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RCCI to organize CPEC conference in Beijing

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) is going to organize a CPEC Business Opportunities Conference in Beijing, China from January 29 to February 2.

The event will be attended by 200 businessmen from both the countries. This was stated by President RCCI Zahid Latif Khan after meeting with Overseas Chinese Association of Pakistan (OCAP) President Chen Zong Dong on Sunday.

Giving details, Zahid Latif Khan said the conference will provide an ideal platform for Pakistani businesses to identify and engage in joint ventures, technology transfer, Mergers & Acquisition, and other cooperation opportunities with Chinese companies mainly under the ambit of CPEC. “The conference will organize dialogue of Leaders of Business Community with representatives of Government(s) to know their perspectives of CPEC”.

RCCI chief said the conference will pave the way in bridging the gap between business communities of Pakistan and China and create new business opportunities

RCCI will also facilitate MOU signings between the respective companies at the conference, he added.

On this occasion, Chen Zong Dong lauded the RCCI’s efforts in facilitating traders and promoting trade activities in the country. He said this conference would serve as a platform to strengthen the linkages between the trader communities of both the countries. This will also create and strengthen a network of Public-Private sectors of Pakistan and China and this will be a forum for the Chinese businessmen who were looking forward to penetrate in Pakistani markets under the umbrella of CPEC, he further added.

The five day conference aimed at monitoring the developments with an eye towards ensuring that business related policies between Pakistan and China, including the areas of Industrialization, Exports, Trade Relations, Foreign Investment, Energy Sector are business friendly and contribute toward strengthening the Public-Private sector.

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Fertilisers available in abundance

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Diammonium phosphate (DAP), Urea and all other fertiliser stocks are available in sufficient quantity to meet the demand of farmers in Punjab.

A spokesman for the Punjab Agriculture Department said this here on Sunday.

The district government has ordered the fertiliser dealers to display prices of fertilisers and sell the commodity as per prices, announced by the government.

Farmers should not pay more for fertilisers and they also should get receipt from dealers while purchasing fertiliser bags.

If farmers have any complaint regarding fertilisers, they should make a call to Punjab Agriculture Helpline on 0800-15000 or 0800-29000 for redress of their grievances. Farmers may contact Directorate General of Agriculture (Ext & AR) on 042-99200749 or 042-99203709 for registration of their complaint regarding fertiliser prices, he added.

He said that the Punjab government was striving to keep the prices of fertilisers under control in the interest of farming community and stakeholders.

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Brexit supporters list demands for ‘divorce bill’ talks

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Leading Brexit supporters have urged the prime minister not to settle the UK’s “divorce bill” unless the EU agrees to a series of conditions.

The Leave Means Leave group, which includes ex-cabinet ministers, says Brussels must end the European Court of Justice’s jurisdiction over the UK.

It also wants freedom of movement to the UK for EU citizens to stop when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Theresa May is to hold more meetings next week on the terms of the UK exit.

The UK is hoping to move on to talking about trade but the EU will only do this when it deems “sufficient progress” has been made on three areas – the so-called divorce bill, the rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit and the Irish border.

The prime minister has said discussions were continuing over the amount the UK will pay to meet obligations arising from its membership but has already indicated ECJ rulings will apply during a planned two-year transition period.

Signatories of the Leave Means Leave letter to the prime minister include former Tory cabinet ministers Owen Paterson and John Redwood, senior Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg, Labour MP Graham Stringer, and entrepreneurs such as Luke Johnson, Tim Martin and Peter Hargreaves.

They say Mrs May should make clear to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier “that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

The UK should be prepared to revert to World Trade Organisation terms if a future free trade agreement with the EU is not secured, they add.

Leave Means Leave says the UK should not make any payment to Brussels unless the conditions are met.

These also include the UK and the EU agreeing a reciprocal free trade deal without tariffs by the end of March next year and an assurance that no new EU regulations should apply after March 2019.

“If EU negotiators agree to these criteria during negotiations in December, then Britain should make a reasonable, realistic and not extortionate goodwill payment,” the letter says.

Last week it was reported that the UK has offered a larger potential “divorce bill” to the EU – which could be worth up to 50bn euros (£44bn).

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reports that Sir Richard Aikens, a former Court of Appeal judge, has written to Mrs May urging her not to accept a Brexit deal which could see the European Court of Justice continue to issue rulings binding on UK courts.

In an article in the Telegraph, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also says such a plan would be “quite unacceptable… and put the UK in the position of ceding power to a foreign court on which it has no representation to rule on those who would and should normally have their rights adjudicated by British courts”.

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Chinese businessmen want joint ventures with Pakistan

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Chinese entrepreneurs on Saturday have expressed their desire to enter into joint ventures and investment in Pakistan in areas of their interest.

The delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs led by Adven Zhu, Managing Director, Suzhou China Aviation Technology Equipment Co. Ltd representing various sectors including infrastructure development, construction of roads, bridges, high rise buildings, IT, manufacturing of mechanical products, cold-bend steel, elevator components, mechanical components, plastic injections, furniture and tourism visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here, said a statement issued on Saturday.

Speaking at the occasion, Adven Zhu said that this was their first visit to Pakistan and they found Pakistan a potential market for business and investment it has a big consumer market and strategic geographic location.

He said that the Chinese delegation members have good expertise and technology to build high rise buildings and were interested to make some useful contribution in Pakistani in this area.

He said that the private sectors of both countries should develop close cooperation to exploit all untapped areas of mutual collaboration.

Speaking at the occasion, President ICCI Sheikh Amir Waheedsaid China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has opened new avenues for long term cooperation between China and Pakistan and stressed that private sectors of both countries should enhance interactions to explore match makings in CPEC and other developmental projects in Pakistan.

He said that many sectors of Pakistan’s economy including infrastructure development, high rise buildings, aviation, steel, aluminum, all sorts of machinery and parts, manufacturing of plastic products, construction and real estate, furniture, hardware, tourism and others were opened for foreign investors and urged that Chinese investors should explore these potential sectors for joint ventures and investment in Pakistan.

He said that Chinese investors should bring technology and machinery to Pakistan to set up manufacturing plants. He said by investing in Pakistan, Chinese investors would be in a better position to enhance exports to South & Central Asia, Middle East, Europe and many other potential markets.

 

 

 

 

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Samsung to chase big M&A deals

HELSINKI (Reuters): Samsung Electronics’ $8 billion purchase of automotive and audio electronics company Harman has given the technology conglomerate confidence to chase more big deals, its strategy chief said.

Young Sohn, the South Korean company’s Silicon Valley-based president and chief strategy officer, said he was keen for world’s top maker of memory chips, smartphones and televisions to expand in automotive markets, digital health and industrial automation.

Samsung, which this year surpassed Intel to become the world’s biggest semiconductors manufacturer, has signaled its appetite for dealmaking over the past year, saying it was seeking businesses to build software and services to further differentiate its products.

However, it has provided few details on sectors it is targeting in its push for mergers and acquisitions.

“We are committed to using M&A as our tool, (and) I think the Harmon acquisition helped us to have more confidence,” Sohn told Reuters on the sidelines of the Slush tech start-up festival in Helsinki.

“I believe we can do lot more going forward.”

Sohn appeared to dismiss the potential for Samsung to take part in further consolidation in semiconductors or the smartphone markets, where it is also a leading player, suggesting the company is focused on organic growth strategies in these areas.

In September Sohn said Samsung aimed to become a major player in autonomous driving, building on its acquisition of auto parts supplier Harman and its pole position in mobile communications markets.

Asked to spell out Samsung’s potential dealmaking priorities for 2018, he said the company would continue to invest in expanding its automotive business.

Another category he singled out as “an area of opportunity” was digital health, specifically preventive health and related technologies.

Finally, in business software, he said Samsung is looking at companies in the areas of industrial internet, automation, networking, data transmission and security.

“We are a very careful and conservative company, so we will do it where it makes sense,” Sohn said, adding that it would also look for smaller bolt-on technology deals.

 

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Sale of the century $300-billion Saudi state sell-off moves slowly

Dubai/Riyadh (Gulf News): Saudi Arabia’s $300-billion (Dh1.1 trillion) privatisation programme was billed as the sale of the century when Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman unveiled his plan to great fanfare. Nineteen months later, it is moving at a snail’s pace, bankers, investors and analysts familiar with the process say.

The main problems they cite are heavy bureaucracy, an inadequate legal framework, frequent changes of priority in government departments and fatigue among investors.

Some also blame a wait-and-see approach among many investors due to uncertainty about the fallout from an anti-corruption campaign in which dozens of royal family members, ministers and senior officials were rounded up in early November.

The centrepiece listing of state oil company Saudi Aramco — expected alone to raise up to $100 billion — is on track to go ahead next year, Prince Mohammad told Reuters in October. However, Riyadh has yet to select any exchange abroad that will handle — along with the Saudi market — what would be the biggest share flotation in history.

Sectors where the privatisation process has been slow include grains, the postal service and health care.

“It’s going to take longer [than many expected],” a Saudi banker who has worked on transactions told Reuters. “There are headwinds from the shifting of priorities in government and at a micro-level as these are old institutions that have often never kept books and are not up to the rigours of privatisation.” The sell-off is a cornerstone of Prince Mohammad’s Vision 2030 plan to bring in fresh revenue and diversify the economy — which is recession and blighted by high unemployment — away from energy exports in an era of low oil prices.

But the bankers, investors and analysts are expressing concerns including over the lack of a regulatory framework to assure would-be shareholders about how much control foreign companies could gain as a result of the stake sales, including the right to lay off staff.

Vice Minister for Economy and Planning, Mohammad Al Tuwaijri told Reuters in April that, excluding Aramco, the government aimed to make $200 billion by putting large parts of the Saudi economy in private hands.

The Ministry of Economy and Planning did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

The sell-off, including 5 per cent of Aramco, is intended to improve state finances. The government posted a $79 billion deficit last year.

However, the record is patchy in the four sectors that Tuwaijri had highlighted as priorities for this year: grain silos, sports, electricity generation and water provision.

Banks recently submitted bids to advise on the privatisation of Saline Water Conversion Corporation’s $7.2 billion Ras Al Khair desalination and power plant. But there has been less progress in the other three sectors.

Saudi Arabia’s deputy electricity minister said in October he aimed for progress in privatising the power sector in 2018, after “some developments required us to wait”.

Prospective bidders for the kingdom’s state-owned grain mills have complained of an unwieldy sale process and onerous ownership rules.

Elsewhere, the Ministry of Health has put on hold its tender seeking financial advisers for the privatisation of 55 primary health-care units in Riyadh, after receiving their bids in April, a financial source familiar with the matter said.

It then issued a new tender to seek a technical adviser on the expected costs and demand linked to the privatisation, the source said.

The Ministry of Health did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

“Compared with many of its neighbours, Saudi Arabia has only limited experience in terms of privatisations, and still lacks an adequate regulatory framework,” said Raphaele Auberty, a BMI Research risk analyst for the Middle East and Africa.

Shortcomings include the absence of a framework for large-scale public-private partnership projects and a bankruptcy law, said Karen Young, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

Saudi Post Corp’s privatisation, which had at one stage been earmarked to begin early this year, has been shelved for the time being.

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Govt revises petroleum products prices for December

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The government announced the revised prices of petroleum products and increased the price of petrol by Rs1.48 per litre.

As per the new prices, the Petrol will now be available at Rs77.47 per litre.

Similarly, Prices of diesel were increased by Rs1.36 per litre, while the price for light-speed diesel (LSD) was increased by Rs3.12 per litre.

The government also increased the price of kerosene oil by Rs4.39 per litre.

After the increase, diesel will retail for Rs85.95, LSD for Rs52.12 and kerosene oil will be sold for Rs57.58.

The new prices will come into effect from December 1.

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Gold import rises 48.02% in 4 months

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The import of gold during first four months (July-October) of current fiscal year increased by 48.02 per cent as compared to same period of previous year. The gold import during the period under review recorded 185 kilogram worth US $7.4 million against import of 139 kg valuing $5 million last year.

On yearly and monthly basis, the import of yellow metal in October 2017 also witnessed an increase of 14.96 per cent and 48.7 per cent when compared with the import of October 2016 and September 2017 respectively, latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported.

The gold import rose to $1.73 million in October 2017 from $1.511 million in October 2016 and $1.168 million in September 2017.

Similarly, the overall metal group import also increased by 40.85 per cent in July-October (2017-18) to $1.751 billion from $1.24 billion in same period of previous year. Iron and steel scrap import also surged by 107 per cent as it rose to $535.658 million in first four months of current fiscal year from $257.66 million in July-October (2016-17).

Likewise, the import of iron and steel also rose to $777.6 million in Jul-Oct (2017-18) from $620.24 million in same period of preceding fiscal year thus showing an increase of 25.37 per cent.

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LCCI for withdrawal of regulatory duty

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Malik Tahir Javaid on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of regulatory duty until and unless a consensus was developed between stakeholders.

According to a spokesman for the LCCI, the LCCI president had separate meetings with Federal Minister for Industries & Production Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jattoi, Prime Minister’s Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhter, and Member Customs FBR Zahid Khokhar and apprised them of the regulatory duty.

Tahir Javaid said the regulatory duty regime would not only destroy the exporting sector but will also hit the manufacturing sector as a number of raw materials had been subjected to new regulatory duty.

He demanded the Federal Board of Revenue for the withdrawal of the recently imposed regulatory duty.

He said that since various imported raw materials were being used in local industries for manufacturing and exporting of goods, therefore, regulatory duty on these important inputs would add to miseries of export-oriented industries.

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MCB enters into alliance with Dawood Super Market

F.P. Report
LAHORE: MCB Bank has signed a MoU with leading supermarket chain Dawood Super Market for the provision of financial services through its digital products, including the placement of ATM and POS machines inside the Super Market’s premises.
Dawood Super Market is a considered a premium destination for quality conscious consumers and is located in the heart of AutoBhan Road in Hyderabad, a major thoroughfare lined with the outlets of high-class brands.
At the ceremony, Mr. Faisal Ejaz Khan, Chief Information Officer MCB Bank and Mr. Muhammad Azfar Alam Nomani, Head RBG South jointly launched the ATM Machine and POS Machines through inaugural transactions.
MCB Bank, is one of the Largest & most Innovative banks in Pakistan. The Bank operates a strong and vast network of over 1300 ATMs, over 1300 branches in Pakistan and 11 branches overseas. MCB Bank was awarded ‘Best Bank in Pakistan, 2016 by Euromoney & Finance Asia’ and the bank continues to maintain a strong rating of AAA/A1+. With a customer base of over 06 million, it leads the banking & financial services sector in Pakistan and Customers across the globe have 24/7 access to MCB Bank via our World Class Internet Banking.