US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is here leading a trade mission comprising 21 export-ready US companies in the infrastructure sector. Pritzker is currently on a three-nation tour covering the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The mission is highlighting export opportunities for US businesses in three leading industry sectors with an emphasis on project management and engineering (including construction, architecture and design), renewable energy (solar, wind, waste-to-energy), smart grid and energy efficiency, and environmental technologies (including water/wastewater; air pollution control; and waste management).
The purpose of the visit is to support the business development goals of US companies in order to establish a firm platform for future business in the Kingdom.
On Tuesday, Pritzker addressed the American and Saudi business leaders and government officials at a luncheon hosted by the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC), a strong partner to the Commerce Department’s Commercial Service in Saudi Arabia.
In support of the countries’ bilateral commercial relationship and US firms exploring business opportunities in Saudi Arabia, Pritzker will meet with several government and business leaders, including Ibrahim Al-Assaf, minister of finance, and Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry.
Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and other senior officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transportation, Riyadh Development Agency and Jeddah Metro will meet with the official delegation in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia’s current economic focus involves substantial investments in infrastructure projects, with a projected $200 billion worth of investments planned by 2020 being earmarked for physical infrastructure, representing the largest forecasted budget for any sector.
The mission will focus on encouraging US businesses to increase business interests in the infrastructure sector in order to promote US exports to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the ninth largest trading partner to the United States with bilateral trade of $74 billion in 2012 and has exhibited a 31 percent increase in the number of exports from the United States to the Kingdom in the period from 2011 to 2012.
The FY-2013 budget projected a spending level of $221 billion, the largest in the Kingdom’s history and the financial liquidity generated from oil and gas reserves have resulted in $960 billion worth of projects either planned or under way in the Kingdom. A significant $700 billion worth of these projects are reserved for mega projects, making construction, project management, architectural engineering and design, and renewable energy sectors prime opportunities for US companies to consider increasing their investment.
The United States is the largest trading partner for Saudi Arabia, being the first export partner to generate an export value to the Kingdom of SR208 billion, constituting 14.3 percent of total Saudi exports in 2012.
The United States is the largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia, representing 17 percent of the Kingdom’s $16.4 billion FDI.
With the upcoming Infrastructure Business Development Mission, the visiting US delegation of government and business officials will explore ways to enhance trade investment relations with Saudi Arabia in order to benefit from Kingdom’s trade volume of $544 billion as well as its strategic accessibility to 148 international markets.
Keen focus will be placed on investment in infrastructure projects, in particular within the housing and transportation sectors. Other main topics that will be addressed include the changes that have been made over the past year to the registration process for international firms, as well as the priority sectors that SAGIA is currently concentrating on attracting FDI that aids in job creation and knowledge transfer.