Abdulrahman Suleiman Alahmed
Published — Saturday 15 March 2014
Last update 15 March 2014 12:23 am
Princess Astrid of Belgium, representing the King of Belgium, is planning to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the head of an official and commercial delegation composed of 350 members representing a number of government entities and 170 companies, from March 15 to 19.
On that occasion, we welcome Princess Astrid of Belgium and the delegation accompanying her and pay tribute to the strength of the friendly relationship between the two countries and its importance in all fields, facing therefore a significant development through several tools such as the role of the Saudi and Belgian businessmen who are playing an active role to build up the economic and trade relations by meeting the aspirations of the two leaderships and the people of the two countries.
Since the visit of King Faisal (mercy upon his soul) to Belgium and the visit of King Baudouin to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1975, visits and exchange of official delegations have succeeded at all levels between the two countries.
This leads to the interconnection between the two countries in many fields such as strong economic and trade relationship, subject to a number of agreements, which are applied in a spirit of mutual understanding, such as the agreement to develop and support economic technical cooperation between the two countries in 1978. Trade between the two countries increased at a high level from about $1.84 billion in 2003 to about $6.76 billion in 2012.
The trade balance achieved an overflow in favor of the Kingdom and fluctuated between $530 million in 2003 to about $3.80 billion in 2012.
In 2012, Belgium has been ranked at the 19th place among other states in terms of trade exchange with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is a unique and distinctive evolution for the trade relation between the two countries.
One of the previous feedback visits of the Belgian business delegation to the Kingdom during the years 1993, 2002, 2009, headed by King Philip, the crown prince at that time, is the endorsement of more than 12 memorandums of understanding and agreements on trade and economic cooperation and investment. The visits have contributed to enhancing the development of relationships and generated the re-export of Saudi products to Belgium and then to Europe for its distinction for its quality after confirming its compliance to the European standards and through companies working with Belgian partners in the Kingdom.
The current visit is a significant turnover to boost cooperation, trade and investment exchange between business sectors of both countries, whereas, the Kingdom is hosting a representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Saudi Chambers of Commerce.
This delegation is composed of business stakeholders and representatives of big businesses and Belgian economic decision-makers.
Several meetings will be held with Saudi businessmen in Riyadh, Jeddah and Jubail to discuss the standpoint for trade relations and the definition of investment environment and the opportunities through the exchange of information in order to achieve mutual benefits between the two sectors of Saudi and Belgian businessmen.
Among the objectives of this visit is the work of strengthening the relations between the two countries in all fields such as economy and trade as well as the possibility of its developments through the exchange of visits between the business sectors in order to improve the volume of trade exchange transactions and investments, and to organize exhibitions of the Saudi products in Belgium, shedding light on economic sectors with an added value.
The priority on the Saudi economic external cooperation agenda, in order to reinforce the transfer and resettlement of experience of new technologies in the Kingdom, is to help creating job opportunities for the youth as well as projects of cooperation and joint training.
For its part, the Belgian business sector is looking forward with great interest to an effective partnership with the Saudi business sector, especially in the fields of petrochemicals, construction, food and health, contributing to achieving the ambitious goals between the two countries.
The scope of the trade delegations among European countries and Saudi Arabia has recently boomed in terms of visiting delegations to the Kingdom, whereas, the opportunities for cooperation, investment and trade exchange between the Saudi market and its European counterpart, is facing a major shift and an opening for accepting others in various fields.
This international trend is due to the role of the Kingdom in achieving global economic stability being one of the main guarantees for the stability of the global oil markets because of its clear vision toward the development of the global economy.
One of the indicator signs is that its economy has not been affected by the turmoil that occurred in the international financial system, and to achieve it during the last period a growth development has been reported by official reports issued by the World Bank in addition to its membership to the G20, which confirms the strength of the Saudi economy and its evolution and impact.
— Abdulrahman Suleiman Alahmed is the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union.