Jakarta’s zero tariff move to lift Palestinian imports

Jakarta’s zero tariff move to lift Palestinian imports
The agreement took six years to negotiate. (Shutterstock)
Updated 08 March 2019

Jakarta’s zero tariff move to lift Palestinian imports

Jakarta’s zero tariff move to lift Palestinian imports
  • Waiver is step toward major trade deal, minister says 

JAKARTA: The Indonesian market could be a testing ground for Palestinian exports’ competitiveness following the introduction of a zero tariff policy.

An agreement with Indonesia on import tariff waivers for Palestinian products came into effect in mid-February after 2.5 years since the idea was floated by members of a Palestinian trade delegation attending an international trade expo in Jakarta in Oct 2016.

The initial waiver will apply to fresh and dried dates, and virgin olive oil. Palestine has asked for about 20 export products to be included in the policy.

Tariffs previously were set at 5 percent.

Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono, director of foreign trade analysis and trade center at the Ministry of Trade, said the agreement offers preferential treatment for Palestinian imports, but it will be up to the business community to show its willingness to buy the products.

“Palestine may have to compete with similar products imported from other countries. If the supply and product continuity is reliable, importers will eventually buy from them,” he told Arab News.

“The tariff exemption is significant and should be reflected in the products’ pricing in the market. Eventually it will boost the competitiveness of Palestinian products in Indonesia.” Witjaksono said.

Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, vice chairwoman of international relations at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the zero tariff policy will boost trade between the two countries.

“Now we have to look at the market opportunity to identify the goods from Indonesia we can export and vice versa. It looks like there is a market there for our food and beverage products,” she said.

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said the elimination of Indonesian tariffs on Palestinian dates and olive oil began on Feb. 21, when Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic note to Palestine.

Zuhair Al-Shun, Palestine’s ambassador to Indonesia, was also told about the tariff move in a meeting with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Feb. 28.

“We hope we will be able to enjoy Palestinian dates in the upcoming Ramadan,” Lukita said.

Both countries are considering expanding the policy to create a preferential trading agreement, the trade minister said.

Al-Shun said Palestine has provided a list of products to be considered for preferential treatment by Indonesia.

“The list is being reviewed by the Indonesian government. We also welcome Indonesian products that will be exported to Palestine,” Al-Shun said.

Lukita said the trade agreement is part of Indonesia’s unwavering support for Palestine.

Trade between Indonesia and Palestine was worth $3.5 million in 2018. Indonesian exports to Palestine include coffee, tea, bread and other foodstuffs, while dates and olive oil make up the bulk of its imports.

The zero tariff policy is expected to boost date imports by 11.62 percent within a year.
 


French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia
Updated 14 April 2021

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia

French Louvre Hotels to open 31 new properties in Saudi Arabia
  • The new additions will bring the group’s total properties in the Kingdom to 16

DUBAI: French group Louvre Hotels has announced plans to open 31 new properties across the Kingdom by 2025, as the global hospitality sector slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new hotels will open by the end of 2025, the group announced, adding 6,552 rooms to its current inventory in the Kingdom.

Five of the new properties will be launched this year, with investment from private sector partners, in key destinations across Saudi Arabia:

Golden Tulip Riyadh (Phase 1: 94 rooms) and Golden Tulip Unaizah (84 rooms) were scheduled to open during Q1, and will be joined by the Tulip Inn Dammam Corniche (70 rooms), the Tulip Inn Al Balaad Madinah (150 rooms) in Q3, whil the Golden Tulip Umm Al Qurah (454 rooms) will open in Makkah during Q4.

“Saudi Arabia is a key market for our international expansion, particularly as the country places more importance on travel and tourism with such a vast array of spectacular destinations within the Kingdom,” Pierre-Frédéric Roulot, CEO of Louvre Hotels Group, said in a statement.

The new additions will bring the group’s total properties in the Kingdom to 16.


Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries
Updated 14 April 2021

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries

Bahrain’s Gulf Air makes progress in delaying jet deliveries
  • Operating at 50-60% of pre-pandemic levels
  • Seeks delays in some Boeing and Airbus planes

DUBAI: Bahrain’s Gulf Air has made good progress in its efforts to delay some Airbus and Boeing aircraft deliveries, its acting chief executive said on Wednesday.
The state-owned carrier has been seeking to push back the delivery schedule of some new jets amid a slump in global travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to go renegotiate the delivery dates. We haven’t canceled anything,” Acting CEO Waleed Abdulhameed Al-Alawi told an online event organized by aviation consultancy CAPA.
“We have actually negotiated with the main suppliers Boeing and Airbus and we’ve got good progress with these two scenarios.”
Al-Alawi told Reuters in January the airline would receive some aircraft this year but was seeking delays in Airbus A320neo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries.
“At the moment no airline would be keen on receiving aircraft or accepting delivery flights to park these airplanes because of costs,” he told the CAPA event.
The state-owned carrier was currently operating at about 50 percent or 60 percent of its pre-pandemic levels, he said.


SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends
Updated 14 April 2021

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends

SABIC to distribute $1.2bn in H2 2020 dividends
  • Eligible shares will be entitled to a dividend of SR1.5 per share

DUBAI: The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) has approved cash dividends amounting to SR4.5 billion ($1.2 billion) to shareholders for the second half of 2020.
Eligible shares will be entitled to a dividend of SR1.5 per share, representing 15 percent of the nominal share value, the company said in a statement. It will be distributed on May 3, 2021.
The announcement brings the total dividend for last year to SR9 billion at SR3 per share.
CEO Yousef Al-Benyan highlighted the company’s resilience amid the pandemic, recording an improved performance in sales volumes to SR117 billion.
“Our resilience is defined by our sound business model, operational efficiency, and effective customer engagement,” he said.
SABIC’s production levels increased by 0.8 percent in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic figures, Al-Benyan added.


Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti
Updated 14 April 2021

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti

Dubai’s DP World seeks $210.2m in damages from Djibouti
  • DP World and Djibouti have since 2012 been locked in the dispute over DP World’s concession to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal

DUBAI: Dubai’s DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, is seeking $210.2 million in damages from Djibouti’s government in an ongoing legal battle over port concession rights, documents related to the dispute, seen by Reuters, showed.

DP World and Djibouti have since 2012 been locked in the dispute over DP World’s concession to operate the Doraleh Container Terminal, which is located in the Horn of Africa along key trade routes at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Djibouti seized the terminal from state-owned DP World in 2018.

The London Court of International Arbitration has previously ruled that DP World’s concession to operate the terminal is legal and binding and ordered it be restored.

DP World is now seeking damages for the estimated loss of revenue and management fees from 2018 to March 31 this year through the same court while still seeking to restore the concession, the documents showed.

If the concession is not restored, DP World estimates losses in excess of $1 billion, including future profits, one of the documents showed.

A decision on DP World’s claim by the London court is expected on June 29.

“If today DP World wants to again begin other proceedings, they are free to do so, but Dijbouti has already made its position clear and in our view this matter is settled,” said Alexis Mohamed, chief adviser to President Ismail Omar Guelleh, who won a fifth five-year term in elections held last Friday.

DP World said it remained the legal holder of the concession and alleged that Djibouti had acted illegally in seizing the terminal from the Dubai state-owned company.


Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales
Updated 14 April 2021

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales

Jarir Bookstore profits rise on smartphone and computer sales
  • The Riyadh-based chain managed to boost earnings despite being impacted by a drop in school supplies sales linked to the switch to home learning

DUBAI: Retailer Jarir Marketing reported a 6.3 percent rise in first quarter profits to SR276.6 million ($73.7 million) driven by smartphone and computer sales.
The Riyadh-based chain managed to boost earnings despite being impacted by a drop in school supplies sales linked to the switch to home learning, it said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.
The stock gained about 0.5 percent in early trade.
The company, known popularly as Jarir Bookstore, reported an 8.1 percent increase in overall sales to SR2.53 billion.
It said that despite the negative impact of the pandemic on school and office supplies, other sectors helped to improve the overall performance of the group over the quarter.
Jarir was established in Riyadh in 1974 as a small bookshop and expanded in the following decades into other retail segments such as toys, electronics and office supplies.