Japan, China agree trade war will harm global economy

Top officials from the world’s third- and second-largest economies attended a high-level economic dialogue in Tokyo on Monday, April 16, and discussed the growing trade two between the US and China. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Japan, China agree trade war will harm global economy

TOKYO: Japan and China agree that a trade war will have serious consequences for the world economy, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Monday after a high-level economic dialogue between the world’s third- and second-largest economies.
Concern is growing about a trade row between China and the US in which the two nations have threatened each other with tariffs. Japan has been criticized by US President Donald Trump on trade and been hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum, but it has not yet threatened counter-tariffs.
“We have shared understanding that a trade war, no matter which country has brought it about, would have a very large impact on the prosperity of the international economy,” Kono told reporters after the first such dialogue in more than seven years.
Kono and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, co-chaired the Tokyo meeting. Wang is also foreign minister.
Financial markets have been roiled recently over fears that a full-blown US-China trade war could shatter global trade and economic growth.
Trade issues will likely be at the forefront of a summit between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump later this week. Tokyo is eager to avoid being pushed into talks on a two-way free trade agreement aimed not only at market access but at monetary and currency policies.
Kono also said it was possible that Japan works with China on Beijing’s Belt and Road projects.
“It is quite possible that Japan cooperates with China on various (Belt and Road) projects on a case by case basis where international standards are met,” Kono said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, unveiled in 2013, aims at building a modern-day Silk Road connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Abe and Xi pledged last year to reset the sometimes-touchy relationship between Asia’s two largest economic powers.
Wang, who spent eight years in Japan as a diplomat including three as ambassador, said the changing economic climate presented fresh opportunities.
“After reopening these talks, we’re both standing at new starting points to discuss future cooperation that will, I hope, lead to fresh economic growth for both nations,” Wang said at the start of the economic dialogue.
Wang is the first Chinese foreign minister to visit Japan in a bilateral context in nine years. He and Kono discussed a broad range of issues, including North Korea, on Sunday night.


Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

Updated 20 July 2018
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Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

JEDDAH: A potential deal to buy a stake in petrochemical maker SABIC would affect the time frame of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO), the oil firm's president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said Friday. 

The IPO of around 5 percent of Aramco, which was initially to take place this year but is now more likely to happen later, would be the world's biggest listing, raising up to $100 billion.

Nasser said that buying a stake in a chemical company like SABIC would positively affect Aramco's revenue, Al Arabiya reported.

“We are still in the very early stages of the discussion to buy a stake in SABIC,” the Aramco CEO said.

“Aramco is ready for the initial offer and the timing remains subject to the state's decision.”

Saudi Aramco said on Thursday it is looking at the possibility of buying a stake in SABIC, a move that could boost the state oil giant’s market valuation ahead of the planned IPO.
Aramco said in a statement that it was in “very early-stage discussions” with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire the stake in SABIC via a private transaction. It has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares, it said.
In a separate statement, PIF also said talks about a sale were in early stages. “There is a possibility that no agreement will be reached in relation to this potential transaction,” it said.