THE Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) hosted in Riyadh, Dr. Catherine Raines on Wednesday, the UK government’s top official for the promotion of trade and investment for high level talks designed to further build upon the already strong ties between Saudi Arabia and the UK.
Dr. Raines leads International Trade and Investment within the Department for International Trade, the UK government’s global organization that delivers advice, support, advocacy and promotion to facilitate British trade and investment worldwide.
The two-hour session in Riyadh followed a visit by Ibrahim Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, to the UK in June that included a meeting with Dr. Raines. The reciprocal visit by Dr. Raines so soon after, demonstrates the strength and importance of the long-standing relationship between the two countries.
Both countries are currently undergoing a transformational period for a better future. Vision 2030 is driving forward a range of ambitious reforms to diversify the Saudi economy, while the UK is planning for a post Brexit future by seizing the global opportunities open to it once it has left the European Union.
The session provided an opportunity to focus on the developments under way already across a range of sectors where significant investment opportunities are being uncovered. Participants also discussed the ongoing efforts to improve the Saudi investment environment, aimed towards making it easier to do business in the Kingdom.
Speaking about the session, Al-Omar said: “We are honored by Dr. Catherine Raines’ visit to SAGIA which demonstrates clearly the strong friendship between our two nations.
“The discussions we had today will bring closer collaboration between the UK Department for International Trade and SAGIA moving forward, that will enable us to advance a strong bilateral commercial agenda that will — in turn — enhance mutually beneficial British-Saudi relations.”
“My aim is for SAGIA to work even closer with British companies and the British government as partners, advocates, and a source of information for the many opportunities that exist currently in Saudi Arabia, and the future opportunities that Vision 2030 is creating,” he added.
Dr. Raines said: “My visit to SAGIA focused on identifying key areas for cooperation between DIT and SAGIA. We discussed forging working level relationships that deliver business and investment opportunities for British business and support Vision 2030 by those businesses developing skills and technology to leave a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia.”
“We look forward to grow our trade cooperation and thus our wider economies. Closer ties will help support each countries target in sustainable economic growth and helping create jobs,” she added.
Building closer cooperation between SAGIA and the Department for International Trade will benefit the already robust trade and economical ties between the two nations, which will benefit both the Saudi and UK prosperity.
Saudi Arabia is currently the United Kingdom’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with exports of British goods standing at £4.67 billion and services at £1.9 billion in 2015. UK companies export over £30 billion worth of goods and services to the GCC nations every year, which is more than to China, and almost twice the value of their exports to India. — SG