WTO commends Kingdom’s trade liberalization initiatives

WTO commends Kingdom’s trade liberalization initiatives
Updated 16 November 2014

WTO commends Kingdom’s trade liberalization initiatives

WTO commends Kingdom’s trade liberalization initiatives

World Trade Organization (WTO) in its latest report entitled “Report on G-20 trade measures (Mid-May 2014 to Mid-Oct 2014)” commends Kingdom’s initiatives to liberalize trade and commerce and also applauds the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) for playing a substantially effective role in attracting investments.
SAGIA welcomed the latest WTO report on recent trade developments, saying it reflects on their efforts to bolster ties with the investors.
Commenting on the WTO report issued here a few days ago, Ayedh Al-Otaibi, SAGIA director for investment regulations and environment, told Arab News: “The positive comments made by the WTO in the report on G-20 trade measures regarding the Kingdom’s steps to liberalize trade is a result of the collective effort by the government agencies to improve the overall health and growth of the business environment, in addition to ensuring the continuous expansion of the private sector. It indeed also reflects Saudi Arabia’s adoption of an open economy.”
Al-Otaibi added that the recent policy changes by SAGIA mentioned in the report have contributed to simplifying the process of investing in the Kingdom for more than 53 types of investments.
In addition, SAGIA launched a new service titled “fast-track,” which is dedicated to attract value added investments in specific sectors to diversify the economy, he added. “These areas of development were identified through extensive research and the fast-track service was developed in accordance with our WTO obligations,” Al-Otaibi said.
Significantly, the WTO report, which indicates the categories of companies that qualify for the fast-track service include a publicly listed company whose shares are traded on an internationally recognized stock exchange, a company that manufactures products that are certified by independent international agencies and employ certified process technology, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).
This company will be operating in the area of the IPRs registered in their names or which are classified as innovative enterprises and international companies which have set up regional centers in Saudi Arabia.
Highlighting Kingdom’s effort toward liberalizing trade, WTO in its report maintained that in June 2014, the SAGIA established a foreign investment licence fast track service.
Among the enterprises to be served through this service are multinational companies, publicly-listed companies in the capital market of their countries or in international stock exchanges, companies manufacturing products that are classified and approved by independent agencies.
These agencies employ certified process technology for small- and medium-size enterprises, which will be operating in the area of the IPRs registered in their names or which are classified as innovative enterprises.
They also include international companies which have set up regional centers in the Kingdom. Also, included are construction companies classified under the first class in their countries or which have implemented a project with a value of not less than SR500,000,000 and have a manpower of not less than 2,000 employees and total assets of not less than SR50 million.
Companies which have entered into partnership with other firms qualified by a government agency or by a state-owned entity or an entity in which the government has a shareholding or with a company listed in the Saudi capital market are also included.
However, the report maintained that overall restrictive trade measures continue to rise in G-20 economies despite the pledge to roll back new protectionist measures that may have arisen.
Given the continuing uncertainties in the global economy, the report stressed the need for other G-20 countries to show restraint in imposing new measures and to eliminate more of the existing measures.