US chamber inks major deal to spur KSA trade

Updated 20 May 2014
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US chamber inks major deal to spur KSA trade

The Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US Chamber of Commerce on Thursday to enhance trade cooperation between the two sides and promote investment in both countries for mutual benefits.
The MoU was signed by CSC Vice Chairman Fahad Al-Rabiah and Executive Vice Chairman of the US Chamber of Commerce David Chavern in the presence of Saudi trade attaché in Boston Abdel Al- Mubarak and a group of businessmen from both sides.
The agreement was signed by the CSC on behalf of the Saudi business sector representing the various chambers of commerce and industry of the Kingdom. The US chamber represents the largest organization which represents over 3 million American companies.
Stressing the importance of this agreement in strengthening relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Sates, Al-Rabiah noted that the deal reflects mutual trust in both countries' economies.
He added that Saudi-American relations have witnessed a big leap over the past decades, growing from $160 million in 1970 to more than $76.5 billion in 2012, with the investment credit of American countries in the Kingdom increasing to more than $23 billion.
Chavern described the CSC as a vital partner to enhance cooperation between both countries' business sectors, noting the US chamber's role in encouraging the companies to invest abroad as well as inviting foreign investments into the country.
He revealed that the chamber's current membership exceeds 300,000, allowing access to over 3 million American companies.
The MoU included several key issues of concern to the trade sector, such as exchanging information, exploring opportunities, transferring technology and facilitating business deals and arbitration matters between the two countries.
During the past 10 years, the bilateral trade between the two countries have increased from $26 billion to $74 billion. Some 120 US companies entered the Saudi market in 2013.
Last year, the two-way trade reached $71 billion. And for the first time monthly exports from the United States to the Kingdom topped $2 billion in December. There is a growing demand for American cars, aircraft, machines, renewable energy technologies and large-scale infrastructure in the Kingdom .
Saudi Arabia is the ninth largest trading partner to the United States with $74 billion trade in 2012 and has exhibited a 31 percent increase in the number of exports from the United States to the Kingdom in the period from 2011 to 2012.
The FY-2013 budget projected a spending level of $221 billion, the largest in the Kingdom's history and the financial liquidity generated from oil and gas reserves have resulted in $960 billion worth of projects either planned or under way in the Kingdom.
A significant $700 billion worth of these projects are reserved for mega-projects, making construction, project management, architectural engineering and design, and renewable energy sectors prime opportunities for US companies to consider increasing their investment.


Philips to close its UK factory in 2020, with loss of 400 jobs

Updated 17 January 2019
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Philips to close its UK factory in 2020, with loss of 400 jobs

AMSTERDAM/LONDON: Dutch health technology company Philips said on Thursday it planned to close its only factory in Britain in 2020, with the loss of around 400 jobs, the latest firm to move manufacturing jobs out of Britain.
The move is part of a push by Philips to reduce its large manufacturing sites worldwide to 30 from 50, and a spokesman said the decision had no direct link with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
However, the company said in a statement that it had to “pro-actively mitigate the potential impact of various ongoing geopolitical challenges, including uncertainties and possible obstructions that may affect its manufacturing operations.”
The factory in Glemsford, Suffolk, produces babycare products, mainly for export to other European countries. Almost all its activities will move to Philips’ plant in Drachten, the Netherlands, which already employs around 2,000 workers.
“We have announced the proposal after careful consideration, and over the next period, we will work closely with the impacted colleagues on next steps,” said Neil Mesher, CEO of Philips UK & Ireland.
“The UK is an important market for us, and we will continue to invest in our commercial organization and innovation programs in the country.”
Once a sprawling conglomerate, Philips has transformed itself into a health technology specialist in recent years, shedding its consumer electronics and lighting divisions.
The firm has previously warned that Brexit would put Britain’s status as a manufacturing hub at risk.
Chief Executive Frans van Houten last year said that without a customs union — which has been ruled out by Prime Minister Theresa May — Philips would have to rethink its manufacturing footprint.
Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29, and politicians are at an impasse over how to do so after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected May’s proposed withdrawal agreement on Tuesday.
Other firms have moved jobs out of Britain in recent weeks, sparking alarm among lawmakers that Brexit is impacting corporate decision-making.
Jaguar Land Rover has slashed UK jobs — mainly due to lower Chinese demand and a slump in European diesel sales — while Ford has said it will slash thousands of jobs as part of its turnaround plan.
While both decisions were driven by factors other than Brexit, each firm has also been vocal in warning of the risks of no-deal Brexit, where Britain leaves abruptly in March without a transition period.