ECONOMY

Saudi, U.S. to deepen ties with giant new investment, partnership plan

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman seen shaking hands with U.S. President Barack Obama during the recent Washington visit (Photo courtesy of al-Riyadh)

Saudi Arabia on Friday unveiled a giant raft of investment and partnership potential opportunities in sectors including oil and gas, civil infrastructure, and banking as part of a 21st century vision of the cooperation between the two long-term allies, sources told Al Arabiya News on Saturday.

The vision was presented by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman, who also heads the kingdom’s economic and development council.

The list of proposals includes the kingdom’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco rolling out new projects in refining, distribution and support over a five-year period.

Mining was also mentioned as a “promising” sector, with plans to work with U.S. companies to extract vast deposits of phosphate, bauxite and silica.

In the healthcare sector, Saudi authorities seeking to double the clinical capacity in the next five years are slated to work with U.S. health insurers to set in place a new national program.

Foreign direct investment - which so far has been a rarity in the kingdom - is also mentioned as being among the plans, with major U.S. retailers expected to be invited to set up shop.

Lucrative market

U.S. banks and finance firms are also to be invited to enter Saudi, with retail and commercial institutions mentioned by sources. American lenders are also suggested to tap in to the kingdom’s lucrative mortgage market.

With the Saudi government ramping up investment in free zones, roads, and communication networks, the kingdom will soon “aim to employ and rely completely on U.S. construction companies,” sources told Al Arabiya News.

The proposals were based on studies conducted by leading business and technology consultants, including Booz Allen Hamilton and BCG.

On Friday, during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Washington, the king told reporters that his country must allow more opportunities for U.S. and the kingdom to do business.

The news comes a day after a high-profile U.S.-Saudi Investment Forum was held in Washington on the sidelines of King Salman’s visit to the United States, which is his first since ascending to the throne in January this year.

 

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Last Update: Monday, 7 September 2015 KSA 16:45 - GMT 13:45
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Saudi, U.S. to deepen ties with giant new investment, partnership plan
Foreign direct investment - which so far has been a rarity in the kingdom - is also mentioned as being among the plans
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