03 - 09, 2002
UAE'S TRADE SURPLUS WITH JAPAN DECLINES
The UAE's trade surplus with Japan has been narrowed to $10.4
billion in 2001 from $12.3 billion in 2000 due to a 13.3 per cent fall in
exports to that country.
Total trade slumped by almost 11 per cent to $15.5 billion in
2001, mainly due to the slide in both value and volume of crude oil that Japan
imported from the UAE. Crude oil alone contributed 62.8 per cent of the total
trade between the two.
The UAE slipped back to second place behind Saudi Arabia
among Japan's regional partners, following the 10.9 per cent decline in
bilateral trade, from $17.4 billion in 2000, according to figures released by
the Dubai office of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
Japan's imports from the UAE stood at $12.739 billion
compared to $14.675 billion in 2000. Exports, however, rose by 1.35 per cent to
$2.574 billion from $2.539 billion.
UAE continued to be Japan's largest supplier of mineral
fuels, supplying around 18 per cent of its total imports. From sixth position in
2000, the UAE climbed down to eighth among Japan's major suppliers of goods and
services in 2001, contributing 3.7 per cent, as against 3.9 per cent in 2000, of
its total requirements.
The first three positions in 2001 went to the U.S. (18.1 per
cent), China (16.5 per cent) and South Korea (4.9 per cent). In 1999, the UAE
was in the ninth position with a contribution of 2.9 per cent.
The value of Japan's world trade during 2001 stood at $756.7
billion compared to $861.8 billion in 2000. Both exports and imports contracted
during the year, reflecting the persisting recession in the Japanese economy.
Exports were down by 15.7 per cent to $405.2 billion and imports by 7.8 per cent
to $351.6 billion.
Japan's imports from the UAE were down by 13.3 per cent in
2001 to $12.944 billion from $14.883 billion in 2000. The fall was attributed
mainly to two factors. One was the decline in the price of crude oil and
petroleum products and the other was the decline in the volume of imports of
these two items.
IRAN'S PRESIDENT RULES OUT US TALKS
The reformist Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, has ruled
out talks with the United States and asked his supporters in parliament to toe
the official line on the issue.
Some reformist deputies had been outspoken advocates of
opening a dialogue with Washington, despite President George W. Bush's inclusion
of Iran in his "axis of evil".
But hardline conservatives are vehemently opposed to any
talks with Washington.
It is an issue that refuses to go away, despite three public
statements of mounting severity from the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, ruling out talks.
Now his reformist counterpart, President Khatami, has come
out with a clear call to his followers to drop the issue.
It came during a visit to the reformist-dominated parliament
by the president and his cabinet.
Mr Khatami told the deputies that Iran's basic policy was one
of detente with all countries of the world — but he said that when a big power
spoke to Iran in a bellicose, insulting, humiliating and threatening manner,
Iran would neither negotiate nor show the slightest flexibility.
He asked all those who were talking about possible
negotiations with the US to abide by the regime's general policies and not to do
anything against the country's interests or dignity.
Some reformist parliamentarians had angered the supreme
leader by keeping the issue alive in a closed door colloquium on the future of
relations with Washington.
The question now is whether the president's words will
succeed in shelving the affair.
He has already been criticised by some of the more impatient
reformists for not being assertive enough in pushing the reform process forward
against hardline obstruction.
SAUDI ARABIA PLANS TO PRIVATISE SWCC
Saudi Arabia's slow restructuring of its water and power
sector is finally looking up with the kingdom rolling out plans to privatise the
Saline Water Conversion Corp (SWCC) as the first step, officials said.
"The SWCC is in discussion with the Supreme Council to
privatise the corporation. We hope a decision will be taken this year,"
Ahmed Al Mudaiheem, deputy governor for projects and technical affairs at SWCC,
said on the sidelines of Meed's 'Power in the Middle East' conference.
"Privatisation could mean offering part equity to a
foreign or local partner," he said. Formed in 1974, the SWCC is
government-owned and is responsible for desalination of some 2.8 million cubic
metres per day of water and 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
EU ALLOWS UAE TO EXPORT FISH PRODUCTS
The EU Steering Committee has included the UAE among the
countries permitted to export fish products to EU countries, an EU source said.
"A decision was made on May 20, declaring the UAE's fish
products meet the EU's technical and health requirements.
"Under the decision, the UAE will be able to export fish
products to the 15 EU members," the source said.
Rashid Khalfan Al Shuraiki, Undersecretary of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Fisheries, welcomed the decision, which, he said, will benefit
fishermen in the UAE.
He said the ministry has been working along with the General
Secretariat of the UAE Municipalities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to
obtain EU approval for fish exports.
Al Shuraiki said the ministry will work with the secretariat
to set a time table for the implementation of the agreement with the EU.
ISRAELI TANKS MOVE ON NABLUS
The Israeli army has made a fresh incursion into a
Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank — this time into the city of
Tanks and armoured personnel carriers surrounded a refugee
camp on the edge of the city, only one night after a similar raid on Hebron.
The move came after the US envoy to the Middle East, William
Burns, met Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the start of a new drive towards
peace in the region.
Backed by covering fire from helicopters hovering overhead,
the Israeli troops entered Nablus in about 40 tanks and armoured personnel
carriers, Palestinian witnesses said, heading for the refugee camps of Balata
UAE AMONG FAST DEVELOPING NATIONS
Heavy investments in human development have turned the UAE
into one of the fastest developing nations, according to a United Nations
The report said it was considered to be a backward nation
with high death rates and meagre services. But it is among the fast developing
nations today with a surge in education services and life expectancy, a steep
decline in infant mortality rate and the absence of epidemics.
In just 10 years, the UAE has jumped from the 77th rank in
1990 to the 45th rank in the list of nations, as classified by the UN
Development Programme (UNDP) as countries with high human development levels and
better development prospects in the future.
MORE FIRMS SEEK LISTING ON ADSM
Encouraged by the moves made by Q-Tel and Sudatel, more non-UAE
companies are approaching the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) for listing on
Speaking on the new developments on the securities market,
Khalid Al Suwaidi, manager awareness, ADSM said, Q-Tel got listed, and talks on
the listing of Sudatel at advanced stage.
DUBAI-AFGHAN CARGO MOVEMENT JUMPS
Cargo movement towards Afghanistan has gone up by 20 per cent
from Dubai, since the installation of the present interim government in
December, shipping officials said.
"We expect another 30 per cent increase in cargo
movement towards Afghanistan in a few months, once the aid agencies begin
supplying materials and commodities to rebuild the country," said Martin J.
Aranha, managing director of West Star Shipping Services.
RAK TO IMPLEMENT MAJOR PORT PROJECT
A major project will be sponsored by the Ras Al Khaimah
Government to improve the emirate's port and provide it with all the necessary
requirements, said Sheikh Faisal bin Saqr Al Qasimi, head of Ras Al Khaimah Free
Trade Zone Authority (RAKFTZA).
During the last two years, the number of registered companies
at RAKFTZA reached over 100 with total invested capital of Dh120 million,
including one ship building and maintenance company investing around Dh40
million, Sheikh Faisal said in a speech read by Ousamah Al Omari, free zone
director, to mark the second anniversary of the zone.
GULF AIR TO PRESS ON WITH RESTRUCTURING
Gulf Air emphasised on continuity and restructuring to build
a stronger, customer-centric airline following Qatar's decision to withdraw from
the management of the airline.
US CONDEMNS ALGERIA POLL VIOLENCE
The United States has condemned violence in Algeria which
marred the country's first parliamentary elections for seven years.
A State Department spokesman said Washington supported the
elections and would continue to encourage Algeria in its bid for greater
Algerian authorities said voter turnout was low as many
voters — particularly in the north-eastern Berber-speaking Kabylie region —
heeded a call by opposition parties to stay away in protest.
Observers say parties of the current ruling coalition are
expected to hold on to power.
It is not clear when the official results will be known.
The BBC correspondent in Algiers, Heba Saleh, says most
people regard the election as irrelevant, because the parliament is unable to
hold accountable the government or the miltary clique who hold real power in
BAZAAR TO RAISE FUNDS FOR PALESTINIANS
Dubai residents have been urged to patronise a huge weekend
charity bazaar to help raise funds for Palestinian families in the occupied
The bazaar, organised by the Emirates Bank Group (EBG) Social
Club, will be held from 10am to 10pm at the Dubai Airport Expo.
Abdulhakim bin Mansour, president of EBG Social Club, said:
"This charity bazaar follows the initiative of General Sheikh Mohammed bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, to provide
support to the Palestinians."
UAE 'OFFERS LEAST RISK AMONG ARAB
A Western body specialised in assessing political and
economic risks around the world has classified the UAE as one of the countries
having the lowest risks, and this means investors should not worry much about
their funds in the emirates.
The UAE is placed 27th and on top of all other Arab countries
in terms of low political, economic, financial and investment risks, according
to London-based periodical Euromoney, which releases risk assessments for 185
countries twice a year.
The UAE was given 79.32 points in the Euromoney 100-point
risk indicator and the report clarified that if a country gets higher points
then its risk is lower.
RETAIL FUND IN WEEKS
Emirates Financial Services (EFS) is to come out with a
retail fund in weeks, which would be sector-specific, according to a senior
official. The money under management by EFS is estimated at about Dh300 million.
DNATA USES NOMAD TO HANDLE CARGO
Dnata has migrated to Nomad, the new container cargo
management system from Mercator, the information technology division of
Dubai-based Emirates Group. Nomad is a Web-based solution providing ground
handling agents and airports tools to manage containers and unit load devices (ULDs)
OMAN SAYS OIL PRICES ARE REASONABLE
Oman's Minister of Oil and Gas, Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al
Rumhy, said current oil prices were reasonable and acceptable.
"The oil prices which range between $20-$25 per barrel
are reasonable and acceptable to both the consumers as well as the
producers," the Omani Minister said after signing a deal with Oman Hunt for
the exploration and production of oil and gas in Sharqiya (eastern) region.
UAE EXPO IN TEHRAN
The second UAE Commercial Exhibition will be held in Tehran
next June under the patronage of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,
Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, Wam reports from Dubai.
REGULATION OF HAWALA
The good news is that the recent hawala conference did not go
overboard in condemning the practice and instead called for regulation of the
unofficial exchange mechanism. This was better news than I had expected, though
I am sure the odd speech equating hawala with terrorism must have been made.
US WELCOMES LIBYA'S 'LOCKERBIE OFFER'
Libya's reported offer of compensation over the bombing of a
Pan Am flight in 1988 has been welcomed by US Secretary of State Colin Powell as
a "step in the right direction".
"We are waiting to see what the actual Libyan offer is.
It's not yet formally put on the table", Mr Powell said.
There is still confusion about the precise status of any deal
after Libya denied suggestions by a New York law firm that it offered $2.7bn to
compensate the victims' families as part of a deal to lift United Nations
ARAFAT SIGNS 'CONSTITUTION'
Palestinian officials say Yasser Arafat has finally signed a
de facto constitution that defines his powers.
Mr Arafat has ignored the Palestinian Basic Law since it was
adopted by legislators five years ago, but he has come under increasing pressure
at home and abroad to institute political reforms.
The Palestinian Basic Law is essentially a constitution that
details the division of powers and the rights and freedoms of Palestinian
Legislators have been asking Mr Arafat to sign it into effect
since its adoption by legislators.
PROFIT FALLS AT SAUDI TELECOMS MONOPOLY
Saudi Arabians gearing up for the chance to buy shares in the
country's national telecoms monopoly have received a fresh insight into its
Saudi Telecommunications Co (STC), set up in 1998 as the
first step in a process towards privatising Saudi telecoms, has said it achieved
net profit of 3.47bn Saudi riyals ($928m) in 2001, down 12% from 3.95bn riyals
the year before.
The company said the fall resulted from payments of 790m
riyals to temporary staff and 600m riyals to an early retirement fund.