Kingdom imports 80% of food products

Updated 19 April 2014
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Kingdom imports 80% of food products

Saudi Arabia is importing 80 percent of its food requirements from foreign countries while the remaining 20 percent of foods are locally produced, local media said quoting a report released by the World Bank.
On average, the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries are importing 90 percent of food products from other countries. Qatar topped the GCC in terms of their dependence on foreign imports at 97 percent, followed by Bahrain at 92 percent, Kuwait (91 percent), and the UAE and Oman at 89 percent each, the report said.
Meanwhile, experts said political developments in Ukraine have a negative impact on the prices of agro commodities, as it produces 16 percent and 9 percent of global maize and wheat exports, respectively, the report said.
Accordingly, prices of maize and wheat have increased by 20 percent and 13.5 percent since the beginning of the current year, the report said.
On the other hand, the rate of self-sufficiency in the GCC countries is expected to drop in the next few years. The cost of supporting wheat production in Saudi Arabia exceeded SR5 billion annually in the period 1984-2000, the report said.
Poor soil condition, water scarcity and bad weather conditions have raised wheat production costs to become four times higher than global levels though the Kingdom remained the 6th largest wheat exporter in 1992, according to the report.
However, due to depletion of ground water by farmers, the Saudi authorities were forced to abandon the policy of increasing domestic production and, accordingly, production began to decline as from 2008 and expected to cease fully by 2016, the report said.
Taking into consideration the above facts, development of a sustainable agro sector is highly costly and ineffective, and the GCC countries have to look for other alternatives to increase food security, the exports said.
Among these alternatives are storing food products and acquisition of agro lands outside the region. Africa, notably the Sudan, captured the concern of investors, be they individuals or corporate.
The GCC investors purchased more than 2 million hectares of lands in the Sudan between 2006 and 2012, or three times of lands they bought in Australia, the second largest recipient of Gulf investments, the report said.


US-led trade war has become biggest ‘confidence killer’ for world economy: China

Updated 35 min 50 sec ago
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US-led trade war has become biggest ‘confidence killer’ for world economy: China

  • ‘The US is fabricating all kinds of justifications for its trade actions, including that of national security’
  • China’s economy grew at a slower pace in the second quarter, data on Monday showed

BEIJING: The US-driven trade war has become the biggest “confidence killer” for the global economy, China’s foreign ministry warned on Wednesday, saying the whole world would fight back if the US continued to be “willful.”
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a regular press briefing that the US is fabricating all kinds of justifications for its trade actions, including that of national security.
Earlier this month the US and China slapped tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s imports in an escalating trade tussle that has roiled financial markets.
US President Donald Trump has threatened further tariffs unless Beijing agrees to change its intellectual property practices and high-technology industrial subsidy plans.
Trump has also hit European metal imports with tariffs and has threatened to curb car imports from Europe with a 20 percent duty.
“The US trade war is not just with China but with the rest of the world. By regarding the rest of the world as adversaries, the US has dragged the entire global economy into a place of danger,” Hua said.
The European Commission last week cut its forecasts for the euro zone’s economic growth this year, saying the main causes for the revision were trade tensions with the US as well as higher oil prices.
China’s economy grew at a slower pace in the second quarter, data on Monday showed, with Beijing’s trade dispute with Washington challenging the growth outlook for the world’s second-biggest economy.
“If the US continues to be willful, countries around the world will only harden their resolve to hit back,” Hua said.