US-Saudi Arabia business relationship moves beyond ‘guns for oil’

US-Saudi Arabia business relationship moves beyond ‘guns for oil’
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz meets with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 14, 1945. (SPA)
Updated 20 March 2018

US-Saudi Arabia business relationship moves beyond ‘guns for oil’

US-Saudi Arabia business relationship moves beyond ‘guns for oil’

DUBAI: Nothing fundamental has changed since the very first meeting between a king of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz bin Saud, and an American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the spring of 1945 on board the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Then, according to historians of the meeting, the key themes were: Security and oil. The two men found common interests in their desire to fix regional borders in the wake of World War II (though they differed significantly over the issue of Palestine) and both wanted to guarantee markets for crude oil.
But the business of America is business, and the political relationship that was struck that day cemented an already existing commercial relationship in the oil fields. Since then, US-Saudi business relations have gone from strength to strength, even in such difficult times as the oil “spikes” of the 1970s and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US.
Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer-winning author of the “The Prize,” told Arab News: “This is a partnership that goes way back. It is striking that the crown prince will be coming to the United States on the 80th anniversary of the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia by American geologists.”
The relationship has broadened significantly from the simple “guns for oil” formula of the past. Now, US companies play a major role in the overall economic development of the Kingdom, from infrastructure and industry, through finance and investment, to health and entertainment.
Even in the early days, US companies saw the opportunities that came with the opening up of the Kingdom, with big corporations such as engineering group Bechtel following the oil companies’ lead to build roads and other essential infrastructure.
Ellen Wald, American Saudi expert and author, describes in her forthcoming book “Saudi, Inc.” how Bechtel moved from laying oil pipelines to building royal palaces, highways, schools, power plans, hospitals and hotels. “It saw the Saudi public works campaign as a sure source of profit,” she wrote.
Many US businessmen have spoken about the big transformation going on in the Kingdom under the Vision 2030 strategy in much the same way — as a gigantic and potentially very profitable program of public works.
An overview of mutual business reveals the scale and the depth of US-Saudi business links, and also underlines the fact that it is a two-way street.
Figures from the Washington DC-based US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) showed total bilateral trade at $35.2 billion, with the Kingdom holding a slight balance advantage from its $18.9 billion of exports. Saudi Arabia is in the top 20 US trade partners, while America is the second biggest partner for merchandise into the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is the second biggest source of imported oil into the US and the third biggest source of international students in the US educational system.
Saudi Arabia — private sector and government — is estimated to have more than $1 trillion invested in the US, including a big holding of US Treasury bills.
There are some eye-watering investments within those overall figures. Saudi Aramco’s Motiva Enterprises is the largest oil refinery in the US, based in the oil state of Texas, which will also be home to a $3.9 billion petrochemicals plant joint-venture led by Exxon Mobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
The pace of investment has increased in recent years. The Saudi sovereign investor Public Investment Fund (PIF) has put $3.5 billion into high-tech mobility company Uber, while PIF has teamed up with Blackstone in a $40 billion program of infrastructure investment.
The flow is far from one-way. Chemicals giant Dow is the largest foreign investor in the Kingdom, thanks to its $20 billion joint venture with Aramco in the Sadara petrochemicals plant. GE, the engineering conglomerate, has pledged billions of investment in power and energy in Saudi Arabia as part of its long-running business partnership. Exxon Mobil continues to be a major investor in Saudi energy.
And, of course, there is the defense industry. Saudi Arabia is America’s biggest customer for military sales, with all the big US defense manufacturers working as suppliers at all levels of the security business.
At the Riyadh summit last year, President Trump was able to announce $110 billion of defense deals with Saudi Arabia, including deals with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon. Analysts expect those transactions to be taken to the next level during the royal visit to the US.
The USSABC estimates that the total amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the US to Saudi Arabia amounts to $9.83 billion — the highest of any foreign country into the Kingdom — while $12.3 billion went in the opposite direction, supporting 10,600 American jobs in affiliates of Saudi-owned firms.
There was much speculation after last year’s anti-corruption drive in the Kingdom that foreign firms might hold back on FDI, but so far there have been no reports of US firms canceling any FDI projects. The USSABC declined to comment on the effects of the anti-corruption campaign.


Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 369,613
  • A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced four deaths from COVID-19 and 375 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 162 were recorded in Riyadh, 66 in Makkah, 61 in the Eastern Province, 24 in the Northern Borders region, 14 in Madinah, 11 in Asir, six in Hail, two in Najran and two in Jazan.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 369,613 after 336 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
Updated 04 March 2021

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
  • The coalition is taking all precautions to protect civilians as the Houthi militia continue targeting them

DUBAI: The Arab coalition has intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan in southwest Saudi Arabia, state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported.
The coalition is taking all precautions to protect civilian as the Houthi militia continue targeting them, the report added.
On Wednesday, the Arab coalition said it intercepted and destroyed a drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward southern Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“Joint coalition forces managed to intercept and destroy a booby-trapped drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in a systematic and deliberate manner to target civilians and civilian objects in the city of Khamis Mushait,” spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.


Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan
Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

AL-MAHRA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) launched the second phase of the winter clothes project in Yemen’s Al-Mahrah governorate on Wednesday. The aid, which included winter clothing, has benefited 700 people so far.
Local Council Secretary-General Abdullah Neimer praised the role of Saudi Arabia represented by KSrelief for its efforts and interventions in various sectors.
In Yemen also, KSrelief distributed more than 76,184 tons of foodstuffs for those in need in the rural areas of Hadibu, the capital of the Socotra archipelago province.
Meanwhile in Jordan, KSrelief clinics continued providing medical services in the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees. More than 400 patients with various conditions were provided with medical services and prescriptions at different clinics.


DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards
Updated 04 March 2021

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

The British Embassy and British Council in Saudi Arabia have announced the nine finalists for the “Study UK Alumni Awards 2021 in Saudi Arabia.”
The finalists were selected from about 1,300 applicants for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their contributions to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia, a statement by the embassy said.
The three award winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by the British ambassador later this year.
The Study UK Alumni Awards were established in 2014 and celebrate the achievements of those who graduated from UK-based higher education institutions and went on to make outstanding contributions in various fields.
Neil Crompton, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “I am delighted to announce the finalists for the Study UK Alumni Awards 2021. This award celebrates the achievements of outstanding Saudi women and men who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. As strategic partners for Vision 2030, we are proud of their achievements and contribution to their country. My congratulations to all our finalists and I look forward to meeting them at the award ceremony.”
Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director said: “The Study UK Alumni Awards provide a platform for recognizing and celebrating the success of Saudi alumni of UK universities. Their achievements are wide-ranging and inspirational, and directly contribute to the Vision 2030 goals and aspirations. The prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of UK alumni all over the world. Now in its seventh year, international UK alumni applied from over 100 countries, representing almost 150 UK higher education institutions across the UK.”
The finalists of the “Professional Achievement Award,” which recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, are: Dr. Taghred Al-Ghaith, Dr. Roua Al-Subki, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Shammari.
The finalists of the “Social Impact Award,” which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, are: Mashni Al-Saeed, Abdulmohsen Al-Dayel, and Dr. Bandar Al-Osaimi.
The finalists of the “Entrepreneurial Award,” which highlights alumni who have played a leading role in innovation, are: Dr. Wail Mousa, Arwa Al-Ammari, and Hattan Ahmed.
The Study UK Awards ceremonies are held in 13 countries including the US, China, Pakistan and Egypt.
 


Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims
Updated 04 March 2021

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

RIYADH: The Sri Lankan government has agreed to the request of the Muslim World League (MWL) — in accordance with Islamic procedures — to stop cremating the bodies of Muslims who have died of COVID-19.
The news came in a phone call to Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, MWL secretary-general, from Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena.
During the call, Gunawardena told Al-Issa that the Sri Lankan government had agreed to the MWL’s request. Gunawardena said that this served to strengthen the close relationship between the MWL, which is a global reference for Muslim nations, and the Sri Lankan government.
Al-Issa thanked Sri Lanka for approving the MWL’s request to stop the cremation of the bodies of Muslims and instead allow their burial.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision.
The OIC said that it had on several occasions during the pandemic called on Sri Lankan authorities to refrain from cremating Muslims and to give them an Islamic burial.
 

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
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