Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz gave an address at a reception in Dallas, Texas, last night given by the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council. He began by declaring that terrorism is retreating and extremists being defeated, and expressed the hope for settlement of the Palestinian problem. He then gave an overview of the Kingdom’s economic reforms, including its revised taxation system, its policy of privatization, and its encouragement of foreign investment. Turning to oil, he called for the convening of an energy forum in Riyadh this fall.
The Council’s Saudi Chairman Abdulaziz Al-Qureishi spoke of the Crown Prince’s concern for good economic relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States, and noted that the Kingdom, which has, moreover, a well-developed banking system, has long adopted a policy of free enterprise and an open economy where capital can be moved easily and without restriction. He pointed out that the volume of trade exchange between the Kingdom and the United States jumped from only U.S.$0.16 billion in 1970 to $26 billion in 2004. The United States is the Kingdom's biggest partner in foreign trade, and the largest investor in the Kingdom. There are about 360 joint Saudi-U.S. companies with an invested capital of over $20 billion. The Kingdom's policy of diversifying its economic base, lessening dependence on oil revenues, and privatizing the service sector, will, he said, make investment in the country more profitable.