$141bn FDI: Kingdom leads in Middle East

Updated 11 March 2014

$141bn FDI: Kingdom leads in Middle East

Saudi Arabia is in top position when it comes to drawing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the entire Middle East, having attracted $141 billion during the past five years.
Revealing this, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said: “These investments, together with government spending of $718 billion, were instrumental in spurring economic growth.”
The minister made these remarks as he opened a meeting of the Saudi-British Business Council in London.
Al-Rabiah underscored the growing trade exchange between the two countries, which touched a staggering $16 billion in 2012.
Saudi exports to Britain rose by 60 percent to cross $3.7 billion, the minister said, while highlighting the facilities and incentives offered by the Saudi government to foreign investors.
Lord Astor, British undersecretary of state for defense, praised the strong Saudi-British relations.
The highlight of the meeting was the signing of three agreements between private companies specialized in real estate, education and solar energy.
Saudi Arabia is seen as one of the fastest growing G-20 countries in recent years.
The increase in oil revenues has successfully been used to support growth in the nonoil sectors.
The Kingdom has been strengthening its private sector to satisfy demand for jobs from young citizens and reduce its dependence on oil exports.
Recent data made available from Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) revealed that its net foreign assets climbed to a record high of SR2.688 trillion ($716.7 billion) in December, up 10.7 percent from the previous year.
Saudi Arabia’s M3 money supply growth slowed to 10.9 percent year-on-year at the end of December from 13.5 percent in the previous month.
Bank lending growth to the private sector also decelerated to 12.5 percent in December, the weakest clip since February, 2012, from 13.8 percent in November.


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.