Asia-Europe leaders reject trade protectionism

Updated 06 November 2012
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Asia-Europe leaders reject trade protectionism

VIENTIANE: Asian and European leaders yesterday renounced protectionism and vowed to promote free trade at a major summit in communist Laos, officials said.
Dozens of leaders converged on the small landlocked nation for the Asia-Europe Meeting, seeking to strengthen trade links between two regions that together account for about half of global economic output.
"The worst thing... as we learned in the 2009 crisis is to adopt protectionist measures. That's exactly the opposite of what we need," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo told reporters, in remarks echoed by Asian leaders.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said: "There's a commitment to enlarge trade and green technology and fight protectionism."
Asian nations also pledged support for European efforts to bring its debt crisis under control with austerity measures.
"There is the recognition that growth is important and all the European leaders seem to agree... but you can't get growth when you are saddled with too much sovereign debt," Najib said.
"That needs to be worked out so that there will be growth but there might be some pain first."
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Asia was optimistic Europe would overcome its debt troubles.
"We have confidence in the European economy's capacity to recover," he said.


Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750 mn annually’

Updated 8 min 20 sec ago
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Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750 mn annually’

  • Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
  • The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s economy.

Tripoli: Fuel smuggling is costing Libya more than $750 million each year and harming its economy and society, the head of the National Oil Company in the conflict-riddled country said.
“The impact of fuel smuggling is destroying the fabric of the country,” NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said according to the text of a speech delivered on Wednesday at a conference on oil and fuel theft in Geneva.
“The fuel smugglers and thieves have permeated not only the militias which control much of Libya, but also the fuel distribution companies which are supposed to bring cheap fuel to Libyan citizens,” he said.
“The huge sums of money available from smuggling have corrupted large parts of Libyan society,” he added.
The backbone of the North African country’s economy, Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Before the revolt Libya, with estimated oil reserves of 48 billion barrels, used to produce 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
But output fell to less than 500,000 bpd between 2014 and 2016 due to violence around production facilities and export terminals as rival militias fought for control of Africa’s largest crude reserves.
No oil was exported from Libya’s main ports until September 2016 with the reopening of the Ras Lanuf terminal in the country’s so-called oil crescent.
The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s moribund economy.
Sanalla urged Libya’s “friends, neighbors but above all the Libyan people themselves... to do everything they can... to eradicate the scourge of fuel theft and fuel smuggling.”