Saudi Arabia’s central bank agrees Ripple blockchain deal

Blockchain-based company Ripple plans to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure. (Reuters)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s central bank agrees Ripple blockchain deal

LONDON: The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has signed an agreement with blockchain-based company Ripple to help banks in the Kingdom improve their payments infrastructure.
The pilot program is the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank. Participating banks from Saudi Arabia will use Ripple’s ‘xCurrent’ software solution to instantly settle payments sent into and out of the country.
SAMA’s use of xCurrent has the potential to radically shift how banks in Saudi Arabian send money globally.
According to a statement from Ripple, its Saudi Arabian customers will experience “faster, cheaper and more transparent cross-border transactions.”
SAMA’s recent adoption of xCurrent, makes it the second central bank to use blockchain technology to revolutionize payments, following the Bank of England’s successful proof of concept with Ripple in 2017.
Dilip Rao, the global head of infrastructure innovation at Ripple, believes the agreement with SAMA is part of a wave of recognition by financial institutions of the impact blockchain solutions can have on payments.
“Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers,” said Rao. “SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.”


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.