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Eye of Riyadh
Business & Money | Tuesday 18 June, 2019 5:00 am |
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Saudi, Japan sign strategic pacts to boost development

Several agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed by the Saudi and Japanese sides during the third ministerial level meeting and the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum held on Monday in the Japanese capital Tokyo. More than 20 Saudi government and private departments and agencies met with their Japanese counterparts during the meetings.

The Saudi delegation, headed by Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, is comprised of Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Authority for Investment (SAGIA) Ibrahim Al-Omar and other senior officials. They were received by Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato.

Addressing the meeting, Al-Tuwaijri said: “We are meeting today with the participation of the private sector institutions in both countries and we are witnessing the signing of important memoranda of understanding, as a clear proof of the strategic partnership emanating from the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030. The private sector is the cornerstone of this partnership and the main engine of sustainable economic cooperation between the two countries,” he said while noting that the private sector is also heavily involved in economic efficiency, achieving benefits for strategic partners and contributing to sustainable development besides raising the level of well-being of the citizen and prosperity of the homeland.

Referring to the signing of major pacts, the minister said: “We are witnessing today the signing of several memoranda of understanding between the various entities in Saudi Arabia and Japan. The signatories of these memoranda represent various economic institutions, from financial firms, as well as centers for academic research, industrial development, the latest robotics and information security technologies,” he said, adding the partnership between the two countries is very promising, and the fruits of these agreements will emerge in the coming years.

Al-Tuwaijri announced plan to open the Saudi- Japanese Vision Office in Tokyo. “We are proud today to announce that we will move ahead with our plan to open the Vision 2030 Office in Tokyo to complement joint efforts and coordinate existing Japanese-Saudi Vision entities to pursue initiatives more effectively and faster.” He affirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to the Saudi-Japanese Vision, supporting the private sector to achieve continuous progress and more strategic partnerships to further strengthen the strategic partnership in the political and economic fields.

The Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum was co-organized by SAGIA and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). The activities brought together more than 300 economists, to highlight promising investment opportunities in multiple strategic sectors in the Kingdom, including energy, infrastructure, logistics and entertainment, as well as key reforms underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the Forum, Al-Tuwaijri said the forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to activate private sector involvement by partnering with relevant public sector entities and establishing joint ventures across both countries. He pointed out that involving the private sector is a key step towards achieving our shared vision, and driver of sustainable, market-based economic cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Japan.

For his part, SAGIA Governor Al-Omar said that Japan is one of the most important economic partners of Saudi Arabia, pointing out that holding the forum affirms the depth of the partnership between the two countries in the light of the economic reforms witnessed by the Kingdom in accordance with the Saudi Vision 2030 aimed at achieving an attractive investment environment.

He added that SAGIA has been working on creating an attractive and favorable business environment, making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom, affirming that the continued prosperity of the Kingdom depends on fostering innovation, attracting foreign investment and enabling private sector growth to create jobs and opportunities for Saudi men and women. Al-Omar concluded his speech by welcoming the Japanese companies as they take part in the historic transformation of the Saudi economy.

President of JETRO Yasushi Akahoshi said that the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced, as under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between the two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 projects, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders. He said that today marks the introduction of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, which is the next step of this important initiative.

Akahoshi added that they are encouraged that the partnership will create valuable business opportunities for both Saudi and Japanese companies.

Japan is Saudi Arabia’s second largest source of foreign capital and third-largest trading partner, with a total trade exceeding $39 billion. Since launching the Saudi Vision 2030 in April 2016, the Kingdom has delivered 45 percent of over 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders. As a result, the Kingdom is climbing international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings and investors are increasingly growing, with FDI inflows skyrocketing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering the Kingdom rose 70 percent year-on-year in Q1 2019.

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