Saudi Arabia seeks SR 650 bn in foreign investment

Apr 17, 2005 02:00 AM

Saudi Arabia is seeking foreign investments worth SR 650 bn ($ 173.33 bn) in vital projects including petrochemicals, power generation and water desalination.
Commerce and Industry Minister Dr Hashim Yamani said a Saudi delegation would present the investment projects to American businessmen during its upcoming visit to the United States. The minister said the Saudi delegation would visit five US states to introduce investment opportunities.

A Saudi business delegation, which recently visited China to take part in a business conference, invited Chinese businessmen to invest in the projects. Abdullah Al-Mubti, head of the delegation and chairman of the Abha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the Arab-China Business Conference in Beijing was successful as it helped strengthen mutual confidence. He said the organizers have agreed to hold the second conference in an Arab country. More than 200 Arab businessmen took part in the conference.
He said Saudi-Chinese trade exchange grew from $ 300 mm in the beginning to $ 10 bn (SR 37.5 bn) last year. He called for similar meetings with the participation of Saudi and Chinese businessmen to boost relations. There are joint economic interests, Al-Mubti said, adding that both sides required investments.

Talaat ibn Dhafer, director general of the Arab Organization for Industrial and Mining Development, spoke on Arab strategy for industrial development for the next 10 years, adding that it has been approved by the Algiers summit.
"The strategy aims at achieving at least 7 % growth rate and make the contribution of downstream industries to gross domestic product to 20 %," he added. The strategy also aims to enhance inter-Arab trade to reach at least 15 % of the total trade as well as to increase Arab investments to 12 % of the total Arab foreign investment and promote Arab industrial exports to 45 %.

Dhafer hoped that Chinese businessmen could contribute to strategic industrial development projects in Arab countries.
"We also wanted to expand Arab-Chinese partnership in productive, service and development projects," he said and called for joint centres for research and development. China's trade with Arab states is expected to triple in the next five years as the world's seventh largest economy expands and its appetite for crude oil and petrochemical products grows.
"Trade between China and Arab countries was $ 36.7 bn last year, and we expect the volume to reach $ 100 bn in five years' time," said Commerce Minister Bo Xilali.

China's long-term demand for crude oil and petrochemical products from the region would continue, Bo said while Chinese exports of products like textiles and machinery are "proving quite popular because of good quality and reasonable prices." Bo also told the Arab-China conference that China encouraged Chinese investment in the region and welcomed investors from Arab states.
Last year, Chinese investment in Arab states was $ 5 bn, while Arab investment in China hit $ 700 mm, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.

Source: PetroEnergy Information Network
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