Commerce minister tells Portuguese businessmen of trade opportunities in Saudi Arabia

Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi with trade delegates in Lisbon. (SPA)
Updated 09 December 2017
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Commerce minister tells Portuguese businessmen of trade opportunities in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi told businessmen in Lisbon on Thursday that the Kingdom has a range of business opportunities under the Saudi Vision 2030 program that could be of mutual benefit to both countries.
“We look forward to enhancing cooperation between our two friendly countries in all fields since both countries possess great trade potentials and the Saudi Vision 2030 promises abundant opportunities,” he said at the Saudi-Portuguese Joint Committee fourth ministerial meeting.
Al-Qassabi headed the Kingdom’s delegation, while the host team was led by Portuguese Minister of National Defense Jose Alberto Azeredo Lopes.
Manuel Carvalho, Portuguese ambassador in Riyadh, was also present.
The Portuguese side expressed the hope of their companies to identify opportunities in vital sectors such as technology, infrastructure, environment, renewable energy and tourism.
Speaking to Arab News from Lisbon, Ambassador Carvalho said highlights of the meeting included the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Ports Authority and the Lisbon Ports Authority to make improvements in logistics, and the Kingdom agreeing to lift the ban on the import of meat and meat products from Portugal.
He said the two sides stressed the importance of boosting bilateral trade and investment flows between the countries.
They also highlighted the importance of the reforms adopted in the Kingdom under the Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020.
They agreed to create more opportunities for deepening joint cooperation, including in the private sector. Areas of investments identified included education, fisheries, air transport and other areas within the framework of understanding between the two countries, he said.
Mutual cooperation was also discussed in entrepreneurship development, small and medium-sized enterprise development and the importance of exchanging and sharing the best methods of innovation and business development.
The Saudi and Portuguese sides agreed to enhance the visits of specialized delegations in sectors of mutual interest and expressed the desire to deepen bilateral trade and investment.
The volume of trade exchange between the Kingdom and Portugal in 2016 was SR2,792 million ($745 million).
Bilateral trade between the two countries grew significantly during the period from January to September 2016, registering an increase of 26.5 percent during the same period of 2017.
During the first nine months of 2017, Portuguese exports to the Kingdom reached €100 million ($134 million), while its imports from the Kingdom had topped €440 million.


Saudi railways approach 67th anniversary, play large role in linking cities

Updated 12 min 45 sec ago
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Saudi railways approach 67th anniversary, play large role in linking cities

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s railways are considered one of the main methods of transportation and the Kingdom has always paid attention to its railway sector. 
The railways also contribute to economic and social development and play a pivotal role in transporting goods and passengers between cities in the Kingdom.
Construction of the the Riyadh-Dammam railway line began in 1947, and it has transported passengers and goods since its inauguration on October 20, 1951. 
The railway line is 569 km long and its opening coincided with the establishment of a large commercial port in the Eastern Province.
In the beginning, the railway line was run by Aramco, but it was subsequently entrusted to the Ministry of Finance.
On May 13, 1966 a royal decree was issued establishing the The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) as a public corporation having full legal status.
The development of the vital Riyadh-Dammam line emphasizes the state’s keenness to develop the railway sector. Several railway lines linking Riyadh to numerous cities in the Eastern Province have been built, and the main line linking Riyadh and Dammam has been modernized.
The main railway stations for passengers opened in Riyadh, Dammam, and Hofuf in 1981, and in 1985, another railway line between Riyadh and Dammam measuring 449 km was built. The line shortened the journey time between the two cities from 420 minutes to 300 minutes. Modern SRO trains travel at around 160 km per hour.
A considerable number of passengers use SRO trains and this is a sign of the confidence that citizens and residents put in the railways as a means of safe transportation compared to other forms of transport. Passenger trains transported approximately 1.48 million passengers during 2017 between stations in Dammam, Abqaiq, Hofuf, and Riyadh.