Mideast youth unemployment in spotlight at Jordan WEF meeting

More than 1,100 delegates are expected at the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan. (WEF)
Updated 20 May 2017
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Mideast youth unemployment in spotlight at Jordan WEF meeting

AMMAN: Youth unemployment is high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa, currently taking place at the W in Jordan.
 
The WEF event, which officially started Friday, will today see Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II of Jordan address more than 1,100 delegates on the theme “enabling a generational transformation.”
 
The 16th meeting in the region brings together a diverse group of leaders to address issues such as humanitarian crisis and the challenges presented to employment and jobs by the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
 
It will also address the gender gap holding back regional competitiveness and inclusion, the future of Syria and Iraq, and the way forward through economic and political reforms, a WEF statement said.
 
“As 31 percent of young people in the region are unemployed, new initiatives and urgent action are needed to realize this potential. When skilled talent is present — particularly educated women — it is not being deployed effectively in the workforce,” WEF said. 
 
A report issued by WEF entitled “The Future of Jobs and Skills in the Middle East and North Africa” found that few of the region’s economies are fully prepared for the impending disruption brought about by technological change.
 
The WEF meeting, which runs until May 21, is being attended by 10 heads of state and government, more than 130 public figures and 500 global and regional business leaders. 
 
It will host refugees from the Zaatari camp, who will meet with the WEF’s Regional Business Council to find ways to build on the success of free trade zones, allowing refugee-made products to reach markets.
 
The meeting will also feature a gathering of 100 startups from the Arab world, many of which “have been founded under the most challenging circumstances,” the organizer said. These startups include an Arabic voice-recognition software developer from Syria, the first e-mobile wallet firm from Libya, and a mobile game studio run by a team from Gaza.
 
“The current reform momentum in the Middle East and North Africa is promising, but success is not guaranteed. Together with our long-term partner Jordan, the World Economic Forum is hosting its biggest-ever meeting of entrepreneurs and start-ups in the region. We’re inviting them to advise leaders on new growth strategies that will bring prosperity and bolster peace efforts throughout the region,” said Mirek Dusek, head of regional strategies in MENA at the World Economic Forum.
 
Public figures billed as attending the WEF meeting include: Fuad Masum, president of Iraq; Sherif Ismail, prime minister of Egypt; Giorgi Kvirikashvili, prime minister of Georgia; and Felipe VI, king of Spain.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.