Global Political Calendar: China and foreign investment in spotlight
By John Goodrich

China's new Foreign Investment Law will be voted on as the Two Sessions enters its final week, critical Brexit votes take place, and the Iranian president makes a landmark visit to Iraq.

Two Sessions, week two

The most anticipated remaining feature of the 2019 Two Sessions – China's annual political season – is the new Foreign Investment Law, which will be deliberated on this week and voted on by the National People's Congress on Friday.

The law is designed to ensure an even playing field in China for overseas businesses, better protect their rights and further align domestic policy with international practice. 

It's an important development for China as it continues to open up, and details of the proposed law – and its implementation – will be closely watched around the world.

Also this week, the work reports of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate will be delivered on Tuesday and the Two Sessions is expected to wrap up with a press conference on Friday

Deal, no-deal, delay… or what?

British MPs are due to vote at least once – and probably several times – on Brexit in one of the most important weeks in the country's recent political history.

On Tuesday there will be a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, likely to be very similar to the version crushed by 230 votes in January. If it is defeated there is scheduled to be a vote on Wednesday on no-deal, and if that is rejected a further vote on Thursday on delaying Brexit. Various amendments could also be tabled.

With little sign of major progress in negotiations with the EU and broad opposition to a no-deal, the most likely outcome is a vote to delay the exit date. That is, unless the government finds a way to yet again push back a meaningful vote – a move that would be greeted with fury by MPs.

Assuming the votes go ahead as promised, they will be filled with sub-plots. Will the government take a position on a no-deal? If a no-deal and a delay are rejected, what happens? If a delay is approved, what will the EU offer? And can May survive yet another defeat?

By the end of the week, Britain could be on course to leave the EU with a deal or without one, could be a step closer to another referendum or a cross-party compromise. 

No one knows which way Brexit is heading, but there's no doubt the next few days will be dramatic.  

Rouhani in Iraq

Hassan Rouhani is due in Iraq on Monday for his first official visit to the country as Iranian president, a trip that highlights Tehran's determination to strengthen regional alliances in the face of U.S. sanctions.

The landmark visit is expected to include talks with the neighboring country's leadership and focus on boosting trade and investment ties. Importantly, Iran's ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi announced on Saturday that Rouhani will meet with top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani – an indication of how significant this visit is for both countries.

The trip comes as Tehran and the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – which the Trump administration withdrew from in 2018 –  aim to put the finishing touches on INSTEX, a mechanism designed to facilitate non-dollar trade and skirt U.S. sanctions.


Monday: China's Two Sessions continues, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani begins a visit to Iraq, the United States' DPRK envoy Stephen Biegun speaks at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference, Sudan's parliament votes on a state of emergency law, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador marks 100 days in office, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in begins a tour of three ASEAN countries: Brunei, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Tuesday: The work reports of China's Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate are delivered at the Two Sessions, British MPs vote on the government's Brexit deal, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa meets South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in Harare, French President Emmanuel Macron visits Djibouti, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov travels to Turkey.

Wednesday: British MPs may vote on a no-deal Brexit and finance minister Philip Hammond reveals updated growth forecasts, former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort is expected to receive a new prison sentence, and the UN Security Council discusses the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thursday: British MPs may vote on delaying Brexit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits Cambodia, NATO's annual report is released, global leaders attend the One Planet Summit in Kenya, and the World Bank closes nominations for a new president.

Friday: Deputies to China's National People's Congress vote on the Foreign Investment Law before the Two Sessions concludes with a press conference, and European Council President Donald Tusk holds talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Saturday: Joe Biden, former U.S. vice president mulling a 2020 run for the White House, gives a speech in his home state of Delaware, and Slovakia votes in a presidential election.

Sunday: Presidential candidates in Indonesia take part in a debate in Jakarta.