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CAIRO, June 25, 2018 (MENA) - The convocation of the first general assembly of the Arab Union of Arbitration for Investment and Economic Disputes is the first step for protecting Arab investments and industries, Secretary General of the Arab Economic Unity Council Mohamed Rabei said on Monday.

Rabei lauded efforts exerted by Egyptian Investment and International Co-operation Minister Sahar Nasr to attract investments to Egypt and set up joint investments.

The assembly, which convened Sunday under head of the Egyptian Bar Association Sameh Ashour, approved the statute of the union and the formation of a consultancy board under the chairmanship of House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal.

The union's main function will be solving disputes that may arise between businessmen, Arab and foreign investors, and institutions and companies from different countries, in accordance with international legal norms.

The union’s establishment is one of the most important steps taken by experienced arbitrators, lawyers and experts to resolve long-standing disputes outside the courts to support trade and investment in the Arab world.

The Union, which was inaugurated last month, includes two chambers for the Arab court of arbitration; one for settlement of regional disputes and the other for settlement of international disputes.

The Cairo-based union also includes a mediation chamber for small and medium-sized investments and a scientific academy that offers diploma, master's and doctoral degrees in arbitration.

Till now, it includes 14 Arab countries.

LONDON, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - A British minister accused Airbus and other major companies of issuing "completely inappropriate" threats and undermining Prime Minister Theresa May in a sign of growing tensions with businesses leaders over Brexit.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus last week issued its strongest warning over the impact of Britain's departure from the European Union, saying a withdrawal without a deal would force it to reconsider its long-term position and put thousands of British jobs at risk.

Other European companies with major operations in Britain have also started to speak out two years on from the Brexit vote, voicing concerns over a lack of clarity on the terms of trade when Britain leaves next March.

"It was completely inappropriate for businesses to be making these kinds of threats for one very simple reason - we are in an absolutely critical moment in the Brexit discussions and what that means is that we need to get behind Theresa May," Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC.

"The more that we undermine Theresa May the more likely we to end up with a fudge which will be absolute disaster for everyone," he added.

German carmaker BMW has warned the company would have to make contingency plans within months if the government did not soon clarify its post-Brexit position and German industrial group Siemens said it urgently needs clarity on how its operations would have to be organised.

The leaders of five major business lobby groups also warned the prime minister over the weekend that the ongoing uncertainty about Brexit could cost the economy billions of pounds.

Hunt, a senior figure in the government who is viewed as a potential future prime minister, dismissed "siren voices" who say Brexit negotiations are not going well and said people should ignore them.

With only nine months until Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, little is clear about how trade will flow as May, who is grappling with a divided party, is still trying to strike a deal with the bloc.

Business leaders are increasingly concerned that their concerns are being ignored and are stepping up their contingency plans in case Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The foreign minister Boris Johnson was quoted in the Telegraph newspaper by two sources over the weekend as dismissing business leaders' concerns about the impact of Brexit, using foul language in a meeting with EU diplomats.

A spokesperson for the foreign office disputed whether Johnson had used bad language and said he had been attacking business lobbyists.

Around 100,000 supporters of the EU marched through central London on Saturday to demand that the government hold a final public vote on the terms of Brexit, organisers said.

 

VIENNA, June 23, 2018 (News Wires) - OPEC nations and oil-producing countries not in the cartel said Saturday they have agreed to share increased oil production a day after OPEC announced it would pump more crude oil - a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices.

Russia and other oil-producing allies said after their meeting in Vienna with OPEC countries they would endorse a nominal output increase of 1 million barrels crude oil per day.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a statement that both member and non-member oil producing countries "decided that countries will strive to adhere to the overall conformity level, voluntarily adjusted to 100 per cent."

The statement did not say how exactly the production increase would be split between OPEC and non-OPEC nations.

Saud Arabia's minister of energy, Khalid Al-Falih, said after Saturday's meeting that the exact allocation for each country would depend among other things on their production capacities.

"Saudi Arabia obviously can deliver as much as the market would need, but we're going to be respectful of the 1 million barrel cap - and at the same time be respectful of allocating some of that to countries that deliver it," Al-Falih said.

Questions remain over the ability of some OPEC nations - Iran and Venezuela in particular - to increase production as they struggle with domestic turmoil and sanctions.

US President Donald Trump had been calling publicly for the cartel to help lower prices by producing more. And after OPEC's deal Friday, Trump tweeted: "Hope OPEC will increase output substantially. Need to keep prices down!"

Al-Falih said after Saturday's meeting in Vienna that tweets from Trump were "reflective of his concern for American consumers."

Al-Falih also said leaders from other countries including India, China and South Korea had also expressed concerns to him that their economies were "starting to feel the pinch of higher oil prices."

Taking a somewhat different stance, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Saturday's endorsement to increase oil production was based on "fundamental principles, on research done by our teams, by teams of our friends and colleagues, the OPEC secretariat."

"Twitter is not one of the instruments we base our decisions on," Novak added, referring to Trump.

MOSCOW, June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Moscow on a state visit intended to boost bilateral economic ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted Moon Friday in an elaborate Kremlin ceremony before they sat down for talks.

At the start of the negotiations, Putin emphasized that South Korea is one of Russia's top partners in the region and voiced hope that their two-way trade will expand. He vowed that Moscow would try to help settle tensions around North Korea.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said the two presidents were set to discuss some prospective trilateral economic projects involving Russia and both Koreas.

Moscow has proposed building a railway and a natural gas pipeline linking Russia and the two Koreas, arguing that the endeavors could help promote peace and stability.

VIENNA, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel are arriving in Vienna to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude oil and help ease the price of global energy.

The officials were gathering on Tuesday ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that has cooperated with the cartel to limit production since late 2016.

Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.

Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: "It's going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC."

MUNICH, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Audi’s (NSUG.DE) board of directors will resume talks on Tuesday to address a leadership crisis at Volkswagen’s most profitable brand, sources familiar with the matter said, following Audi chief Rupert Stadler’s arrest.

Hours of negotiations by Volkswagen and Audi’s supervisory boards on Monday failed to reach an agreement on how to move on from news that German authorities had detained Stadler as part of their investigation into the group’s emissions test cheating.

The arrest of 55-year-old on Monday threw Volkswagen (VW) into turmoil as it struggles to draw a line under the scandal, which emerged after USregulators blew the whistle in September 2015 on the use of illegal software.

Stadler has been under fire from the media, politicians and VW’s powerful trade unions for his handling of the scandal, but he survived a major management reshuffle announced in August thanks to backing from the Piech and Porsche families that control Europe’s biggest automaker.

Last week, Munich prosecutors said they were investigating Stadler for suspected fraud and false advertising and for his alleged role in helping to bring cars equipped with illegal software on to the European market.

They said the decision to arrest him at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours of Monday was made because they saw a risk that he could try to suppress evidence.

One source has said that Dutchman Bram Schot was the front runner to become interim Audi chief if Stadler is suspended from his duties.

VW shares were down 2.6 per cent in early trading. 

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