Jordan is an international investment platform, new minister tells UK businesses

Jordan’s Investment Minister Khairy Amr speaks during a roundtable discussion at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)
Jordan’s Investment Minister Khairy Amr speaks during a roundtable discussion at the Arab British Chamber of Commerce. (AN Photo/Hasenin Fadhel)
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Updated 01 June 2022

Jordan is an international investment platform, new minister tells UK businesses

Jordan is an international investment platform, new minister tells UK businesses
  • He said the country had identified six sectors to focus on that were of ‘key relevance’ to Jordan at this stage

LONDON: Jordan’s new investment minister used his first visit to the UK to highlight prospects for cooperation and encourage British businesses to take advantage of the economic and investment opportunities available.

“We’re here on a mission to bring Jordan on the international platform to highlight the opportunities and the key driving factors that can make for good investments in Jordan,” Khairy Amr told Arab News on the sidelines of a roundtable discussion hosted by the London-based Arab British Chamber of Commerce.

He said the country had identified six sectors to focus on that were of “key relevance” to Jordan at this stage: Information technology, tourism, healthcare, transportation and logistics, agriculture, and life sciences.

“These are important areas that we highlight the need for further investment from our friends here in the UK,” he said, adding that trade, commerce, direct investment, and exchange of expertise with Britain were also being explored to open up new markets for Jordan-based businesses.

The new Investment Ministry was established last October following a cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister, signaling Jordan's commitment to accelerating inward investment and enhancing the competitiveness of its economy.

It replaced the Jordan Investment Commission and has joined the few entities representing investment in Jordan to become one big ministry, he said.

Amr, who met his British counterpart Gerry Grimstone and other officials during his visit, called on investors to use Jordan as a platform to access other markets due to its strategic location connecting three continents.

“This was historically the case, and that’s why places like Petra were built to accommodate trade and links with different countries and different continents.

“Today, the role has evolved significantly, there is the element of technology involved, and also there is an element of specific knowledge of regional markets and their specific requirements.”

The minister said his country played an important role because it had significant resident talent from Jordan and the region who knew these markets and their needs so it provided a platform for investors.

On top of that, he said they had built a significant array of bilateral trade agreements with Europe, the US, the Arab world, and Asia that allowed investors unencumbered, quota-free, and customs-free access to all these markets.

The former banker said he would like to see bilateral relations between the two countries elevated significantly to become an important partner.

“The UK has always been a very close ally and partner to Jordan in almost every aspect of economic and commercial activity and we would like to emphasize that, grow it, build further cooperation, and bring in more expertise and investment from the UK, as well as explore ways how we can open up UK markets for Jordan-based investors,” he said.

The Department for International Trade said in a May report that Jordan was the UK’s 89th largest trading partner in 2021, accounting for 0.1 percent of total UK trade.

Total trade in goods and services between the two countries was £653 million ($824 million) last year, an increase of 3.7 percent or £23 million from 2020.

Bandar Reda, secretary-general and CEO of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce, said the roundtable provided a great opportunity for their members to hear “firsthand from the investment decision maker of Jordan and to see the development of that great country.”

He also said the timing of the minister’s visit and that he chose the UK was perfect because it presented a real opportunity to show the country’s new regulations and development, particularly after the ministry was formed.

“The Arab British Chamber of Commerce, we consider it to be the house of all the Arab business community in the UK,” he said, adding that the organization was keen to facilitate cooperation with Arab countries, the British government, and businesses.


India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources
Updated 11 sec ago

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

India may scrap wheat import duty to cool domestic prices, say sources

MUMBAI: India could scrap a 40 percent duty on wheat imports and cap the amount of stocks traders can hold to try to dampen record high domestic prices in the world’s second-biggest producer, government and trade officials told Reuters on Monday.

Late in the day, the Trade Ministry said it would restrict the export of some wheat-derived products like finely milled “maida” and semolina from Aug. 14, with only an inter-ministerial committee allowed to clear their shipment. Exports of the items are generally small.

India barred wheat exports in May after the crop suffered a heatwave, but domestic prices still rose to a record high. Yet, international prices are still way above the domestic market, making it unviable for traders to buy from abroad.

If the government does remove the duty, and international prices also fall, then traders say they could start importing, especially during the upcoming festival season, when higher demand typically drives domestic prices higher.

“We are exploring all possible options to bring down the prices,” said a senior government official who held a discussion with industry officials last week.

New Delhi could scrap the 40 percent import duty and impose stock limits on wholesalers and traders to signal to the market that the government will do everything in its power to keep prices in check, said the official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Domestic wheat prices ended last week at a record 24,000 rupees ($301.57) per ton, having risen 14 percent from lows struck after the government surprised markets on May 14 by banning exports, ending hopes that India could fill the market gap left by missing Ukraine grain.

Domestic prices are still nearly a third lower than global prices, said a Mumbai-based trader with a global trading firm, who described Indian wheat as the cheapest in the world.

India last imported wheat in the April 2017 to March 2018 financial year.

“If global prices fall by another 20 percent and Indian prices continue their rally, then maybe, sometime after a few months, imports might become feasible,” the trader said.

The government has limited options to intervene in the market this year since its procurement has fallen 57 percent to 18.8 million tons, said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.


Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries
Updated 11 min 22 sec ago

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries

Oil hover near multi-month lows on demand worries
  • Russian crude, oil products exports continue to flow ahead of an impending EU embargo

LONDON: Oil prices hovered near multi-month lows on Monday as lingering worries about demand weakening on the back of a darkened economic outlook outweighed some positive economic data from China and the US.

Erasing earlier gains, Brent crude futures were down 55 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $94.37 a barrel by 1331 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $88.25 a barrel, down 76 cents, or 0.9 percent.

Front-month Brent prices last week hit the lowest since February, tumbling 13.7 percent and posting their largest weekly drop since April 2020, while WTI lost 9.7 percent, as concerns about a recession hitting oil demand weighed on prices.

“Last week’s price action left no doubt that recession-driven demand concerns have the upper hand over supply fears. One could even go as far as saying the war premium has evaporated,” PVM analyst Stephen Brennock said.

Both contracts recouped some losses on Friday after jobs growth in the US, the world’s top oil consumer, unexpectedly accelerated in July.

On Sunday, China also surprised markets with faster-than-expected growth in exports.

China, the world’s top crude importer, brought in 8.79 million barrels per day of crude in July, up from a four-year low in June, but still 9.5 percent less than a year earlier, customs data showed.

In Europe, Russian crude and oil products exports continued to flow ahead of an impending embargo from the EU that will take effect on Dec. 5.

Last week, the Bank of England warned of a protracted recession in Britain.

Gasoline demand in the US continues to weaken despite falling prices at the pump, and stockpiles are rising.

In terms of US production, energy firms last week cut the number of oil rigs by the most since September in the first drop in 10 weeks.

The US clean energy sector received a boost after the Senate on Sunday passed a sweeping $430 billion bill.


China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 32 min 39 sec ago

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

China’s Huawei set to finalize data center location in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: China’s tech giant Huawei is soon to decide the location of its data center in Saudi Arabia, president of Huawei Cloud Middle East told Gulf News. 

The data center in Saudi Arabia will be Huawei’s second in the Middle East, following Abu Dhabi.

“We are in the final stages of the Saudi decision — the investment decision has already been made,” Frank Dai explained. “All that’s left is where in Riyadh should the facility be built.”

He added: “The Middle East remains central to our vision of how digital transformation can reshape economies, even change the world. This is only the beginning of what data-driven economies can achieve.”


Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October
Updated 57 min 23 sec ago

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

Wizz Air to resume flights from UAE to Russia in October

DUBAI: European budget airline Wizz Air will resume flights from Abu Dhabi to Moscow from October, it said on Thursday, more than five months after the carrier suspended all services to Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The airline’s Abu Dhabi-based joint venture, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, will operate the daily flight from Oct. 3, with fares starting from 359 dirham ($97.74), it said in a statement.

Wizz Air, which in October 2021 announced the Abu Dhabi to Moscow flights would start in December that year, said on Feb. 27 it had suspended all flights to Russia.

Other Emirati carriers, including Emirates, have continued to operate services to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and the European airline. It is based in Abu Dhabi and is a UAE registered carrier.


Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company
Updated 08 August 2022

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

Public private partnerships to be encouraged in key Saudi region by new company

RIYADH: Private businesses will be encouraged to work closely with the public sector on projects in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region thanks to the creation of a new specialist organization.

The Qassim Region Municipality Company was given the go-ahead to form and create a board of directors by the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.

The company aims to enhance investment activity in the municipal sector in the Qassim region and to establish development projects in partnership with the private sector.