Japan lockdown; EU-China trade deal; Shell disinvestment

In today’s episode, we will discuss the COVID situation in Japan after it further extended lockdown measures last week, discuss the EU’s relationship with China in light of the 27-member bloc freezing the ratification of a new trade pact with China, and examine the possibility of Shell divesting its remaining Nigerian onshore oil stakes.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • Last Friday, Japan extended its national emergency on Okinawa, hours after it approved two new vaccines for its vaccination drive. The move is a much-needed step for Japan as the country, scheduled to host the Olympics in a few months' time, continues to see one of the slowest vaccination drives in the developed world. Less than 5% of the country’s total population had been vaccinated last week.

  • The resolution to freeze the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment was passed with a 599-30 majority at the European Parliament last Thursday, suggesting the possible escalation of trade tensions between Beijing and Europe. Announcing the pause on ratifying the EU-China Investment agreement, the European Parliament called the sanctions placed on European individuals by Beijing back in March, baseless and arbitrary. 

  • Anglo-Dutch company oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has said that it will offload the last of its Nigerian assets in line with its desire to transform into a clean energy giant and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. CEO Ben van Beurden told investors last Tuesday that the balance of risks and rewards associated with the company’s onshore portfolio is no longer compatible with its strategic ambitions. 

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