UAE plans center for the future with World Economic Forum

UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar bin Sultan Al Olama talking. (Screengrab)
Updated 24 January 2018
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UAE plans center for the future with World Economic Forum

DUBAI: The UAE will co-launch and host a center for the “fourth industrial revolution” with the World Economic Forum (WEF), according to the Emirati news agency WAM.
Mohammad Al-Gergawi, the UAE minister of cabinet affairs and the future, is expected to sign the deal with Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF, during the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland.
The new center will provide technical support to government authorities in the field of transforming “industrial revolution principles into real applications,” WAM said.
Al-Gergawi and Schwab are also expected to also sign a cooperation agreement concerning the fourth industrial revolution protocol that will focus on building a legal and organizational framework for overseeing information.
This agreement will relate “to the various sectors of the industrial change which includes artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of things, drones and autonomous vehicles,” said the report.
In 2017, Dubai launched the Smart Dubai 2021 e-governance scheme, which aimed to eliminate all paperwork at government institutions by 2021. Dubai also introduced the world’s first robo-cop, which entered public service in May last year, according to the Xinhua news service.
UAE government ministers spoke at WEF today at a forum titled “Pioneering the Future of Governance in the Arab World.” UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar bin Sultan Al Olama said during the talk the regional plan for artificial intelligence (AI) was to ensure that no jobs were replaced by AI, and that there are no autonomous weapons created using AI.
Also speaking was UAE Minister of State for Advanced Sciences Sarah Al Amiri, who told the audience that Arab youth must be involved and included in the decision-making process of governments in the Middle East.
The World Economic Forum runs until Jan. 26.


Merkel seeks united front with China amid Trump trade fears

Updated 22 May 2018
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Merkel seeks united front with China amid Trump trade fears

  • Merkel seeks common ground to ward off trade war
  • Plans complicated by US policy moves

Chancellor Angela Merkel visits China on Thursday, seeking to close ranks with the world’s biggest exporting nation as US President Donald Trump shakes up explosive issues from trade to Iran’s nuclear deal.

Finding a common strategy to ward off a trade war and keep markets open will be Merkel’s priority when she meets with President Xi Jinping, as Washington brandishes the threat of imposing punitive tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.

“Both countries are in agreement that open markets and rules-based world trade are necessary. That’s the main focus of this trip,” Merkel’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said in Berlin on Friday.

But closing ranks with Beijing against Washington risks being complicated by Saturday’s deal between China and the US to hold off tit-for-tat trade measures.

China’s economic health can only benefit Germany as the Asian giant is a big buyer of Made in Germany. But a deal between the US and China effectively leaves Berlin as the main target of Trump’s campaign against foreign imports that he claims harm US national security.

The US leader had already singled Germany out for criticism, saying it had “taken advantage” of the US by spending less than Washington on NATO.

Underlining what is at stake, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the US-China deal may come “at the expense of Europe if Europe is not capable of showing a firm hand.”

Nevertheless, Merkel can look to her carefully nurtured relationship with China over her 12 years as chancellor.

No Western leader has visited Beijing as often as Merkel, who will be undertaking her eleventh trip to the country.

In China, she is viewed not only as the main point of contact for Europe, but, crucially, also as a reliable interlocutor — an antithesis of the mercurial Trump.

Devoting her weekly podcast to her visit, Merkel stressed that Beijing and Berlin “are both committed to the rules of the WTO” (World Trade Organization) and want to “strengthen multilateralism.”

But she also underlined that she will press home Germany’s longstanding quest for reciprocity in market access as well as the respect of intellectual property.

Ahead of her visit, Beijing fired off a rare salvo of criticism.

China’s envoy to Germany, Shi Mingde, pointed to a “protectionist trend in Germany,” as he complained about toughened rules protecting German companies from foreign takeovers.

Only 0.3 percent of foreign investors in Germany stem from China while German firms have put in €80 billion in the Asian giant over the last three decades, he told Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“Economic exchange cannot work as a one-way street,” he warned.

Meanwhile, looming over the battle on the trade front is another equally thorny issue — the historic Iran nuclear deal, which risks falling apart after Trump pulled the US out.

Tehran has demanded that Europe keeps the deal going by continuing economic cooperation, but the US has warned European firms of sanctions if they fail to pull out of Iran.

Merkel “hopes that China can help save the atomic deal that the US has unilaterally ditched,” said Die Welt daily.

“Because only the giant emerging economy can buy enough raw materials from Iran to give the Mullah regime an incentive to at least officially continue to not build a nuclear weapon.”