Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB)- The 19th meeting of Risk Management Committee of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd. (AIBL) was held recently at its head office in Purna Paltan area in the city.
Chairman of the Committee Md Liakat Ali Chowdhury presided over the meeting, according to press released issued on Wednesday.
Members Abdus Samad Labu, Md Abdus Salam, Md Amir Uddin, Managing Director Md Habibur Rahman, Deputy Managing Directors, Kazi Towhidul Alam, Md Fazlul Karim, Muhammad Mahmoodul Haque, Mohammed Zubair Wafa, Executive Vice President and Company Secretary, Md Mahmudur Rahman were present in the meeting.
Dhaka, Sept 12 (UNB) – The government will recognise 56 businesspeople on Thursday as Commercially Important Persons (CIPs) for their contributions to the country’s industrial sector through establishing industries, creating jobs and boosting economic growth.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu will distribute the CIP cards (2016) among the recipients at a programme in the city on Thursday morning.
The recipients will enjoy the facilities under the CIP cards for one year from the day of receiving it, an official told UNB.
Eight business leaders --Abdul Matlub Ahmad, AK Azad, M Siddiqur Rahman, AKM Selim Osman, Rupali H Chowdhury, Selima Ahmad, Tapan Chowdhury, Mirza Nurul Gani Shovan -- will receive the CIP cards as ex-officiso, said the official.
Of the awardees, 20 people will receive CIP cards in the heavy industry (production) category while five will get in same category (service).
A total of 12 industrialists will receive the CIP cards in medium industry (production) category while three in the same category (service).
A total of five businesspersons will get CIP status in the category of small industries (production) while one person in the same category (service).
Meanwhile, two more businesspersons – one each in micro and cottage industries categories respectively - will get the CIP status.
A CIP card will remain valid for one year and the cardholders will get privileged entrance to ministries, invitation to various national-level events and citizen's reception hosted by the city corporation.
They also get priority in seat reservations in airlines, railways, roads and public transports in the waterways, and get letters of introduction from the foreign ministry for travelling abroad.
Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman on Industries Ministry Omor Faruk Chowdhury and President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) M Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin will also attend the event to be held with Industries Secretary (in-charge) Md. Abdul Halim in the chair.
Hanoi, Sep 12 (AP/UNB) — A top Chinese official and leaders of several Southeast Asian countries have taken aim at U.S. moves to protect American businesses, saying opening markets further is the only option for future growth.
Speaking Wednesday at a World Economic Forum meeting in Hanoi, Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said China would work with its neighbors to counter protectionism.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo drew laughs by likening trade wars to "infinity wars" in a reference to this year's movie based on Marvel's comics. Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said the Southeast Asian region would work to keep markets and investment open and protect the "rules based" trading system.
Widodo did not mention President Donald Trump by name. But he drew hearty laughs when he mentioned the "Infinity War" villain, Thanos.
Leon, Sep 12 (AP/UNB) — Two days after protests began in Nicaragua in April, a foreign auto components company was meeting at a hotel in the city of Leon when smoke from a burning university building just a block away billowed above the hotel's colonnaded courtyard.
The visitors quickly cut short their event and began changing their travel plans to exit Nicaragua. Within three months, the El Convento hotel itself was forced to close for lack of business, as a sister hotel in the same city had in June.
Nicaragua's economy has been devastated by the nearly five months of unrest sparked by cuts to social security benefits that quickly evolved into calls for President Daniel Ortega to step down.
In June, the country's economic activity was down 12.1 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the central bank. Economists estimate 200,000 jobs have been shed, including as many as 70,000 in the tourism sector, which has become Nicaragua's top source of foreign currency in the past two years.
Revenue at hotels and restaurants plunged 45 percent in June compared to 2017, according to Nicaragua's central bank. Similarly, construction suffered a 35 percent drop and retail 27 percent. Some $900 million in deposits fled Nicaragua's banks. They responded by tightening their lending to preserve liquidity, thus also contributed to the economic slowdown.
Nicaraguan Union of Agricultural Producers says more than 12,000 acres of private land have been occupied by government supporters in what business leaders have called confiscations in revenge for their support of the protesters.
The producers say 91 percent of the land occupied by squatters was used for farming and livestock.
Victor Hugo Sevilla, the general manager of both Leon hotels, continues checking email, but said "I haven't gotten any requests from foreigners for reservations. We have received five, maybe eight, rate inquiries from domestic (travelers), but no firm reservations."
Leon, Nicaragua's second-largest city, was among the places where protests and roadblocks were most intense. From the beginning, those protests were met with violence from riot police and civilian government supporters. In July, they violently cleared the roadblocks and ran protesting students off occupied university campuses.
More than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, according to human rights groups. The government calls the protesters "terrorists" and says it defeated an attempt to drive Ortega from office that was sponsored by the U.S. government and domestic opposition, including some in the private sector.
Ortega conceded this month that the roadblocks and unrest have cost the country jobs. In an interview with Spanish news agency EFE, he said domestic tourism was starting to return, but "where there has been more of a problem is in attracting international tourism, because this situation tends to repel the tourists."
A major factor has been that the countries that send Nicaragua's big-spending foreign tourists, including the U.S., Canada, Spain and England, issued travel warnings urging their citizens to avoid travel to Nicaragua.
Major airlines such as American and United cut their flights to Managua from three per day to one. Spirit, Delta and other carriers trimmed their flights as well, said Jose Adan Aguerri, president of the Superior Council for Private Enterprise.
The council, which is Nicaragua's main business chamber, joined the call for a national strike Sept. 7. The Civic Alliance, formed to represent a broad swath of Nicaraguan society in a stalled dialogue with the government, said the strike aimed to push the government back to dialogue and to protest the arrest of alliance members and other political prisoners.
The country's primary tourist destinations like the colonial gem Granada and the Pacific coast surfer paradise San Juan del Sur began feeling the consequences of the unrest almost immediately. Hotels and restaurants cut back hours, then days and eventually closed completely.
For years, Ortega enjoyed a relatively stable relationship with private business. Since returning to power in 2007, the one-time Marxist rebel commander had softened his views and largely left Nicaragua's private sector to do what it wanted.
The relationship was criticized by some as a tacit agreement to keep the country's business elites out of politics. In an interview in July with Venezuela's Telesur network, Ortega said his understanding with Nicaragua's private sector had been strictly economic and not political.
In April, however, the country's business interests, caught off guard by the social security system changes, quickly joined the opposition. As the social and political crisis deepened, the private sector became increasingly outspoken in calling for Ortega to move up elections.
Mario Arana, director of the Nicaragua Association of Producers and Exporters and a former head of the central bank, said the private sector decided to get more involved when student protesters were killed.
"When there was an overreaction here to a civil, peaceful protest by the students, where people began to lose their lives, society suffered a social explosion where the private sector aligned with the people," he said. "The private sector is committed to trying to find a negotiated exit from the crisis."
Juan Sebastian Chamorro, who leads the Nicaraguan Foundation for Economic and Social Development, said the government has shown signs that it recognizes the severity of the economic impact. It has issued new debt, adjusted rules to tighten the selling of dollars and cut public spending as it forecasts a 10 percent drop in tax revenue.
Whether any of that will be enough to stop the economy's slide is doubtful unless it's accompanied by a political solution that restores stability, experts said.
For years Leon had been at best a day trip for foreign tourists beginning to explore better-known Granada or San Juan del Sur. But the city had worked hard to get attention and Art Collection Hotels had bet on its prospects by opening its second hotel, La Recoleccion, in 2017.
"We had high expectations for this year," said Sevilla, the manager of the closed hotels.
He had 113 employees between the two properties. They were able to suspend 67, which will enable them to come back without losing any benefits of seniority, but the rest were laid off. He has remained in touch with some of the workers. Those still around are taking whatever work they can find, but he estimated at least half left the country, with most of those seeking tourism sector jobs in Costa Rica.
The hotels have 190 reservations for November — the start of the high season — but that's less than half what they had in November last year. Still, he hopes they can start working their way back again in October. Even if that works out, he predicts a slow climb back to normalcy.
Cafes and shops selling handicrafts around Leon's historic center were open this week, but a number of hotels and hostels in the area were shuttered.
"I think it will take at least 12 months, maybe more, to be able to restart the tourism engine," he said.
Beijing, Sep 12 (AP/UNB) — Amid a worsening tariff battle, China is putting off accepting license applications from American companies in financial services and other industries until Washington makes progress toward a settlement, a business group says.
The disclosure Tuesday is the first public confirmation of U.S. companies' fears that their operations in China or access to its markets might be disrupted by the battle over Beijing's technology policy. China is running out of American imports for penalties in response to President Donald Trump's tariff hikes, which has prompted worries regulators might target operations of U.S. companies.
The license delay applies to industries Beijing has promised to open to foreign competitors, according to Jacob Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S.-China Business Council. The group represents some 200 American companies that do business with China.
In meetings over the past three weeks, Cabinet-level officials told USCBC representatives they are putting off accepting applications "until the trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship improves and stabilizes," Parker said.
Chinese authorities have promised to increase foreign access to areas including banking, securities, insurance and asset management.
"There seem to be domestic political pressures that are working against the perception of U.S. companies receiving benefits" during the dispute, Parker said.
As for what improvement might entail, Parker said Chinese officials want an end to Trump's tariff hikes and a negotiated settlement. He declined to identify the officials but, in a sign Beijing wants foreign companies to help lobby Washington, said the meetings represented "unprecedented access" for his group.
Beijing matched Trump's earlier tariff increase on $50 billion of imports but is running out of American goods for retaliation due to their lopsided trade balance. China bought American goods worth about $1 for every $3 of goods it exported to the United States.
Trump is poised to decide whether to raise duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing has issued a $60 billion list of goods for retaliation.
A foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Monday that China will "definitely take countermeasures" if the tariff hike goes ahead.
Economists have warned Beijing might target service industries such as engineering or logistics, in which the United States runs a trade surplus with China.
Chinese commentators have suggested Beijing might use its multitrillion-dollar holdings of U.S. government debt as a weapon, though that would impose costs on China. State-controlled media have encouraged boycotts of Japanese and South Korean products in past disputes with those governments.
The government said in June it would impose unspecified "comprehensive measures" if necessary. That left U.S. companies on edge about whether Beijing will use its heavily regulated economy to disrupt their operations by withholding licenses or launching tax, anti-monopoly or other investigations.
Chinese leaders reject Trump's demand to roll back official industry plans such as "Made in China 2025," which calls for state-led creation of global champions in robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies.
Washington, Europe and other trading partners say those plans violate Beijing's market-opening commitments. But Communist leaders see them as a path to prosperity and global influence.
Chinese negotiators agreed in May to narrow their multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American soybeans and other products. Beijing scrapped that deal after Trump's first tariff increase went ahead July 6.
In addition to rolling back industry plans, the Trump administration wants Beijing to reduce the privileges of state-owned companies and eliminate requirements for foreign companies to hand over technology to Chinese partners.
In their meetings with the USCBC, Chinese officials expressed willingness to buy more American exports but "showed no appetite at all" to talk about industry reform, technology policy or other U.S. priorities, Parker said.
"I don't consider that to be very positive for any kind of negotiated outcome in the short term or medium term," he said.
Chinese regulators have shown their willingness to attack foreign companies in disputes with other governments.
Last year, Beijing destroyed South Korean retailer Lotte's business in China after it sold a golf course in South Korea to the country's government for construction of a missile defense system opposed by Chinese leaders.
Beijing closed most of Lotte's 99 supermarkets and other outlets in China. Seoul and Beijing later mended relations, but Lotte gave up and sold its China operations.