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Europeans push to salvage Iran deal but work on plan B
“France, Britain and Germany all say they will stay in the deal even if the United States withdraws, and try to protect and foster trade with Iran that has soared since the European Union lifted most of its economic sanctions on Iran. … If Trump can’t be persuaded not to withdraw, ‘the second-best solution is to encourage the Americans to … keep conditions that enable our companies in non-oil related sectors to continue to trade,’ said a French official.”

UK could stay in EU customs union for years after Brexit transition
“But even if May’s top team can reach consensus — and Brussels drops its current opposition to the U.K.’s plans as they stand — there is almost zero chance either of the two options will be ready by the end of the proposed transition period on December 31, 2020, according to senior U.K. and EU officials. The U.K. will therefore have to negotiate an extra transition period on customs — or an interim arrangement of some kind — to bridge the gap between the end of the transition and the point at which the new customs arrangement is ready, the officials said.”

Germany’s call for trade talks with Trump risks EU divisions
“The German government Tuesday called for a negotiated settlement with U.S. President Donald Trump to avoid the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs in June, in a move that could strain relations with Paris. … Berlin’s tone is markedly softer than that of the European Commission, which Tuesday warned that the EU ‘will not negotiate under threat.’”

EU slams Trump for short delay on steel tariffs
“Brussels also voiced frustration that Trump has continued to target European producers rather than teaming up to form a united front against overcapacity in Chinese steel mills.”

Middle East

Iran prepared for U.S. exit from nuclear deal
“In a video message released on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated that Tehran will by no means agree to renegotiate the JCPOA or add any new terms to it, warning that Iran will choose how to respond to a US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”
[Tasnim News Agency]

Israel stops car imports to Gaza Strip
[Middle East Monitor]


Kenya ratifies Continental Free Trade Area
[Journal du Cameroun]