2007 News Story

Kingdom opens more economic sectors for foreign investments

Supreme Economic Council (SEC) yesterday issued a revised the list of economic sectors in which foreign investment will not be allowed to invest, Arab News reported today. 

SEC has removed insurance services, wholesale and retail trade, air and train transport, and communication services from negative list of investment.

“The SEC has revised the list of economic sectors in which foreign investment will not be allowed, thus allowing foreigners to invest in new areas,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Tuwaijeri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Economic Council told Arab News.

Dr. Al-Tuwaijeri said the SEC opened new economic sectors for foreign investment in line with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s reforms aimed at strengthening the economy, attracting more foreign investment and enhancing private sector participation.

The negative list of investment was also revised to comply with Saudi Arabia’s commitments under the regulations and conditions of the World Trade Organization.

The new list excluded distribution services, wholesale and retail trade, including medical retail services, and private pharmacies (CPC 631+632+6111+6113+6121.)

Tuwaijeri said commercial agencies, except franchise rights (CPC 8929) are now open for foreign investment.

Other sectors open to foreign investment, Al-Tuwaijeri said, are: distribution of cinema films and video cassettes (CPC 96113), transportation of passengers inside cities by train, air transportation services and satellite transmission services.

Saudi Arabia continues to ban foreign investment in sectors such as oil exploration, drilling and production. But the services related to the mining sector (CPC 5115+883) have been excluded.

Dr. Al-Tuwaijeri said restrictions on real estate investment in Makkah and Madinah would continue without change. The same is the case for tourist orientation and guidance services related to Haj and Umrah.

Other sectors still on the negative list of investment include recruitment and employment services; real estate brokerage; audiovisual and media services; land transport except transportation by train within cities; services rendered by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedics (CPC 93191); fisheries; and blood banks, poison centers and quarantines.