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.


More than two million pilgrims arrive and relevant authorities are ready

Updated 4 min 31 sec ago
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More than two million pilgrims arrive and relevant authorities are ready

  • The authorities serving pilgrims are fully ready to receive pilgrims at the holy sites
  • Al-Turki said pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom arrived via six different means

JEDDAH: The Security Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki announced during the first press conference for the Hajj works this year, held at the General Security headquarters on Saturday, that the total number of pilgrims in the Kingdom has reached more than two million.
He noted that the General Authority for Statistics will announce the final number of pilgrims who will have performed Hajj on Eid Al-Adha, on August 21.
He said the authorities serving pilgrims are fully ready to receive pilgrims at the holy sites.
Al-Turki noted that on the 19th, the goal is to help more than two million pilgrims stream from Makkah into Mina, and on the 20th, to Arafat, then back to Muzdalifah and Mina. This journey takes around 48 hours, from the morning of the 19th until the morning of the 21st.
Al-Turki said pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom arrived via six different means. The majority flew in, arriving through five airports, mainly King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah.
Pilgrims who flew in represent 88% with 6% who benefitted from the Makkah Road Initiative that was launched this year from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta airport, 1% through Jeddah Islamic Port and 6% through land crossing points.
Al-Turki said 50% of pilgrims are headed directly to Madinah and 50% are headed to Makkah and will visit Madinah after Hajj season.
He noted that the next mission will begin on Sunday. The mission focuses on traffic, to ensure the ability of pilgrims to stop and pray at Arafat on time, for pilgrims who miss the prayer time cannot continue Hajj.