Damac eyes US property deals on favorable Trump tax regime

Damac eyes US property deals on favorable Trump tax regime
US President Donald Trump alights from Air Force One at Zurich International Airport for the Davos World Economic Forum. Many global business leaders attending the event are quietly happy with the impact of more favorable corporate taxation on their businesses. (AP)
Updated 25 January 2018

Damac eyes US property deals on favorable Trump tax regime

Damac eyes US property deals on favorable Trump tax regime

DAVOS: Dubai developer Damac is looking at property development in the US, helped by a more favorable tax regime, Reuters reported.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman and founder of UAE property firm Damac, is a friend of Trump and his main business partner in the Gulf region. He is looking more favorably at the US after Congress passed Trump’s corporate and personal tax cuts.
“We were looking at property development in the States and the previous tax brackets were not very attractive and now they’re more attractive,” said Sajwani, who owns Damac Hills, a major development that includes the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.
With the US stock market soaring, Trump’s corporate tax cuts padding companies’ pockets and US consumers spending again, companies here are quietly applauding the US president even as many Davos delegates see him as an unwelcome outsider.
“On the values front, it’s hard to see the international elite here in Davos applauding Trump, but on the wallet side of things, it may be different. That is the fundamental tension,” said Helene Rey, economics professor at London Business School.
Some government leaders, economists and bankers are warning against an overheating of the US economy, an increase to the $20 trillion national debt and a “race to the bottom” on tax cuts. All the same, firms have high hopes for the US market.


Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
Updated 12 min ago

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
  • They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million

JAKARTA: Indonesia has launched a campaign to help small firms in the country compete for millions of dollars-worth of food trade in Saudi Arabia.

The government aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve the quality and competitiveness of their products to meet the Kingdom’s required standards, Indonesian trade and commerce officials have said.

Under normal circumstances, before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, around 1.5 million Indonesians a year make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah and hundreds of thousands work in the Kingdom.

They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million.

To meet the Saudi food regulator’s standards, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises have teamed up to assist SMEs in improving products such as bottled chili sauce, soya sauce, coffee, tea, and sugar that are in highest demand among Indonesians in Saudi Arabia.

Kadin chairman, Rosan Roeslani, told Arab News: “We have facilitated five small-medium enterprises that produce soya sauce to obtain Saudi Food and Drug Authority approval for distribution, while nine tea and coffee producers are in the pipeline to also obtain a license. We have also submitted the application for four bottled chili sauce producers.”

While travel and pilgrimage restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he said that the time before things get back to normal will be used to prepare the SMEs — which contribute 60 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employ up to 90 percent of its workforce — for expansion into the Saudi market as soon as the pilgrimage sector resumes.

“We still have time to groom them as there are many aspects such as hygiene, and consistency in their product quality and quantity that they need to improve,” Roeslani added.

In 2014, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a regulation obliging catering companies that provided food and drink to Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to source their products from Indonesian producers whenever possible.

Indonesia’s vice religious affairs minister, Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, said that as each Indonesian pilgrim received food from caterers an average 75 times during his or her pilgrimage, demand was high but supply in Saudi Arabia remained limited and similar products from India and Thailand had been used instead.

Kasan Muhri, director general for export development at the Ministry of Trade, told Arab News that the program to prepare the SMEs had been in the making since 2017 and officials eventually decided to launch it this year despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just because there are few Umrah pilgrims now and this year’s Hajj remains uncertain, it does not mean that the market is gone.

“People from around the world would still go to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage, not just Indonesians, so we are doing this to anticipate the market when the economy revives, and things are recovered. We don’t want to be left behind,” Muhri said.

Besides food and beverage products, officials say they are also looking into the possibility of exporting items such as goodie bags, prayer beads, and other pilgrimage accessories made by Indonesian SMEs.