Egypt’s parliament passes $11 billion sovereign wealth fund

Egypt floated its pound currency in November 2016 under a three-year $12 billion IMF program tied to ambitious economic reforms. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2018

Egypt’s parliament passes $11 billion sovereign wealth fund

  • The fund will be eligible to participate in all economic and investment activities, including setting up companies and investing in financial instruments
  • Egypt floated its pound currency in November 2016 under a three-year $12 billion IMF program tied to ambitious economic reforms

CAIRO: Egypt is setting up a sovereign wealth fund with a capital of 200 billion Egyptian pounds ($11 billion), the state news agency said on Tuesday.
Former Public Enterprise Minister Khaled Badawi said in March that Egypt was discussing setting up a sovereign wealth fund to manage state companies it plans to list on the stock exchange.
The agency, MENA, did not specifically mention the privatization program, but said: “The fund aims to contribute to sustainable economic development through management of its funds and assets.”
The fund will be eligible to participate in all economic and investment activities, including setting up companies, investing in financial instruments, and other debt instruments in Egypt and abroad, the statement said.
The law, passed by parliament on Monday, approved a 5 billion Egyptian pound start-up capital for the fund called “Egypt Fund,” with 1 billion pounds to be transferred immediately from the treasury, MENA said.
Al-Borsa, a local financial newspaper, quoted Amr El-Gohary, a member of the parliament’s economic committee, as saying that the balance from the start-up capital will be paid over three years as part of the government investment plans.
MENA said the law allowed the president to transfer ownership of any unutilized state assets to the fund or any of its subsidiaries.
It gave no details of when it the fund was envisaged to reach 200 billion Egyptian pounds.
Egypt’s parliament last year passed a long-delayed investment law to streamline doing business in Egypt and to create incentives it hopes will bring back investors’ dollars after years of turmoil.
Egypt floated its pound currency in November 2016 under a three-year $12 billion IMF program tied to ambitious economic reforms, part of a bid to restore capital flows that dried up after its 2011 uprising drove away investors and tourists.


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.