UK-Saudi council discusses enhanced investment, trade

Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, center, with British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. (SPA)
Updated 08 July 2019

UK-Saudi council discusses enhanced investment, trade

  • The statement said the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries exceeds $5 billion per year

JEDDAH: The UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council held the first meeting of its Economic and Social Committee on Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton Jeddah hotel. The meeting was attended by Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

A joint statement was issued at the end of the meeting emphasizing the UK’s continued commitment to supporting the implementation of Vision 2030, the Saudi program for economic diversity and social development.

The statement acknowledged the significant economic progress achieved since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, and that both countries have worked to support the development of the skills and competencies of Saudi citizens.

The statement stressed that the two countries are key strategic partners in Vision 2030, and both countries reaffirmed their commitment to building and developing trade and investment as well as achieving shared prosperity for the citizens of both kingdoms.

The statement said the UK’s appointment of Sir Ken Costa as the special envoy to Vision 2030, and Sir Anthony Seldon as the special envoy for education to the reform plan, reinforces the importance the UK attaches to the development of bilateral ties.

The goal is to support bridges of communication between the peoples of the two countries and provide opportunities for closer economic and social cooperation.

The statement stressed the commitment of Saudi Arabia and the UK to a long-term partnership to support the implementation of Vision 2030 in the areas identified as part of the strategic partnership. This comprises the assessment of joint investment opportunities, including the UK Public Investment Fund (PIF), bilateral trade and investment that achieves Vision 2030.

The statement said the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries exceeds $5 billion per year. 

The meeting discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including the promotion of mutual exports and the attraction of direct domestic investments.

Saudi priority sectors for investment were discussed, and further work will identify additional areas for new strategic investment partnerships. The two sides also discussed investment permits given to British companies, which are estimated to invest more than $10 billion in capital.

The committee discussed the work of the private sector groups established in March 2018 to facilitate business-to-business relations, which contribute to the achievement of Vision 2030. The groups will meet in Riyadh and London at the end of this year to continue their work. The two sides expressed their appreciation for the high-level business leaders heading these groups.

The meeting reviewed the direct and indirect investment of the PIF in infrastructure, technology and logistics. The PIF will continue to work with the Department for International Trade to identify the strategic investment partners and the most important investment opportunities. The increase in the PIF’s participation will contribute to the advancement of opportunities in this field.


Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

Updated 44 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

  • Saudi Green Building Forum attended conference at UN headquarters
  • SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices

JEDDAH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF) has shown that its mission aligns with the UN Commission for Social Development. 

A SGBF delegation attended the 58th session of the commission at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday.

The SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices.

“The SGBF supports the integration of affordable housing within urban developments, architectural design and use of materials that support occupants’ wellbeing, and minimizing construction waste through efficient methods,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, SGBF chair representative to the UN.

Al-Fadl told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is addressing key messages on clean energy and is focusing on a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive circular economy and building systems addressing these core issues.

“The Kingdom is complying with the principle of sustainability and is helping to advance the resilience of our cities.”

The UN Commission for Social Development’s role is to monitor national and global socioeconomic trends, identify emerging issues and assess their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.

The session reviewed some of the social challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on issues relevant to the three core social development goals identified at the World Summit for Social Development. 

The goals are eradicating poverty, promoting productive employment and decent work and promoting social inclusion.

The SGBF’s mission focuses on the resilience of city development practices within affordable housing developments to minimize negative impacts on the planet and citizens.

The forum addressed the practices of green systems and sustainable development in the Arab world. It said it will continue to work with the commission to support new resolutions on social and development issues, including the first-ever text on homelessness to be approved by a UN intergovernmental body.