Saudi Arabia and Austria pledge to bolster trade ties

Photo shows Austrian Ambassador Gregor Koessler (left) with Walter Ruck, president of Vienna Chamber, middle, and Dr Kurt Altmann, Austrian commercial counsellor, posing for photo after the press briefing in Riyadh on Tuesday. (AN photo by Ghaffar Ahmed Khan)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia and Austria pledge to bolster trade ties

RIYADH: Austria has pledged to ramp up cooperation in key commercial sectors with Saudi Arabia after a group of business leaders representing about 25 top-notch Austrian companies had wide-ranging talks with Saudi officials and businessmen on Monday and Tuesday in Riyadh.
The pledge comes within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for forging partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the desired objectives of the vision.
“The new Austrian government is business-friendly, and hence more cooperation and collaboration in various sectors are expected,” said Gregor Koessler, Austrian ambassador, who called on Austrian companies to ensure their “local presence” in the Kingdom for intensive contacts and for doing business.
Koessler was speaking during a networking lunch, which was attended by several Saudi businessmen and members of the Austrian business mission.
Walter Ruck, president of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is leading the Austrian commercial mission, together with Dr. Kurt Altmann, Austrian commercial counselor. The mission, which traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, consists of top Austrian business representatives.
The companies in the mission are specialized in medical technologies, energy and solar energy, railway, air-conditioning, engineering services, transport, data management systems, electromechanical equipment and water treatment.
Vienna Chamber chief Ruck told Arab News: “The Austrian business mission seeks to strengthen trade and investment ties with the Kingdom.”
He said Austrian business leaders have had wide-ranging talks with top officials of the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and Council of Saudi Chambers with the aim of ramping up cooperation in the economic field.
He said Austria was committed to working with the Kingdom in implementing Vision 2030. In fact, the prospect of bilateral cooperation within the framework of Vision 2030 is brighter as the Austrian economy is picking up speed with a projected growth of 2.8 percent.
Ruck noted the growing business ties, saying that “the two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna has been in the region of SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion) annually.”
He said Austria and Saudi Arabia have built a solid relationship on the commercial front. “Many of our companies have been working closely with Saudi enterprises over the past decades, either as joint ventures or in close collaboration with Saudi side on a number of projects,” said the Austrian commercial counselor.
Altmann also spoke about growing investment relations, saying that there are 20 joint ventures operating in different sectors.
He further pointed out that “Austrian investment in the Kingdom exceeds SR1.2 billion, while Saudi investment in Austria totals SR1 billion.”
“This will further grow as we look forward to discussing how best to partner in implementing Vision 2030, particularly in areas where Austria has specific expertise,” said Altmann.
The Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the legal representative of the entire Viennese business community with a total membership of more than 140,000 companies.


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”