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Last Updated:[29-04-2010 00:57:54 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Saudi Arabia Broadens Business with US on a Grand Scale

tradenews The ongoing two-day US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum, a first of its kind, has become a venue for the Saudi kingdom to woo US with investment opportunities worth more than $250bn. A delegation of about 200 which includes prominent state officials such as Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance, Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal Alireza and Ali Al-Naimi, Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources are attending the meet held at Chicago.

Today, the international trade committee of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry has signed a MoU with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and World Business Chicago, in an attempt to promote economic activity between the two nations with an accent on industry, trade and technology. Similarly, GE too renewed its seven decade old business ties by signing a MoU with Ministry of Commerce & Industry to fuel Kingdom's vision for sustainable economic growth and job creation.

Saudi Arabia is planning economic diversification through industrialization, and will launch the $16bn National Industrial Strategy in May 2010 to strengthen the Kingdom's manufacturing sector and double the industrial output of the GDP. Saudi ministers are of the opinion that the Kingdom's future will be focused on knowledge-based initiatives and infrastructure development, emphasizing that “Saudi Arabia no longer wants to be the gas station of the world.”

According to Saudi Gazette, the meet will see the signing of several agreements covering almost all areas of trade ranging from agriculture to science and technology to financial markets. Fatin Bundagji from the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointed out that his country’s priority would be to draw expertise beyond oil sector particularly about venture capital and business incubation in the US.

As per the figures provided by the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC), the US exports to the MENA region are expected to rebound to nearly $75bn this year, up from $63bn in 2009, and out of the total about $17bn will be Saudi’s contribution. Saudi Arabia is the second largest export destination of the US in the region after the UAE.

The trade outlook indicates that US exports to the MENA region are likely to be more than double by the year 2015, an important boost to US President Barack Obama's National Export Initiative. He had said early this year that exports were the key to job creation and the plans of doubling exports to $3 trillion over the next five years could create two million new jobs in the US. Besides, enhancing trade with Saudi Arabia is also seen as an initiative to deepen ties with the Muslim world which the US president reiterated this week after Cairo summit.

By Jose Roy

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