RIYADH: World trade experts are gathering in Riyadh for a major conference as the coronavirus crisis casts a shadow over global commerce.
The Asia House Trade Dialogue takes place on Tuesday in the Saudi Arabian capital, with thought leaders and policymakers taking part in the first such event to be staged in the Kingdom. Around 200 delegates are expected to attend the one-day forum.
Leading thinkers will share their insights on global trade, women’s growing role in business, and the energy industry moving toward renewable technologies. There will also be a live link with a Beijing-based expert on Chinese business to discuss the economic effects of the virus.
Asia House is a London-based consultancy which is headed by the former British trade minister and chairman of the HSBC banking group, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint. He said: “With Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 this year, we believe it is an important time to bring our trade dialogue to Riyadh to explore the economic shifts taking place in the region and beyond.”
The event is sponsored by the Saudi British Bank, whose chair Lubna Olayan will deliver the keynote speech.
She said: “Trade has historically always been important to the development of the Kingdom, and that is equally true today as the Far East and the Middle East are once again becoming increasingly connected, and we begin a year in which Saudi Arabia leads the G20, with deliberations around trade and investment being a major focus of the B20 (the business arm of G20 summit of world leaders). It is truly an exciting time, so we are pleased to be jointly hosting this important event to explore opportunities for enhancing and facilitating growing trade links between the Far East and the Middle East.”
The conference will be opened by Ibrahim Al-Omar, the governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the body which promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. Arab News is the strategic media partner for the event.
Lord Green said: “The Middle East remains an extremely important region for global trade, especially as the Gulf broadens its relationships with Asian markets. Just last year, more than 1,000 international companies set up new operations in Saudi Arabia, highlighting business interest in the Kingdom.”
Victor Gao, who is vice president of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, will answer questions via web link about the impact of coronavirus on the Chinese economy.
Saudi Arabia launched its G20 presidency last December with a declaration of its program, which seeks to support innovation, achieve prosperity, empower people and preserve the planet, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.
King Salman hailed the G20 presidency as proof of the country’s key role in the global economy.