Friday 12 April 2013
Last Update 12 April 2013 1:09 am
Saudi Arabia’s international trade value has grown from SR 429 billion in 2006 to SR 497 billion in 2011, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said in Paris.
“The Kingdom has achieved the top position in attracting foreign direct investments among the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region,” he said.
The minister was speaking at the first Saudi French Business Opportunities Forum in Paris.
Al-Rabia put the value of foreign direct investments (FDI) in the Kingdom at $ 17.3 billion.
The minister said he hoped that the forum would open up new horizons of business relations between the two countries.
The three-day forum will review economic, investment and trade relations between the two countries.
The topics of discussion also include cooperation between various sectors in the two countries such as finance, health, renewable energy and sustainable progress, oil and gas, petrochemicals, transport, urban development, water and electricity, agricultural industries, industrial infrastructure and many other issues.
The ministry of commerce had in the past participated in similar forums in the US, Belgium and Japan.
“This forum is one of the tools to promote trade and investment relations between the two countries,” the minister said, adding that the forum would also find an effective environment to encourage private sector to benefit from investment opportunities in both the countries.
Stressing the growing business relations between the two countries, Al-Rabiah said France occupied the eighth place in the top 10 countries that exported to the Kingdom while it is the 15th among the countries to which the Kingdom exported its goods at an estimated cost of SR44 billion in 2012.
The Kingdom has been striving to attract foreign investments to its industrial, service and other sectors by providing plenty of facilities besides making necessary changes in regulations to support the national economy. Such reforms included updating political, administrative and commercial regulations and establishing new governmental mechanisms conducive to economic progress.
Various government departments have also been launching their projects with total transparency and integrity.
French Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq, Jean Perlit, chairman of French Chamber of Commerce and Muhammad bin Ladin, chairman of the Saudi French Business Council, are attending in the event, the Saudi Press Agency reported.