Al-Rabiah urges factories to employ modern technology, boost Saudization

Updated 09 May 2012
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Al-Rabiah urges factories to employ modern technology, boost Saudization

Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry and chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON), recently opened a group of factories in Dammam Second Industrial City in the presence of top executives of MODON, Al-Sharqiya Chamber of Commerce in the Eastern Province, and a number of officials and businessmen.
He also opened the Administration Building of Dammam Second Industrial City, which the administration and Customer Service Center to provide various services including certificate of origin, chamber of commerce, labor and passport office branches.
Meanwhile, MODON is keen to attract government service agencies to open offices within the limits of the industrial cities to facilitate the procedures and provision of services for industrialists in the Industrial City.
The minister then toured the Industrial City and saw the development and rehabilitation projects being carried out there. Next, he opened the factories —Welson Middle East Pipelines Co. Ltd., which has a capital of SR67 million and the production capacity of 300,000 tons. Also opened are Ma'aleh factory, Fahd Al-Thnayan for chemical products.
At the end of the tour, the minister praised the factories for employing Saudi citizens and urged factories in general to employ modern technology and increase the percentage of Saudization.
Al-Rabiah said: "Eastern Region with its largest industrial complex has became the capital of industry in the Middle East, notably in terms of industrial cities of Jubail, Ras Al-Khair, Dammam 1, 2, 3, Al-Ahsa and Hafr Al-Baten. Soon Salwa and the new industrial cities will attract more than 2,000 industrial projects and services.
Director General of MODON Saleh Al-Rashid said: "The volume of demand for industrial land in the region is a strong indicator of the future of the industry and will make the Kingdom's economy independent of oil, which is the vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who announced that industry is our strategic choice to diversify sources of income."
He added: "The second industrial city in Dammam has 340 factories that are in operation or under construction with employees numbering 75,000. The city has several development projects and rehabilitation of roads, sidewalks, lighting, water and wastewater treatment, landscaping and maintenance and the establishment of a highway link and electrical transfer station, totally valued at SR804 million."


Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

Updated 23 January 2019
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Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

  • Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border could be followed elsewhere
  • Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani: Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade

DAVOS: Amid global trade wars and the rise of protectionism, Middle East economic and business leaders on Tuesday issued a clarion call for the exact opposite: To ease customs restrictions in the region.
A panel at Davos heard how an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to boost cooperation — including the reduction of obstacles to trade across the shared border — could be a blueprint for the wider region.
Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border — partly through the use of technology — could be followed elsewhere. “We want to establish a reference for others to follow,” he said.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim, said “frictionless trade” would give the region a boost.
“Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Davos forum.
Bejjani declined to say whether that would involve a customs union, a common market or a common currency. Given the imposition of trade tariffs between the US and China, and the rise of Brexit, globalization — something espoused by many Davos delegates — is seen as on the wane.
But Bejjani said breaking down barriers in the Middle East could help it better compete with Western Europe and the US.
“For the past almost century now… we’ve been ingeniously working on making sure we put barriers across the Arab world. The reality is we have a market that’s as big as most of the largest markets in the world… if we’re smart enough to work together,” he told the Davos panel.
Khalid Al-Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, agreed that Saudi-UAE cooperation was “a great template” for others to follow.
Aside from “opening up” Middle East markets, Al-Rumaihi said harmonizing regulation in the region would also be beneficial to businesses and entrepreneurs.
“If the rules are changing in each country, if they’re not harmonized, it’s very difficult… for an entrepreneur (to understand) the regulatory environment. So they don’t scale very quickly, and that’s something we need to solve,” he said. Talk of freer trade within the Middle East is especially relevant when it comes to the Palestinian territories, which are subject to Israeli occupation and blockade.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said freer movement and a reduction of duties would help the economy grow.
“We need to see our products being waived (of) customs,” he said. “We need mobility — we’re under occupation.”