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Saudi Arabia, Iraq work on data center, annual economic forum to promote trade

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Iraq have established a data center for all the opportunities, solutions and decisions that serve the business community between the two countries, Mohammed Al-Khorayef said at Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum in Riyadh.

Al-Khorayef, who heads Saudi-Iraqi Business Council at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said that both countries are working on establishing an annual economic forum to promote bilateral trade and investment.

“Small investors are ignorant of the opportunities that exist in both countries, and the possibility of developing relations between the two countries at its best,” Majed Al-Qasabi, Saudi Minister of Commerce said at the forum.

The volume of trade exchange between the Kingdom and Iraq grew 15 percent in 2020 to reach SR3.4 billion ($1 billion), Ajlan Al-Ajlan, President of the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce said in the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum.

Several meetings were held in the Saudi-Iraqi Business Council with the official authorities, and many initiatives were launched in pursuit of the desired goals in promoting investment and trade exchange between the two countries.

The initiatives included the inventory of pivotal studies according to the priority and strategic map in the two countries and the Saudi initiative to encourage and guarantee investment.

The two countries are seeking to allow the entry of Saudi and Iraqi trucks into the two countries, as this procedure will be a major factor in activating the direct export to Iraq through the new Arar point of entry, which will help in the development of Saudi and Iraqi exports.

“I’m sure that communication and cooperation between us will yield great benefits, as our goals and aspirations are not difficult to achieve, as both Saudi Arabia and Iraq have what they can offer to the other side,”  said Al-Khorayef.

Al-Khorayef added: “The next stage requires that business owners and their institutions have the largest role in achieving the economic vision of the two countries.”

“The eight joint committees between the two countries are working on a number of important and strategic files such as electrical interconnection, promoting investment in the fields of oil, gas, petrochemicals, and agriculture, and developing the establishment of smart industrial cities,” General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers in Iraq, Hamid Naeem Al-Ghazi said.

Al-Ghazi added that: “The three pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 are rightly a starting point for building, cooperation and a long-term strategic partnership between the two countries, and the initiative of His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, regarding the green Middle East in protecting the land and nature has important common implications.”

The head of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council on Sunday stressed the importance of relations and common interests between Riyadh and Baghdad, especially in the commercial and investment fields.

Abdulrahman bin Ahmed Al-Harbi, who is also the governor of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, said that “the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, attaches great importance to relations with Iraq and the establishment of the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council is meant to strengthen the historical relations between the two countries in all fields.”

The secretary-general was speaking a day ahead of the Kingdom hosting the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum and Council in Riyadh, a statement issued by Saudi Press Agency said.

Al-Harbi said that hosting the forum and the council was also in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its role in making the most of economic opportunities and the rapid transformation taking place in the country.

Al-Harbi said that trade relations between the two countries had reached unprecedented levels, with the volume of trade exchange from 2016 to 2021 amounting to nearly SR20 billion ($5.3 billion).

He added that the Saudi-Iraqi Business Forum and the Saudi-Iraqi Business Council were expected to sign a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between the Saudi and Iraqi private sectors.

Source: Arab News, January 24. 2022


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