Iraq: OPEC and allies may deepen oil cut deal to reach 1.6m bpd

OPEC will consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Iraq: OPEC and allies may deepen oil cut deal to reach 1.6m bpd

  • OPEC to consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna

BAGHDAD: OPEC and allied oil producers will consider deepening their existing oil supply reduction deal by about 400,000 barrels per day to 1.6 million bpd, Iraq’s oil minister said on Sunday.

The minister, Thamer Ghadhban, told reporters in Baghdad that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will consider deepening the cuts at meetings due this week in Vienna.

OPEC+ oil exporters have coordinated their output for three years to balance the market and support prices. Their current deal, which agreed to cut supply by 1.2 million bpd from January this year, is due to expire at the end of March.

Iraq will exceed 100 percent commitment with the supply deal as of Sunday, Ghadhban also said, adding that an agreement capping production from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region will also help the country’s compliance.

The agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) caps production from the northern Iraqi region at 450,000 bpd, he said. About 250,000 bpd of the KRG’s output will be handed over to the central Iraqi government and 200,000 bpd will be used by the region to pay back debt owed to foreign firms, he added.

The minister also said that Iraq’s crude output has not been affected by anti-graft protests that broke out in early October across Baghdad and the oil-rich regions of the south.


Mexico objects to labor enforcement provision in North American trade deal

Updated 32 min 52 sec ago

Mexico objects to labor enforcement provision in North American trade deal

  • Mexico produced more stringent rules on labor rights aimed at reducing Mexico’s low-wage advantage
  • US House of Representatives proposes the designation of up to five US experts who would monitor compliance with local labor reform in Mexico

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s deputy foreign minister, Jesus Seade, said on Saturday he sent a letter to the top US trade official expressing surprise and concern over a labor enforcement provision proposed by a US congressional committee in the new North American trade deal.
Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the United States on Tuesday signed a fresh overhaul of a quarter-century-old deal, aiming to improve enforcement of worker rights and hold down prices for biologic drugs by eliminating a patent provision.
How labor disputes are handled in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal was one of the last sticking points in the negotiations between the three countries to overhaul the agreement.
Intense negotiations over the past week among US Democrats, the administration of Republican US President Donald Trump, and Mexico produced more stringent rules on labor rights aimed at reducing Mexico’s low-wage advantage.
However, an annex for the implementation of the treaty that was presented on Friday in the US House of Representatives proposes the designation of up to five US experts who would monitor compliance with local labor reform in Mexico.
“This provision, the result of political decisions by Congress and the Administration in the United States, was not, for obvious reasons, consulted with Mexico,” Seade wrote in the letter. “And, of course, we disagree.”
USMCA was signed more than a year ago to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but Democrats controlling the US House of Representatives insisted on major changes to labor and environmental enforcement before voting.
The letter, released on Saturday, is dated Friday and addressed to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Seade said he would travel to Washington on Sunday to raise the issues directly with Lighthizer and lawmakers.
“Unlike the rest of the provisions that are clearly within the internal scope of the United States, the provision referred to does have effects with respect to our country and therefore, should have been consulted,” Seade wrote.
Both Canada and the US House Ways and Means Committee said the deal included a mechanism for verification of compliance with union rights at the factory level in Mexico by independent labor experts.
Some Mexican business groups bemoaned a lack of clarity and conflicting information on how the rules would actually be enforced under the deal, the first text of which became public only on Wednesday.