Daily Archives: December 4, 2016

Euro zone seeks compromise on Greek debt ahead of IMF deadline

BRUSSELS, Rabi’I 06, 1438, December 05, 2016, SPA — Euro zone finance ministers hope to reach a compromise on Greek reforms on Monday in a final bid to get International Monetary Fund support for its bailout programme by the end of the year, according to Reuters.
The regular gathering of the 19 ministers of the currency bloc will be held in the immediate aftermath of Italy’s constitutional referendum, with a defeat of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi potentially putting the euro under new pressure and reigniting the smouldering euro zone crisis, further complicating the Greek talks.
If ministers are able to reach a deal in Brussels, they are likely to hold a second meeting before Christmas to discuss Greek debt relief and the IMF’s role, EU officials said.
Greece is required by its euro zone creditors to pass wide-ranging reforms and sell state assets under an 86 billion euros ($92 billion) bailout programme, but negotiators have not been able to agree on labour and energy reforms or Greece’s 2018 fiscal targets, leaving ministers to close the remaining gaps.
A deal would allow discussions on substantial relief measures for Greece, whose debt, at about 180 percent of gross domestic product, is the highest in the euro zone.
A first set of short-term measures, to be applied before 2018, will be presented by the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone bailout fund, but they are far from enough to make Greece’s debt sustainable, officials said.
NEW YEAR DEADLINE
The IMF, a key creditor in prior Greek bailouts, has linked its participation to a deal on a significant cut in Greek debt and has set the end of the year as a deadline for a decision.
Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, wants the IMF onboard to reduce its own exposure to Greece and help step up the pressure on Athens to make reforms.
Greece must carry out structural reforms instead of receiving further debt relief if it wants to achieve sustainable growth and stay in the euro zone, Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.
The IMF considers Berlin’s demands unrealistic unless Greece gets significant debt relief or adopts new budget cuts. The Greek government opposes new austerity measures.
Although Athens is not in immediate need of new funds, it is keen to reach an overall deal in December so that it can be included in the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme before this is overhauled in March. It also fears that elections in Europe in 2017 may make debt relief less likely, if no decision is reached soon. Germans go to the polls in the autumn and tend to shun politicians who appear lenient towards Greece and other southern European countries.
Elections in March are also likely to unsettle the Dutch government and push out finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is a key negotiator in Greek talks and called last week on euro zone creditors to be “realistic” in the fiscal targets they set for Greece. ($1 = 0.9390 euros) (Editing by Alexander Smith)
–SPA
02:28 LOCAL TIME 23:28 GMT

Khartoum to host forum on Saudi investments in Sudan next week

Khartoum to host forum on Saudi investments in Sudan next week

الاثنين 1438/3/6 هـ الموافق 2016/12/05 م واس

Khartoum, Rabi’I 06, 1438, December 05, 2016, SPA — The Sudanese capital, Khartoum, will host on 12-13 of the current month of December a forum on prospects and challenges of Saudi investments in Sudan.
The event will be organized by the Ministry of Investment of Sudan with the participation of about 250 Saudi businessmen.
–SPA
01:17 LOCAL TIME 22:17 GMT

Trump threatens payback for US companies that move abroad

WASHINGTON, Rabi’I 05, 1438, December 04, 2016, SPA — President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to impose heavy taxes on U.S. companies that move jobs overseas and still try to sell their products to Americans, according to AP.
But the plan could drive up prices for U.S. businesses and consumers and risk setting off a trade war — if it’s legal to begin with.
In a series of early-morning tweets Sunday, Trump vowed a 35 percent tax on products sold inside the U.S. by any business that fired American workers and built a new factory or plant in another country.
Trump campaigned on a vow to help American workers but also to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.
Trump tweets “there will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 percent for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units, etc., back across the border.”
He says companies should be “forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake.”
Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, says Trump would face a potent legal challenge if he tried to impose taxes, known as tariffs, on specific companies without congressional approval.
Hufbauer also doubts that Trump could identify a group of companies —those that move jobs overseas, then ship goods back into America — for special tariffs. “I’m skeptical,” he says, predicting that courts would block such a move.
University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers saw another problem with Trump’s plan: His proposed tariffs would only hit U.S. companies that build plants overseas. They wouldn’t apply to foreign firms that ship goods to the U.S. “Tariffs are one thing,” Wolfers tweeted. “Tariffs that attack only on U.S. firms are another altogether.”
Trump made the comments three days after he announced that appliance maker Carrier had agreed to reverse its decision to ship 800 jobs from an Indiana factory to Mexico.
During the presidential campaign, he repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs — 35 percent on Mexican imports, 45 percent on Chinese. Tariffs are meant to give homegrown companies a price edge by making their foreign competitors’ products more expensive — and to punish foreign countries for unfair trade practices.
Since Trump’s election, his team has described tariffs as a potential tool to be used to pry concessions from America’s trading partners. “Tariffs are part of the negotiation,” Wilbur Ross, an investment banker slated to become Trump’s Commerce secretary, told CNBC last week.
Tariffs could prove costly. They are imposed at the border, and importers would likely try to pass along as much of the cost as possible to their customers.
A 45 percent tariff on Chinese-made goods could drive up U.S. retail prices on those goods by an average of about 10 percent, Capital Economics has calculated. Consumers would probably have to pay up because there are few alternatives to Chinese-made for many products. China, for instance, produces about 70 percent of the world’s laptops and cellphones.
Taxing foreign goods could also start a trade war. The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, has already warned that China could retaliate by limiting sales of U.S. cars and iPhones and by ordering aircraft from Europe’s Airbus instead of America’s Boeing.
In 2009, the Obama administration taxed Chinese tires to protect American tire makers from a surge in imports. Beijing retaliated with a tax of up to 105 percent on U.S. chicken parts.
Researchers at the Peterson Institute found that the tire tariffs probably saved 1,200 jobs in the U.S. tire industry. But higher tire prices cost American consumers an extra $1.1 billion — more than $900,000 for every job saved.
–SPA
22:22 LOCAL TIME 19:22 GMT

Kingdom ranks the third in number of scholarship students in USA

Washington, 05 Rabi’I,1438 AH, 04 December,2016 , SPA — The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia came in third place in terms of number of students on scholarships in the United States of America, according to the announcement by US Administration of International Education in its latest statistics for the years 2015-2016.
The statistics showed that the number of foreign students on scholarships to study in the United States of America amounted to about 1,043 million students, including 61,287 students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. China came in first place with the number of 328,547 students; and India in the second place with 165,918 students.
On this occasion Saudi Cultural attaché’ in the United States of America , Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa, expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom’s leadership for its interest in students on scholarships in the United States and support for the process of education in the Kingdom.
— SPA
16:09 LOCAL TIME 13:09 GMT

German finance minister holds out against Greek debt cut

German finance minister holds out against Greek debt cut

الأحد 1438/3/5 هـ الموافق 2016/12/04 م واس

BERLIN, Rabi’I 05, 1438, December 04, 2016, SPA — Germany’s finance minister is underlining his opposition to a debt cut for Greece and urging Athens to push ahead with reforms before a meeting with his eurozone counterparts, AP reported.
Eurozone finance ministers will review progress on the Greek bailout program Monday. The International Monetary Fund argues that Greece needs better terms on its debt payments for its economy to recover, but top bailout lender Germany has been reluctant to commit to debt relief measures.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted Sunday as telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that a debt cut “wouldn’t help Greece.”
He added that “Athens must finally carry out the necessary reforms. If Greece wants to stay in the euro, there is no way past that completely independently of the debt level.”
–SPA
14:56 LOCAL TIME 11:56 GMT

UK foreign secretary downplays EU payment suggestions

UK foreign secretary downplays EU payment suggestions

الأحد 1438/3/5 هـ الموافق 2016/12/04 م واس

LONDON, Rabi’I 05, 1438, December 04, 2016, SPA — Britain’s foreign secretary has dismissed suggestions that London would be willing to pay into European Union coffers following an exit from the bloc, describing the idea as speculation, AP reported.
Boris Johnson’s comments to the BBC on Sunday came after Britain’s minister for leaving the European Union, David Davis, said that the country might be willing to pay in return for access to the single market.
Johnson says that is nothing more than “something that obviously David Davis is considering,” and that no decisions have been made.
–SPA
14:41 LOCAL TIME 11:41 GMT

Kingdom succeeds in shrimp farming: Global Magazine says

Kingdom succeeds in shrimp farming: Global Magazine says

الأحد 1438/3/5 هـ الموافق 2016/12/04 م واس

Riyadh, 05 Rabi’I, 1438,December 04, 2016, SPA — Global Aquaculture Advocate magazine confirmed in its latest issue in a report entitled “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia develops a vital effective strategy in the industry of shrimp farming”, noting the success of bio-security program for aquaculture in the Kingdom.
The report focused on the Kingdom’s adoption of pioneering vital security strategies in shrimp farming industry in the Kingdom at the level of the world which forms a quantum leap for the industry and shows the effectiveness of these strategies in 2015 and the expected productivity for the year 2016.
— SPA
14:10 LOCAL TIME 11:10 GMT