Saudi officials, business leaders gather in LA to promote partnership

Khalid Al-Falih
Khalid Al-Falih

Khalid Al-Falih

Saudi Arabia is actively seeking partnerships with foreign firms to raise the competitiveness and productivity across an array of industries, including downstream petrochemicals, mining and mineral resources, and local manufacturing.

The Kingdom’s ambitious plans were detailed in the recently released National Transformation Program 2020 and will yield significant opportunities for US businesses.

On Aug. 25, the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) is hosting a conference and luncheon program titled “Localization, Innovation, and Partnership Opportunities for Industrial Development in Saudi Arabia” at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

The event will introduce product manufacturers and service providers to opportunities for sales, technical tie-ups, joint venture and investment in Saudi Arabia’s expanding industrial and manufacturing base.

The conference will feature Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih.

Prince Abdullah bin Faisal, Saudi ambassador to the US; Prince Saud bin Khalid, acting governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Prince Turki bin Saud, president, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST); Alaa Nassif, CEO, Royal Commission at Yanbu; Khalid Al-Mudaifer, president and CEO, Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden); and Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, executive vice president, Polymers, SABIC.

The program will also bring together senior leaders from the US-based corporations such as The Dow Chemical Company, General Electric Company, Fluor Corporation, Jacobs Engineering, and ExxonMobil, among others.

Saudi Arabia is currently investing heavily in its industrial infrastructure and seeking to diversify its economic base away from heavy dependence on crude oil sales.

The downstream industry is a key part of the Kingdom’s plans to attract international investors and grow existing companies to create jobs and diversify the Saudi economy.

Areas of focus for future investment include specialty chemicals, plastics, elastomers, automotive, and fast moving consumer products.

Despite challenges posed by the fall of oil prices in 2014-2016, the downstream petrochemicals and plastics industry continues to attract investment. For example, Sadara Chemical Company, a $19.3 billion joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical, is the world’s largest petrochemicals complex ever built in a single phase.

Development of the mining industry is also a strategic objective of the National Transformation Program 2020; the sector has grown significantly with Maaden reporting total investment of $26.8 billion.

Saudi Arabia has commercially significant reserves of gold, bauxite, phosphate, and at least 15 industrial minerals that are assessed as being economically feasible for extraction.

The Kingdom’s growing construction industry is driving demand for Saudi iron, limestone, feldspar, silica, gypsum, and marble for use as building materials.

The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) has leveraged this demand through major partnerships with foreign companies such as Alcoa ($10.8 billion integrated aluminum project) and Barrick Gold Corporation (copper mine joint venture).

Edward Burton, USSABC president and CEO, said: “For firms from the United States, Saudi Arabia’s competitive package of land, utility and infrastructure services coupled with its access to Middle Eastern, European, Asian and African markets make it a destination that any serious industry investor with long-term aspirations in the region needs to look at very closely.”

The conference is designed to create a platform for senior business people and government representatives from both countries to review specific commercial and investment opportunities and network with potential business partners.

The program will feature Davos-style panels with company executives from both the United States and Saudi Arabia successfully engaged in the Saudi market alongside Saudi government experts from a wide variety of fields.


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