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Europe

Brexit talks: EU chief questions feasibility of Johnson’s time limit

Boris Johnson should reconsider his refusal to extend the 11-month timeframe available for agreeing a deal on the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit, Ursula von der Leyen has suggested.

The European commission president said she had “serious concern” about the limited time available for the negotiations and emphasized the need to keep all options open.

Once the UK leaves the EU on 31 January it will remain in the bloc’s customs union and single market until the end of 2020, with an option to stay within those arrangements for a further two years.

But the prime minister has said he will not agree to such an extension, claiming there is ample time to negotiate a comprehensive deal covering all aspects of the current EU-UK relationship, from trade to internal security, transport and data-sharing.

The withdrawal agreement provides for a “moment of truth” on 1 July, by which time both sides will need to have agreed on prolonging the transition period or face running out of time.

Should there not be a deal in place on trade, for example, the UK would face major disruption to its economy, with tariffs and quantity restrictions being immediately applied to goods being sold into the EU market.

[The Guardian]

China’s EU ambassador: Don’t block Chinese companies

The EU could face a backlash from “suspicious” Chinese entrepreneurs if it pursues its plans to limit foreign corporate ownership and China’s involvement in 5G communications, the country’s ambassador to the EU said.

In an interview with the Financial Times Zhang Ming warned that if EU countries do not promote international cooperation and free markets, “it would be disastrous for them,” as it would impact Chinese investments in the bloc.

“What I hope to see is that the EU will keep to the principles of multilateralism and free trade, as well as the principles of openness, fairness, justice and non-discrimination,” he said.

The comments come ahead of recommendations expected in January for EU countries to tighten security checks on 5G companies. China’s Huawei, which has faced a backlash from the U.S., is a world leader in the sector.

[Politico]

Middle East

Business setup in Sharjah: 4 major free zones

Sharjah, the country’s capital for culture and heritage, is the third-largest Emirate in the country and the only Emirate that stretches on both the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman coasts.

The Emirate has consistently contributed to the UAE’s economic boost, recording increased overall GDP growth of AED 97.5 billion in 2018 from which 91% of total GDP comes from the non-oil sectors according to Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD). Such continuous growth and competitiveness make business setup in Sharjah an attractive feature to investors and entrepreneurs. And not to mention its improved public services and business policies.

If you choose to set up a business in Sharjah, you should know that there are four major free zones in the Emirate where you can get your trade license. Aside from the standard free zone benefits like 100% foreign ownership, zero corporate and personal tax, and 100% repatriation of capital and profits, each of these free zones have further offerings that drive business growth.

[Zawya]

Online registration for EXPO 2020 exhibitors from Dubai Customs

As part of its efforts in developing services delivered to exhibitors and participants of EXPO 2020, in fulfilment of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Customs appointed and approved the customs clearance system as an authorized economic operator in coordination with EXPO office.

Dubai Customs is working now on a customs procedure guide to help EXPO 2020 exhibitors learn about the different services available for them.

Commenting on this, Abdullah Mohammed Al Khaja, Executive Director of Customer Management Division said: “We work hard to ensure best services and facilities are delivered to participants in EXPO 2020. Reducing their clearance time is our priority. Now exhibitors can complete their registration online without a need for a physical visit to the customs centers. We will also facilitate permits of restricted goods issued by local and federal entities.”

In conjunction with EXPO 2020, Dubai Customs will host the 5th WCO Global AEO Conference in cooperation with the World Customs Organization. It will be organized for the first time in the region and will take place in Dubai from 10-12 March 2020.

[Dubai Customs]

 

Africa

Egypt updates its taxation system to keep pace with global digitalization

Ministry of Finance updated its taxation regulations to keep pace with global digitalization, said Ramadan Seddik, advisor to Finance Minister for taxation policies, at the event titled “The Ministry of Finance’s expected changes to tax laws and regulations” held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham).

“The taxation situation in the United Kingdom (UK) is changing totally. The authorities send companies a taxation proposal and wait for their approval as the authorities already have the companies’ data, while in Egypt and other developing countries, we wait for companies’ taxation filling and then verify it,” he added.

The ministry is working with concerned authorities to amend the Value-added Tax Law as some of its articles weren’t clear and needed to be changed, Seddik said.

The ministry is cooperating with the Egyptian Parliament to also review the Customs Law which was issued in 1963 and seems in bad need to be updated, Seddik stressed, adding, “about half of the law’s articles were discussed by the Parliament’s planning and budget committee, yet it hasn’t been discussed in a general session, so the door is still open for any suggestions.”

Hassan Hegazy, head of AmCham’s taxation and customs committee, said they are preparing a new research on the market needs to identify the required amendments to the Customs Law, adding that the research will be presented to the cabinet and the Ministry of Finance soon.

[Daily News Egypt]