China’s Neolix to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi, UAE

Neoflix and noon signed the agreement during the state visit of Emirati crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to China. (Reuters/AFP)
Updated 23 July 2019

China’s Neolix to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi, UAE

  • Neolix will build driverless vehicles customized to the region’s weather conditions
  • Neoflix and noon signed the agreement during the state visit of Emirati crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to China

DUBAI: China’s Neolix has signed a preliminary agreement with Middle East e-commerce company noon to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Neolix will build driverless vehicles customized to the region’s weather conditions, where temperatures can soar above 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, noon said in a statement on Tuesday.
Noon, a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund and Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, will focus on ‘last mile delivery’ of the vehicles in select areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai over the next few weeks, the company added.
It did not give trial dates for Saudi Arabia.
Neoflix and noon signed the agreement during the state visit of Emirati crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to China.
Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing signed an agreement on Monday with Symphony Investment, which is funded by Middle Eastern companies including Dubai’s Emaar Properties, to open a joint venture headquarters in Abu Dhabi that will “promote sharing economy and Internet consumer services in the region.”
Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala is considering joining the venture, a Didi statement said, without giving further details.
Uber and Careem, which Uber is buying, are the largest ride-hailing operators in the Middle East.


Italy cabinet approves 2020 budget that cuts taxes, cracks down on evaders

Updated 32 min 48 sec ago

Italy cabinet approves 2020 budget that cuts taxes, cracks down on evaders

  • Italian budget draft to be submitted to Brussels
  • Budget drops previous commitment to reduce deficit

ROME: Italy’s government approved a draft 2020 budget in the early hours of Wednesday that aims to cut taxes for middle-earners and crack down on tax evaders, while holding the deficit at the same level as this year, government officials said.
The package was agreed at a cabinet meeting of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and its center-left coalition partner the Democratic Party. It will now be sent to Brussels for scrutiny by the European Commission.
The budget scraps a hefty increase in sales tax worth 23 billion euros ($25.35 billion) which had been scheduled to take effect in January, but which the coalition feared would push Italy’s already-stagnant economy into recession.
However, since setting the economic targets that provide the framework for the budget in September, the ruling parties have struggled to agree on many of the measures to adopt.
Full details of all the agreed measures were not immediately available, but a final version of the text seen by Reuters ahead of the late night cabinet meeting showed the government planned income tax cuts for middle-earners. The reduction will cost state coffers some 3 billion euros in 2020.
The financial bill targets the 2020 deficit to remain at 2.2% of gross domestic product for a third consecutive year.
Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli, from the 5-Star Movement, said in a statement on Tuesday that the lengthy negotiations with the PD had yielded “an expansionary budget” that will increase benefits for poor families and the disabled.
To help finance these measures, the government has put together a raft of measures to curb rampant tax evasion which costs the state some 109 billion euros every year, according to Treasury estimates.
The budget must be presented to parliament by Oct. 20 and approved in both houses by the end of this year.
It remains to be seen whether it will be rubber-stamped by the European Commission.
The package targets the structural deficit — which strips out the effects of economic growth fluctuations — to rise by 0.1% of GDP next year, reversing a commitment made in July to reduce it by 0.6 points.
The anti-tax-evasion plan, targeted to raise an ambitious 7 billion euros, aims to encourage the use of easily traced credit and debit cards rather than opaque cash transactions.
The budget draft seen by Reuters introduces sanctions of up to 2,000 euros for retailers and service providers that do not accept credit cards. It lowers to 2,000 euros from 3,000 the threshold above which it is illegal to make cash transactions. The amount is expected to be further pushed down to 1,000 euros from 2022.
To encourage people to ask retailers for receipts, the budget also launches lotteries in which holders of the winning receipts, identified with a number, get a tax-free cash prize.
These “receipt lotteries” have already been adopted in several countries including Portugal, Slovakia and Malta.
A new “web-tax” on digital companies aims to raise around 600 million euros each year, the draft showed.
The levy, applied on companies with annual global revenues worth at least 750 million euros and digital services exceeding 5.5 million euros in Italy, obliges them to pay a 3% levy on Internet transactions conducted in Italy.