweighed, in the eyes of executives, by the risk of losing access to the world’s biggest economy.

Pulling the Plug

French oil giant Total SA, for example, says it will pull out of a joint venture in Iran if Trump re-imposes sanctions and it can’t win an exemption. Siemens AG Chief Financial Officer Ralf Thomas said he is assessing the impact for business in the country and the company will always comply with export regulations. Volkswagen AG, which began selling vehicles in the Islamic Republic last year, also vowed to stick to the rules.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will also be seeking talks with the Iranian government to work out what happens next, describing the U.S. decision as “grave.” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged Trump’s criticisms of the deal — Tehran’s ballistic missile program, the sunset clause on the nuclear restrictions, and its regional meddling — but insisted the accord should serve as a foundation for broader agreement.

“Those are issues are need to be addressed and we are working with our European and other allies to do just that,” May told lawmakers in London Wednesday.

Russia said late Tuesday it was “deeply disappointed” by the U.S. decision to pull out of the deal, and ready to work with other parties to keep it alive. China urged all parties involved to continue efforts to implement the agreement.

Rouhani said in a televised address that it was already clear the U.S. under Trump wasn’t committed to an accord also signed by Russia and China. He said his foreign ministry will start talks with all the other participants on how it can still be made to work. But Iran has ruled out renegotiation.

P.O. Bibi’s key words in the CNN video

CNN: “The nuclear deal we are discussing is premissed on the assumption that Iran will somehow become a peaceful country.

It is not. 

It’s became an Empire that is devouring one country after the other.

And that they are doing before they have nuclear weapons

This deal will give them unlimited enrichment of uranium.”

“Second it does not address their ballistic missiles in which they could carry the bombs”

That’s what this is all about.

Everything else is crap in my opinion.








P.O. (FT) US decision on Iran nuclear deal ‘humiliating’ for Europe

…Of course it’s “humiliating” for Europe…

…But what Europe could expect after constantly trying to humiliate President Trump…?

…A slap in the face.

…And that is what Europe got.





The FT’s US foreign policy and defense correspondent Katrina Manson says Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal is an ‘extraordinary shift for the transatlantic alliance’.

+++ P.O. (BBG) BNP Paribas, SocGen Tumble After Missing Rebound in Trading



…Trading revenue in banks has much to be said about, if you know what i mean…


(BBG) BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA missed out on the trading gains that boosted earnings at some of their U.S. and European rivals in the first quarter, sending their shares tumbling.

Trading income at BNP Paribas, the largest French lender, fell 15 percent as a drop in sales from fixed-income, currencies and commodities outweighed a gain in equities, the Paris-based bank said Friday. At Societe Generale, stock and bond trading both dropped.

BNP Paribas Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, who’s counting on growth at the corporate and investment bank to meet goals for revenue and profitability, blamed lackluster client activity in Europe for the debt-trading slump. Societe Generale’s results suffered as it worked to restructure top management after the surprise exit of investment-banking head Didier Valet. A stronger euro also weighed on earnings.

“It was a complicated quarter,” said Alex Koagne, an analyst at Natixis who has buy ratings on both stocks. “The dollar effect was negative, BNP and SocGen are strong in structured activities, which didn’t perform well.”

Shares of BNP Paribas fell as much as 3.5 percent in Paris, while Societe Generale tumbled as much as 7.4 percent, the most in almost two years.

Step Backward

BNP Paribas is pushing to become one of the top three European investment banks, partly by growing in Germany, the U.S. and Asia as competitors retrench. It took a step backward in the first quarter. Debt trading fell by almost a third, even as a pickup in volatility drove demand for equity derivatives, lifting stock trading by 19 percent.

At Societe Generale, a global leader in derivatives on stocks, revenue from equities and prime services unexpectedly fell 11 percent, while debt trading plunged by almost a third.

Societe Generale’s first-quarter trading performance was the worst among global banks that have reported results, data compiled by Bloomberg show. BNP’s was the third-worst behind Deutsche Bank AG.

The banks’ trading performance also lagged behind U.S. peers. A 32 percent jump in equities revenue propelled growth in the quarter at the top five Wall Street firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., while fixed-income trading at the largest U.S. banks was little changed.

Many of Societe Generale’s rivals reported increases in revenue from equity derivatives, complex products that enable clients to wager on stocks or protect their holdings and which tend to be a key revenue generator for the French bank. UBS Group AG, one of its biggest competitors in this industry, posted an increase in stock-trading revenue of about 18 percent to 1.1 billion Swiss francs ($1.1 billion) and Chief Financial Officer Kirt Gardner said the jump was “mostly in derivatives.”

SocGen Shake-Up

SocGen is revamping top management after Valet, an 18-year veteran at the French bank, stepped down in mid-March. The departure of the executive — widely seen as a potential successor to Frederic Oudea as CEO — was part of an effort to settle a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the bank’s alleged manipulation of interest-rate benchmarks, people with direct knowledge of the matter said at the time.

The French bank named Severin Cabannes to take over Valet’s duties. He was appointed alongside three new deputy CEOs in a shake-up late Thursday as Oudea seeks to revive growth and put an end to the bank’s lingering legal issues.

Others named in the shuffle were Chief Financial Officer Philippe Heim, who was promoted to deputy CEO responsible for international retail operations. Diony Lebot, currently chief risk officer, will be elevated to deputy CEO in charge of control functions, with Philippe Aymerich overseeing French retail-banking activities.

Cabannes, in a Bloomberg Television interview on Friday, said he’s committed to raising return on equity at the investment-banking business.

It’s near an agreement to pay as much as $1 billion to resolve two investigations — into the rigging of benchmark interest rates and allegations of bribery in Libya — people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

SocGen said Friday it expects to resolve the probes in a matter of days or weeks and has “good visibility” on the financial impact. It’s set aside about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) for the two cases, within its 2.3 billion euros of provisions for legal risks.

+++ P.O. (BBG) Deutsche Bank’s Global M&A Head Thomas Piquemal Is Leaving Firm

…One more top executive is leaving Deutsche Bank…

…And i don’t think it will be the last…

…Please be so kind and revisit my Personal Opinions on Deutsche Bank.

Thank You


(BBG) Deutsche Bank AG’s top M&A banker is leaving the firm, the latest senior departure to follow a leadership struggle this year.
Thomas Piquemal, also chief country officer for France, is leaving to pursue other interests, according to a Deutsche Bank memo seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by a company spokesman. His M&A responsibilities will be shares by regional heads Robin
Rousseau, Charlie Dupree and Mayooran Elalingam. Piquemal will join Financiere Marc de Lacharriere SA, the French holding company known as Fimalac, the firm said in a statement.
Deutsche Bank said last week that it will scale back U.S. rates sales and trading, reduce the corporate finance business in the U.S. and Asia and review its global equities business with a view toward cutting it back.
The Frankfurt-based lender is reviewing the future of its investment bank, whose future was a key factor in the tumultuous management shakeup that saw Christian Sewing take over as chief executive officer from John Cryan last month.

+++ P.O. (DML) Tory Brexit revolt could sink Theresa May’s government as 60 MPs warn PM they will abandon her if she backs customs


…And the problem is…

…Guess what…?

…The House of Lords, or House of Peers,or by it’s full name “the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled”  cannot agree with the House of Commons…

…The House of Lords is composed of only 90 hereditary peers, all others being appointed for life. 

But it has no mandate, no legitimacy.

From Wikipedia:

The membership of the House of Lords is drawn from the peerage and is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. The Lords Spiritual are 26 bishops in the established Church of England. Of the Lords Temporal, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. However, they also include some hereditary peers including four dukes.

Membership was once an entitlement of all hereditary peers, other than those in the peerage of Ireland, but under the House of Lords Act 1999, the right to membership was restricted to 92 hereditary peers.

While the House of Commons has a defined 650-seat membership, the number of members in the House of Lords is not fixed. There are currently 783 sitting Lords. The House of Lords is the only upper house of any bicameral parliament to be larger than its lower house.

The House of Lords scrutinises bills that have been approved by the House of Commons. It regularly reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the House of Lords acts as a check on the House of Commons that is independent from the electoral process. Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons. While members of the Lords may also take on roles as government ministers, high-ranking officials such as cabinet ministers are usually drawn from the Commons. The House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library.

The Queen’s Speech is delivered in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. In addition to its role as the upper house, until the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2009, the House of Lords, through the Law Lords, acted as the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom judicial system. The House also has a Church of England role, in that Church Measures must be tabled within the House by the Lords Spiritual.

End of Wikipedia quote

The problem is that , and it has been debated very often, the House of Commons can abolish the House of Lords.

The power to block legislation passed by the House of Commons has been limited to one year recently.

And by now there is a substancial number of Peers advocating the extintion of the House of Lords.

As a check to legislation passed by the Commons i think it is fine.

As a changer to Government policies i think it’s not.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(DML) Theresa May is facing her biggest Brexit battle yet today as Tory MPs vow to ‘collapse’ the government unless she drops plans for a customs partnership with the EU.

The Prime Minister will gather her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ for a crunch meeting later after sixty Conservative backbenchers sent a 30-page report to Downing Street savaging the plan.

The damning report – compiled by the powerful European Research Group headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg – claimed the idea would ‘festoon the entire economy with burdensome controls, while crippling the ability of the UK’ to negotiate trade deals.

Cabinet Brexiteers Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis and Liam Fox are also lining up against the compromise blueprint, which would see Britain collect border duties on behalf of the EU.

Mr Rees-Mogg insisted this morning that he was not ‘threatening’ Mrs May. But he warned that the proposal would ‘not deliver on the Conservative Party manifesto or the Prime Minister’s other commitments’.

‘It would leave us de facto in the customs union and the single market,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The Prime Minister (pictured in Downing Street today) faces a showdown in a meeting with her Brexit 'war cabinet' today after sixty Eurosceptic Tory MPs backed a 30-page report savaging the plan

The Prime Minister (pictured in Downing Street today) faces a showdown in a meeting with her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ today after sixty Eurosceptic Tory MPs backed a 30-page report savaging the plan

David Davis

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson (right), Michael Gove, David Davis (left) and Liam Fox will also form a united front against the proposal, a source said

Downing Street has reportedly been warned in correspondence that accepting the customs partnership deal would bring about the 'collapse' of the Government. Pictured: Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is said to be willing to form a united front against the plan

Downing Street has reportedly been warned in correspondence that accepting the customs partnership deal would bring about the ‘collapse’ of the Government. Pictured: Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is said to be willing to form a united front against the plan

In a sign of the growing resistance, housing minister Dominic Raab broke cover to suggest opponents of the customs partnership were ‘winning the argument’.

He said he was ‘minded towards’ the other option proposed by the UK, of deploying technology and trusted trader schemes to minimise border checks.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said the PM was ‘listening’ to her MPs.

Supporters of the customs partnership concept believe it is the only way of protecting the economy and avoiding a hard Irish border.

But Downing Street has been warned that trying to force the plan through would bring about the ‘collapse’ of the Government.

If 60 MPs turned against Mrs May it would destroy her wafer thin Commons majority of 13 – and could bring her premiership to an end.

One European Research Group source told The Telegraph: ‘We have swallowed everything so far – but this is it.

‘If they don’t have confidence in Brexit we don’t have confidence in them. The Prime Minister will not have a majority if she does not kill off the NCP [New Customs Partnership].’

Brexiteers fear Mrs May will side with Mr Hammond, Business Secretary Greg Clark and her chief Brexit adviser Olly Robbins, who are championing the idea.

Mr Lidington played down the prospect of any final decision on the Brexit ‘war cabinet’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today the discussions would ‘start this afternoon and will probably continue in other meetings’.

The two proposals had been the subject of ‘intensive analytical work by civil servants’ who had been ‘looking at the practicalities, the operational challenges that would have to be surmounted, all these problems – the legal risks and so on’.

Liam Fox (pictured in Downing Street today) stopped short of saying explicitly that he would quit if Mrs May changed course, but left little doubt about his intentions

Liam Fox (pictured in Downing Street today) stopped short of saying explicitly that he would quit if Mrs May changed course, but left little doubt about his intentions

‘This will be the first time today for Cabinet colleagues to sit down and have a constructive discussion about the way forward,’ he said.

Mr Lidington added: ‘I expect we will come to a decision on this, as well as on other important elements of our negotiating position, over the next few weeks.’

He indicated that the full Cabinet may be invited to consider the position by Mrs May after the Brexit sub-committee has discussed the options.

She was also ‘talking all the time and listening all the time to voices of Conservative MPs, Conservative Party supporters, from all strands of the debate about Europe’. He added that before June’s summit of EU leaders ‘we need to be making every effort to ensure there is significant progress in the negotiations’.

The leading Brexiteers fear it would effectively keep the UK inside the EU’s customs union and wreck hopes of an independent trade policy.

‘The four are unambiguous in thinking this is a terrible idea,’ the source said.

Mr Gove has described the plan as ‘bonkers’ and Dr Fox yesterday hinted he could even resign if it went ahead.

Mr Davis, who has dismissed the proposal as ‘blue sky thinking’, is also reported to have told friends he could quit. Aides played down the prospect of a walk-out however.

The four hope to ‘peel off’ Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, both former Remainers.

Jacob Rees-Mogg urged the Prime Minister to abandon the partnership plan and challenge Remainers in Parliament who want to keep Britain inside the customs union.

The Eurosceptic MP said the partnership proposal, which has the backing of Chancellor Philip Hammond, would ‘result in the worst of all worlds and make us a vassal state’.

The Prime Minister is expected to warn ministers the proposal is the only one that can resolve the Northern Ireland border problem and get through Parliament.

One Whitehall source said the PM was more concerned about the prospect of a defeat in Parliament by diehard Remainers led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve than by the risk of a mutiny by Tory Eurosceptics.

‘The bottom line is, she is more afraid of Grieve than she is of Iain Duncan Smith,’ the source said.

The two options now on the table

New Customs Partnership —backed by Remainers

It would involve UK officials electronically tracking final destinations of goods coming to Britain. Those heading for Europe would pay the relevant EU tariff and the money handed over to Brussels. Firms selling to the UK would be eligible for a refund, if our tariff levels were lower.

In theory, the EU would have to make similar arrangements at its borders to track goods destined for the UK.

If it works – and many believe it won’t – it would theoretically allow the UK to leave the customs union and negotiate trade deals with non-EU countries. Crucially, by removing all physical EU-UK customs borders it would also provide the answer to the Ulster border.

Maximum Facilitation — supported by Brexiteers

This would attempt to dramatically reduce customs controls and barriers between the UK and the EU.

Goods would be electronically tracked and pre-cleared with the tax authorities.

Firms allowed to operate as ‘trusted traders’ – so they can move goods freely without having to pay duty every time goods moved across the border.

Officials admit this will be more bureaucratic than inside customs union but hope to create a ‘bespoke’ model.

It would allow Britain to do deals with non-EU nations, because we would not have to comply with EU tariffs.

But the EU has dismissed this proposal as ‘magical thinking’.

Another source said Mrs May could try to fudge the issue at today’s two-hour meeting to prevent destabilising the Government ahead of tomorrow’s local elections.

But if a deal is signed off it could be approved by the full Cabinet as early as next week.

Cabinet sources played down the prospect of immediate resignations, suggesting Eurosceptic ministers would rely on Brussels killing off the proposal later in the year.

Opinion in Mrs May’s 11-strong Brexit war cabinet is finely balanced. Friends of Mr Javid acknowledge he has held ‘bracingly Eurosceptic’ views for years, but point out that he is a pragmatist who ended up backing Remain in 2016.

Mr Williamson is opposed to the UK remaining in any customs union. But allies suggested he could be swayed by his loyalty to the PM. Today’s meeting has been called to discuss the Government’s two options for future customs dealings with the EU.

The ‘new customs partnership’ would require officials to track the final destination of all goods entering the UK and hand over relevant tariffs to Brussels on goods ending up in the EU. It would also require alignment with EU regulations in some sectors.

The second option – known as ‘maximum facilitation’ – is a looser arrangement, which would use technology to streamline customs controls, particularly at the Irish border.

The four hope to ‘peel off’ Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) and new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, both former Remainers

The four hope to ‘peel off’ Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (pictured) and new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, both former Remainers

The Prime Minister is expected to warn ministers the proposal is the only one that can resolve the Northern Ireland border problem and get through Parliament

The Prime Minister is expected to warn ministers the proposal is the only one that can resolve the Northern Ireland border problem and get through Parliament

The EU has raised doubts about whether controls could ever be seamless enough to prevent the need for a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Eurosceptic MPs have warned that Mrs May could face a leadership challenge unless she opts for a clean break with Brussels. One former minister said: ‘This would be the final straw.’

Unconfirmed reports earlier this month suggested that EU officials had dismissed both UK proposals. Mr Davis yesterday told the House of Lords EU committee: ‘The Commission did push back on both.’

Downing Street fears the Government’s hands could be tied if Remainers in Parliament rally round an amendment to the Trade Bill tabled by former Tory Minister Anna Soubry to keep Britain in a customs union.

Insiders believe the partnership idea could buy off enough rebels to avoid defeat.

Downing Street last night insisted the scheme could be delivered on time.

The damning report - compiled by the European Research Group, which is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured) - claimed the plan would ‘festoon the entire economy with burdensome controls, while crippling the ability of the UK’ to negotiate trade deals

The damning report – compiled by the European Research Group, which is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured) – claimed the plan would ‘festoon the entire economy with burdensome controls, while crippling the ability of the UK’ to negotiate trade deals

A No 10 spokesman said: ‘We are leaving the customs union and won’t be joining a customs union. We have put forward two proposals for addressing the customs issue in general and they will be discussed by the Government further.’

Yesterday, Dr Fox ramped up the pressure on May over Brexit – making clear he is ready to quit if she drops her red line on leaving the customs union.

The Trade Secretary said any form of customs union with the EU would be ‘unacceptable’ and worse than the UK’s current membership terms with the bloc.

The PM has repeatedly pledged that there will be no customs union after Brexit, but is struggling to find a way of reconciling the demands of Brexiteers and Remainers.

Tory rebels are threatening to side with Labour and other parties in a Commons vote on staying in the customs union expected next month.

They say keeping the ties are the only way to protect the economy and prevent a hard Irish border.

The Lords has already passed an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill designed to maintain a customs union – although ministers believe it is so loosely worded as to have little real impact.

But Eurosceptic Tories say they could move against Mrs May unless she holds the line on the crucial issue and ensures the UK can strike trade deals around the rest of the world.

The Cabinet met yesterday but is not thought to have discussed Brexit.

What is a customs partnership with the EU?

A customs partnership is less formal than the current EU customs union the UK is a member of.

Under the proposals, Britain would stay in a customs union with the EU for some sectors, while leaving it for others.

This would mean it would impose the same tariffs as the Brussels bloc on some goods, but set its own on others.

Backers of the plan say his would facilitate free trade in areas where Britain does  a lot of its business with the EU, while freeing the country to sign new free trade deals with other countries.

One possibility could be keeping the UK and EU in a customs union for trade in goods, but allowing divergence for the services sector.

Under the so-called ‘hybrid model’, the UK would collect EU import tariffs on behalf of Brussels and then pay it to the EU.

But Brexiteers are critical of the plan. which they think is unworkable and cumbersome.

They fear it will effectively stop the UK from being able to negotiate free trade deals around the world after Brexit.

A key moment could come tomorrow when a powerful sub-committee meets to thrash out the UK’s position – although it could delay a final decision.

Brexiteers have been trying to kill off a plan for a ‘customs partnership’ with the EU, which would see the UK collect taxes on behalf of the bloc.

Dr Fox said yesterday that staying in any form of customs union was not an option.

‘I don’t think we can stay in the customs union for a number of reasons, the main reason being that we would be in a worse position than we are today,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘If we were in a customs union with the European Union we would have to accept what the EU negotiated in terms of market access to the UK without the UK having a voice.

‘That’s worse than the position in which we found ourselves today in the European Union.

‘I don’t think there is a customs union that could ever be acceptable.

‘If we are in a customs union of any sort we will have less ability to shape Britain’s future than we have today. That is not what the public voted for.’

Dr Fox refused to say explicitly that he would quit if Mrs May changed course, but left little doubt about his intentions.

‘Getting no answer you can draw your own inferences,’ he said.

Mrs May’s task might have been made more difficult by Amber Rudd’s resignation amid the Windrush fiasco.

The Cabinet has been carefully designed to represent both Europhile and Eurosceptic factions within the Tory party – with Mrs May theoretically having a casting vote.

But while Ms Rudd was a full-hearted Remainer, it is not clear where her replacement Sajid Javid will fall in the debate.

He was seen as a reluctant backer of EU membership during the referendum two years ago.

The PM - pictured chatting with pupils at Brooklands Primary School in Sale, Manchester yesterday - is facing a battle to hold the Cabinet together behind her Brexit plans 

The PM – pictured chatting with pupils at Brooklands Primary School in Sale, Manchester yesterday – is facing a battle to hold the Cabinet together behind her Brexit plans

Trade Secretary Liam Fox (pictured right arriving for Cabinet with Boris Johnson today) said any form of customs union with the EU would be 'unacceptable'

Trade Secretary Liam Fox (pictured right arriving for Cabinet with Boris Johnson today) said any form of customs union with the EU would be ‘unacceptable’

Ms Rudd, pictured leaving her London home today, has returned to the backbenches

Mr Javid, pictured on his way to work this morning, is set to play a crucial role in the looming clashes over a future trade deal with the EU

Mr Javid, pictured on his way to work this morning, is set to play a crucial role in the looming clashes over a future trade deal with the EU. But Ms Rudd, pictured leaving her London home today, has returned to the backbenches

Amber Rudd was thought to have been backing Mrs May ahead of a crunch showdown on the customs union in the Brexit 'war Cabinet' sub-committee (pictured together in February). But it is unclear where Mr Javid will fall on the issue

Amber Rudd was thought to have been backing Mrs May ahead of a crunch showdown on the customs union in the Brexit ‘war Cabinet’ sub-committee (pictured together in February). But it is unclear where Mr Javid will fall on the issue


Prime Minister Theresa May

Backed Remain, has since insisted she will push through Brexit, leaving the single market and customs union.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington

A strong Remainer during the referendum campaign, recently made clear he has not changed his mind about it being better if the country had chosen to stay in the bloc.

Chancellor Philip Hammond

Seen as one of the main advocates of ‘soft’ Brexit in the Cabinet. Has been accused of trying to keep the UK tied to key parts of the customs union for years after the transition ends.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid 

Brought in to replace Amber Rudd after she resigned amid the Windrush scandal, Mr Javid was seen as a reluctant Remainer in the referendum.

Many thought the former high-flying banker would plump for the Leave campaign, but he eventually claimed to have been won over by the economic case. He is likely to focus be guided by evidence about trade calculations in discussions over how closely aligned the UK should be with the EU.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson 

The Brexit champion in the Cabinet, has been agitating for a more robust approach and previously played down the problems of leaving with no deal.

He is said to be unhappy with plans for a tight customs arrangement with Brussels – warning that it could effectively mean being lashed to the EU indefinitely.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Has buried the hatchet with Mr Johnson after brutally ending his Tory leadership campaign in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation.

Thought to be less concerned with short term concessions that Mr Johnson, but focused on ensuring the UK is free from Brussels rules in the longer term.

Brexit Secretary David Davis 

A long-time Eurosceptic and veteran of the 1990s Maastricht battles, brought back by Mrs May in 2016 to oversee the day-to-day negotiations.

He has said the government will be seeking a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal from the EU.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox

Another Brexiteer, his red lines are about the UK’s ability to strike trade deals with the rest of the world, and escaping Brussels red tape.

Business Secretary Greg Clark 

On the softer Brexit side of the Cabinet, Mr Clark is thought to have supported Mr Hammond’s efforts to maintain close links with the customs union.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson 

A close ally of the Prime Minister and viewed by some as her anointed successor. He is believed to be siding with the Brexiteers on the need for Britain to be able to diverge from EU rules.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley 

Supported Remain but a relatively unknown quantity on the shape of a deal. Replaced James Brokenshire, another May loyalist, after he resigned on health grounds last month.

What are the options for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit?

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker agreed the outline of a divorce deal in December

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker agreed the outline of a divorce deal in December

Theresa May and the EU effectively fudged the Irish border issue in the Brexit divorce deal before Christmas.

But the commitments to leave the EU customs union, keep a soft border, and avoid divisions within the UK were always going to need reconciling at some stage. Currently 110million journeys take place across the border every year.

All sides in the negotiations insist they want to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but their ideas for how the issues should be solved are very different.

If they fail to strike a deal it could mean a hard border on the island – which could potentially put the Good Friday Agreement at risk.

The agreement – struck in 1998 after years of tense negotiations and a series of failed ceasefires – brought to an end decades of the Troubles.

More than 3,500 people died in the ‘low level war’ that saw British Army checkpoints manning the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Both London and Dublin fear reinstalling a hard border – whether by checkpoints or other means – would raise tensions and provoke a renewal of extremism or even violence if people and goods were not able to freely cross.

The DUP – which opposed the Good Friday Agreement – is determined to maintain Northern Ireland inside the UK at all costs, while also insisting it wants an open border.

The UK blueprint:

The PM has made clear her favoured outcome for Brexit is a deep free trade deal with the EU.

The UK side has set out two options for how the border could look.

One would see a highly streamlined customs arrangement, using a combination of technology and goodwill to minimise the checks on trade.

There would be no entry or exit declarations for goods at the border, while ‘advanced’ IT and trusted trader schemes would remove the need for vehicles to be stopped.

Boris Johnson has suggested that a slightly ‘harder’ border might be acceptable, as long as it was invisible and did not inhibit flow of people and goods.

However, critics say that cameras to read number plates would constitute physical infrastructure and be unacceptable.

The second option has been described as a customs partnership, which would see the UK collect tariffs on behalf of the EU – along with its own tariffs for goods heading into the wider British market.

However, this option has been causing deep disquiet among Brexiteers who regard it as experimental. They fear it could become indistinguishable from actual membership of the customs union, and might collapse.

Brussels has dismissed both options as ‘Narnia’ – insisting no-one has shown how they can work with the UK outside an EU customs union.

The EU blueprint:

The divorce deal set out a ‘fallback’ option under which the UK would maintain ‘full alignment’ with enough rules of the customs union and single market to prevent a hard border and protect the Good Friday Agreement.

The inclusion of this clause, at the demand of Ireland, almost wrecked the deal until Mrs May added a commitment that there would also be full alignment between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

But the EU has now translated this option into a legal text – and hardened it further to make clear Northern Ireland would be fully within the EU customs union.

Mrs May says no Prime Minister could ever agree to such terms, as they would undermine the constitutional integrity of the UK.

A hard border:

Neither side wants a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

But they appear to be locked in a cyclical dispute, with each adamant the other’s solutions are impossible to accept.

If there is no deal and the UK and EU reverts to basic World Trade Organisation (WTO) relationship, theoretically there would need to be physical border posts with customs checks on vehicles and goods.

That could prove catastrophic for the Good Friday Agreement, with fears terrorists would resurface and the cycle of violence escalate.

Many Brexiteers have suggested Britain could simply refuse to erect a hard border – and dare the EU to put up their own fences.

+++ O.P. (EXP) Ricardo Salgado e Morais Pires conhecem decisão de impugnação de coimas aplicadas pelo Banco de Portugal


Eu sei que esta opinião pessoal vai ser polémica.

Mas sei que é meu dever a publicitar.

Se há uma entidade em Portugal, mas que nem depende de Portugal, em que se não deve confiar, é o Banco de Portugal.

Basta ler as minhas Opiniões Pessoais e ver o que aconteceu nos últimos anos.

Embora não tenha a mais pequena simpatia nem compreensão pela ex administração do Banco Espírito Santo, tenho repulsa e indignação por qualquer condenação por parte do Banco de Portugal, que sempre soube de tudo, e que na realidade, se tal possível legalmente fosse,(mas não é, devido às imunidades decorrentes dos acordos da UE), devia era estar sentado no banco dos réus.

Basta aliás atentar ao comportamento do Banco de Portugal face à Comissão de Mercado de Valores Mobiliários no caso do Banco Espírito Santo (entre outros), para se perceber o que eu estou a dizer.

E para que não existam quaisquer dúvidas assino reproduzindo parte do Sub Menu About que consta deste site há anos:

“Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira 

Vice Chairman and CEO of the “Portuguese Association of Investment Companies – APC”, a Legal Entity, Member of The Advisory Board of the CMVM (FSA equivalent), Member of The Portuguese Government Advisory Council on Capital Markets “Conselho Nacional do Mercado de Valores Mobiliarios”, Presided by the Minister of Finance, and in consequence Advisor to The Government of The Portuguese Republic.”

(ExpressoO Tribunal de Supervisão, em Santarém, tem agendado para esta segunda-feira a leitura da sentença sobre as coimas aplicadas a Salgado e Morais Pires pelo BdP. Em causa está a comercialização de dívida da Espírito Santo Internacional junto de clientes.

O ex-presidente do BES, Ricardo Salgado, e o antigo administrador Amílcar Morais Pires conhecem esta segunda-feira a sentença do Tribunal da Supervisão ao pedido de impugnação das coimas de 4 milhões e de 600 mil euros, respetivamente, aplicadas em 2016 pelo Banco de Portugal.

Em causa no processo, que tem a leitura da sentença marcada para esta segunda-feira, estão as contraordenações aplicadas pelo Banco de Portugal (BdP), em agosto de 2016, nomeadamente por comercialização de títulos de dívida da Espírito Santo Internacional junto de clientes do Banco Espírito Santo (BES).

Coima de 3,5 milhões euros para Salgado e de 300 mil para Morais Pires

Nas alegações finais, proferidas em dezembro, o Ministério Público pediu a redução das coimas aplicadas a Ricardo Salgado, de 4 para 3,5 milhões de euros, e ao ex-administrador Amílcar Morais Pires, de 600 mil euros para 300 mil euros, por entender não ter ficado provado que este atuou com dolo, mas sim de forma negligente, e considerar alguns atenuantes em relação ao antigo presidente do BES.

Para a procuradora Edite Palma, Amílcar Morais Pires deve ser condenado ao pagamento de uma coima de 300 mil euros, suspensa em dois terços, e deve ser revogada a sanção acessória de inibição do exercício de cargos dirigentes no setor financeiro e bancário durante três anos, mantendo a obrigação de publicitar a eventual condenação.

No caso de Ricardo Salgado, a redução de 4 para 3,5 milhões de euros foi acompanhada do pedido de uma suspensão em um terço, mantendo-se a sanção acessória de inibição do exercício de cargos no setor durante 10 anos e de publicitação.

O mandatário do Banco de Portugal João Raposo não acompanhou o pedido de Edite Palma, reafirmando que a decisão sancionatória do supervisor “é justa”.

Já as defesas dos arguidos apontaram os valores das coimas aplicadas pelo BdP, que consideraram não ter comparação com qualquer moldura de processos crime.

Defesa de Salgado e Morais Pires invocam vícios processuais

O facto de a procuradora ter proposto ao Tribunal a “reorganização dos factos” constantes da acusação levou Raul Soares da Veiga, advogado de defesa de Amílcar Morais Pires, e os mandatários de Salgado a reafirmarem a existência de vícios processuais que, no seu entender, deverão levar a juíza Anabela Campos a declarar nula a decisão do BdP.

Alegaram ainda que os administradores que “tinham conhecimento de toda a dívida” ou foram absolvidos ou foram alvo de contraordenações mínimas, como foi o caso de José Maria Ricciardi (60 mil euros, suspensa em três quartos por cinco anos), que optou por pagar e desistiu do recurso.

O julgamento que se iniciou em 06 de março de 2017 no Tribunal da Concorrência, Regulação e Supervisão (TCRS), em Santarém, apreciou os pedidos de impugnação apresentados por Ricardo Salgado e Amílcar Pires no âmbito de um processo que começou por ter 18 arguidos (15 singulares e três coletivos), 13 dos quais alvo de coimas.

Ricardo Salgado foi condenado ao pagamento de 4 milhões de euros e ficou impedido de exercer cargos no setor por 10 anos como resultado da aplicação de cinco coimas por não implementação de sistemas de informação e comunicação adequados, por não implementação de um sistema de gestão de riscos sólido, eficaz e consistente, no que concerne à atividade de colocação de produtos emitidos por terceiros, por atos dolosos de gestão ruinosa, praticados em detrimento dos depositantes, investidores e demais credores, por prestação de falsas informações ao BdP, por violação das regras sobre conflitos de interesses.

A defesa de Ricardo Salgado – conduzida por Francisco Proença de Carvalho e Adriano Squilacce – retomou, nas alegações finais, muita da argumentação já constante do recurso, pondo em causa a atuação do BdP, que, no seu entender, “transformou arguidos em testemunhas”, numa forma de “delação premiada”, sem regras e “utilizada para responsabilizar” quem o supervisor “já tinha condenado”, em particular o governador Carlos Costa, que “três dias depois da abertura do processo já tinha decidido”.

Os advogados invocaram ainda o pedido da procuradora do Ministério Público, Edite Palma, para que o tribunal desconsidere o testemunho de José Castella (cujas declarações no TCRS foram extraídas para averiguação da atuação dos instrutores do processo que o inquiriram na fase administrativa), a que acrescentaram o pedido de igual tratamento para o depoimento de Francisco Machado da Cruz, a que chamaram a “testemunha rainha” do BdP.

Amílcar Morais Pires foi alvo de duas contraordenações por não implementação de sistemas de informação e comunicação adequados e não implementação de um sistema de gestão de riscos sólido, eficaz e consistente, no que concerne à atividade de colocação de produtos emitidos por terceiros.

P.O. (BBG) Japan Ship Takes ‘P.O. First of Many’ U.S. Gas Loads in Nod to Trump

The US is now a net exporter of fossil fuels…
I forecasted this 4 years ago, and had a major argument with the Research Department of a Global Bank.
They would not agree with me.
I simply ignored them…
I was told a few months ago that none of them works in that bank anymore, nor in the industry for that matter…


(BBG) The giant Japanese gas tanker LNG Sakura is doing its share to appease President Donald Trump’s frustration over trade with Asia.

The vessel with the largest spherical tanks in the liquefied natural gas industry is taking the first shipment from Dominion Energy Inc.’s Cove Point terminal in Maryland to the Asian nation. With a name that means cherry blossom, the ship can serve “as a symbol of friendship and goodwill between Japan and the United States,” according to co-owner Nippon Yusen KK.

The shipment is the “the first of many” as “US LNG will power millions of Japanese homes and businesses,” according to a post on Twitter from the U.S. embassy in Tokyo.

It’s an easy win for both countries.

For the Trump administration, which has been pushing for Asian purchases of America’s abundant shale gas supplies to reduce a trade imbalance, it suggests the pressure may be working. Japan, the largest buyer of LNG in the world, needs the fuel to meet power demand at its highest level since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Most importantly, keeping good relations with the U.S., the largest buyer of its exports after China, is vital for Japan’s economy.

“There’s definitely been concern in the Japanese government about the Trump administration’s focus on trade deficits, so this may be a effort to demonstrate that Japan is working that issue,” said Jason Feer, global head of business intelligence at Poten & Partners. “It’s interesting the first Japanese-owned cargo from that facility is actually going to” that country.

Just a few weeks after the second U.S. gas export terminal started commercial service, LNG Sakura left the facility on April 22 and is headed for Japan, Hiromi Sato, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, said in an email late on Tuesday.

Although Asian nations are signing multiple long-term contracts with U.S. LNG exporters, there is uncertainty over how much they would actually import themselves rather than sell to the global market’s highest bidder. The latter case wouldn’t help reduce deficits with the U.S., so confirmation that LNG Sakura’s load is a Japanese import comes as a good sign of cooperation to avoid a pending trade war.

During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the White House this month, he and Trump announced a new trade dialogue.

Shale gas sent from U.S. fields is expected to rival Australia and Qatar for worldwide dominance in the next five years as three more export terminals may open on the Gulf Coast by 2019.

Japan is already the fifth largest importer of U.S. LNG, having bought 20 cargoes as of April 18 from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass since it started liquefying the fuel in 2016. Dominion’s Cove Point has agreements to sell gas to a joint venture of Sumitomo Corp. and Tokyo Gas Co., but those cargoes could be resold in transit.

Kansai Electric Power Co. is the beneficial owner of Sakura, with 70 percent. NYK owns the remaining stake in the vessel.

+++ P.O. (BBG) Pompeo Wins Surprise Support by Senate Panel to Lead State Dept.


A wise decision by the Senate panel in my point of view.

To reject the confirmation of Mr Michael Richard Pompeo the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, not only would have been the first time it would have happened since at least 1925, but also could have compromised the Summit and the arrangements between President Trump and President Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Mr Pompeo has visited North Korea recently and has held talks with President Kim Jong-un. 

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(Bloomberg) — A divided Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state, paving the way for the CIA director to gain approval from the full Senate later this week and handing a victory to President Donald Trump.

The committee on Monday backed Pompeo’s nomination after Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, reversed his earlier opposition. Paul had come under pressure from fellow Republicans — including Trump — to ensure Pompeo didn’t become the first secretary of state nominee rejected by the committee since at least 1925.

After considerable debate over whether a missing Republican’s vote for the nomination could be recorded, the committee voted 11-9-1 along party lines, with Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware voting present to offset the proxy vote of Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson. Isakson was absent to attend a funeral.

Ultimately, the party-line vote didn’t matter much since Republican leaders including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had vowed to bring the nomination before the full Senate this week regardless of the committee’s decision. A negative vote would have been embarrassing for both Pompeo and the White House.

Paul announced his decision in a tweet just before the committee convened, saying that “today I received confirmation” that Pompeo supports “President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan.”

Critical Comments

Democrats said they were concerned about Pompeo’s perceived hawkishness as well as comments he had made in the past that were critical of Muslims and gays. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the Foreign Relations panel’s top Democrat, said in a statement last week that the former Tea Party congressman also has shown a “preference for military action before exhausting diplomacy.”

Some of the critics expressed concern that Pompeo would embolden what they see as Trump’s impulsive tendencies rather than moderate them, and reverse Democratic policy victories such as the nuclear deal with Iran.

With a razor-thin Republican majority in the Senate and Democrats largely opposed to Pompeo’s nomination, the White House has been playing up his readiness for the job, casting him as an already crucial member of Trump’s foreign-policy circle who sees him most mornings in his role of CIA chief to help deliver the intelligence community’s classified daily briefing.

That reputation was bolstered by Pompeo’s effective designation as the administration’s point person on North Korea, where he traveled over the Easter weekend to meet with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

The White House, in a statement late Monday night, praised the committee’s approval, saying that “the American people are one step closer to having their top diplomat in place at a critical time in our history.”

Corker’s Support

“There is probably no one in the United States that knows more about what’s happening around the world today than Mike Pompeo,” Corker said at the start of the panel’s hearing. Corker cited Pompeo’s close relationship with Trump as a key reason to back the nominee.

If confirmed in time, Pompeo has said he will start traveling overseas immediately. Foreign ministers of the NATO alliance will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, and the State Department is working out contingency plans to have him replace Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan on the trip in case he clears the Senate.

Along with continuing to shepherd the diplomatic outreach to North Korea, Pompeo will have a key role in advising Trump about the future of the Iran nuclear deal. In remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing on April 12, Pompeo said he was eager to discuss the accord — which he called a “critical and time-sensitive topic” — with allies in Brussels. Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to keep waiving sanctions against Iran and remain in the deal.