1999 News Story

Joint press conference with visiting U.S. Commerce Secretary

Minister of Commerce Osama Bin Jaafar Faqih held a press conference today with U.S.

Secretary of Commerce William Daley, who during his current visit to Saudi Arabia has been

received by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz and held talks with

a number of officials.

In response to a question on U.S. participation in the process of privatization in the

Kingdom, Secretary Daley said this is a decision for the Saudi government, adding that the

most important aspect of privatization is to attract investors. Referring to the process of

joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), he said that the United States was supportive

of Saudi Arabia's membership, and hoped that negotiations would soon be finalized. Dr.

Faqih remarked that last year's Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had assigned

the GCC commerce ministers to study the question of treating oil like any other commodity

for the purposes of applying for WTO membership, and went on to disclose that new

regulations and investment laws would be announced in the coming months, designed to

attract foreign capital.