Britain and Saudi agree $90 billion trade deal

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets British PM Theresa May (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Britain and Saudi agree $90 billion trade deal

DIUBAI: Britain and Saudi Arabia set out an ambition to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday, calling the agreement a vote of confidence in the British economy ahead of Brexit.
“The meeting agreed a landmark ambition for around £65 billion of mutual trade and investment opportunities over the coming years, including direct investment in the UK and new Saudi public procurement with UK companies,” a spokeswoman from Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement.
“This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union.”
Prime Minister Theresa May discussed bilateral relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The meeting at 10 Downing Street was preceded by a meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham palace.
In a statement the Saudi delegation said the Kingdom was an important destination for British companies.
“There are almost 200 joint ventures that are currently valued at £11.5 billion, including the British bank HSBC and Marks & Spencer and Jaguar Land Rover.”
The statement explained that Saudi Arabia was one of the world’s 20 largest economies and that it also had the third fastest growing market in British exports and imports.
“The Kingdom hopes that British companies will be able to take advantage of the profound changes that occur after the completion of Britain’s exit from the European Union negotiations.”
The statement added that British trade relations and Saudi Arabia exceeded £2.3 billion in the past five years.
Furthermore, the statement added – trade in goods and services in 2016 was estimated as being worth £9 billion.
The statement added that Britain faced “huge opportunities” in the post-Brexit era.
“After Britain’s exit from the European Union, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of the 2030 vision,” the statement explained.


Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

Updated 17 December 2018
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Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

  • China has exploited America’s selective drone export policy to become an increasingly influential player in meeting demand
  • The report is entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region”

BEIRUT: The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of countries and other parties using them in regional conflicts to lethal effects, a new report said Monday.
The report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them, such as Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or by building them domestically like Israel, Iran and Turkey.
China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering drones — otherwise known as UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles — at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the United States.
The report , entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region,” said that by capitalizing on the gap in the market over the past few years, Beijing has supplied armed drones to several countries that are not authorized to purchase them from the US, and at a dramatically cheaper price.
“China, a no-questions-asked exporter of drones, has played and is likely to continue playing a key role as a supplier of armed UAVs to the Middle East,” it said.
The report explored where and how each of the states have used their armed drones and whether they have changed the way these countries approach air power. It found that Iran, the UAE and Turkey all changed the way they employ airpower after they acquired armed drones.
For Turkey and the UAE, armed drones enabled them to conduct strikes in situations where they would not have risked using conventional aircraft, it said. Iran developed armed drones from the outset specifically to enable to project power beyond the reach of its air force, which is hamstrung by obsolete aircraft and sanctions, the report added.
The report said it remains to be seen whether and how the loosening of restrictions on the exportation of armed drones by the Trump administration will alter dynamics in the region.
“Nonetheless, proliferation in armed UAVs in the Middle East is unlikely to stop and could, in fact, even accelerate,” the report said.