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

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.


Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

Updated 56 min 22 sec ago

Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

  • Competition and Consumer Commission launched Australian court action against Google in July

CANBERRA, Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the US Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.
Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the US case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.
“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the US Department of Justice.
“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.
Separately, Sims is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.
The bills, that will be ready to be introduced to Parliament by December, would empower an arbitrator to make binding decisions on how much Google and Facebook must pay media companies for news content.
Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the US Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals on how their data was used.
Sim’s commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the California-based company misled account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges the Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ Internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used. That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.
Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of draft legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.
Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”
Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.