US Treasury Chief Tells IMF He Expects ‘Frank and Candid’ Forex Analysis

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Tuesday that he expects the IMF to

provide “frank and candid” analysis of exchange rate policies, a Treasury spokesperson said.

In a phone call with Lagarde, the spokesperson said, Mnuchin also “noted the importance that the administration places on boosting economic growth and jobs in the United States, and looked forward to robust IMF economic policy advice on its member countries and tackling global imbalances.”

The conversation on U.S. priorities occurred as officials from the Group of 20 major economies express concern about how the United States will approach multilateral institutions and delicately crafted G-20 language on foreign exchange cooperation, trade and other economic policies.

As President Donald Trump pursues an “America First” agenda aimed at reversing chronic trade deficits with China, Mexico, Germany and other major trading partners, some are concerned his administration could back away from pledges to maintain an open global trading system.

“I believe the Trump administration will try to leverage the IMF and the G-20 to help achieve its external objectives and escalate pressure on China and Germany,” said Domenico Lombardi, a former IMF board official who is now with the Center for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian think tank.

Targeting currency manipulation

Throughout his election campaign, Trump accused China of manipulating its yuan currency to gain an export advantage over the United States. And Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro in late January said Germany was using a “grossly undervalued” euro to do the same. Both countries have large bilateral trade surpluses with the United States.

But IMF officials no longer view the yuan as undervalued, especially since China’s central bank has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up the yuan over the past year to counter capital outflows.

The euro’s value against the dollar is widely viewed as a function of still-weak fundamentals in key eurozone economies and the European Central Bank’s use of negative interest rates at a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve is raising rates.

A ‘constructive discussion’

Mnuchin, who was sworn in as Treasury secretary just a week ago, has yet to lay out his priorities. Before his Senate confirmation, he pledged to work through the IMF, the G-7 and G-20 to address currency manipulation as an unfair trade practice.

But he added in written remarks to senators: “The IMF and other multilateral institutions do not appear to have prevented nations from manipulating the value of their own currencies.”

In the call with Lagarde, the Treasury spokesperson said Mnuchin “underscored his expectation that the IMF provide frank and candid analysis of the exchange rate policies of IMF member countries.”

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said that Lagarde “had a constructive discussion with Secretary Mnuchin on a wide range of issues of interest to our membership. We look forward to continuing our close and productive engagement with the U.S. authorities.”

US is largest IMF shareholder

The United States is by far the IMF’s largest shareholder, with about 17 percent of its board voting power, enough for an effective veto over many major decisions.

It is unclear how Mnuchin might wield U.S. influence over the IMF on issues such as whether it should commit resources to Europe’s bailout of Greece.

In his written remarks to senators, Mnuchin said the Trump administration will “ensure that U.S. resources placed in international institutions such as the IMF and multilateral development banks are used to promote policies consistent with the objectives of the United States to the greatest extent


Millions Targeted for Possible Deportation Under Trump Rules

Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation — including people simply arrested for traffic violations — under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged with or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses, or simply having crossed the border illegally.

The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.

Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they were before.

More opposition expected

The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He’s also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border — he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill — and Kelly’s memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.

Trump’s earlier immigration orders, which banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

Kelly’s enforcement plans call for enforcing a long-standing but obscure provision of immigration law that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. Those foreigners would wait in that country for U.S. deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren’t considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo says.

That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it’s unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. But the memo also calls for Homeland Security to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.

Historically, the U.S. has quickly repatriated Mexican nationals caught at the border but has detained immigrants from other countries pending deportation proceedings that could take years.

Tougher enforcement

The memos do not change U.S. immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations. It will now be applied to immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States longer than two years. It’s unclear how many immigrants that could include.

Since at least 2002 that fast deportation effort — which does not require a judge’s order — has been used only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border, within two weeks of crossing illegally.

The administration also plans to expand immigration jail capacity. Currently, Homeland Security has money and space to jail 34,000 immigrants at a time. It’s unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives.

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

However, Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos “overturn dangerous” policies from the Obama administration.

Young people

The directives do not affect former President Barack Obama’s program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to immediately end that program, which he described as illegal amnesty.

The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations.

Under the Obama administration, more than 100,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught at the border. Most were reunited with parents or relatives living in the United States, regardless of the adults’ immigration status.

The enforcement memos also call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, but it’s unclear how quickly that could take place. Currently, two of every three applicants for Customs and Border Protection jobs fail polygraph exams, and there are about 2,000 vacancies.

The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents and a program that used fingerprint records from local jails to identify immigrants who had been arrested.

US Supreme Court Weighs Foreigners’ Rights to File Lawsuit in American Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared evenly divided on the right of Mexican parents to file a lawsuit in American courts against a U.S. border agent who killed their teenage son by firing a shot across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Justice Anthony Kennedy and other conservatives on the court voiced skepticism about the parents’ lawsuit, while the court’s four liberal justices indicated they supported it because the 2010 shooting occurred near the border in an area the two countries jointly maintain.

A 4-4 split among the justices would leave in place a lower-court ruling dismissing the claims brought by the parents against the agent, Jesus Mesa. However, the court could delay a ruling in the event of a tie vote and wait to see whether the Senate confirms the nomination of a conservative appellate court judge, Neil Gorsuch, to fill the open, ninth seat on the court. The Supreme Court could then hear new arguments in the dispute.

Kennedy said the Mexican and American governments should resolve the case, noting that the border “is one of the most sensitive areas in foreign affairs.”

The court case stems from an incident that occurred in a cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The circumstances of the shooting remain in dispute, but it is clear that Mesa was on the U.S. side of the border when he fired a shot, killing Sergio Hernandez on the Mexican side. The high court is weighing what rights foreigners have to file a lawsuit in the U.S. judicial system.  

The border area remains at the forefront of U.S. immigration concerns, with President Donald Trump vowing to build a wall to thwart illegal immigration into the United States.

On Tuesday, the U.S. announced tougher rules aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants who have been charged with crimes or convicted, while adding thousands of new agents to patrol the border.

White House on Trump Battle with Media: Respect Is a ‘Two-way Street’

The White House press secretary on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump for labeling the press the “enemy of the American people” and accused some news organizations of purposely reporting biased, inaccurate information.

At the daily press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president has “deep respect for the First Amendment and the role of the press,” but added “it’s a two-way street.”

Spicer slammed “certain outlets” he claimed had “gone out of their way not to be completely accurate and fair about what is going on.”

“It is a concern to him,” Spicer said.

Trump said in a tweet last week that the “FAKE NEWS MEDIA (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

The statement represented an escalation in Trump’s long-running quarrel with the media, which he has referred to as “dishonest,” fake” and even part of the “opposition party.”

Critics, including Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, defended media outlets.

“If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press,” said McCain on NBC’s Meet The Press program.

Past U.S. presidents have battled the news media. But rarely, if ever, has the relationship between the media and the White House been so contentious.

On Tuesday, Spicer took specific aim at reports suggesting Trump had been careless with classified information during his response to North Korea’s recent missile test.

Various reports said Trump and other senior White House officials made phone calls and discussed other sensitive matters in the full view of private individuals at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Asked Tuesday about the incident, Spicer said Trump and other White House officials followed the appropriate security guidelines and had already been briefed in a secure location.

“It’s amazing that a photo gets out and the president has a piece of paper, and the immediate conclusion is that he’s got to be talking about classified information,” Spicer said.

“When you talk about coverage, we have a free press, we have the right to say and do as they believe, but at some point it is incumbent on people to try to get it right,” he said. “And in that case, it wasn’t even attempted.”

Фірташа затримали в Австрії в новій справі проти нього

Затримання відбулося через кілька хвилин по тому, як Фірташ вийшов із зали суду, який дозволив його екстрадицію до США

Новим депутатом «Блоку Петра Порошенка» замість Савченка може стати юридичний радник «Рошен»

На зміну Олексія Савченка до Верховної Ради за списком «Блоку Петра Порошенка» може пройти головний юридичний радник дочірнього підприємства «Кондитерської корпорації «Рошен»» Юрій Буглак.

На сайті ЦВК він перебуває у партійних списках «Блоку Петра Порошенка» під номером 81. Наступним після нього зазначено колишнього міністра юстиції Романа Зварича та Михайла Бейліна, колишнього позаштатного радника екс-голови Адміністрації президента Бориса Ложкіна.

21 лютого Верховна Рада припинила депутатські повноваження Олексія Савченка. У жовтні минулого року президент Петро Порошенко призначив його головою Миколаївської обласної адміністрації із випробувальним терміном у три місяці після рекомендації Комісії з питань вищого корпусу держслужби за результатами відкритого конкурсу.

Висвітлюючи перебіг цього конкурсу, журналісти програми «Схеми» показали, що під час конкурсу Савченко припустився численних орфографічних помилок у письмовій презентації, а 40 питань тестових завдань склав за рекордну швидкість – 6 хвилин і 4 секунди, тоді як його найближчому конкуренту знадобилося на це 32 хвилин.

Після розголосу про рівень грамотності нового очільника Миколаївщини Комісія з питань держслужби змінила й ускладнила правила для допуску журналістів до зйомок перебігу конкурсів. Окрім того, комісія не публікує результати письмового тестування кандидатів на державні посади, а оголошує лише загальний бал за підсумками трьох етапів конкурсу. Так само члени комісії не оприлюднюють кількість балів, виставлених кожному кандидату за результатами всіх етапів конкурсу і фінального голосування.

Одного українського військового поранено за добу станом на вечір – штаб

Упродовж доби продовжувались обстріли українських позицій, одного військового поранено, повідомляють у штабі української воєнної операції на Донбасі. Загалом, за даними штабу, за добу зафіксовано 35 обстрілів із мінометів, гранатометів, кулеметів великого калібру та мінометів.

Представники угруповання «ЛНР» зявляють про 16 випадків порушення «режиму тиші» з боку України.

У свою чергу, представники угруповання «ДНР», які рахують не порушення перемир’я, а кожен окремий постріл, повідомляють про більш ніж тисячу пострілів по підконтрольній їм території з боку українських військових зі стрілецької зброї, танків і БМП.

Під час зустрічі Тристоронньої контактної групи щодо Донбасу, яка відбулася у Мінську 15 лютого, сторони домовилися відвести важке озброєння від лінії розмежування на Донбасі до 20 лютого.

Міністри закордонних справ країн «нормандської четвірки» під час зустрічі на Мюнхенській конференції заявили про готовність вплинути на впровадження режиму припинення вогню на Донбасі з 20 лютого.

Контактна група зі врегулювання ситуації на Донбасі неодноразово оголошувала режим тиші на сході України, проте обстріли тривають, а сторони конфлікту звинувачують одна одну в порушенні перемир’я.

Mexico Says New Tariffs in NAFTA Talks Would be Disastrous

Any attempt to introduce quotas or tariffs to the North American Free Trade Agreement would be disastrous for the three-nation treaty, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo on Tuesday told a Toronto conference on the future of North America.

U.S. President Donald Trump — who says free trade treaties have cost countless thousands of American jobs — wants NAFTA to be renegotiated with a focus on cutting his country’s large trade deficit with Mexico.

One idea floating in Washington is that of a border tariff, which could hit Mexican exports.

“Nothing in the new NAFTA should be a step backward. We will definitely not include any type of trade management measures, like quotas, or open the Pandora’s box of tariffs,” Guajardo said.

“That will be disastrous in any process moving forward,” he said.

New tariffs would result in special interests in all three nations asking for protection, Guajardo predicted.

Trump has revealed little about his intentions for NAFTA, which came into force in 1994, except that he wants to tweak the U.S. trading relationship with Canada while pushing for larger changes with Mexico.

Canadian officials have suggested the United States would first negotiate with Canada and then focus on Mexico, an approach that trade experts say is almost unworkable and one that Mexico dislikes.

Guajardo said the bulk of the NAFTA talks would have to be carried out on a trilateral basis to give investors confidence that the same set of investment rules applied to all three nations. For the talks to succeed, governments in all three nations would have to prove they had benefited, he added.

“If I don’t go back home with a trade agreement that can be clearly understood as a beneficial outcome for Mexico, there is no way the Mexican Senate will approve it,” he said.

The Mexican government expects the talks to start this summer, said Guajardo, who stressed several times how well Canada and Mexico had worked together in the past on trade.

Guajardo and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray were to hold talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland later on Tuesday.

Freeland said earlier this month that Canada opposed the idea of the United States imposing new border tariffs and would respond to any such move.