Saudi Binladin Group ‘still a private sector company’

Saudi Bin Laden Group Company (SBG) has asserted that it remains a private sector company owned by its shareholders. ​(Archive)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Saudi Binladin Group ‘still a private sector company’

JEDDAH: Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) on Saturday said it remains a private sector company owned by its shareholders, according to a statement sent to Arab News.
Earlier unconfirmed reports issued by some media outlets suggested that the Saudi government had taken over SBG, the Kingdom’s construction giant which has worked on dozens of megaprojects over the decades.
SBG also confirmed that contracted work with the government, which remains a significant part of its activities, is ongoing. This includes projects currently operating in the two holy mosques and the Zamzam rehabilitation project, which began months ago and is expected to end before Ramadan 2018.
Based on information available to SBG management, some shareholders may have agreed a settlement that involves transferring some SBG shares to the government of Saudi Arabia against outstanding dues.
SBG said this was a positive step and is currently restructuring its governance and executive management team to meet its commitment toward all stakeholders, according to the statement.
Restructuring efforts started two years ago with the objective of separating ownership from management in accordance with best governance standards.
To support those efforts, a supervisory committee was created. The committee is composed of five members, including three independent members — Dr. Abdulrehman Hamad Al-Harkan, Dr. Khaled Hamza Nahas and Khaled Mohammed Al-Khowaiter — and two members from the shareholders group, Yahia Mohammed Binladin and Abdullah Mohammed Binladin.
The committee will restructure the group and empower the new executive management to lead the projects and overcome the current challenges, leading the company to be profitable again, the statement said.
SBG, which had more than 100,000 employees at its height, is the biggest builder in Saudi Arabia. It was hit hard after the crash in oil prices, which led to construction projects and government contracts being scrapped or delayed. The company was forced to lay off thousands of workers.
The contractor also suffered a temporary exclusion from new state contracts after a crane accident killed 107 people at Makkah’s Grand Mosque in 2015.


Upping ante, Trump threatens new tariffs on Chinese imports

Updated 19 June 2018
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Upping ante, Trump threatens new tariffs on Chinese imports

  • Trump said that if China responds to this fresh round of tariffs, then he will move to counter “by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.”
  • Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said last week that a “tariff battle” could result in price inflation and consumer debt — “historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump directed the US Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports on Monday as the two nations moved closer to a potential trade war.
The tariffs, which Trump wants set at a 10 percent rate, would be the latest round of punitive measures in an escalating dispute over the large trade imbalance between the two countries. Trump recently ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual property theft. The tariffs were quickly matched by China on US exports, a move that drew the president’s ire.
“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in a statement Monday announcing the new action. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”
Trump added: “These tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced.”
Trump said that if China responds to this fresh round of tariffs, then he will move to counter “by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when the new tariffs could be put in place, as the trade office has yet to identify the Chinese goods to be penalized or conduct a legal review. The first round of penalties announced by both nations is set to take effect July 6.
The intellectual property sanctions were the latest in a spate of protectionist measures unveiled by Trump in recent months that included tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the US and a tough rhetoric on trade negotiations from North America to Asia.
The escalation in the dispute with China may also serve as a warning to other trading partners with whom Trump has been feuding, including Canada and the European Union.
The move quickly drew praise from former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon, who told The Associated Press: “President Trump told China and the world tonight that America will not back down when it comes to economic aggression.”
But Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch. Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said last week that a “tariff battle” could result in price inflation and consumer debt — “historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”
Trump’s comments came hours after the top US diplomat accused China of engaging in “predatory economics 101” and an “unprecedented level of larceny” of intellectual property.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the remarks at the Detroit Economic Club as global markets reacted to trade tensions between the US and China.
He said China’s recent claims of “openness and globalization” are “a joke.” He added that China is a “predatory economic government” that is “long overdue in being tackled,” matters that include IP theft and Chinese steel and aluminum flooding the US market.
“Everyone knows ... China is the main perpetrator,” he said. “It’s an unprecedented level of larceny.”
“Just ask yourself: Would China have allowed America to do to it what China has done to America?” he said later. “This is predatory economics 101.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
Pompeo raised the trade issue directly with China last week, when he met in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and others.
“I reminded him that’s not fair competition,” Pompeo said.
President Donald Trump had announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports. China is retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey. Trump also has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies.
Pompeo on Monday described US actions as “economic diplomacy,” which, when done right, strengthens national security and international alliances, he added.
“We use American power, economic might and influence as a tool of economic policy,” he said. “We do our best to call out unfair economic behaviors as well.”
In a statement, Trump says he has an “excellent relationship” with Xi, “but the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”
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Karoub reported from Detroit. AP writer Ken Thomas contributed.