Saudi-U.S. Business Opportunities Forum in Riyadh Strengthens Historic Decades-Long Partnership

Both nations look forward to an even more productive economic and commercial relationship

RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, March 27, 2016 /CNW/ - At the conclusion of the Fourth Saudi-U.S. Business Opportunities Forum, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America underscored the profound importance of business-to-business linkages, the essential role of government-to-government collaboration in strengthening our bilateral economic and commercial relationship, and the depth of our historic decades-long partnership as the basis for shaping our future partnership.

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The Fourth Saudi-U.S. Business Opportunities Forum has established that the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Partnership for the Twenty-First Century, proposed by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, to the United States in September 2015, will serve as a primary platform upon which to build a new and even more productive economic and commercial relationship between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The participants in the forum acknowledge a new paradigm of Saudi-U.S. business cooperation based on enhancing integration of Saudi inputs into the global supply chain and training and employment of Saudi citizens by American companies conducting business in the Kingdom. Furthermore, the U.S. Government will endeavor to organize events and create opportunities to cooperate with American firms on specific needs and priorities established in the Kingdom's ambitious economic transformation program.

Specific sectors proposed for cooperation include:  

Education: The United States will continue to work with Saudi Arabia to identify ongoing educational and training needs, requirements and priorities in order to prepare Saudi youth for high-quality employment. A U.S. vocational training event is being planned to take place in Dhahran in the fall of 2016 to help identify avenues to support critical technical training for Saudi nationals.

Healthcare: In a direct response to the Saudi Government's call to attract more private sector involvement to accelerate the modernization of Saudi Arabia's healthcare system, the United States is organizing a U.S. Health IT, Health Technologies, and Training Trade Mission to Riyadh and Jeddah in April 2016, with representatives of world-leading U.S. hospitals and companies, to support achievement of Saudi Arabia's healthcare objectives.

Energy: In a direct response to Saudi Arabia's challenging task of expanding and modernizing its power generation and distribution systems, improving energy efficiency, and introducing alternative and renewable sources of energy into Saudi Arabia's energy mix, the United States affirms its intention to organize a U.S. Power technologies delegation to Saudi Arabia in March 2017.  

Mining: The mining sector will play an important role in diversifying the Kingdom's economy. To support Saudi Arabia's goal, the United States intends to organize a Saudi delegation of public and private sector leaders in the field of mining to MinExpo in September 2016 to establish relationships with leading U.S. mining technologies companies.

Tourism: The United States intends to collaborate closely with Saudi Arabia to develop a vibrant tourism sector by offering "lessons learned" from the U.S. tourism sector, and introducing key tourism companies and industry associations to Saudi counterparts.  

Infrastructure: As Saudi Arabia's core infrastructure adapts to the new industries, new transportation requirements, and new overall IT needs, including smart cities, to support development of a diversified, knowledge-based economy in accordance with the Kingdom's transformation program, the United States intends to share best practices and introduce leading American infrastructure solution providers.  

Furthermore, the Fourth Saudi-U.S. Business Opportunities Forum emphasized the importance of U.S. private investment in Saudi Arabia and Saudi investment in the United States as critical elements in creating new employment opportunities, strengthening business ties, and supporting economic growth in both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. To this end, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and the Select USA Program intend to exchange best practices and lessons learned.

The forum adopted a number of initiatives towards a more strategic Saudi-US partnership, including:

1. Encourage initiatives towards the localizing of consumables and spare parts in the railway industry in addition to the operating and maintenance of rail and public transport businesses, in light of the strategic plan prepared by the Saudi government, which includes linking different regions of the Kingdom with a network of railway lines, road and bridges by enabling American investors in this area and in collaboration with the Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

2. Establish an electronic portal works as a road map for commercial as well as industrial opportunities available in the two countries, with the provision of providing all the information and statistics data on the performance of the main economic sectors. The Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the two countries are welcomed for the implementation of such electronic portal.

3. Encourage mergers and strategic alliances and acquisitions practices between different-sized companies in both countries, in order to gain competitive advantages. The Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA) as well as The Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the two countries are enablers and facilitators for implementation of such important initiative.

4. Establish a facilitation office aimed to ease the administrative and governmental procedures for businesses and industries conducted by businessmen/businesswomen and investors in both countries. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in both countries are encouraged to establish such a facilitation office.

5. Encourage Higher Educational Grants as well as Scientific Research Cooperative Programs between the two countries.

6. Establish a common E-libraries' network for the exchange of knowledge and science and research in all areas of vital life. Universities and research institutions in both countries are welcomed for the activation of such important initiative.

7. Applying advanced technology in the medical field including the VAST communication systems and robotic surgery. The health providers, both governmental and private sectors, are the main utilizers of such technologies. The Ministry of Health and the Saudi Health Council could play a coordinating role in the cooperation process. American specialized institutions are welcomed for the implementation of this initiative.

8. Creating a unified electronic data base for medical files for patients in Saudi Arabia. Such a role should be administered by the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia. The American institutions are welcomed for the execution of this initiative.

9. Creating an e-Health (tele-health Initiative) to provide medical and social services to the needy people, including providing health awareness to the public in Saudi Arabia. The American institutions are welcomed for the implementation of this initiative.

10. To activate embassies roles in both countries through commercial attaches, especially in regards to investment and commercial opportunities in both countries and facilitate interactions and contracting.

SOURCE Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Saudi Arabia

For further information: Farah Ibrahim, Tel: +971-4-3672530, TRACCS 24/7 Media Hotline: +97150-9448389

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