Headed by Crown Prince Abdullah, SEC is charged with
forming and implementing economic policies for the kingdom.
In April 2000, on the advice of SEC, the Saudi
Government passed the foreign investment law (FIL), which went into
effect a month later. With its 18-point laws and 24 executive rules, the
FIL is designed to attract foreign investments in the kingdom.
To this end, the Saudi Arabia General Investment
Authority (Sagia) was set up to regulate and promote foreign
Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki was appointed
head of Sagia. A dynamic professional, he has previously served as
governor of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.
Sagia acts as a one-stop-shop — its Investors'
Service Centre houses representatives from various government bodies,
thereby eliminating the need for foreign investors to run through
numerous departments. The law promises a maximum of 30 days for
processing of investment licence applications.
The FIL contains a number of positive characteristics
including guaranteeing equal treatment of local and foreign investors
— all are entitled to apply for cheap credit from the Saudi Industrial
Development Fund (SIDF).
Amongst others, the law allows for full ownership of
companies and grants foreign businesses the right to own land — it
provides protection against expropriation of property without just and
fair compensation. Also, the law eliminates local sponsorship of foreign
DUBAI BECOMES INDUSTRIAL POWER
Dubai has emerged as the biggest industrial power in
the UAE as it steps up its drive to attract capital and expand its
manufacturing base to gradually replace unpredictable oil export
earnings, official statistics showed.
The emirate, dubbed the Middle East's transshipment
centre, accounted for almost half the UAE's industrial investment of
around Dh28.5 billion, showed figures by the Ministry of Finance and
"Dubai ranked number one in the Emirates in
terms of the number of industrial units, which totalled 854 and
investment of Dh13.3 billion at the end of 2001," the Ministry said
in a study published in the Abu Dhabi Chamber magazine, Eqtisad Abu
It said Abu Dhabi ranked second in industrial
investment, which stood at around Dh7.5 billion. But it was fourth in
the number of factories, put at 235.
Sharjah was the third biggest industrial investor,
with a capital of around Dh2.9 billion, while investment stood at Dh2.8
billion in Ras Al Khaimah.
The study said industrial investment in the UAE
gained momentum nearly five years ago, with an average $1 billion pumped
into manufacturing projects.
The investments, some of which are joint projects
with foreign partners, covered nearly 2,334 factories providing more
than 188,000 jobs. Nearly a third of those jobs are provided by Dubai,
while around 56,000 jobs are based in Sharjah and 26,400 in Abu Dhabi.
A breakdown showed chemicals received the lion's
share of the capital, with around Dh4.14 billion. It was followed by
food and beverage with an investment of nearly Dh3.2 billion, metal
products with around Dh1.04 billion and garments with Dh254 million.
OIL PRICE PLUMMETS ON BAGHDAD OFFER
News of Iraq's agreement to re-admit weapons
inspectors for the first time since December 1998 has triggered a slump
in the price of oil.
Prices fell by as much as 5% in early trading but
recovered after the US reacted with scepticism to the offer and said it
would still look for a U.N resolution to force Iraq to disarm.
By the US close, the price of a barrel of Brent light
crude — one of the benchmarks for the oil business — was down 55
cents to $27.97.
The change takes the pressure off the oil cartel Opec,
which is meeting to discuss quotas in Osaka later this week.
The Opec basket price, which is $3 or so cheaper than
US crude, is now well within Opec's preferred $22-28 range.
IRAQ SEALS NEW SUPPLY DEALS WITH EUROPEAN FIRMS
Iraq has sealed new supply contracts with European
oil companies and expects higher UN-supervised exports as a result, a
senior Iraqi oil official said.
Baghdad on Monday informed a number of international
oil companies that it had scrapped its illicit surcharge on oil sales
and invited them to buy crude direct from Iraq for the first time in two
"We have signed some contracts with European
refiners and other deals are in the pipeline," a senior Iraqi oil
official told Reuters. "We expect our export levels to increase now
that we have secured more customers."
A European oil executive confirmed that he received a
crude contract from state oil marketer Somo and was forwarding it to the
UN for requisite approval.
ISRAELI TROOPS BESIEGE
The Israeli army has laid siege to Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat's compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah, hours after
a suicide bomb in Tel Aviv killed five people.
Tanks rolled in sparking an exchange of gunfire that
injured two security guards.
There was a large explosion in Ramallah early on
Friday, and smoke could be seen coming from the Palestinian leader's
One report quoted witnesses saying Israeli forces
blew up a building next to Mr Arafat's office, but there was no
immediate comment from the Israeli military.
During the night, about 20 Palestinians wanted by the
Israelis left the compound and gave themselves up.
OPEC HOLDS OIL OUTPUT STEADY
The Opec oil cartel announced on Thursday that oil
production would remain unchanged, but an extraordinary meeting had been
called for December to reassess the Middle East political situation.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
issued a communique saying production output for the last quarter of
2002 would remain unchanged at 21.7 million barrels of oil per day,
aimed at maintaining a targeted price range of 22 to 28 US dollars a
"The price band is still there, we have not
abolished it, but we are not slaves to it either," Opec president
Rilwanu Lukman said.
He said the cartel could adjust the price and
production as it saw fit and he estimated a war premium of three to four
dollars per barrel had been factored in after oil broke through the
30-dollar mark in August.
UN ARMS INSPECTORS
Iraq, under intense worldwide pressure, agreed to
allow UN weapons inspectors back into the country without conditions
after almost four years, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced on
President Bush in his speech to the UN General
Assembly on Thursday put the international community on notice seeking
action in effect telling it that the US was willing to go it alone if it
failed to act.
IRAQ CAN'T BUILD NUKES: FRANCE
French Army Chief of Staff, Jean-Marc Kelche, says
he's "quite confident" that there are no nuclear weapons
present in Iraq, and that as far as he knows Saddam Hussein doesn't
possess the means of making them. "On that question," he
notes, "nobody has ever offered us any radical proof."
IRAQ SET TO REMOVE OIL LEVY
Iraq appears ready to spare major oil companies its
controversial surcharge in a bid to convince the United Nations the
illicit fee is gone for good, Western oil executives said on Monday.
Iraq may be attempting to re-engage commercially with
top oil companies as part of a campaign to stave off US-led military
action to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
SAUDI ENVOY TO LEAVE LONDON
The Saudi ambassador to London is leaving his post to
become a cabinet minister, months after he provoked anger with a poem
praising a suicide bomber.
Ghazi Algosaibi — Saudi Arabia's representative in
Britain for the past 10 years — will head his country's Ministry for
Water, formerly part of the Agriculture Ministry.
He sparked controversy earlier this year by writing a
poem in praise of Palestinian suicide bombers which was published in a
London-based Arabic newspaper.
PRICES FAIR FOR IMPORTING NATIONS: AL NAIMI
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi said that oil prices,
close to $30 a barrel for U.S. crude, were fair for both petroleum
producing and importing countries.
"Prices are okay for producers and
consumers," he told reporters during an Opec meeting that kept
group's output limits in place for the fourth quarter.
"This is not a decision we took lightly. We had
to take account of many uncertainties including Iraq," Naimi said.
NEW CARGO SYSTEM
Mercator, the Dubai-based information technology
division of Emirates Group, has unveiled its new-generation cargo
ground-handling system, Chameleon.
It is designed to transform the way cargo is handled
throughout the freight and supply chain and will spearhead an overhaul
of the group's cargo systems.
EU SAYS IDEAL TARGET PRICE FOR OIL IS $20 A BARREL
The European Union said that its ideal target price
for oil is $20 a barrel and the bloc would like an output increase from
The EU has long been worried about fluctuations on
international energy markets and rises in prices as the 15-member bloc
is heavily dependent on imports.
"As we consider that the normal price is $20 a
barrel it is clear that the Commission would rather have a production
rise which allows a fall in prices," said Gilles Gantelet,
spokesman for European Energy Commissioner Loyala de Palacio.
MOVES TO EASE MID-EAST WATER TENSIONS
The United States is trying to defuse a water dispute
between Israel and Lebanon which Israel has said could lead to war.
An American water expert has held talks with Lebanese
leaders in Beirut, to discuss the project aimed at diverting water from
the Wazzani, a border river.
The Wazzani is a tributary of the Hasbani river which
flows into the Jordan — a major source of drinking water for Israel.
Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer has
said the Hasbani water system provides 10% of his country's water, and
that Israel could not tolerate a diversion.
BRITISH BUSINESS EYES IRAQI OPPORTUNITIES
An organised group of British businesses plans to
take part in the annual Baghdad International Trade Fair for the first
time since the Gulf War in 1991.
A number of "medium to large" British
companies are expected to attend, Saad Hadi of organisers Oriental
Exhibitions told BBC News Online.
UAE STARTS REGISTERING PATENTS
The Industrial Property Directorate has to date
registered nine patents in the UAE.
The first patents started getting registered only
The directorate, which operates under the Ministry of
Finance and Industry, has been in existence for several years, with the
patents themselves having been pending approval, but the issue of the
Copyrights and Trademarks laws earlier this year has seen a spurt in its
DIB OFFERS HOME FINANCE
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is offering home finance
packages to expatriates and GCC nationals, apart from UAE nationals,
interested in investing in the local real estate market.
The home finance options that DIB will offer will be
open to investors earning a minimum monthly income of Dh8,000 and entail
providing finance of up to 80 per cent of the property value, for a
period of up to 12 years.
KUWAIT COPTER ENGINE DEAL
GE Aircraft Engines has won the $30 million (Dh110
million) contract to supply its T700-701C helicopter engines to Kuwait.
These will be fitted out on Kuwait's new fleet of 16 Boeing AH-64D
Apache Longbow attack helicopters.
SAUDIS URGED TO WAIVE CUSTOMS DUTIES
A senior Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
official has urged the Saudi Government to waive customs duties on
products and commodities manufactured by UAE industries.
Abdulrahman G. Al Mutaiwee, chamber director general,
met Hamoud Farraj bin Thader, consul general of Saudi Arabia in Dubai,
who said such a step will strengthen trade ties.
MUBARAK'S SON TAKES KEY PARTY POST
The Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, has appointed
his son, Gamal, to a leading position in the ruling National Democratic
Gamal Mubarak has been made the party's political
secretary, with responsibility for developing its thinking on a range of