Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links

Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links
Updated 13 September 2015

Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links

Business Opportunities Forum to promote Saudi-French links

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the 2nd Saudi-French Business Opportunities Forum in Riyadh on Oct. 12.

A high-powered French delegation represented by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Laurent Fabius, Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Ledrian and the Minister of Economy and Industry Emmanuel Macron will attend the two-day event as also representatives from over 100 companies.
French Ambassador Bertrand Besancenot stated this at a press conference here on Sunday. Also present were Saudi-French Business Council President Mohamed Bin Laden, and Phillipe Gassman and Romain Keraval, senior diplomats from the commercial section of the mission.
“This forum will be a tremendous platform to link companies of both countries. Some top statesmen and business and community leaders from both countries will spearhead the forum’s plenary sessions and workshops,” the envoy said.
The first edition of this forum was held in Paris in April 2013 and attracted more than 650 business and official participants.
In conjunction with this event, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, and Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign affairs and international development will lead the second session of the joint implementation committee on economic cooperation.
“The economic ties between the Kingdom and France have been strengthened within the recent period. The bilateral trade reached, for the first time, 10 billion euro in 2014. This figure doubled over the last five years and increased by seven percent during the last year,” Besancenot said.
According to figures from French Customs, the ambassador said, the French exports to the Kingdom amounted around 1.5 billion euros in the first half of 2015. “It shows consistency as this figure is almost equivalent as the one of the first semester of the previous year.”
He added: “Our civilian exports are therefore roughly stable around 3 billion euro in the last 12 months, while our imports reached 3.5 billion euros.”
Some 82 French companies are established in the Kingdom employing over 30,000 people with a Saudization rate of 36 percent.
French companies invested over $15 billion in various fields such as finance, petrochemical industry, energy, water, services such as distribution and hospitality.
Bin Laden said the French government has eased its visa regulations for the Saudi businessmen. “A maximum of five years Schengen visas are issued to Saudi businessmen or to period of validity of their passports,” Bin Laden said.
Some 280,000 Saudi tourists visited France last year.