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.


King Salman’s support vital to national heritage achievements

The program aims to protect, promote and develop cultural heritage and make it part of the life and memory of citizens. (Supplied)
Updated 5 min 26 sec ago
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King Salman’s support vital to national heritage achievements

  • The Saudi leadership made key decisions to protect antiquities and historical sites
  • Saudi Arabia aims to conduct awareness campaigns, establish museums and develop them in a modern way to attract citizens and visitors

JEDDAH: The achievements made in Saudi Arabia’s national heritage sector, and the prizes and awards that have been won as result, are thanks to the support and efforts of King Salman, said Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
His comments came as the king received the Sharjah International Award for Cultural Heritage, which was awarded in recognition of the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques cultural heritage program.
King Salman oversaw the creation of the antiquities and heritage sector 50 years ago and stood firmly against the elimination or extinction of archaeological and heritage sites, Prince Sultan said, and has made historical and important decisions to protect antiquities since the era of the late King Saud.
This support culminated in the adoption of the innovative Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques for the Care of Cultural Heritage program, implemented by the commission to bring about a qualitative shift in projects and programs devoted to national cultural heritage.
Prince Sultan said: “The award is a result of King Salman’s follow-up and support to the program, which the SCTH and our team have translated into projects and initiatives carried out in cooperation with highly professional partners, in order to preserve, restore and develop the national heritage and make it a reality that connects citizens to their country’s history and heritage.”
He said the SCTH has built upon the great efforts of the institutions that preceded it in taking care of the nation’s antiquities, as well as individual efforts to preserve national heritage.
“Today, we reap the fruits of these efforts: The culture we have learnt from King Salman and previous leaders, which has taught us to complete the work and loyalty of all those who built and achieved before us,” he said.
Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, a member of the Federal Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, announced that the Sharjah International Award for Cultural Heritage had been awarded to the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Program for the Care of Cultural Heritage during a ceremony on April 22, 2018.
The program aims to protect, promote and develop cultural heritage and make it part of the life and memory of citizens. It also conducts awareness campaigns, establishes museums and develops them in a modern way to attract citizens and visitors, prepares Islamic historical sites to welcome visitors, and preserves culturally important buildings and towns to showcase the role of the Kingdom as a crossroads for civilizations through the ages and achieve a qualitative shift in the field, contributing to economic growth.