DiplomaticQuarter: Ties between Saudi Arabia and Austria on upward trajectory

The outgoing Austrian Ambassador, Gregor W. Koessler, with the Governor of Riyadh region, Prince Faisal bin Bandar. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 January 2019
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DiplomaticQuarter: Ties between Saudi Arabia and Austria on upward trajectory

  • The annual two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna is reportedly around SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion)

RIYADH: Austria’s outgoing ambassador to Saudi Arabia called on Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar to bid farewell at the end of his tenure.
Gregor W. Koessler said issues of mutual interest were discussed and that the two top-level officials wished him success for the future.
“We reviewed the broad range of bilateral relations I was covering in my six-and-a-half years in the Kingdom,” the envoy told Arab News.
“I expressed my deep appreciation for the friendly reception in Saudi Arabia and the many friendships built on to connect our two countries even more.”
He wished King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the government and nation a prosperous and peaceful future, and every success for the Vision 2030 reform plan.
“We need to continue building bridges between our societies and making every effort for constructive dialogue.”
Koessler previously called on Austrian companies to ensure their “local presence” in the Kingdom for intensive engagement and promoting business. Saudi Arabia and Austria enjoy cordial ties. Last year, Austria 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.
The pledge came within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030, which calls for forging partnerships with foreign companies to achieve the desired objectives of the vision.
The annual two-way trade between Riyadh and Vienna is reportedly around SR1.9 billion ($0.5 billion).
Many Austrian companies have been working closely with Saudi enterprises over the past decades, either as joint ventures or in close collaboration with the Saudi side on a number of projects. As of 2018, there were reportedly 20 joint ventures operating in different sectors.
Austria has been the fastest growing European tourist destination in the Middle East. The number of guests from the Middle East to Austria has increased by 400 percent in the last 10 years.
Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, director Middle East of the Austrian National Tourist Office, said: “In 2016, Austria welcomed 105,000 guests from the Kingdom.”


High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019
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High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.