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Hollande woos Saudi investors

Saudi Arabia and France have drafted a road map to strengthen political and economic relations, French President Francois Hollande announced on Monday.
The two sides also signed nine cooperation agreements in energy, water, education, transport, urban planning and human resources.
Addressing business leaders at the French-Saudi Business Forum on Monday at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) in Riyadh, Hollande assured Saudi businesses of a welcoming investment environment in France.
Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf and CSC Chairman Abdullah Al-Mobty were also present. A team of four ministers accompanied Hollande, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“I am committed to tax stability and enforcing systematic rules because I know that when you come to us to invest this creates more jobs for us,” Hollande said.
He said that France could provide expertise in various sectors ranging from small to large companies. “As such, we need an open market for the mutual interest of both countries," he said.
Hollande said France’s companies could provide their knowledge, as they do in China, in energy, mega construction projects and the food sector.
He said Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country in the G20 that can shape global economic policy. He said Saudi Arabia, as the world’s largest oil producer, has always maintained fair prices for consumer countries.
According to Al-Mobty, there are 3,000 French expatriates in Saudi Arabia. The trade between the two countries stands at SR44 billion.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and the French Minister of International Commerce Nicole Brick signed the nine cooperation agreements between the governments and private Saudi-French companies.
Two French companies, Areva and ADF, inked cooperation agreements with several Saudi universities. There were also agreements signed between French firms and Saudi companies Zamil Steel, Olayan Descon, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables and Pumps Arabia.
“The agreements signed on the sidelines of the visit, confirms the joint will of the two countries to develop their relations in various fields. The Saudi side wishes to encourage Saudi companies to invest in France to promote and create job opportunities for Saudis,” Al-Mobty said.

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