2004 News Story

Kingdom and WTO hold another round of talks

Saudi Arabia and the World Trade Organization (WTO) held an important round of negotiations in Geneva on February 24 and 25. Heading the negotiating team was Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Hashim Yamani, and attending, among others, were Minister of State and Cabinet Member Abdullah Zainal Ali Ridha and the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the WTO Dr. Abdulwahab bin Abdulsalam Attar. In his speech today, Dr. Yamani cited the Kingdom’s tremendous achievements in the areas of economic reform, restructure of government agencies, and issuance of a number of regulations of relevance to WTO agreements, such as those protecting intellectual property rights, licensing imports, and evaluating customs tariffs. He added that Saudi Arabia has set up an economic climate conducive to investment through such measures as the establishment of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the introduction of regulations reducing taxes on the profits of foreign companies from 45 to 20 percent. He commented that the steps towards the Kingdom’s accession to the WTO are almost complete, indicating that bilateral agreements on market access in the sectors of commodities and services have been signed with thirty members of the organization, and negotiations with another five are in advanced stages.