Egypt seeks sovereign wealth fund boss

A general view of banks, hotels, office and residential buildings in the center of Cairo. (Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2018

Egypt seeks sovereign wealth fund boss

  • Government announced formation of fund earlier this year
  • Gas proceeds from Zohr field boosts government coffers

LONDON: Egypt is looking to hire a chief executive for its new sovereign wealth fund as it seeks to attract more foreign investment.
The government said in July it planned to create a fund with capital of 200 billion Egyptian pounds ($11 billion) to help maximize the value of state assets and boost investment from overseas.
The government this week placed adverts in the international press seeking a CEO to lead a “sophisticated, state of the art, institution that will work with the Government of Egypt to promote investment.”
Egypt’s financial position has improved following the introduction of structural reforms while at the same time benefitting from increased revenues generated by recently discovered gas reserves.
“The substantial progress made by the government in implementing reforms agreed with the IMF has imparted a degree of financial stability not present earlier in the decade,” Moodys said in a note last month.
“Primary deficits have shrunk and the debt burden has begun to fall. Foreign exchange buffers have been rebuilt. The government is in the midst of an ambitious structural economic reform program. And a degree of political stability has been achieved and seems likely to be sustained, increasing the likelihood that the general policy direction will be maintained.”
Vast gas discoveries in the vast offshore field known as Zohr has had a dramatic impact on government finances with some $10 billion in energy sector investment commitments annually over the next four years.

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.