‘Very exciting’ project to be unveiled during Putin visit to Saudi Arabia

Russian President Vladimir Putin told industry leaders at the Energy Week International Forum in Moscow that Russia based its relationships with energy partners worldwide on ‘commerce, not political reasoning.’ (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2019

‘Very exciting’ project to be unveiled during Putin visit to Saudi Arabia

  • Multimillion-dollar deals expected in oil, agriculture and tourism, Russian investment chief tells Arab News

MOSCOW: Russia and Saudi Arabia are planning to clinch a raft of business and investment deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars during the forthcoming state visit by President Putin to the Kingdom, according to one of the leaders of the Russian business scene.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told Arab News that there would be new business deals in the oil industry, agriculture, tourism and petrochemicals.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Russia Energy Week summit in Moscow, he said: “We are going to be signing more than 10 new investment agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“One example is a joint investment with Saudi Aramco in Novomet, a Russian pumps manufacturer, one of the leaders of the industry, supplying pumps to Saudi Aramco, which will be investing with RDIF in this company,” he said.




Russian business leader Kirill Dmitriev is upbeat about new business deals 
being signed during President Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

There was one big project which he said was “very exciting” that would be announced during the visit, but he declined to identify this. RDIF is already a partner with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund in multibillion-dollar projects in Russia, Dmitriev said.

“We’ve made investments with our Saudi partners of more than $2.7 billion, from the Saudi side. It is already producing good returns and now we expect the fund to begin investing in Saudi projects — in tourism, petrochemicals and other areas.”

Agriculture could be the big beneficiary following a change in Saudi Arabia’s import regime. “Saudi Arabia recently announced it was removing bans on Russian agricultural products, wheat specifically, and we will be signing a big agreement with the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Company (Salic) during the visit,” he said.

FASTFACT

The Russia Saudi Investment Fund was set up in 2017 and has total committed capital of $6 billion.

RDIF has invested alongside Saudi institutions in a range of infrastructure and energy projects in Russia via the Russia Saudi Investment Fund, which was set up in 2017 and has total committed capital of $6 billion.

Dmitriev said that the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais had given the Kingdom the opportunity to demonstrate “tremendous resilience” as it hurried to repair the physical and economic damage to its oil industry.

“It has completely recovered from this oil shock and now we see that everything was fixed very quickly and very orderly, and I think lots of people are very impressed by this,” he said.

He added that the strength of the business relationship between Russia and Saudi Arabia was a testament to the success of the visit of King Salman to Moscow in 2017, and reflected the close relationship between President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


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.