The Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) hosted a roundtable meeting between Saudi and Japanese businesspeople with the aim of increasing investment cooperation between the two countries to reach a strategic partnership that is based on mutual interests.
Chairperson of the Saudi side of the Saudi-Japanese Business Council, Tariq Al Qahtani, started the meeting by noting the distinguished relations joining the two countries, which were translated into reality, especially on the economic front, as Japan is Saudi Arabia’s second largest trade partner, with trade estimated at USD 57 billion in 2013. Al Qahtani added that Japan has always been of interest to the Kingdom as a key player in world economy, just as Japan acknowledges the Kingdom’s position in world economy, as well as its economic and political role in the Middle East.
Al Qahtani stated that the meeting comes as part of the efforts to enhance the standing – and solid – Saudi-Japanese relations, and shed light on the importance of increasing investment cooperation between the two countries to reach a strategic partnership that is based on mutual respect and interests. In addition to setting mechanisms that maximize benefits of the signed agreements between the two countries, especially the three initiatives signed with the Japanese side in Tokyo last year, with attendance and supervision of then-Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. Al Qahtani expressed hope for the aforementioned initiatives to incentivize cooperation in transferring technology to training programs, exchanging SMEs expertise, joint ventures, integrated industries based on advanced technologies and local content, comparative advantages that maximize value added to natural resources, and benefiting from Japan’s collective experience in implementing large joint enterprises that benefit both countries.
For his part, Executive Vice President of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) assured that Saud-Japanese relations are growing steadily as they are based on mutual respect, adding that Saudi Arabia is a significant trade partner to Japan as its leading oil exporter, whereas Japan is one of largest exporters of different products to the Kingdom – an indication of solid and prosperous bilateral relations. He described the Saudi Vision 2030 as a national transformation strategy for the 21st century which aligns with Japan’s prospects to finance industries and develop enterprises as it possesses the expertise in this area, besides its interest to grow and expand its abroad investments. He expects for the upcoming period to see more partnerships between Saudi and Japanese firms in different vital sectors.
The meeting included a presentation which shed light on Saudi economy developments following the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030 and its accompanying programs which aim at achieving diversification and sustainable economic development. In addition to increasing the private sector’s GDP contribution from 40 per cent to 65 per cent; creating a solid system for SMEs to increase their GDP contribution from 20 per cent to 35 per cent; and increasing foreign direct investments’ GDP contribution from 3.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent. Likewise, the Japanese side presented highlights of Japan’s economic revival and performance.
It is worth noting that the Saudi market recently allowed 100 per cent foreign ownership as a serious step towards attracting more investments