Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment highlights Spain as a gateway to Europe and Latin America

by lincolnbrumbaugh

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, has pointed to the “impressive” growth of Spanish GDP in the last two years as a “country at the forefront of Europe”. “Saudi companies see Spain as a gateway to Europe and Latin America,” said Khalid Al-Falih during the Spain-Saudi Arabia business meeting, held at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain and organized together with the Secretary of State for Trade through ICEX Spain Export and Investment and CEOE, on the occasion of his visit to Spain.

The Saudi Minister of Investment, has highlighted the role of his country as a “platform” to the Middle East for Spanish companies, stressing that “more than 200 Spanish companies do business in Saudi Arabia”. Khalid Al-Falih also recalled that Spanish companies have already won more than 70 billion in contracts in Saudi Arabia, but the “potential is to grow more” in number of contracts, as well as in exports. “Saudi Arabia is open to business and investment, it is willing to welcome companies and facilitate joint trade or investment contracts,” he assured.

For his part, the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet, highlighted the “fundamental role” that Spanish companies “have played and can continue to play” in the diversification of the Saudi productive system and in its competitiveness. “Saudi Arabia is embarked on an ambitious process of economic transformation that consolidates it as a reference and power at regional and global level”. The president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce also pointed out the objectives set out in the Vision 2030 Plan, and the existence of a favorable regulatory and incentive framework for private investments, as well as a public investment agenda in infrastructure and services. “From the Spanish Chambers and Business Organizations, we want to join this commitment and continue to support the work of the Spanish-Saudi Business Council and the dialogue with both governments, redoubling our commitment to the public-private partnership that we defend and represent,” concluded Bonet.

The vice-president of CEOE, Julián Núñez, also stressed that Saudi Arabia is a very attractive market, as it has abundant resources, an ambitious state infrastructure program and, above all, a policy of economic and business diversification, with a great interest in the expansion of the private sector. He also congratulated the Saudi government on its ambitious Vision 2030 Plan, which will diversify and modernize the Saudi economy by developing public services, infrastructure, opening up to tourism and promoting the entertainment industry.

On the other hand, he stressed that the opening of Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world is creating a unique investment environment and emphasized, in this sense, the importance of public-private collaboration when carrying out new projects in the country, and thus facilitating their start-up and execution.

Finally, he pointed out the world leadership of Spanish infrastructure companies and the importance of the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in their business figures, which show an enormous potential in the country.

Alicia Varela, Director General for International Trade and Investment, agreed that “Saudi Arabia is our main trading partner in the Middle East: the region’s main supplier and client”, and once again pointed out that the Vision 2030 Plan strategy for diversifying the Saudi economy offers enormous opportunities for Spanish companies.

During the meeting, which was attended by 200 Spanish and Saudi companies, convened to strengthen trade ties and the flow of investment between the two countries, several round tables were held to discuss the business climate in Saudi Arabia, the keys to the establishment of companies and success stories of Spanish companies with a presence in the country.

The day concluded with informative sessions for specific sectors:

Architecture/Construction/Engineering; Waste and Water Management; Renewable Energies; and Agriculture and Food Processing.

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