Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links

Updated 13 September 2015
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Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the 2nd Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum in Riyadh on Oct. 12.

A high-powered French delegation represented by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius, Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Ledrian and the Minister of Economy and Industry Emmanuel Macron will attend the two-day event as also representatives from over 100 companies.
French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot stated this at a press conference here on Sunday. Also present were Saudi-French Business Council President Mohamed Bin Laden, and Phillipe Gassman and Romain Keraval, senior diplomats from the commercial section of the mission.
“This forum will be a tremendous platform to link companies of both countries. Some top statesmen and business and community leaders from both countries will spearhead the forum’s plenary sessions and workshops,” the envoy said.
The first edition of this forum was held in Paris in April 2013 and attracted more than 650 business and official participants.
In conjunction with this event, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, and Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs and international development will lead the second session of the joint implementation committee on economic cooperation.
“The economic ties between the Kingdom and France have been strengthened within the recent period. The bilateral trade reached, for the first time, 10 billion euro in 2014. This figure doubled over the last five years and increased by seven percent during the last year,” Besancenot said.
According to figures from French Customs, the ambassador said, the French exports to the Kingdom amounted around 1.5 billion euros in the first half of 2015. “It shows consistency as this figure is almost equivalent as the one of the first semester of the previous year.”
He added: “Our civilian exports are therefore roughly stable around 3 billion euro in the last 12 months, while our imports reached 3.5 billion euros.”
Some 82 French companies are established in the Kingdom employing over 30,000 people with a Saudization rate of 36 percent.
French companies invested over $15 billion in various fields such as finance, petrochemical industry, energy, water, services such as distribution and hospitality.
Bin Laden said the French government has eased its visa regulations for the Saudi businessmen. “A maximum of five years Schengen visas are issued to Saudi businessmen or to period of validity of their passports,” Bin Laden said.
Some 280,000 Saudi tourists visited France last year.


US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

Updated 41 min 40 sec ago
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US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

  • Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were exempted from sanctions until May 2
  • Since November, Italy, Greece and Taiwan have stopped importing oil from Iran

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, officials said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2, three US officials said. The others are China and India.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to US sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Pompeo’s announcement.
The decision not to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials. They said it is intended to further ramp up pressure on Iran by strangling the revenue it gets from oil exports.
The administration granted eight oil sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. They were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.
US officials now say they do not expect any significant reduction in the supply of oil given production increases by other countries, including the US itself and Saudi Arabia.
Since November, three of the eight — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
NATO ally Turkey has made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their US counterparts that Iranian oil is critical to meeting their country’s energy needs. They have also made the case that as a neighbor of Iran, Turkey cannot be expected to completely close its economy to Iranian goods.