France warns BNP fine could hurt EU-US trade deal

France warns BNP fine could hurt EU-US trade deal
Updated 07 June 2014

France warns BNP fine could hurt EU-US trade deal

France warns BNP fine could hurt EU-US trade deal

PARIS: France has warned that a record $10 billion fine that the US is reportedly preparing for BNP Paribas bank for violating sanctions could hurt negotiations on a mega transatlantic trade deal.
Speaking a day after French President Francois Hollande raised the issue over dinner with US leader Barack Obama, France’s foreign minister said the fine could have “negative consequences” on talks over the EU-US pact.
This wide-ranging program, currently being negotiated, would establish the world’s largest free-trade and investment zone.
“This treaty, which can be positive for developping trade, cannot exist except on the basis of reciprocity,” Laurent Fabius told French radio when asked about the fine.
“Evidently ... this risks having negative consequences, that’s true,” he said, referring to negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The treaty could eventually establish a free-trade and investment zone that would cover some 820 million people and more than $1 trillion in annual two-way trade.
France has been piling pressure on the United States to reduce the fine it is reportedly ready to impose on one of France’s biggest bank accused of breaking US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the fine could exceed $10 billion dollars (7.32 billion euros), and the French say that such a figure would be disproportionate.
In addition to Hollande, who has previously brought up the issue with the White House, the chief of France’s central bank and senior French regulators have pleaded BNP’s case with state and federal prosecutors in New York.
French officials warn that imposing such a big fine on one of the biggest banks in Europe could destabilize the financial system, cut lending to businesses and impede economic recovery.
Prior to his dinner with the French president, Obama made it clear he would not interfere in the judicial process as that would violate the independence of the US judiciary.
“The rule of law is not determined by political expediency,” Obama said in Brussels.
Many analysts say stiff penalties would neither bring down BNP Paribas nor create risks for the wider financial system.


DIFC Courts sees 41% rise in cases during 2020

DIFC Courts sees 41% rise in cases during 2020
Updated 01 March 2021

DIFC Courts sees 41% rise in cases during 2020

DIFC Courts sees 41% rise in cases during 2020
  • The DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) saw cases increase 47 percent to 466 cases in 2020

DUBAI: The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Courts saw a 41 percent rise in the number of cases it handled last year, with its technology and construction sector recording a 233 percent surge in disputes, it was announced on Monday.

Established in 2004 and based on the English-language common law system, the courts’ jurisdiction was expanded in 2011 to include all businesses from all GCC countries and beyond.

The number of cases at the main Court of First Instance rose last year by 41 percent, while the total value of claims increased 72 percent to AED9.95 billion ($2.71 billion), with the average claim across cases amounting to AED86.3 million. The cases covered a wide range of sectors, including banking and finance, construction, and real estate.

The courts also reported a 50 percent increase in the number of opt-in cases last year, meaning claims where the contracts do not specify the DIFC Courts as the location for disputes but both parties have elected to use it in order to find a resolution.

Zaki Azmi, chief justice of the DIFC Courts, said: “Undoubtedly, 2020 was a year that tested the resilience of every government service, private-sector business, and individual. It was a year that forced everyone to re-shift focus; to reprioritize, and, to adapt to rapid changes.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances that have emerged, all core services of the DIFC Courts have been fully maintained, whilst remaining true to our core values and dedication of public service.”

The DIFC Courts’ Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) saw cases increase 47 percent to 466 cases in 2020. The majority (51 percent) of cases were related to breach of contract, followed by employment (25 percent), property and tenancy (16 percent), and banking and finance (8 percent). The total value of claims related to SCT cases amounted to AED55 million.

Earlier this year, the DIFC Courts launched a new court which will rule on commercial space-related disputes, it was revealed on Monday.

The Courts of Space initiative, in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation, will see an international working group of public and private-sector experts tasked with exploring space-related legal issues linked to such disputes, and brainstorming possible outcomes.


Start-up of the Week: Dokkan Joze W Loze

Start-up of the Week: Dokkan Joze W Loze
Updated 01 March 2021

Start-up of the Week: Dokkan Joze W Loze

Start-up of the Week: Dokkan Joze W Loze
  • Joze W Loze offers two kinds of talbeenah; the regular, traditional recipe, or the “golden” talbeenah, flavored with turmeric

RIYADH: A new Jeddah-based start-up has customers going nutty for its candied goods.

Dokkan Joze W Loze, which translates as “The Walnut and Almond Shop,” has the perfect products for those looking for a sweet treat to snack on without the guilt of overindulgence.

Owner Wid Sami Fayez began selling her candied nut creations to friends and family about two years ago. As her products gained popularity, she decided to set up shop officially and begin selling to the public.

“Since most of my products are made with walnuts and almonds, I decided to name my shop after the two ingredients I use the most,” she told Arab News. “To imbue the name with the spirit of traditionalism, I added the word Dokkan.”

Fayez started out with her most popular product, candied pecans made with cinnamon. To this day it remains the shop’s best-seller, with candied almonds coming in a close second.

“We also started adding new products recently. For example, for those who don’t have a sweet tooth we offer savory almonds with rosemary, an ideal snack for those on a diet or trying to eat keto,” she said.

Fayez also offers seasonal treats and gift boxes during Ramadan, perfect as gifts for the holiday or to pass around to guests visiting during the holy month. Some of the shop’s seasonal products include dates, stuffed with her signature candied nuts, a pecan cake, and one of the most popular products, a traditional drink called “talbeenah.”

“A year ago, we started offering talbeenah in our shop to celebrate the Prophet’s sunnah. It is a porridge made from barley flour, formed by adding milk and honey to dried barley powder. We then add cinnamon and cardamom to it for extra flavor,” Fayez said.

“The Mother of the Believers, the Prophet’s wife Aisha, narrated that the Prophet recommended talbeenah as “a companion to the heart of the sick,” and noted that it has a variety of health benefits,” she said.

Joze W Loze offers two kinds of talbeenah; the regular, traditional recipe, or the “golden” talbeenah, flavored with turmeric and a delicate blend of other spices such as ginger, cloves, nutmeg and fennel.

“The health benefits of talbeenah are almost endless,” Fayez says of the drink. “In line with the words of the Prophet, it relieves depression and grief, is very good for the heart and the liver, is a natural diuretic, helps with high blood pressure, helps with a cough, contains anti-oxidants, and so much more.”

For customers outside of Jeddah, Fayez also sells talbeenah as a dry mix, to which customers can add their own milk and combine at home.

The shop’s products can be purchased from Instagram by messaging them directly at @dokkanjozewloze, as well as from Jeddah’s community retail space Amkana, @amkanaksa on Instagram.


China’s Tencent Cloud to open data center in Bahrain

China’s Tencent Cloud to open data center in Bahrain
Updated 01 March 2021

China’s Tencent Cloud to open data center in Bahrain

China’s Tencent Cloud to open data center in Bahrain
  • The Middle East’s cloud market was expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2024

DUBAI: Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent announced on Monday its cloud division is to open a data center in Bahrain.

Tencent Cloud signed an agreement with the Bahrain Economic Development Board to launch the center later this year, marking the Chinese firm’s first milestone in the Middle East.

The Middle East’s cloud market was expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2024, growing at an annual rate of 17.5 percent, according to research by MarketsandMarkets.

In 2017, Bahrain introduced the region’s first nationwide cloud-first policy to enhance government information and communication technologies, driving the adoption of cloud across state entities and reducing IT costs by up to 90 percent.


Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official
Updated 01 March 2021

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official

Battery prices need to fall before Mideast motorists embrace electric vehicles says Nissan official
  • Middle East gearing up for transition to electric vehicles: Senior Nissan official
  • Drop in battery prices, improved infrastructure key drivers in move toward EVs

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is leading the regional push towards electric vehicle (EV) adoption but battery prices remain a worry for motorists, according to a top Nissan official.

Guillaume Cartier, senior vice president of marketing and sales at the Japanese motor manufacturer said that the speed of introduction would depend on a fall in battery prices to a level that made the cost of an EV equivalent to that of a regular car.

Speaking to Asharq Business, Cartier said that a comprehensive infrastructure for charging EVs was needed before a successful transition could happen.

He noted that there was an intention to switch to EVs and that the region was moving from a mentality of pioneering the adoption of EV technology to a real desire to provide it.

Saudi Arabia has already put itself on the path to adopting EVs and the Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization has approved imported EVs and allowed local agents to start bringing the vehicles into the Kingdom.

Other initiatives taken by the government may contribute to the promotion of EVs.  These include Saudi Electricity Co.’s 2018 agreement with Nissan for the first EV pilot project in the country that included the development of fast-charger EV stations.
 


Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV
Updated 01 March 2021

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

Oman orders partial commercial shutdown from March 4-20, state TV

DUBAI: All commercial activities in Oman will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time in the period from March 4 to March 20, as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Oman State TV reported on Monday.