Transformation and Celebrates 85 Years of Strategic Partnership

07 Mar 2016
Taking place on the 22nd and 23rd of March

Volume of Bilateral Trade between the Two Countries Worth 
SAR 247,190 Billion in 2014

RIYADH, March 2016 – In conjunction with the 85th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States comes the fourth edition of the Saudi-US Business Opportunities Forum, with the attendance and patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Commerce and Industry,  Dr. Tawfik Al Rabea. The forum is set to take place on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2016 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.

The event, which is organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the US-Saudi Business Council, will witness participation and attendance from leading decision makers and officials from both countries. 

Mr. Turki Bin Abdullah Al Toaimi, Advisor and Director General for Marketing and Communication at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the fourth Saudi-US forum, commented on the occasion, stating, “The Forum will include the showcasing of promising business opportunities provided by the Kingdom in various sectors, and we are keen on strengthening these relations and taking them to further horizons in order to contribute to securing the appropriate environment for the flourishing of trade, business and joint ventures, which in turn will prove to be beneficial to the welfare the people of Saudi Arabia and the US.”

Al Toaimi explained that the number of Saudi-US projects and mixed operations within the Kingdom reached around 609 companies in 2015, including 155 industrial companies, 454 service companies (non-industrial), leading to a total capital investment of SAR 73,615 million, which amounted to an SAR 32,136 million share for the Saudi side and an SAR 39,099 million share for the US side.

US-Saudi relations are considered one of the most powerful and long lasting political and business alliances worldwide, as it traces back to the era of the American ‘Standard Oil Company of California’ in the Kingdom in 1933, laid down by the founder of Saudi Arabia King Abdul Aziz Al Saud – may God have mercy on his soul - after his meeting with the late US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945.

The first visit to Washington by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – may God grant him his protection - since assuming the country’s leadership, is an emphasis of the strong ties bringing together the Kingdom and the US, which has long reflected the massive trade partnership between both countries, which surpassed SAR 247,190 billion in 2014.  This comes with the Kingdom’s exports of crude oil and its products, fertilizers (urea), including aqueous solutions and the substance ethylene gelecon (ethan Deol), in addition to a variety of products including pipes, tubes manufactured from rust-resistant steel, and aromatic products, while the US exports cars, planes and their accompanying products.

From his side, Mr. Joseph Westphal, the US Ambassador in the Kingdom, stated, “The “New Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century” between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States comprises a shared vision of how to move our bilateral relationship to a much deeper level, and to build alliances and areas of opportunity to bring Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation to fruition.”

Westphal added, “The United States is eager to share its experiences in economic development, particularly the significant impacts of women in the workforce and the important role of education and technology, with Saudi Arabia. The transformation of the Kingdom’s economy is a win-win situation for the people of Saudi Arabia as well as its closest partner—the United States of America.”  The latter points to Westfall’s conviction that the Kingdom’s qualitative transformation comes in favor of both the Saudi and American people simultaneously.

The previous year recorded successes that exceeded expectations, with the conclusion of around 18 agreements involving a number of industries, the most notable of which included the energy, mining, health and investment private sectors. The signed agreements coincided with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz – may God grant him His protection - in opening retail and wholesale activities with 100% ownership by foreign companies and their products, as per the regulations and conditions to be drawn up by the relevant parties. This comes with the consideration that the retail sector in the Kingdom represents one of the largest in the Arab world, especially with its consistent annual growth of 8%, powerfully driven by the purchasing power of local consumers as a result of the continuing rise in the number of consumers of various categories in the Saudi market.

It should be noted that non-oil exports to the US have in turn recorded an annual increase of 25.02% from 2010 to 2014, whereas the total of these exports fell by 3.04% from 2013 and 2014. The data on total non-oil exports showed major differences that can possibly affect a number of factors related to small production sectors.

In the same context, organic chemicals and fertilizers are found to represent Saudi Arabia’s largest non-oil exports, where these two industries represent 51% of the total non-oil exports, which results in their playing a role in the international price index. These industries in the Kingdom are closely linked to the oil and feedstock derived from natural gas sectors.

The cooperation extends to the technical sectors, which are considered to be some of the important areas between the Kingdom and the US, since the US is one of the most important sources of knowledge and technology flow to the Kingdom. In the technical cooperation agreement signed in 1975, it was agreed within the framework to add 38 programs, including the provision of technical experts and training of Saudi calibers, while the country’s government funds all the agreed upon programs.

In ratification of the achievements that occurred due to US-Saudi relations, there have been demands to form a committee including a number of ministries, such as the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in order to study the dissemination of this experience to include other countries such as Russia, China, Germany and Japan. The committee concluded to the recommendation of the importance of US-Saudi relations, as well as expanding to take advantage of the experiences of other significant countries, such as Britain, France and Brazil.

The inspiration from this important direction is currently attracting American companies to work in the Kingdom, which comes in line with the outstanding efforts exerted by the country’s embassy in Washington to organize visits for politicians, congressmen and American thought leaders to the Kingdom, with the objective of observing Saudi Arabia’s progress, visiting the Kingdom’s officials, as well as visiting the most important landmarks in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Last Modified 25 Dec 2018