Britain, Saudi Arabia target £65bn trade, investment ties

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Saudi Gazette report

LONDON
— Britain and Saudi Arabia set out an ambition to build £65 billion ($90.29 billion) of trade and investment ties in coming years, London said on Wednesday, calling the agreement a vote of confidence in the British economy ahead of Brexit.

“The meeting agreed a landmark ambition for around £65 billion of mutual trade and investment opportunities over the coming years, including direct investment in the UK and new Saudi public procurement with UK companies,” a spokeswoman from Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said in a statement.

“This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union.”

The Saudi delegation met May at her offices to launch a UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council.

The meeting set out the mutual trade and investment target, which would include direct investment in Britain and new Saudi public procurement with British companies. This would be spread across sectors including finance, education, healthcare, renewable energy and defense, May’s office said.

May and Crown Prince Muhammad met at Downing Street for talks on reforms in Saudi Arabia, trade and investment relations and defense and security cooperation.

The Crown Prince noted there were now “huge opportunities” to boost trade ties post-Brexit.

“I have no doubt that it’s a very deep relationship,” he added. “And it’s different and it’s not only about politics, or military, or intelligence, but also socially and economically.”

Following the talks, a Downing Street spokeswoman said May “welcomed recent reforms in Saudi Arabia, including on women.”

To mark the visit of the Crown Prince, the cultural attache office of the Saudi Embassy in London issued the 82nd edition of its “Culture” magazine, focusing on the significance of the visit to promote the strategic partnership in the context of the two countries’ historical relationship.

The edition was dedicated to the special coverage of the city of NEOM, which represents a turning point in the investment of technology in the Kingdom.

Crown Prince Muhammad, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Public Investment Fund, launched the project several months ago, stunning the world with his innovative ideas and thoughts to benefit from his country’s unlimited, natural geography in exploring the future.

In a preface of the edition, Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf, Saudi Ambassador to United Kingdom, said: “This is an opportunity for the leading figures in the world of business to discuss possible investment opportunities in this global economic city, which will be a destination for the global economy, citing the deep-rooted friendship between the two kingdoms.”

He added that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman is keen to facilitate the participation of United Kingdom and state-owned investment companies in the nine sectors of NEOM, recognizing that NEOM itself is a qualitative addition to historical relations between the two kingdoms. — With agencies


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