Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said leaving the EU without a deal on future trade would be a “good outcome” for Britain.
He warned that London would walk away from talks with Brussels unless agreement can be found by mid-October.
In another potential blow to the negotiations on post-Brexit trade, which are due to resume on Tuesday, Johnson’s government wants to pass a bill in parliament to override part of Britain’s EU withdrawal agreement, the Financial Times reported.
An “internal market bill,’’ due to be published on Wednesday, would override provisions in the withdrawal agreement on state aid and separate customs arrangements for Northern Ireland, the newspaper said.
Johnson is expected to insist on Monday that any agreement on future trade must be finalised by Oct. 15, Downing Street said.
“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on,” he said in advance excerpts of his remarks.
In the absence of an agreement, Britain would begin trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules, like Australia, Johnson said.
“I want to be absolutely clear that, as we have said right from the start, that would be a good outcome for the UK,” he said.
Britain formally left the EU in January and entered a transition period until the end of the year, during which it still belongs to the EU single market and customs union.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Obike Ukoh
EU Diplomats to discuss ways to support Libyan ceasefire on Monday – Borrell
The EU’s foreign ministers will discuss efforts to shore up Libyan ceasefire later on Monday, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, cautiously expressing optimism over the developments in the conflict-hit country.
In August, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) declared an immediate ceasefire in a move that was backed by the rival eastern-based parliament.
Last week, GNA Head Fayez Sarraj announced his intention to resign and transfer powers to a new executive authority by the end of October.
“After many months I see a reason for cautious optimism. There is a positive momentum, there is a ceasefire and we need to use it,” Borrell said upon the arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council.
The top diplomat would also brief the council on his visits to Libya and Egypt.
According to Borrell, the bloc has “concrete decisions” on a Libyan sanctions list, which will be announced at a press conference later in the day.
Along with Libya, the council will focus on Belarus and relations with Africa.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports
Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.
Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.
Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.
But it was still unclear when production might restart.
“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.
More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.
“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’
Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.
Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
BHP in talks with three firms for LNG bunker supply contract – Executive
A contract is expected to be awarded next month after an initial eight to 10 firms vied for delivery of the super-chilled fuel to the miner over 2022 to 2027, Rashpal Bhatti, BHP’s Vice-President for maritime and supply chain excellence told Reuters.
BHP earlier this month awarded a tender to charter five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions on voyages to biggest customer China by more than 30 per cent.
The five vessels will be able to carry about 10 million tonnes per year (tpy) of iron ore or about 3.6 per cent of BHP’s 280 million tpy in exports.
“Our five vessels will make up 10 per cent of all Asian (LNG) bunkering volumes.
Miners are under pressure to reduce pollution to meet concerns about the environment, while investors increasingly demand that companies offer a compelling sustainability strategy.
“When it comes to cost, the build of the vessel is more expensive than a conventional vessel … but the gas supply is the one that really allows us to take a like for like view.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Election: PDP commends INEC, Buhari, Edo people
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan at a news conference in Abuja on Sunday, urged INEC to extend the process to future elections, especially the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
“Our party also notes the efforts of the INEC under Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in ensuring that Edo election was conducted in a manner that was largely adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible.
“Nigerians hope that what we have witnessed in Edo will not be an off-season procedure in the commission. We demand that this credible process applies to all our elections.
“The PDP applauds the use of virtual portal by INEC to upload results directly from the polling unit, the base of our election, which made it impossible for electoral violators to hijack this electoral process.
“We however urge INEC to strengthen its processes, particularly in the area of card readers, to forestall the type of delays witnessed in accreditation of voters in Edo.
“Our party also notes the improvement in the activities of our security agencies compared to past elections. We hope that our security organs will continue in this stead in future elections.
“The Edo election has indeed shown that credible elections are possible in our country if we play by the rules,” he said.
Ologbondiyan commended President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing credible election, imploring him to continue in the spirit of ensuring that the people were allowed to freely choose their leaders at all elections.
He urged the President to continue to toe the line of allowing for electoral uprightness for posterity.
He, however, said that Edo election must serve as a loud lesson to “political godfathers”, that power belongs only to God.
“He confers through the people; and that no matter how an individual strives to lord it over others, the will of God, through the people, will always prevail,” he said.
Ologbondiyan congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki, on his reelection and the people of Edo for their choice.
“This victory, as won by the people, is historic and serves as a strong, viable and unambiguous lesson to leaders.
“We rejoice with the Edo people for helping to reset the political culture of our nation by casting their votes, protecting the votes, ensuring that their votes counted and following it, “bumper-to-bumper”, to the final point of declaration,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu , whose participation in the election helped to deepen Nigeria democracy and enabled the people to make their choice.
“We invite him, in the spirit of sportsmanship, to congratulate his brother, Obaseki and join him in the onerous task of leadership in the general interest of all Edo people,” he said.
Ologbondiyan also commended traditional institutions, faith-based organisations, youth groups, market women, artisans, community associations, trade unions, traditional leaders and other stakeholders in Edo for standing up for their state during her critical moments.
“Furthermore, the PDP applauds the international community for their keen observation of our electoral processes as well as profiling of those who are bent on undermining our democracy and making free and fair elections appear impossible in Nigeria.
“We urge the international community and all lovers of democracy not to relent in providing necessary advisory to our leaders on the conduct of our elections,” Ologbondiyan said.
Ologbondiyan restated PDP’s support for the actions taken so far by the US and UK in restricting electoral violators from visiting their countries.
“We urge them not to restrain on further sanctions against such individuals for their sinister roles in our elections,” he said.
Ologbondiyan appreciated the Chairman of PDP National Campaign Council and Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, for providing the right leadership that led to the victory in Edo.
He also commended all PDP governors, national assembly caucus, elders, leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of the party for their efforts in the election.
“Furthermore, our party thanks the media, the civil society groups and all Nigerians across board, for showing more than a passing interest in ensuring that the wishes of the people of Edo for a credible and transparent election prevailed.
“We do not take your efforts in this regard for granted.
“The PDP assures of a continuous partnership with all critical stakeholders in our collective desire to recreate a nation that will continue to be our pride,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed