PIF in fresh drive to boost Saudi Arabia’s green credentials

View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh. A Public Investment Fund initiatives aims to increase energy efficiency across government and public buildings. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2017
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PIF in fresh drive to boost Saudi Arabia’s green credentials

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced the establishment of a new energy service company, Super Esco, to increase energy efficiency across government and public buildings.
A royal decree has been issued requiring government entities to contract Super Esco on an exclusive basis in order to improve energy efficiency. The company was established to stimulate growth in efficiency industries, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to diversify the Saudi economy and drive environmental sustainability.
In partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, the Ministry of Finance, and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, Super Esco will provide new investment opportunities by creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver projects.
Projects in Saudi Arabia’s energy efficiency sector have an estimated value of SR 42 billion ($11.2 billion), or around SR 3 billion annually. Internationally, the sector is valued at SR 130 billion, with projects in the US, Europe, and China accounting for 90 percent of the global market share.
Super Esco has been established with a capitalization of SR 1.9 billion. The company will fund and manage the retrofit of government and public buildings, which represent over 70 percent of overall projects in the sector. These projects will help reduce government spending on the electricity sector, which will in turn reduce natural resource consumption while rationalizing capital investments in expansion projects for the production, generation, transmission, and distribution of
electricity.
Earlier this week PIA launched an initiative designed to increase waste recycling in the Kingdom from 10 percent to 85 percent. A new unit will develop and operate projects to decrease landfill and boost recycling and link with private companies to forge new partnerships.
The Kingdom currently recycles around 10 percent of the 45.3 million tons of recyclable waste it produces, with 90 percent diverted to landfills, preliminary studies by PIF have found. More than 40 percent of the Kingdom’s recyclable materials are produced in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. 
PIF’s plan aims at using some recyclable materials as a source of alternative energy for the manufacturing sector. 
Working alongside global strategic partners and renowned investment managers, PIF acts as the Kingdom’s main invest-ment arm to deliver a strategy focused on achieving attractive financial returns and long-term value for KSA.
PIF aims to be the world’s most impactful investor, “enabling the creation of new sectors and opportunities that will shape the future global economy, while driving the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia,” it has stated.


US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

Updated 23 June 2018
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US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

  • US tells WTO appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days
  • Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatens to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars

GENEVA: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.
The statement by US Ambassador Dennis Shea threatened to erode a key element of trade enforcement at the 23-year-old WTO: binding dispute settlement, which is widely seen as a major bulwark against protectionism.
It came as US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatened to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars, the latest in an unprecedented campaign of threats and tariffs to punish US trading partners.
Shea told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that rulings by the WTO’s Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade, were invalid if they took too long. Rulings would no longer be governed by “reverse consensus,” whereby they are blocked only if all WTO members oppose them.
“The consequence of the Appellate Body choosing to breach (WTO dispute) rules and issue a report after the 90-day deadline would be that this report no longer qualifies as an Appellate Body report for purposes of the exceptional negative consensus adoption procedure,” Shea said, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Reuters.
An official who attended the meeting said other WTO members agreed that the Appellate Body should stick to the rules, but none supported Shea’s view that late rulings could be vetoed, and many expressed concern about his remarks.
Rulings are routinely late because, the WTO says, disputes are abundant and complex. Things have slowed further because Trump is blocking new judicial appointments, increasing the remaining judges’ already bulging workload.
At Friday’s meeting the United States maintained its opposition to the appointment of judges, effectively signalling a veto of one judge hoping for reappointment to the seven-seat bench in September.
Without him, the Appellate Body will only have three judges, the minimum required for every dispute, putting the system at severe risk of breakdown if any of the three judges cannot work on a case for legal or other reasons.
“Left unaddressed, these challenges can cripple, paralyze, or even extinguish the system,” chief judge Ujal Singh Bhatia said.
Sixty-six WTO member states are backing a petition that asks the United States to allow appointments to go ahead. On Friday, US ally Japan endorsed the petition for the first time, meaning that all the major users of the dispute system were united in opposition to Trump.