Trump means business: $380bn deals signed in Riyadh

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Saudi King Salman and US President Donald Trump take part in a signing ceremony at the Royal Court in Riyadh Saturday. (AFP)
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King Salman and US President Donald Trump sign the “Saudi-US Joint Strategic Vision Declaration” in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 21 May 2017
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Trump means business: $380bn deals signed in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi-US deals worth at least $380 billion were struck on Saturday during the historic visit to Riyadh by US President Donald Trump, officials said. 

King Salman and Trump held high-level talks in the Saudi capital, where they co-signed the Saudi-US “Joint Strategic Vision Declaration,” as a series of defense, business and technology deals were agreed in the Saudi capital.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that Trump’s visit marks “the beginning of a turning point” in relations with the Arab world.

Speaking at a press conference held with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Riyadh on Saturday, Al-Jubeir said that the strategic partnership agreement by King Salman and Trump would develop into a strong strategic partnership.

“The two countries have signed a series of agreements, both by private, commercial entities and inter-governmental, including on investment and infrastructure,” said Al-Jubeir.

“The value of the deals exceeds $380 billion; they will be executed over the next 10 years and will provide many opportunities both for the Kingdom and for the United States.”

Tillerson said that over 20 licenses were issued to large US companies helping direct investment between the two countries, which will result in the creation of thousands of jobs for Americans, an increase the purchase of US goods, equipment and technologies, and also benefit Saudi Arabia.

Defense played a key element in the myriad deals announced in Riyadh on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia and the US signed arms deals worth approximately $110 billion, the White House announced on Saturday.

Several other multi-billion-dollar deals were sealed at the inaugural Saudi-US CEO Forum, also held on Saturday.

They included a landmark $6 billion defense and armament agreement under a “letter of intent” to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters.

The agreement, which was revealed during the forum, is expected to support around 450 jobs in the Kingdom.

“At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Marillyn A. Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

“We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the US and in the Kingdom. The agreements will directly contribute to His Majesty’s Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors.”

Energy — one of Saudi Arabia’s strongest sectors — witnessed a number of announcements with a combined $22 billion worth of new deals signed during the forum by Saudi and American executives in the oil and gas industry.

A major funding boost for the largest oil refinery in the US was among a number of announcements in refining and petrochemicals signed on Saturday at the forum.

Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said: “Today we are investing in long-term job creation and the future of the refining industry in the United States, and we are delivering on Vision 2030 to expand the US-Saudi partnership.

“The message is clear: the longstanding bonds between our two countries are reinforced by both the value and scale of today’s agreement.”

Following his participation in the forum, Nasser also announced several agreements with suppliers including Jacobs, Honeywell and McDermott.


IMF warns G20 economic leaders that tariffs hurting global economy

Updated 22 July 2018
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IMF warns G20 economic leaders that tariffs hurting global economy

BUENOS AIRES: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned world economic leaders on Saturday that a recent wave of trade tariffs would significantly harm global growth, a day after US President Donald Trump threatened a major escalation in a dispute with China.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she would present the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Buenos Aires with a report detailing the impacts of the restrictions already announced on global trade.
“It certainly indicates the impact that it could have on GDP (gross domestic product), which in the worst case scenario under current measures...is in the range of 0.5 pct of GDP on a global basis,” Lagarde said at a joint news conference with Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne.
Her warning came shortly after the top US economic official, Treasury Minister Steven Mnuchin, told reporters in the Argentine capital there was no “macroeconomic” effect yet on the world’s largest economy.
Long-simmering trade tensions have burst into the open in recent months, with the United States and China — the world’s No. 2 economy — slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other’s goods so far.
The weekend meeting in Buenos Aires comes amid a dramatic escalation in rhetoric on both sides. Trump on Friday threatened tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will try to rally G7 allies over the weekend to join it in more aggressive action against China, but they may be reluctant to cooperate because of US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union and Canada, which prompted retaliatory measures. .
The last G20 finance meeting in Buenos Aires in late March ended with no firm agreement by ministers on trade policy except for a commitment to “further dialogue.”
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he would use the meeting to advocate for a rules-based trading system, but that expectations were low.
“I don’t expect tangible progress to be made at this meeting,” Scholz told reporters on the plane to Buenos Aires.
Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday that he has not seen a macroeconomic impact from the US tariffs on steel, aluminum and Chinese goods, along with retaliation from trading partners.
But he said there have been microeconomic effects on individual businesses, he said, adding that the administration was closely monitoring these and looking at ways to help US farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.
The US dollar fell the most in three weeks on Friday against a basket of six major currencies after Trump complained again about the greenback’s strength and about Federal Reserve interest rate rises, halting a rally that had driven the dollar to its highest level in a year.