N KOREA/USA – The U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed new sanctions on a N. Korean company and 11 N Korean nationals.  Those involved are said to have ties to weapons programs, banks and commodities trading connected to money used for the blacklisted Korea Ryonbong General Corporation. The move is part of the opening shots by the Trump administration as it formulates its N Korea strategy.

ISIS/DEATH – The deputy to IS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ayad al-Jumaili, was killed in an Iraqi airstrike near the Syrian border, according to Reuters quoting Iraqi intelligence.

COMING UP

The big set piece event of the week has to be in Mar-a-Lago where President Trump hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping for a two-day summit (Thurs/Fri). Front and centre – trade. Xi wants to avoid a trade war and so will come bearing investment deals and making encouraging noises about co-operating on the N Korean situation.  Speaking of which – Pyongyang may time another nuclear test launch for the summit which would go down very badly with both sides.  Today President Trump hosts the Egyptian President, Abdel Fatah el Sisi, in Washington.

The EU/Japan free trade talks are interesting insofar as until now the entry point to the EU for Japan was the UK. With TPP dead, and the TTIP in trouble Japan is now looking for a no tariff trade deal with the EU which of course will now not involve the UK.

DIARY

April 3 – U.S. President Trump talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Washington.

April 3/9 – Venezuela phases in new foreign currency exchange

April 3 Belarusian President Lukashenko in Russia.

April 4/5 – S Korea hosts Europe-Asia global cybersecurity conference in Seoul.

April 4/13 – Dalai Lama visits Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

April 5 – Jordan’s King Adbullah II in USA.

April 6/7 –  Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S President Donald Trump summit at Mar-a-Lago.

April 6 – Irish PM Enda Kenny meets Chancellor Merkel in Berlin to discuss EU’s Brexit strategy.

April 7 – Eurogroup meets to discuss Greece.

April 7 – Colombian government and National Liberation Army (ELN) Expected to reach agreement over the removal of landmines.

April 7/10 – Bangladeshi PM Hasina in India to meet with PM Modi.

April 9 – Australian PM Turnbull in India.

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