U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum opens in Chicago

April 28, 2010

The U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum, a two-day event organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the U.S. Saudi Arabian Business Council and a number of notable figures from the Saudi and American business communities, opened today in Chicago. Representatives from the Kingdom are on hand to present a diverse selection of investment opportunities to the American audience.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of the energy relationship between the Kingdom and the United States. The gathering is also being attended by Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Alireza and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, “The Saudi-U.S. relationship has grown and deepened over the past seven decades,” said Saudi Ambassador Al-Jubeir. “This conference will highlight the opportunities available to citizens of both countries as a result of the strong economic ties between them.”

The forum, which will include the signing of five main agreements and a number of sub-agreements, will focus on the small to intermediate-scale sectors, technology transfers, and the exchange of job opportunities, says a report published today by the Saudi Gazette.

According to Omar Bahalwa of the Committee for International Trade at the Council of Saudi Chambers, the first day of the gathering will focus on the stability of the Saudi economy, infrastructure opportunities, education, industry, and financial issues, while on the second day workshops will be held exploring commercial investment opportunities in the Kingdom. Discussions will center on energy, petrochemicals, electricity, water, infrastructure, knowledge, financial markets, trade and investment, and agriculture. “The Kingdom will present to Americans at the forum investments in a wide range of fields, worth around a trillion Saudi Riyals,” Bahalwa said.

Abdulrahman Al-Juraisi, the Council’s Vice Chairman, noted that the U.S. was “one of the Kingdom’s most important trade partners.” He added, “The business sectors in both countries have a significant role in boosting economic relations.”

Trade between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. stood at SR193.3 billion [$51.54 billion] in 2008, and direct U.S. exports to the Kingdom are projected to rise to SR 63 billion [$16.8 billion] in 2010.