‘GREAT FUTURES’ Initiative Launches from Riyadh, Forging Saudi-UK Investment Path

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi at the GREAT FUTURES Initiative Conference in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi at the GREAT FUTURES Initiative Conference in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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‘GREAT FUTURES’ Initiative Launches from Riyadh, Forging Saudi-UK Investment Path

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi at the GREAT FUTURES Initiative Conference in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi at the GREAT FUTURES Initiative Conference in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia and the UK have launched the GREAT FUTURES Initiative to boost investments between the two nations. The initiative aims to explore opportunities in 13 sectors through 60 projects, strengthening economic ties.

The GREAT FUTURES Initiative Conference began in Riyadh and is being organized by the Saudi-UK Strategic Partnership Council, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The event is being attended by over 800 participants from both Kingdoms’ public and private sectors.

Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi emphasized that the conference embodies the vision of the Saudi-UK Strategic Partnership Council which is dedicated to expanding the economic alliance.

Al-Qasabi highlighted that the Saudi-UK partnership has led to the launch of 60 initiatives in 13 economic sectors, with bilateral trade increasing by over 30% from 2018 to 2023, surpassing 79 billion pounds sterling.

British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden emphasized the partnership’s goal of fostering prosperity and adapting to challenges and advancements.

Leading a UK delegation of over 450 participants, 70% of whom are visiting the Kingdom for the first time, Dowden expressed Britain's readiness to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals and strengthen the economic alliance.

On his part, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih affirmed that both Saudi Arabia and the UK lead over 20 global economies. He highlighted that Saudi Arabia’s national transformation plan, “Vision 2030,” aims to diversify the economy and boost investments by over $880 billion, making the local market among the top 10 worldwide.

Al-Falih noted the increasing trend of companies choosing Saudi Arabia for investments, with over half of these investments coming from the UK.

He explained that the conference isn’t a one-time event but a year-long campaign with various initiatives across 13 sectors. Al-Falih emphasized sectors like culture, sports, digital, financial services, and trade as focal points for growth.



EU States Agree on 14th Sanctions Package Against Russia

The European Union flag inside the atrium during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Havana)
The European Union flag inside the atrium during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Havana)
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EU States Agree on 14th Sanctions Package Against Russia

The European Union flag inside the atrium during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Havana)
The European Union flag inside the atrium during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Havana)

European Union countries agreed on a 14th package of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine, diplomats said on Thursday, including a ban on re-exports of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in EU waters.
Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency until July 1, said on the X platform that the package "maximizes the impact of existing sanctions by closing loopholes".
Countries debated the new measures for over a month and ultimately watered down one of the Commission's proposals, aimed at preventing even more circumvention, at Germany's prompting, Reuters reported.
The dropped measure would have forced subsidiaries of EU companies in third countries to contractually prohibit the re-exports of their goods to Russia. The EU is keen to stop the flow of dual-use technology such as washing machine chips that could be used by Russia for military purposes.
An EU diplomat said Germany had asked for an impact assessment, and the measure could be included at a later date.
The ban on trans-shipments is the first restriction the bloc has applied to LNG. However, gas market experts say the measure will have little impact as Europe is still buying Russian gas itself, and trans-shipments via EU ports to Asia represent only around 10% of total Russian LNG exports.
The package also tightens measures against the shadow fleet moving Russian oil outside the price cap on Russian crude set by the Group of Seven (G7) nations. EU countries added tankers to the list of sanctioned entities as well as at least two Russian-owned ships moving military equipment from North Korea, diplomats said.
Overall, 47 new entities and 69 individuals were added to the EU sanctions list, bringing the total to 2,200. The package is expected to be formally approved when EU foreign ministers meet on Monday, diplomats said.