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EU challenges Egypt at WTO over import registration

The European Union launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization against Egypt on Wednesday over an import registration system the bloc says is a restriction on a vast range of goods from farm produce to household appliances.

The Commission said the registration process is arbitrary and can take years. Egyptian authorities had failed to process applications of many EU companies for long periods, it added.

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“These import restrictions are illegal under WTO rules and we regret that Egypt has not acted to remove these, despite our repeated requests and efforts to resolve this issue,” EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

Registration is required for agricultural and food products, cosmetics, toys, textiles, garments, household appliances, furniture and ceramic tiles, the EU executive said.

The European Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, said its exports to Egypt of the 29 categories of goods concerned fell by 40 percent following Egypt’s imposition of import registration in 2016.

Egypt’s trade ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

WTO challenges start with a formal period of consultations between the parties. If they do not resolve the dispute, the EU can request that a WTO panel rule on the matter.

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Abu Dhabi’s Borouge petrochem firm secures anchor investors including India’s Adani

Abu Dhabi-headquartered petrochemicals firm Borouge said on Monday it secured seven cornerstone investors, including India’s wealthy Adani family for its $2 billion initial public offering (IPO).
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Borealis’ joint venture set the offer price for its IPO at 2.45 dirhams ($0.67) a share, which implies an equity value of $20 billion, it said in a statement.

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Borouge said it secured a total commitment of about $570 million from Abu Dhabi state holding firm ADQ, the Abu Dhabi Pension Fund, the Emirates Investment Authority, India’s Adani family and entities controlled by International Holding Company, Multiply Group, and Alpha Dhabi.
Books for the initial public offering were covered in about an hour after opening, a bookrunner on the deal said. ADNOC declined to comment.
The company, whose products are used in items such as cars and food packaging, said last week that its offering will consist of approximately 3 billion existing shares, representing 10 percent of the company’s issued share capital.
Gulf oil producers are following in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi with plans to raise tens of billions of dollars through sales of stakes in energy assets, capitalizing on a rebound in crude prices to attract foreign investors.

Read more: ADNOC and Borealis to float 10 pct stake of joint venture polymer giant Borouge

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Biden says he’ll review Trump’s China tariffs, fueling yuan rally

China’s offshore yuan extended its advance after US President Joe Biden said he’ll discuss tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen upon return from his Asia trip.

The currency jumped as much as 0.7 percent to 6.6549 per dollar, the strongest level since May 5. It had risen 1.5 percent last week, the most since 2020, in response to easing lockdowns in Shanghai. Sentiment was also boosted by the reduction of a key interest rate for long-term loans on Friday by Chinese banks.

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“A reduction of US-China tariff is taken to be positive for US-China relations and that translates to yuan gains,” said Fiona Lim, a senior currency analyst at Malayan Banking Bhd. “However, we are wary that mentions of tariff reduction have surfaced time and again,” she said.

Biden has maintained most of the tariffs imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, including duties on more than $300 billion in Chinese imports.

But the president has come under pressure from some economists and lawmakers and the US Chamber of Commerce to reduce or eliminate the tariffs with inflation running at the hottest pace in four decades.

US economists say lifting the tariffs would help to ease inflation, but aides within the administration don’t to want to suspend tariffs and risk appearing soft on China ahead of the November midterms.

Other Asian currencies along with the Australian dollar received a boost from Biden’s comments. The Aussie rose as much as 1.2 percent to 0.7126 per greenback at 3:01 pm in Hong Kong.

Any easing of tensions between US and China can set a more benign environment for constructive Aussie-Sino relations as well, Maybank’s Lim added.

Read more: Biden says willing to use force to defend Taiwan

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Iran and Oman agree on panel to jointly develop shared oilfield: Fars news

Iran and Oman have agreed to form a committee to jointly develop the Hengam oilfield, which straddles both countries’ sea border, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported its oil minister Javad Owji as saying on Monday.
In 2005, both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the Hengam oil field but the agreement did not materialize and Iran decided to develop the field independently in 2012.

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“As the first basis of my talks with Omani Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhi, it was agreed to form a joint technical committee to develop the next phases of the Hengam oil field in a seamless manner between Iran and Oman,” Owji said.
“Joint exploitation, in contrast to competitive exploitation, will be mutually beneficial to both countries as this method leads to less damage to the reservoir and allows for more extraction,” the oil minister added.
Last week, Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported that Owji had agreed to revive a long-stalled project to lay an undersea pipeline to carry gas to Oman.

Read more: Iran to revive gas pipeline project to Oman: IRNA

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