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

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.

2 more Houthi drones shot down by Saudi-led Coalition forces

Updated 25 min 13 sec ago

2 more Houthi drones shot down by Saudi-led Coalition forces

  • Three drones, six ballistic missiles launched toward Saudi Arabia by Houthis in a span of 24 hours
  • All six missiles and three drones were shot down by Coalition air defenses

JEDDAH: Two more drones launched by Houthi "terrorists" from Sanaa toward Saudi Arabia were shot down early Monday, the ninth hit in a span of 24 hours, Coalition forces supporting Yemen's legitimate government said .

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Maliki said the two drones were intercepted and shot down in Yemeni airspace by Saudi-led air defense forces.

On Sunday evening, six ballistic missiles fired from Yemen were also intercepted by the coalition as they headed towards Jazan in south-west Saudi Arabia.

Al-Maliki said the missiles were launched by Houthis from Saada province "in an attempt to target civilian and civilian installations in Jazan city.” 

Earlier on Sunday, the coalition shot down a Houthi drone targeting the Saudi city of Khamis Mushayt, state news agency SPA reported.

The drone attack targeting Khamis Mushayt, state was the second on the city in recent days. 

Earlier this month, 10 drones attacked the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant in Saudi Arabia near the UAE border. The attack caused no injuries and did not disrupt operations, Saudi Arabia said.

Al-Maliki said the attacks reflect the size of the Houthi’s losses on the battlefield in Yemen as a result “of the continuing military operations deep inside Saada governorate.”

"All attempts by the Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militia to launch drones are doomed to fail and the coalition takes all operational procedures and best practices of engagement rules to deal with these drones to protect civilians," Al-Maliki said.