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Saudi Arabia to launch joint trade council with Iraq

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs a Cabinet meeting in Jeddah on Monday. (SPA)
RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, decided on Monday to set up the General Authority for Military Industries, which enjoys legal status as well as financial and administrative independence.
The agency aims to regulate the military industry in the Kingdom, develop and monitor its performance, and do everything necessary to achieve its objectives.
The Cabinet decided that the authority shall have a board of directors chaired by the deputy prime minister and comprising the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, the minister of finance, the minister of trade and investment, and the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Military Industries Co.
Last Wednesday, the state-owned Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced the launch of a national state company for arms manufacturing to produce thousands of jobs in the Kingdom. The new company, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the sovereign wealth fund PIF said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq will also launch a joint trade commission, the Saudi Cabinet announced on Monday. “The Cabinet has decided to approve the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordinating Commission and to delegate the Saudi minister of trade and investments to sign on behalf of the kingdom,” read a statement carried by the press agency SPA.
The two countries had no diplomatic relations for a quarter of a century. They were severed in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, after which Saudi Arabia was the launchpad for a US-led coalition to remove Iraqi forces.
The Cabinet praised the positive developments achieved by the state budget in the second quarter of the fiscal year 1438/1439 (2017), which were represented in progress in revenues, improvement in spending efficiency, a drop in the deficit, and maintaining the level of basic services provided to citizens.
The Cabinet also reviewed the quarterly financial report which reflected progress in the achievement of a balanced financial performance in the medium term, and the effectiveness of economic reforms under the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, which contributed to the generation of more non-oil revenues.
The Cabinet was briefed on the preparations of ministries and sectors participating in serving pilgrims and providing comfort for pilgrims and visitors of the Two Holy Mosques and holy sites. In this context, the Cabinet vehemently rejected the politicization of Hajj.
The Cabinet expressed thanks and appreciation to the crown prince on his directives to support 14 charity organizations in the Riyadh region with SR23 million ($6.1 million) from his own account.
The Cabinet praised the graduation of the first batch of those participating in the operations Decisive Storm and Restore Hope. They represented non-regular students of Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University. The Cabinet appreciated their determination to pursue their studies and, at the same time, defend the country.
On the global front, the Cabinet expressed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of terror acts in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burkina Faso and France, and its sympathy with the governments and peoples of these countries against all forms of terrorism and extremism.

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