Britain wants financial services included in EU trade deal

A British one pound sterling coin, a one euro coin and a US quarter dollar coin are arranged and photographed in central London, in this October 5, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Britain wants financial services included in EU trade deal

LONDON: Britain wants to include financial services in a trade deal with the European Union which covers a full sweep of economic areas, Brexit minister David Davis said on Tuesday.
Davis said that any deal that left out finance would be “cherry- picking,” after the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier cast doubt on the inclusion of financial services in a free-trade deal.
“We are looking at the full sweep of economic cooperation that currently exists and determining how that can be maintained with the minimum additional barriers or friction,” Davis wrote in The Daily Telegraph, adding that the principles of a trade deal in goods could be applied to services too.
“I do not believe the strength of this cooperation needs change because we are leaving the European Union, so long as it is understood that this involves working together, not simply rule taking. These principles can be applied to services trade too.”
Last month, Barnier said he was not aware of any free-trade deal the EU had concluded which included unfettered access to financial services.


Egyptian firms to build $3bn power plant on Tanzanian world heritage site

Updated 40 min 18 sec ago
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Egyptian firms to build $3bn power plant on Tanzanian world heritage site

  • Arab Contractors and El Sewedy to build plant
  • Plan triggers protests from environmentalists

DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania has signed a deal with Egypt’s El Sewedy Electric and Arab Contractors to build a $3 billion hydroelectric plant on a World Heritage site in the country, that will more than double Tanzania’s power generation capacity.
The project has faced opposition from conservationists, who say the construction of a dam on a river that runs through the Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, known for its elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, as well as many other species, could affect the wildlife and their habitats.
Energy Minister Medard Kalemani, said in comments broadcast on state television on Wednesday that the plant would have an installed capacity of 2,115 megawatts, calling it “a very huge dam project.”
Representatives of state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Co, El Sewedy and Arab Contractors signed the agreement in the presence of President John Magufuli and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, TV broadcasts showed.
Magufuli said the project will be wholly funded from taxes. Monthly tax revenue collection has increased from 850 billion shillings ($370.37 million) per month before he came to power in late 2015, to an average of 1.3 trillion shillings ($566.45 million)under his administration, he said.
“When we asked for financing for this project, the lenders refused to give us money but thanks to improved tax collection, we are able to finance this project using our own resources,” he said.
Arab Contractors will have a 55 percent stake in the project and El Sewedy 45 percent, El Sewedy said on Tuesday.
El Sewedy said the Egyptian stock market had halted trading of its shares pending details on the deal it had signed.
Covering 50,000 square kilometers, the Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, according to UNESCO.
The World Wildlife Fund conservation group said in a report in July last year the proposed hydropower dam “puts protected areas of global importance, as well as the livelihoods of over 200,000 people who depend upon the environment, at risk.”
Officials at the WWF Tanzania office were not immediately available to comment on Wednesday’s deal.
Magufuli dispelled the environmental concerns, saying Tanzania had allocated 32.5 percent of its total land mass to conservation.
“The dam will become a major source of water and the cheap electricity to be produced from the dam will reduce the number of people who cut trees for firewood,” he said.
Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer,” for his forceful leadership style, has in the past pushed for the project to start as quickly as possible to speed up development.
He has introduced anti-corruption measures and tough economic reforms and pushed for swift completion of big infrastructure projects including roads, railways and airports.