Asia House dialogue in Riyadh explores future of trade

The conference — held as part of the Asia House Middle East Program — will convene leading decision-makers from business and government to explore the shifts taking place in world trade.
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Updated 15 February 2020

Asia House dialogue in Riyadh explores future of trade

Riyadh will be the location of a major global conference on Feb. 25 when the Asia House Middle East Trade Dialogue convenes in the city. 

Taking place in the year that Saudi Arabia hosts the G20, the dialogue will look ahead to the Kingdom’s key priorities for 2020, with sustainability, renewable energies and the role of women in the economy on the agenda. Wider developments and key trends in world trade will also be explored by leading business and policy figures.

Lubna Olayan, chair, Saudi British Bank (SABB), will give the keynote speech at the forum, organized by Asia House — a London-based center of expertise on trade and investment in Asia.

Other speakers include Simon Penney, Middle East trade commissioner for the UK government; David Dew, managing director, SABB; Alain Bejjani, chief executive, Majid Al-Futtaim Holding; Sylvain Cote, senior economist, Saudi Aramco; Frank Kane, senior business columnist, Arab News; and Victor Gao, vice president, Center for China and Globalization.

Lord Green, chairman of Asia House and former UK trade minister, said: “The Middle East remains an extremely important region for global trade, especially as the Gulf broadens its relationships with Asian markets. Just last year, more than 1,000 international companies set up new operations in Saudi Arabia, highlighting business interest in the Kingdom.

“With Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 this year, we believe it is an important time to bring our trade dialogue to Riyadh to explore the economic shifts taking place in the region and beyond. We are particularly honored to be welcoming Lubna Olayan to share her unique insights with our audience of senior business and investment figures.” 

SABB will be sponsoring the event, as well taking the stage to debate opportunities between Asia and the Kingdom.

Olayan said: “Trade has historically always been important to the development of the Kingdom, and that is equally true today as the Far East and the Middle East are once again becoming increasingly connected and we begin a year in which Saudi Arabia leads the G20, with deliberations around trade and investment being a major focus of the B20.” 

She added: “It is truly an exciting time, so we are pleased to be jointly hosting this important event to explore opportunities for enhancing and facilitating growing trade links between the Far East and the Middle East.”

The conference is held with the support of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and is convened as part of the Asia House Middle East Program. Arab News is the Strategic Media Partner for the dialogue.


DIFC supports businesses impacted by COVID-19

The Dubai International Financial Centre is a special economic zone in Dubai and a leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
Updated 05 April 2020

DIFC supports businesses impacted by COVID-19

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has reinforced its commitment to supporting the UAE government’s sustained efforts to protect citizens and residents from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DIFC is actively following the mandatory directives of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the guidelines issued by the other relevant government authorities and World Health Organization (WHO).
The center has also applied preventative measures issued by the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority. In line with government directives, DIFC temporarily suspended all retail outlets, except pharmacies, groceries and supermarkets to ensure essential medical and food supplies remain available to the community. Restaurants and cafes are currently closed to customers, with services limited to home takeaway deliveries while the center has also temporarily closed the DIFC Mosque, prayer facilities and areas of worship in line with government guidance.
Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority (DIFCA), said: “The well-being of our community is of utmost importance. We are working continually to ensure all health and safety measures are implemented swiftly and effectively as directed by the relevant government authorities ... Our stimulus package aims to alleviate the tremendous burden COVID-19 has on our clients, industry and economy.”

HIGHLIGHT

DIFC will introduce a series of fiscal easing initiatives over the next three months from April 1 to June 30 to help protect the financial services industry and all businesses operating in the center.

Aligning with Dubai government’s economic stimulus program, DIFC will introduce a series of fiscal easing initiatives over the next three months from April 1 to June 30 to help protect the financial services industry and all businesses operating in the center.
To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, DIFC moved toward streaming webinars and is planning a series of virtual business, community and lifestyle events to avoid mass gatherings. Furthermore, digital channels are being fully utilized, maintaining the ability to connect live with the DIFC Services Front Desk and conduct business. DIFCA has also committed to a work-from-home policy and has embraced social distancing at the center.
DIFC will also facilitate the free movement of labor in and out of the center between other free zones.