Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Several major national companies are participating in the UK-Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit in London on June 24-26.

According to information made available to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Federation of Saudi Chambers is seeking to mobilize the largest possible number of companies specialized in sustainable infrastructure to explore partnerships with the United Kingdom in green construction, smart cities, and technologies.

The summit will address topics that touch on the importance of Saudi-British cooperation in developing and financing sustainable infrastructure and development of cities, in addition to green technology and renewable energy initiatives.

Trade Exchange

The event will be followed by a meeting of the sectoral working groups on June 25 and an evening celebration of the tenth anniversary of the British-Saudi Business Council. The Sports Investment Forum will be held on June 26.

The value of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Britain exceeded 17 billion pounds ($21 billion), while the two countries aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $37.5 billion by 2030.

In May, Riyadh hosted the Great Futures conference, one of the initiatives of the Saudi-British Strategic Partnership Council, which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The conference sought to strengthen economic relations in several promising sectors, in addition to developing trade and mutual investment.

The two kingdoms explored opportunities through 60 initiatives in 13 sectors that enhance economic, trade and investment partnerships in all fields.

Speaking at the event in May, Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi said that the United Kingdom is the second largest exporter of services in the world, and that his country has promising opportunities and a will to diversify the economy.

He added that joint cooperation between the two countries covers various fields, with a focus on the commercial, financial, digital, cultural, educational and health sectors, as well as sports, tourism and entertainment.



Chinese Officials Expect Bumpy Ride for Economy

A woman holding a Chinese flag walks along a street in Beijing, China, 19 July 2024.  EPA/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES
A woman holding a Chinese flag walks along a street in Beijing, China, 19 July 2024. EPA/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES
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Chinese Officials Expect Bumpy Ride for Economy

A woman holding a Chinese flag walks along a street in Beijing, China, 19 July 2024.  EPA/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES
A woman holding a Chinese flag walks along a street in Beijing, China, 19 July 2024. EPA/ANDRES MARTINEZ CASARES

Chinese officials acknowledged on Friday the sweeping list of economic goals re-emphasised at the end of a key Communist Party meeting this week contained "many complex contradictions," pointing to a bumpy road ahead for policy implementation.
Pressure for deep changes in how the world's second-largest economy functions has risen this year, with consumer and business sentiment near record lows domestically, and global leaders increasingly concerned with China's export dominance, Reuters reported.
Following a four-day, closed-doors meeting led by President Xi Jinping, which takes place once in roughly five years, officials made a raft of seemingly contradictory pledges, from modernizing the industrial complex while also expanding domestic demand to stimulating growth and simultaneously curbing debt risks.
The initial summary of the meeting, known as plenum, did not contain details on how Beijing plans to resolve the tensions between policy goals, such as how to get consumers to spend more while resources flow primarily to producers and infrastructure.
Concerns are growing that without a structural shift that gives consumers a greater role in the economy, debt will continue to outpace growth in order to finance Beijing's industrial modernization and global prominence goals.
That raises the stakes. Some analysts warn the current path fuels risks of a prolonged period of near-stagnation and persistent deflation threats as seen in Japan since the 1990s.
"High debt levels plus increasing deflationary pressures eventually could result in a Japan-style ... low growth and very low inflation," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, head of China economics at Capital Economics.
"That, I think, would force them to change course on their current policies. But that might not happen straight away. That might only happen in a few years’ time."
Contradictions in Chinese policy efforts have been present for decades, as were goals to increase manufacturing value added, enhance social security, liberalize land use and improve local government tax revenues.
But making tough choices is an increasingly urgent task. China grew at a slower than expected pace in the second quarter, leaning hard on industrial output and external demand, but showing persistent domestic weakness.
Speaking at a media briefing on Friday along with other Party officials, Tang Fangyu, deputy director of the central committee's policy research office, acknowledged the challenges.
"The deeper the reform goes, the more complex and acute the conflicts of interest it touches," Tang said.
"Pushing forward Chinese-style modernization faces many complex conflicts and problems, and we must overcome multiple difficulties and obstructions."
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said it was "positive that China’s leadership has again acknowledged many of the headwinds facing the country’s economy," but noted the outcome was largely "a reiteration of points."
"There appears to be no deviation from (China's) immediate priority, which is to balance its economic recovery against national security concerns, while maintaining social stability."

China is expected to publish a document with more detailed policy plans in the coming days.
But the fact that the initial post-plenum announcement borrowed heavily from China's existing playbook disappointed some economists.
“Nothing new under the sun: the same industrial policies, the same sense of things," said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief economist Asia-Pacific at Natixis.
"Really no change in direction, no consumption-led growth, nothing. No sentence on the power of market forces, nothing. So, it’s really disappointing.”
Chinese stocks, not far above the five-year lows hit at the start of 2024, were flat on Friday, suggesting the plenum did little to improve sentiment.