Al-Qasabi Represents Saudi Arabia at the Saudi-Singapore Business Forum, Highlighting the Kingdom's Economic Transformation in light of Vision 2030

27 Sep 2023


Dr. Majid  Al-Qasabi, the Minister of Commerce, has emphasized the transformative impact of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister. This vision has brought significant changes to the Saudi economy, making it fundamentally different from what it was just five years ago.

Speaking at the Saudi-Singapore Business Forum, which witnessed the participation of approximately 300 leaders from both the government and private sectors of both nations, Dr. Al-Qasabi underscored the strategic trade relations between Saudi Arabia and Singapore. The bilateral trade volume stands at a substantial $12 billion, presenting copious opportunities for expansion and diversification. The Kingdom aspires to become a global hub for trade and logistics services, leveraging its robust "soft and hard infrastructure" and newly established economic zones. Notably, Saudi Arabia achieved the highest GDP growth rate among all G20 countries in 2022, registering an impressive 8.7% increase with a total GDP of $1.1 trillion. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia accounted for 12% of the global trade volume in 2021, and its e-commerce market ranks 27th globally.

On the Singaporean side, Dr. Tan See Leng, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, highlighted the robust economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Singapore, featuring strong trade and investment links. The Second Minister said there has been significant progress in enhancing economic collaboration in areas such as communication and energy. He commended Saudi Vision 2030 as an inspiring initiative that offers promising prospects for Singaporean companies. The launch of the Saudi-Singapore Business Council is expected to enhance trade relations between the two nations and promote collaboration in areas such as low-carbon alternatives, digital transformation, ports, and logistics services.

Dr. Iman Al-Mutairi, Deputy Minister of Commerce and CEO of the National Competitiveness Center, provided insights into key reforms aimed at boosting Saudi Arabia's competitiveness and identified promising opportunities in vital sectors. She noted that since 2016, over 700 economic reforms have been implemented by 60 government entities across nine major areas. These areas encompass government service efficiency, the business environment, labor and investment, finance, technological innovation, transparency and accountability, healthcare, education, and sustainable development. These reforms have strengthened Saudi Arabia's competitiveness.

She pointed out that the issuance and revision of 1200 regulations and rules have played a pivotal role in establishing the business environment as a premier global destination for attracting companies and entrepreneurs.

Koh Beng Seng, CEO of the Singapore Business Federation, expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Commerce, the National Competitiveness Center, and the Council of Saudi Chambers for organizing the forum. He highlighted that the business sectors of both countries are collaborating to explore enhanced collaboration in specific areas like logistics, e-commerce, and tourism. He emphasized Saudi Arabia's role as Singapore's key trading partner in the Middle East.

He highlighted the remarkable 47% increase in the annual trade value between the two countries in 2022 compared to 2021. Singaporean companies are closely monitoring Saudi Arabia's significant growth in recent years and are eager to seize the new opportunities presented by Saudi Vision 2030. 

Waleed Al-Areinan, Secretary-General of the Council of Saudi Chambers discussed the dynamics of both the Singaporean and Saudi economies, emphasizing their role in encouraging business owners and senior officials in both nations to foster economic partnerships. Singapore's economy is highly integrated into the global economy, with a trade value nearing $1 trillion, while Saudi Arabia's economy has emerged as a regional and global economic powerhouse since joining the trillion-dollar economies club in 2022.

The forum coincided with an official visit by a high-level Saudi delegation led by the Minister of Commerce. This delegation included 36 officials from both the public and private sectors. The purpose of the visit was to enhance bilateral trade in products and services and strengthen the economic partnership between the two friendly nations. The event was organized by the National Center for Competitiveness in collaboration with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Singaporean Business Federation. Its main objectives were to introduce participants to the economic reforms in the Kingdom, which have made it easier for entrepreneurs to start and conduct economic activities, as well as to promote bilateral trade, collaboration, and partnerships in priority growth areas between the business sectors of both countries and transfer specialized knowledge in these sectors.

The forum's activities also encompassed the unveiling of the Saudi-Singapore Business Council and the signing of memorandums of understanding between various companies from both sides. Furthermore, it included the hosting of an accompanying exhibition that featured Saudi and Singaporean companies operating in the e-commerce sector.

The forum consisted of two panel discussions: one centered on "Logistics Services and Their Global Market Impact," and the other delved into "Digital Disruptions: The Impact of Information Technology, Communications, and E-commerce on Traditional Sectors." Additionally, three workshops were conducted, covering topics such as "Commencing and Engaging in Business Activities in the Kingdom," "Cutting-edge and Emerging Technologies," and the final workshop explored "E-commerce and Logistics Services."

The delegation boasts leaders from a diverse array of Saudi government agencies. This includes the Ministries of Commerce, Investment, Education, Health, and Industry & Mineral Resources, among others. Key institutions such as the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, the SME Authority "Monsha'at", and the Data & AI Authority "SDAIA", the Saudi Ports, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority are also represented. Moreover, the team encompasses representatives from the National Center for Competitiveness, the Saudi Logistics Academy, the Saudi Council of Saudi Chambers, and several national corporations.

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Last Modified 01 Oct 2023