Greenland plans office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China

Denmark and the United States have been concerned about China’s interest in Greenland. Above, Nuuk port. (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Greenland plans office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China

  • China could be potentially involved in the financing and construction of three airport expansions on the huge island
  • Greenland with a population of only 56,000 is rich in mineral resources but the development of its industry has been slow

COPENHAGEN: Greenland plans to open a representative office in Beijing to boost trade ties with China, the Arctic island’s new minister for foreign affairs was quoted as saying by state broadcaster KNR on Wednesday.
Denmark and the United States have been concerned about China’s interest in Greenland, a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Their most notable area of concern is China’s potential involvement in the financing and construction of three airport expansions on the huge island.
“We are planning to have a representative in China in order to continue strengthening trade with the country,” said minister for foreign affairs Vivian Motzfeldt, according to KNR.
The idea is not new, but it has not been discussed publicly at government level since 2014.
She did not set a timeline for when the office may be set up. Greenland already has foreign representations in Copenhagen, Brussels and Washington, and will open a fourth in Reykjavik later this year.
Beijing laid out ambitions in January to form a “Polar Silk Road” by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming and encouraging enterprises to build infrastructure in the Arctic.
Greenland, with a population of only 56,000, is rich in mineral resources but the development of its industry has been slow, leaving its economy reliant on fishing.
A defense treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the US military almost unlimited rights in Greenland, where it has an air base at Thule.


Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

Participants watch a movie highlighting the Red Sea project at last year’s Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Multibillion-dollar deals expected as investment forum looks east

  • The Future Investment Initiative is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China
  • The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen

RIYADH: A major investment show in Saudi Arabia is expected to attract thousands of delegates and see deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars — despite several largely “symbolic” last-minute cancelations by speakers.

The Future Investment Initiative, which starts on Tuesday, is tipped to see big investment partnerships from Russia and China, despite several executives, mostly Western, pulling out after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Many of those Western firms have however sent lower-level representatives or regional heads — with big business likely to be done, Saudi officials said.

Speakers from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia-China Investment Fund and electronics giant Samsung are all billed to speak at the event. They join Saudi speakers including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and sports official Princess Reema bint Bandar. 

“Investing in transformation,” “technology as opportunity” and “advancing human potential” are among the FII’s themes. Held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, the three-day event is billed as a “blueprint for the 22nd century.”

Ellen Wald, president of the Transversal Consulting think-tank and author of the recent book “Saudi Inc,” said many executives — notably those from Russia and further east — were still looking to do business at the event despite some having pulled out.

“I think the big pull-out of CEOs is not really reflective of the corporate interest in the Kingdom because we see them sending their next level of executives along. So to some degree it is symbolic,” she told Arab News. “In terms of attracting foreign investment, Saudi Arabia could have strategic leverage with Russia and China, and a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies.”

John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia, said he expected the event to be a success. 

“The FII is a key event in showcasing Saudi Arabia’s investment opportunities and economy, and linking foreign and local businessmen,” he told Arab News.