2003 News Story

Commerce Minister affirms economic reform at UNIDO conference

Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Hashim Yamani, in his address yesterday to the 10th International Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) currently in progress in Vienna, Austria, affirmed the progress made by Saudi Arabia in its program of economic reform. The Kingdom, he said, has made great efforts to enhance its industrial development in particular, with the private sector playing a major role. The reform efforts are reflected in the foreign investment and taxation systems, and in such moves as foreign ownership of real estate, as well as bodies such as the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

As a step towards accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Kingdom recently concluded an agreement with the European Union that gives Saudi goods and services access to European markets. A similar agreement with the United States is sought. Dr. Yamani added that small and medium enterprises are promoted by Saudi authorities, noting their role in creating job opportunities for the national workforce as well as expanding the country’s economic base.

Meanwhile, Minister of Petroleum and Minerals Ali Al-Naimi, who is in Vienna for the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), today reaffirmed that OPEC would act to keep the oil market stable, commenting that OPEC would not alter its desired price range of U.S.$22 to $28 per barrel and declaring: "There's absolutely no shortage in the market.”