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Saudi-Russia business relations get a boost

Business relations will get a further boost in Saudi-Russian Joint Committee for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation

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Saudi Arabia and Russia business relations will get a further boost as a meeting of Saudi-Russian Joint Committee for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation recommended the need to work in the fields of energy, oil and gas and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The meeting held in Moscow on Thursday, also called for expediting work to achieve consensus on the draft memorandum of understanding in the field of cooperation between agriculture ministries of the two countries.

The Kingdom’s delegation also wanted Russia to study reduction of custom tariffs on products of Saudi Sabic polypropylene and polyethylene of low and high density to the proportion of zero percent, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Friday.

The joint committee meeting held under the joint chairmanship of Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); and Alexander Novak, Russian Minister of Energy; included several topics including cooperation in the field of energy. The Russian side showed the desire of several companies to cooperate with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, to provide geophysical services, the supply, design and installation of oil and gas projects and other security technology systems, including alternative energy projects and to provide services supply of equipment and construction of oil and gas plants via turnkey system, in addition to the provision of services relating to oil and gas.

In the domain of peaceful use of nuclear energy, the two sides welcomed the cooperation agreement between the two countries signed in June this year.

The two sides showed interest in a joint deal within the framework of this agreement, in particular: Setting up a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, implementation of projects in the field of nuclear desalination technologies and cooperation in the field of radioactive technology and nuclear medicine.

The Russian side will organize a visit of a Saudi delegation to explore and get to know some Russian nuclear sectors.

With regard to the Foreign Ministry, the two sides suggested beginning of negotiations on a convention to facilitate granting of visas for investors and businessmen.

On food and medicine, the two sides discussed exporting meat, meat products, poultry meat products, sheep meat and their products, processed food and fish products to the UK.

The Russian side recommended to form a joint aluminum industry team, with participation of delegates from the competent authorities and operators in the two countries, in order to find a mechanism to work on the stability of prices in the global aluminum industry. At present, the industry is witnessing a severe crisis due to low prices and increased supply.

Later, the SAGIA governor and the Russian minister jointly opened the Saudi Russian Investment Forum. Co-organized by SAGIA in collaboration with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and the Saudi Russian Joint Council, the forum is being attended by several businessmen from the two sides.

Al-Othman said the motto of the Saudi joint committee, the business forum and the exhibition held on the sidelines is ‘Enhancing of friendship, building of partnerships and investing of opportunities’. He called the event a turning point in the history of relations between the two countries.

He said the Saudi Russian Joint Committee for cooperation in the commercial, economic, scientific and technological fields between the two countries has reached an understanding on almost all areas of discussion over the last three days.

Shedding light on the Kingdom’s economic situation, Al-Othman said the GDP of his country, also a G20 member, has doubled from $328b in 2005 to nearly $752b in 2014, scoring a record growth rate of 129 percent. He noted that the national debt has, at the same time, been reduced to less than 2 percent of the GDP in 2014, putting the Kingdom among the world’s low-rated indebted states in terms of GDP.

This article was first publish in the Saudi Gazitte on Nov. 28, 2015.