The 50-member Saudi trade mission that has been touring the United States to promote U.S. investment in the Kingdom concluded its five-city tour in San Francisco on Wednesday. The tour began in New York on May 8, and continued to Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago.
Secretary-General of the Committee for the Development of International Trade at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Omar Bahlaiwa, commented that the response was good, and that there will be many more such trips. As a direct result of the tour, a delegation from Houston and another from the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce are planning visits to the Kingdom. “Communication between America and Saudi Arabia”, he said, “is a must. We must understand and respect each other's cultures and opinions. …… The best road to build up bridges is business."
New investments in Saudi Arabia could create around 500,000 jobs annually. There are $623 billion in investment opportunities through 2020 in the oil and gas industries as well as the sectors of electricity generation, water desalination, and telecommunications. The United States is the Kingdom's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2004 was $26 billion, and there are currently over 360 joint U.S.-Saudi projects in the Kingdom.