US conference focuses on KSA trade opportunities

US conference focuses on KSA trade opportunities
Updated 27 August 2016

US conference focuses on KSA trade opportunities

US conference focuses on KSA trade opportunities

JEDDAH: Americans and US businesses will play an important role in Saudi Arabia’s progress toward Vision 2030, a top Saudi envoy says.

Abdullah Al-Saud, Saudi ambassador to the United States, also said that the US business community is destined to play a major role in the future success of the Saudi economy.
He made the remarks in a keynote address delivered at the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council conference in Los Angeles titled "Localization, innovation and partnership opportunities for industrial development in Saudi Arabia."
The conference was designed to create a platform for senior business people and government representatives from both countries to review specific commercial and investment opportunities and network with potential business partners.
The program featured Davos-style panels with the US and Saudi company executives successfully engaged in the Saudi market alongside Saudi government experts from a wide variety of fields.
In his speech, Al-Saud discussed the many ways that the transformation of Saudi society is driving changes in the Saudi economy and especially the business sector.
“We have a long and trusting relationship with the United States, perhaps more so than with any other country,” the envoy said, adding that the Saudi government is instituting major reform initiatives to ensure the Kingdom develops an economy that is both diversified and sustainable as part of Vision 2030.
He detailed the numerous changes under way in Saudi Arabia, including the modernization of its cities and infrastructure, the development of the private sector, the larger role of women and young people, and the welcoming of foreign investment.
Other Saudi officials participating in the event included Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Khalid A. Al-Falih and Acting Saudi General Investment Authority Gov. Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal.
Al-Falih said Saudi Aramco shares underwriting might be issued in the beginning of 2018.
However, it has not been decided yet in which stocks the underwriting will be conducted.
Al-Falih affirmed during the US conference that Saudi Aramco is not looking for strategic partners to enrol in the underwriting and that the underwriting will be available for all investors.
This step will make the company more attractive for the international partners of Saudi Arabia and will open new markets for it thanks to Saudi Aramco’s transparency, said the minister.
“If you are enlisted, this makes you more attractive to international partners and parties because of the company’s transparency,” said the energy minister, adding that the underwriting will enable the company to access foreign projects in the future.
He declared that Saudi Arabia will focus on diversifying energy sources in the Kingdom and will add, in the coming phase, renewable energy, especially the solar one to its local projects’ package.
In a speech he delivered after the conference, Al-Falih stated that huge emphasis will be put in the future on foreign investments.
“We have started the first foreign investment with Uber, one of the biggest investments in a technology private owned company. This strategy has started to see success and up to 80 percent of the company clients in Saudi Arabia are women.”
In a related development, OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum (IEF), which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria from Sept. 26-28.
Edward Burton, USSABC president and CEO, earlier said: "For US firms, Saudi Arabia's competitive package of land, utility and infrastructure services coupled with its access to Middle Eastern, European, Asian and African markets make it a destination that any serious industry investor with long-term aspirations in the region needs to look at very closely."