UK’s Finance minister Visits China to enhance trade
Britain’s Finance Minister, Philip Hammond was in Beijing for an annual “economic dialogue” that has received greater significance this year. He was accompanied by an extraordinarily large delegation of businessmen and British economic officials for such an event.
Britain’s finance minister told the Chinese premier that there are “many opportunities” for closer commercial ties as he started a visit Friday aimed at developing trade as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union.
Premier Li Keqiang, China’s top economic official, expressed confidence in “steady and sound growth” of Chinese-British relations regardless of what happens between London and the EU. “We see many opportunities to build on our strong relationship,” said Hammond in the meeting at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing, the symbolic seat of China’s government.
British leaders are looking to China for trade and investment as they try to fashion a new global role and offset reduced access to the European common market. Chinese officials believe a post-Brexit Britain needs China more than ever but its companies are uneasy about the future of a market they see as one of Europe’s most welcoming. Both governments have declared themselves to be in a “Golden Era” of relations. They say they want closer cooperation in finance, clean energy, nuclear power and other fields. Total two-way British-Chinese trade in goods last year was $49.1 billion, according to Chinese trade data. Britain ran a deficit of $24.4 billion.
Britain also wants to talk about a possible role in Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” an ambitious project aimed at expanding trade across Asia to Europe by building railways and other infrastructure.
Hammond’s delegation included Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, Nikil Rathi and Britain’s secretaries of international trade and business and energy. They are accompanied by executives from banks Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered, engineering firm Arup and British law firms. Both sides plan to conclude agreements on more than 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) of trade and investment deals during the event, according to Hammond’s statement.
US Ambassador pays a visit to Army Chief
The United States Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale met with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi. Ambassador Hale appreciated Army’s contribution towards regional peace and stability while meeting with General Bajwa, said a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Both sides discussed matters related to regional security and mutual interest. The US envoy expressed his appreciation for the ongoing operation Radd ul Fasaad for elimination of terrorism from Pakistan.
Earlier this year, the army chief met with US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel at the GHQ and expressed his commitment to fully cooperate with the US-led Resolute Support Mission in the neighbouring Afghanistan, to provide further training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions.
“Blame games are detrimental to enduring peace,” said Bajwa while referring to rhetoric against Pakistan following recent terrorists attacks in Afghanistan. He added that Pakistan has conducted operations against terrorists of all “hue and colour” and there are no safe havens in Pakistan which are used against Afghanistan. The Chief of Army Staff had also emphasised the border security and intelligence sharing mechanisms with Afghanistan.
During the meeting, Hale thanked General Bajwa for his public commitment that Pakistan is taking measures to ensure that militants do not use Pakistan’s soil to conduct attacks against any country, the US Embassy said in a statement.
The Ambassador and Army Chief reiterated their nations’ commitment to a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan. Hale noted Trump’s call during his speech at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Saudi Arabia for a vision of peace, security, and prosperity, and unity in conquering extremism and terrorism. The statement said that Hale also affirmed Pakistan’s role and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
Prince Karim Agha Khan Visits Pakistan
Prince Karim Agha Khan, the 49th Imam of the Shia Ismaili community, visited Pakistan as part of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of his religious leadership. He paid the visit to Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa this Month. His devotees gathered in thousands to listen to the spiritual leader at Garam Chashma and Boni, where he addressed his followers.
Prince Karim arrived in Islamabad on an official visit to the country on the invitation of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. He was received at the airport by Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Mayor Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz.
Special arrangements were made at Chitral and Gilgit Baltistan to accommodate thousands of people, respectively, who had gathered from different areas to see their 49th Imam. Addressing his followers, Prince Karim said that peace and law and order were necessary for the region’s progress. “Islam is the religion of peace and love, and we should give priority to these aspects over all other things,” he said.
On his arrival at Chitral he was briefed about the area’s issues and was told the importance of establishing both air and road links between Chitral and Khorugh area of Tajikistan. He said that these arrangements were very important for the progress of the area. Prince Karim said that Chitral held a special place in his heart and that he was well aware of the issues of the area. The prince later stayed the night at the valley.
The Agha Khan met huge congregation of his followers in Chitral and in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan. He met the community leaders and government officials in Islamabad before departing for Karachi, where he spent two more days, meeting religious leaders and the officials.
The Ismailis celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of the spiritual leadership of the Agha Khan, who has been leading his community to prosperity for the last six decades. Government departments and Ismaili volunteers worked together in different parts of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan to construct, prepare, Didargahs (special congregation spaces), where the Agha Khan met thousands of his followers, and shared guidance for worldly and religious uplifting of the Jamat (Shia Ismaili Sect).
Turkey to buy Russia’s Anti-Missile System despite NATO concerns
A defence deal has been finalised between Ankara and Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO members’ allies. The deal would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defence system. The deal comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and Russia while Ankara’s deteriorating relations with the United States and other western countries.
The Turkish Defence Industries Undersecretariat said that Turkey would buy at least one S-400 surface-to-air missile battery with the option of procuring a second battery. The delivery of the first battery was scheduled for the first quarter of 2020, the statement said. The two countries also finalised a financial agreement for the project, under which part of the cost would be financed through a Russian loan, the Defence Industries body said..
Turkish media reported that Turkey would purchase four S-400 units at a cost of $2.5 billion.Head of Russia’s state-controlled Rostech corporation, Sergei Chemezov also told the business daily Kommersant in an interview published on Wednesday that the contract was worth $2.5 billion and that a Russian loan would account for 55 percent of the amount. “It’s the first Nato country to purchase our most advanced S-400 system,” he said.
The S-400 has a range of up to 400 kilometres and can simultaneously engage multiple targets. It’s capable of shooting down ballistic missile warheads along with aircraft and cruise missiles. Russia deployed the S-400s to its base in Syria to deter Turkey when the two nations were on the verge of conflict after a Turkish jet downed a Russian bomber on the Syrian border in Nov 2015. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had signed a deal to buy the Russian system and made a down payment, drawing concerns from some of Turkey’s Nato allies. Some Nato countries have expressed worries that the S-400 system is not compatible with the alliance’s weapons systems. The Defence Industries agency said the Russian system would be operated under the full control of the Turkish military and “in an independent manner, without any links to any outside elements.”
Ghazanfar Ahmad Bilour elected as the new President of FPCCI
A veteran businessman, Ghazanfar Ahmad Bilour has been elected as the new President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FPCCI). Ghazanfar Bilour is a leading corporate tycoon running the manufacturing business of edible oil and flour in Pakistan. Moreover he has also served as the VIce President of FPCCI in the past. Ghazanfar Bilour, the son of Senator Ilyas Bilour, hails from an influential political cum business family of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Bilour, was nominated as the Presidential candidate of FPCCI for United Business Group, which has been consecutively clean sweeping four elections of FPCCI in the past.
A clear majority of candidates nominated by UBG for FPCCI elections have successfully won their seats. Against the 11 seats for Vice Presidents, 10 have been secured by UBG candidates whereas 2 seats for senior Vice Presidents were won unopposed by UBG. All the office bearers of the United Business Group congratulated Ghazanfar Bilour on his success in the recent elections. The newly elected President Ghazanfar Bilour, an Oxford Graduate, is going to head the apex body of the business community for the tenure of the year 2018.
The newly elected President thanked all the members of FPCCI and the top leadership of UBG for their sincere support and reiterated his vows to work effectively for resolving the issues confronted by the trade and business community of the country. Several prominent businessmen including Presidents of regional chambers of commerce and industry also congratulated Mr. Bilour on his historical victory and reaffirmed their full support to the UBG in future as well. Patron-in-Chief United Business Group, S M Muneer and the group’s Chairman Malik Iftikhar congratulated the business community on the historic win and vowed to serve the business community by eliminating the core issues that are impeding growth of the economy.