God’s peace and blessings be upon you.
It is a pleasure to meet with you in the wake of a period that has witnessed tumultuous events and great changes in every part of the world. I am pleased to convey to you my opinion that we have overcome – with the help of God Almighty – the suffocating days and challenges, and are now at a hopeful point in time in confronting terrorism and defeating extremists, God willing, and enhancing development. This phase also holds promise for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue, which will help stem the deterioration our region has suffered in the past.
We have been able to introduce, over the past few years, long-term structural reforms, and I would like to briefly mention some of them. For example, the introduction of a tax law characterized by clarity and flexibility; the organization of the Capital Markets in a manner that corresponds to the setups of the world’s largest markets; the acceleration of privatization and the floatation of shares of public and semi-public companies through public offerings of shares; the removal of obstacles to foreign investment; and the promotion of tourism. In addition, we are also reviewing, in a comprehensive manner, our judicial system and laws with the aim of introducing more transparency and efficiency in dealing with legal cases.
All of these initiatives have created a new environment that welcomes investments and investors. And I wish to take this opportunity to encourage you to invest in the large Saudi market, with its great prospects and opportunities.
The Saudi-American partnership is a unique success story. It began with our cooperation with American companies in the exploration, production, refining and distribution of petroleum, and developed into fruitful cooperation in building the largest petrochemical industry in the region.
Because of the great importance we attach to the stability of the world energy markets, and the contribution of these markets to world economic growth, it is my pleasure to call for the convening of an international energy conference in Riyadh in the fourth quarter of this year, in which producers and consumers can discuss – with depth and transparency – the issues at hand.
You should continue to cooperate with us in the fields of minerals and gas, which open up vast areas for investment. The opportunities are great, and success is virtually assured -- with the help of God – whether the investment is a direct one, or a Saudi-American joint venture.
The strong political ties which bind the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be accompanied by strong economic ties between the two countries. I regard your organization as one of the best channels for building economic bridges between our two countries and their private sector organizations.
In conclusion, I thank H.E. Abdulaziz Al-Quraishi for his kind speech, and wish you continued success, along with the hope that our successful partnership will continue to carry with it prosperity for our two friendly people.
May God’s peace and blessings be upon you.