SAGIA: US investment in Saudi Arabia worth over $55bn

SAGIA signs Cooperative Agreement with US Chamber of Commerce to promote trade and economic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and US. (Photo SAGIA/file)
Updated 22 March 2018

SAGIA: US investment in Saudi Arabia worth over $55bn

RIYADH: The US invested more than SR207 billion ($55 billion) in the Kingdom up until February 2018, according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
The number of investing companies reached 373 in fields such as services, industry, real-estate, science, arts, and temporary licenses.
Industrial activity had the biggest share of financing with SR193 billion ($51 billion) distributed on 95 different projects. Service activity was financed with SR13.5 billion ($3 billion) distributed on 245 projects. Trade activity was financed with more than SR300 million ($79 million) distributed on nine projects. Two real-estate projects were financed with SR16 million ($4 million) and 16 temporary licenses’ projects were financed with SR2 million ($0.5 million.)
Sixteen new American companies entered the Saudi market in 2017, with SR382 million ($101 million) invested as SAGIA gave the green light to start activities in the Kingdom. The service sector had the biggest share of these licenses, with 13 licenses and an investment of SR 284 million ($155 million). The industrial sector was granted two licenses of an investment that reached SR97 million ($25 million) and the temporary licenses’ sector was financed with SR500,000 ($133,000).
The Saudi sector is one of the US’s biggest importing markets. In 2016, the Kingdom provided the US market with a number of products including mineral, chemical and organic products, fertilizers, aluminum and plastics. From the US, the Kingdom imported cars and their parts, aerial vehicles and their parts, medical, optical and photographic equipment, machine tools and their parts and electronic devices and their parts.
The numbers are a result of the reforms in the Saudi investment environment, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, while the reforms are a result of national efforts to promote trade and investment activities in the Kingdom. The executive committee was established to improve and promote performance in the private sector to follow up and implement a number of initiatives contributing to economic growth and providing a stable environment for the private sector, with the participation of relevant governmental, private and international bodies.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US have good economic ties that go back many decades and are bound by mutual respect and common interests. These relations were established on Feb. 23, 1930, and consolidated in 1931 when the US first started importing Saudi oil, and when the late King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman granted American companies the right to prospect for oil.
In 1932, the two sides signed the temporary commercial diplomatic agreement that was followed by an oil exploration agreement.
In 1972, the Kingdom imported from the US a number of goods and products with a value of $314 million and exported other goods to the US with a value of $194 million.
In 1974, the Kingdom signed a joint report with the US, to establish a Saudi-American joint committee for economic cooperation to meet the needs of the country (products and expertise) at a time when Saudi Arabia was witnessing a big increase in growth and development projects.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”