28 January 2020 – The Saudi-French Business Forum was held at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers, in the presence of His Excellency the Governor of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, of the Ambassador of the Republic of France in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of the Secretary-General of MEDEF International, and a number of government officials and Saudi and French business owners.
The CAFS was represented by its Chairman, Dr. Mohamed Ben Laden.
The most important points that were discussed and raised during the conference were:
- His Excellency the Governor of the General Authority for Foreign Trade Abdul Rahman bin Ahmed Al-Harbi stressed the development witnessed by the Saudi-French economic relations, which made France the ninth trading partner of the Kingdom, with a trade exchange volume of 10.4 billion dollars in 2018.
- The volume of French investments in the Kingdom increased by 140% for the year 2019 AD compared to 2018, to reach $23.8 billion and the number of 259 projects, which made France the third place among the countries investing in capital in the Kingdom.
- Emphasizing the reforms undertaken by the Kingdom to improve the business environment, which made it ranked first in the world among the most improved economies in the ease of doing business reforms according to the World Bank report for the year 2020.
- Emphasis on the development and modernization of many systems such as the franchise system and the e-commerce system, in addition to the Kingdom’s progress in the “starting a business” index, where 103 salaries jumped from 141 to rank 38 thanks to the efforts of reforms and improvement of the business environment and the unification of the efforts of government agencies and partnership with The private sector and international partners, as well as empowering Saudi women in all fields.
- Emphasizing that the new and promising investment sectors in the Kingdom such as chemicals, tourism, entertainment, communications, e-commerce, privatization and mining,
- The forum’s contribution to creating more opportunities for trade and investment partnerships, localization of industry, and knowledge transfer to meet the aspirations of the two countries.
- The Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Dr. Sami bin Abdullah Al-Obaidi, expressed his aspiration that the forum would contribute to creating more strategic partnerships in the economic sectors enjoyed by countries such as industry, renewable energy, health, tourism, and agriculture, praising the role of the Saudi-French Business Council in supporting economic relations between the two countries. the two countries.
- The head of the Saudi side in the Saudi-French Business Council, Dr. Muhammad bin Laden, confirmed that the visit of the French trade delegation to the Kingdom comes at a time when it is witnessing major economic and social transformations thanks to Vision 2030, on which the Kingdom is betting on completely reforming its economic model, as it works to double its economic position and wealth. Through economic diversification, reducing dependence on oil, strengthening its position as a global logistics center linking three continents, and paying attention to artificial intelligence, the tourism sector and increasing cultural and social openness.
- Emphasizing that the great opportunities available to French companies in the projects of Vision 2030 and under stimulating investment laws, in sectors such as technological innovation, aviation, transportation, environment, energy efficiency, health, agriculture and food.
- Frederique Sanchez, head of the French Federation of Employers and Head of the French side in the Joint Business Council, confirmed that the French trade delegation includes 60 companies working in various economic sectors, the most important of which are finance, construction, infrastructure, consultancy, transportation, hotels and events, and it seeks to transfer its expertise and capabilities to the Saudi market, in line with With the directions of Vision 2030.
- Emphasizing that the French Employers Association (MEDEF), which constitutes about 75% of French companies in all sectors, is working to promote long-term and sustainable partnerships with its counterparts in the Kingdom in partnership with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Saudi-French Business Council.
- Emphasizing that the aim of this meeting is to enhance France’s participation with its great expertise in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which is a model for efforts to diversify the economy, especially in the areas of local content, job creation and training for Saudi youth.
- He affirmed their desire to work with the Saudi private sector to build and enhance its capabilities to contribute effectively to economic development, noting that the forum discusses the main issues that affect companies such as local content and the Kingdom’s position as a global logistics center and industrial zones.
- The Ambassador of the Republic of France to the Kingdom, Francois Gouyette, affirmed that business leaders in France are looking forward, with their Saudi partners, to contribute to the economic development of the Kingdom and to transfer their expertise in the fields of technology, innovation and training, pointing to the economic and social changes that the Kingdom is witnessing with Vision 2030, and economic reforms aimed at improving the business environment, which It made French investors double their investments as a result of the ease and speed of the procedures.
- Two workshops were held after the end of the general economic session of the Saudi-French Forum, where the first was entitled: (The Kingdom is an International Logistics Center), and the second was entitled: (Industrial Localization).
- The French business delegation also visited His Excellency the President of the Public Investment Fund and were briefed on the programs offered by the Fund and its investment projects.
- A tour of the historic Diriyah and Turaif area was also arranged for the French delegation, where they learned about the cultural and civilizational depth of the region.
- The French delegation also met with His Excellency the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. 18. The visit of the French delegation to the province of Al-Ula and to see the heritage monuments (Madain Saleh) and a meeting with the CEO of the Royal Commission for the province of Al-Ula, and to see the investment opportunities in the region.