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Saudi-Yemeni free-trade zone would benefit both countries, says business leader

Google map showing the vast Saudi-Yemeni border.

JEDDAH: Studies indicate that the establishment of a free-trade zone between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, a project that has been put on a hold due to political unrest in Yemen, would help boost economies of the two countries, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Prior to the political turmoil that engulfed the impoverished Arab country, the two sides had been planning to establish a free-economic zone in Al-Wadeeah, Najran with the support from the private sector and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The SPA report quoted Dr. Abdullah Marei Mahfouz, former chief of Saudi-Yemeni Business Council, as saying that the project represented an opportunity to boost trade ties between the two countries. He said that Yemen could benefit from this project by increasing its exports of fish, fruit and vegetables.
Highlighting the importance of the proposed free-trade zone, he said that the economic city had the potential to emerge as a hub for the storing and packaging industries.
The project will also help create thousands of jobs for the youth of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Mahfouz predicted that commercial activities in the economic zone could reach the SR500-million mark in the first year.
According to the Council of Saudi Chambers, a free-trade zone between the two countries could also serve as a gateway for Saudi products to African countries.
Statistics indicate that the number of joint Saudi-Yemeni projects in the Kingdom is 340 and 109 in Yemen.

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