The second annual meeting of the Saudi-U.S. Business Council was inaugurated today in the presence of Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, Minister of Industry and Electricity Dr. Hashim Al-Yamani, and Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Hamad Al-Sayyari. Head of the Saudi side Abdul Aziz Al-Qureishi underscored the importance of creating a suitable environment for joint investment, pointing out that cooperation between the two sides will yield positive results.
Mr. Al-Naimi highlighted the existing cooperation between the Kingdom and the U.S., particularly in the field of oil production and downstream industries, with the ARAMCO company standing as symbol of this cooperation. He noted that Saudi Arabia has been adopting a balanced oil policy and said: “Petroleum will remain the strategic commodity of the world", adding that joint investments are available in the Kingdom in the area of mining and of downstream industry.
Dr. Al-Yamani highlighted the efforts being exerted by the Ministry of Industry and Electricity to support the Kingdom’s industrial sector, saying that there were investment opportunities available in the field of petrochemicals in particular.
Mr. Al-Sayyari, Governor of SAMA, briefed the meeting on the Kingdom’s monetary policy and reiterated that the Saudi Riyal is strong and stable. He reported that the banking sector is developing steadily and is proving to be profitable, adding that the number of bank branches in the Kingdom now exceeds 1,200. Mr. Al-Sayyari also shed light on the activities of the credit institutions and their role in extending loans.
In a statement distributed to the meeting, Minister of Commerce Dr. Osama Faqih reported that the Saudi market constitutes one of the best in the Middle East for American products, noting that the value of U.S. exports to the Kingdom exceeded $ 6 billion in 1994, greater than the total value of U.S. exports to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Dr. Faqih called on American investors to get acquainted with the realities of the Saudi market, saying that Saudi Arabia is determined to adhere to a wise and rational financial policy.
Peripheral to the meeting is an industrial exposition with 19 Saudi and American industrial companies participating. The inaugural session was attended by U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom Mr. Raymond Mabus.