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Europe

EU countries back tighter controls on steel imports

EU governments approved limits to steel quotas designed to protect European manufacturers from the threat of surging imports following the effective closure of the U.S. market.

Quotas for 26 grades of steel, including stainless, were set at the average level of imports in 2015-2017 plus 5%, with further 5% hikes due in July and in July 2020. Imports of steel beyond these quotas are subject to a 25% duty.

The Commission has proposed that this year’s hike should be 3% effective from Oct. 1, responding to industry complaints that a weak market cannot absorb increasing imports.

[Reuters]

EU frees up disaster funding for possible no-deal Brexit

EU officials are now treating no-deal Brexit as a potential disaster scenario, with emergency funds authorized to help businesses, workers and regulatory systems in EU27 countries hit hard by a disorderly departure of the U.K.

Under the new proposal, the EU would “extend the scope of the European Solidarity Fund to cover serious financial burden inflicted on Member States directly imputable to a withdrawal without an agreement and that could not be avoided by preparing in advance.”

Assistance from the European Solidarity Fund would include “support to state aid schemes for businesses, measures to preserve existing employment and ensure the functioning of border, customs and sanitary and phytosanitary controls,” the Commission wrote in its communication, adding that it is also proposing “ensuring that the European Globalization Adjustment Fund is available to support workers made redundant as a consequence of a withdrawal without an agreement, subject to certain conditions.”

[Politico]

 

Middle East

King inaugurates new free zone at Queen Alia airport in Jordan

His Majesty King Abdullah inaugurated the new free zone at Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), which will be a trade and investment hub for various sectors, offering a comprehensive package of logistical services to support investment and exports.

Some 59 local, Arab, and international companies currently have investments in the free zone, which includes an administrative building that houses a one-stop shop for investors, two business parks for commercial offices, a logistical services building for customs clearance and insurance companies, banks, and restaurants, and a customs clearance area.

[The Jordan Times]

‘World Free Zone Expo’ in Abu Dhabi to highlight the role of free zones in economic growth

Free zones offer many benefits and exemptions to companies and businesses that choose to operate out of them. For instance, benefits of setting up a company in a free zone in the UAE include 100 per cent import and export tax exemptions; 100 per cent repatriation of capital and profits; exemption from corporate tax, personal income tax; relatively simpler start-up and licensing procedures; and minimum paperwork, among many others.

The ‘World Free Zone Expo (WFZE) Pavilion,’ a first-of-its-kind specialized event to be held in Abu Dhabi, will bring together free zones under one roof to engage with onshore and offshore companies and business start-ups to facilitate future strategic partnerships and collaborations and highlight promising investment opportunities. The Expo forms part of a series of collocated interactive networking events to be held in connection with the 11th edition of ‘International Real Estate and Investment Show (IREIS),’ which will run from October 30, 2019 to November 1, 2019 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

[Zawya]

 

Africa

Egypt cancels the monthly customs exchange rate

The Finance Ministry said it cancels the monthly customs exchange rate on imports and restore a previous approach for estimating the price according to the daily rates as of September 1.

“As of Sept. 1, the customs duties on imports of all kinds will be estimated according to the foreign currencies exchange rates announced by the central bank,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry attributed the decision to the end of the exceptional circumstances that drove the government to resort to the monthly fixed customs exchange rates.

[Egypt Today]