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WEEK IN REVIEW: The United States To Re-launch B3W at Next Week’s G7 Conference

U.S. President Joe Biden tours the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada, Colorado, on September 14, 2021, before delivering a speech on the infrastructure deal and the Build Back Better agenda. Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP

The United States will re-launch the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative at next week’s G7 conference with a new program that aims to provide an alternative to Chinese infrastructure financing in the Global South. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan did not provide many details on the new plan but hinted that it would prioritize development in the Asia-Pacific region. “We intend for this to be one of the hallmarks of the Biden administration foreign policy over the remainder of his tenure,” Sullivan said. (BLOOMBERG)

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia last month to become China’s top oil supplier, according to new Chinese customs data. Chinese purchases of Russian crude surged 55% compared to the same time last year. The data also revealed new imports from Iran and a plunge in supplies from the United States. Overall, Chinese oil imports increased by 12% in May year-on-year. (REUTERS)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week’s BRICS leaders summit to discuss a “new era for global development.” President Xi will host Friday’s summit from Beijing but the gathering itself will be done via video. After years of tepid engagement from its five member states, the BRICS group now is increasingly seen by Russia, China, and even South Africa as a potential alternative to the U.S.-led international system. (BUSINESS TECH)

The United States displaced China as India’s largest trading partner, according to new data from the Ministry of Commerce in New Delhi. India did $119 billion of two-way trade in the current fiscal year with the U.S., $4 billion more than with China. A lot of the increase in U.S. trade with India is attributable to natural gas sales.(ECONOMIC TIMES)

Worries about the health of the Chinese economy are weighing on global iron ore prices which are now down 24% since the beginning of the year.  This is bad news for major iron ore exporters in the Global South including South Africa, Brazil, and Algeria who all rely heavily on Chinese demand. Iron ore is a key ingredient to manufacture steel and with the Chinese economy encountering headwinds, steel plants across the country have cut output. (REUTERS)

China is now starting to allow international students back into the country to continue their studies. Earlier this week, 90 Pakistani students flew to the northwestern Chinese city of Xi’an on a chartered flight, marking the first batch of foreign students back into the country since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. But other students, particularly those in Africa who have been eager to return, will have to be patient as Chinese authorities have labeled the Pakistani return as a “pilot project.”(STUDY INTERNATIONAL)

Kenya’s Deputy President and leading presidential candidate promised to deport all unskilled Chinese nationals in the country if elected. “That Chinese nationals are roasting maize and selling mobile phones, we will deport all of them back to their country,” he said at an economic forum this week. “All those businesses are for Kenyans,” he added. (AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE)

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh this week that he shares U.S. concerns about the upgrading of the Ream Naval Base with Chinese aid.  Kishi urged the Cambodian Defense Minister to be more transparent about whether China will build new facility at the base for its own vessels.Teah Banh and other Cambodian officials insist China will not be allowed to build a permanent base. (KYODO NEWS)

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhmi is coming under fire for allegedly obstructing a 2019 oil-for-infrastructure deal with China.  The Prime Minister reacted angrily to the accusation at a Council of Ministers meeting this week and pointed to the recent kick-off a 1,000 schools project that is part of the deal with the Chinese. In all, 8,000 schools are to be built as part of the arrangement. (ZAWYA)

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