Road map for business ties drawn

Updated 12 April 2016

Road map for business ties drawn

CAIRO: Saudi and Egyptian ministers and officials drew a road map for enhanced economic cooperation and trade between the two nations here on Saturday.

The members of the Saudi-Egypt Business Forum, in their final communiqué, called for measures that would facilitate the entry of new international companies, especially small and medium firms, in the Saudi and Egyptian markets. This should conform to World Trade Organization stipulations, the statement said.
The communiqué mentioned several sectors in which the two countries are expected to cooperate during the coming decade, including agriculture, food industries, renewable energy, mining, information technology, industrial and real estate.
The forum stated that the plan includes setting up an office to facilitate procedures for businesspeople and investors in the two countries, and to encourage research and scientific research programs with universities.
In addition, embassies would be drawn in to help facilitate trade and investment, and for Egypt to introduce measures that would reduce the difficulties faced by Saudi businesspeople who want to invest in the country.
There should also be a commitment by the two countries to the rules of the Grand Arab Free Trade Zone and the decisions of the socioeconomic council aimed at removing obstacles to trade exchanges.
An agreement was reached between Maaden Company and Egyptian firms in the field of mining to exchange expertise, technical visits, and localize technology in the pursuit of precious metals including gold. The Egyptian side will open the way for Maaden to sell products on Egyptian markets.
During the deliberations of the forum on Saturday, Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said that there were directives from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to open retail and wholesale markets in the Kingdom to more outside companies, under certain controls.
Meanwhile, during a meeting Saturday with the Egyptian Minister of Investment Daliya Khurshid in Cairo, Minister of Agriculture Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli discussed investment opportunities in farming in Egypt.
In another development, Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen held a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Muhammad Abdulati on a draft cooperation agreement on drilling wells and joint studies in saline water desalination.
Minister of Housing Majed Al-Huqail visited Saturday the headquarters of the Construction and Housing Bank. He was accompanied by Khaled Abbas, Egyptian assistant minister of housing for technical affairs, who briefed him on the Egyptian experience in housing.


IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

Updated 55 min 3 sec ago

IMF experts visit Lebanon amid worsening economic crisis

  • IMF team will provide broad technical advice
  • Lebanon has not requested IMF financial assistance

BEIRUT: A team of IMF experts met Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Thursday at the start of a visit to provide Lebanon with advice on tackling a deepening financial and economic crisis, an official Lebanese source said.

The IMF has said the team will visit until Feb. 23 and provide broad technical advice. Lebanon has not requested financial assistance from the Fund.

The long-brewing economic crisis spiraled last year as capital flows into the country slowed and protests erupted against the ruling elite over decades of corruption and bad governance.

Diab’s government, which took office last month, must decide what to do about upcoming debt payments, notably a $1.2 billion dollar-denominated sovereign bond due on March 9.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meanwhile said on Thursday measures would be taken to hold to account all those who contributed to Lebanon’s financial crisis through illegal actions be they transfers abroad, manipulation of Eurobonds or other acts.

“There is information that we are still in need of with regards to the banking situation. There are measures that we will take to hold to account all who participated in bringing the crisis to where it is,” Aoun said, according to his Twitter account.

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One of Lebanon’s most influential politicians, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, said on Wednesday that debt restructuring was the best solution for looming maturities.

Lebanon will on Friday review proposals from firms bidding to give it financial and legal advice on its options, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The government aims to take a quick decision on who to appoint, the source said.

So far, firms bidding to be Lebanon’s legal adviser are Dechert, Cleary Gottlieb, and White and Case, the source said.

Lebanon has issued requests for proposals to seven firms to provide it with financial advice.

The government on Wednesday formed a committee tasked with preparing an economic recovery plan that includes ministers, government officials, a central bank representative and economists, according to a copy of a decree seen by Reuters.