JEDDAH: A delegation from the Saudi-French Business Council concluded a visit to the French cities of Paris and Lyon.
The delegation participated in the council’s 40th session, during which four commercial contracts were signed. It also visited French art companies and museums to discuss opportunities for cooperation.
The delegation met with Lyon’s Mayor Alain Galliano, who briefed it on tourism in the city and praised the opening of cinemas in the Kingdom.
Dr. Mohammed bin Laden, co-chairman of the council, said: “The economic partnership between the Kingdom and France has taken on new strategic dimensions, benefiting from the great understanding and harmony between the two countries’ leaderships in all fields, especially political ones.”
The council plays a major role in stimulating investments between the two countries, he said, adding that the French are very open to investing in the Kingdom, with their investments there totalling SR4 billion ($1,07 billion).
The growing openness of the Saudi financial market to foreign investments has become a magnet for investors from around the world, including France, he said.
The crown prince’s recent visit to France was the cornerstone of investments amounting to $18 billion, bin Laden said, adding that bilateral trade exceeds $9.22 billion.
France ranks third among countries investing in Saudi Arabia, and has 80 companies operating in the Kingdom. “We want France to become the No. 1 investor in the Kingdom,” said bin Laden.
Saudi investments in France amount to about $900 million, mostly in the real estate sector, according to French statistics.
France knows that the Kingdom is the largest Gulf and Arab economy, and that it has a huge consumer market, said bin Laden.
The Saudi-French CEO Forum in Paris in April resulted in the signing of 20 memoranda of understanding amounting to $18 billion.