Browsing articles from "July, 2015"

NZ Prime Minister Historical Visit to the Kingdom

Jul 3, 2015   //   by admin   //   English, SA News  //  No Comments

 

 

On the eve of a historic state visit to Saudi Arabia, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has described his trip, the first by any New Zealand head of state, as “well and truly overdue.”

Speaking exclusively to Al Arabiya News, Key – who is currently in Dubai and has inaugurated his country’s new Consulate General – described Saudi Arabia as a “very important country.”

Answering a question regarding the reasons behind New Zealand’s absence from Saudi Arabia in the past, Key said that this was a result of a diplomatic legacy, though noted his previously scheduled trip in 2010 had to be cancelled due to a military plane crash.

“In a lot of ways maybe it’s been that New Zealand had historically focused on more traditional markets and for a very long time, up until pre-1970s, virtually all New Zealand products were sold to the United Kingdom.”

Recently, New Zealand has developed strong trade relations with neighbouring Asia, but the GCC now represents the country’s fifth biggest trade market.

“I think the need for a visit probably wasn’t as big a priority for previous prime ministers as it is for me. We historically wanted to come sometime earlier but it has just taken some time to re-arrange this visit after we had to cancel…so look it’s well and truly overdue but it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity.”

One important item on Key’s agenda was attempting to push through a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Saudis.

“We are trying to complete the Gulf States-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. We’ve really got to the point in 2009 where the deal was largely complete but required ratifications that have taken some time.”

Key said other countries had been in a similar situation, such as Singapore which implemented an agreement last year.

“Our understanding is we’re the next potential country to come out of the blocks and to have a deal completed, so we are hopeful we’ll be able to make some progress on that front.”

New Zealand-Saudi Arabia trade is worth about U.S. $1.2 billion annually, with two-thirds of that being New Zealand imports of chiefly hydrocarbons. Eighty per cent of Saudi Arabia’s imports from New Zealand comprise the country’s well-renowned meat and dairy products.

New Zealand exports to the GCC have grown about 10 per cent year-on-year over the past decade, underscoring the region’s significance to the small Antipodean country of four million.

Among all GCC nations, the Saudi market is of particular significance to New Zealand.

“Saudi is a significant player here in the Gulf, clearly one of the richest of all the nations in the world but also the home of a lot of potentially significant consumers for New Zealand products. We already sell to the wider Gulf region more goods and services than to the United Kingdom, so that gives you a sense of how big the market already is and I think there is a lot more potential.”

Key, who was re-elected in a landslide victory for a third term last year, also promised to spend an increasing amount of time in the region.

“It’s my intention to try and built deeper markets around the Gulf States once the FTA is concluded and that means spending more time in the region… It is quite clear that we haven’t spent enough time in the region and I expect to come back and spend more time here.”

While the talks will seemingly largely be focused on trade, Key has earlier said he would also discuss “the complex security issues facing the Middle East.”

Share

Saudi Ambassador meets NSW Trade Minister

Jul 3, 2015   //   by admin   //   English, SA News  //  No Comments

The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Australia and New Zealand His Excellency Nabil Al Saleh met with the Hon. Stuart Laurence Ayres, MP Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, and Minister for Sport  in the state of New South Wales to discuss ways of enhancing economic trade relations between the two countries.

Minister Ayres noted the significant amount of investment opportunities offered by Saudi investors and Australian companies in their respective countries.

Minister Ayres also praised the overall economic renaissance witnessed by the Kingdom in the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, “

The state of New South Wales and its capital, Sydney is one of the largest and most productive Australian states on economic growth and tourism levels. It currently holds approximately 20% of the entire population of Australia at about 4.8 million people.

Share

AACI Luncheon held in honour of Saudi Ambassador and Saudi Member of Shura Council

Jul 3, 2015   //   by admin   //   English, SA News  //  No Comments

A Luncheon was hosted at the Four Seasons Sydney for the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia for Australia and New Zealand, H E Nabil Al-Saleh and the  Saudi Member of the Shura  Council, Usamah Al-Kurdi, by the AACCI NSW Chair, Mohamed Hage. He briefly spoke at the event, which spoke about high level engagement opportunities between the two countries. The event was also  attended by the Member of Banks, The Hon David Coleman MP and 24AACCl’s handpicked guest, to ensure a  conversation that was candid and informed.

The Hon Mr Al-Kurdi is the President of Alagat, a business-consulting firm based in Riyadh and a member of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura). He serves as a Board Member of Saudi Arabian Airlines and an Executive Committee member of the National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. As part of the Shura Council, he is a Member of the Economic and Energy Affairs Committee and the Chairman of the Saudi-American Friendship Committee.

From 1990-2001, Mr Al-Kurdi served as Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers of  Commerce, as well as Vice President of Saudi Consulting House, a forerunner of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

As Saudi Arabia becomes increasingly influential and accessible, the opportunities for Australian companies to enter the  market are opening up.  Saudi Arabia continues to cement itself as a global and diversified market.

Share

Investment Opportunities Conference in Toowoomba

Jul 3, 2015   //   by admin   //   English, SA News  //  No Comments

Saudi Ambassador to Australia Mr. Nabil Al Saleh opened the “Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, Conference on Thursday June 4, 2015 held in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

The event was organised by Australian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with  the Toowoomba “Sirat Bison” Business Group. The conference was attended by more than 150 people, including senior businessmen and investors in the oil and mining, agriculture, education, legal, technological and service fields in Australia.

In his speech the Ambassador thanked the organisers for hosting the event and enlightened the atendees as to the current development and expansion of Saudi Arabia and its resources.

“The Kingdom is now the 19th largest economy in the world, the single largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa region with a GDP worth 752 billion dollars and representing 25% of the entire MENA economic output.

“It is now recognised as the third fastest economy in the world with an annual average growth of 5 % over the past decade. Only preceded by China and India.

And in recognition of the Kingdom’s growth and stability, Fitch Ratings agency upgraded Saudi Arabia to “AA” demonstrating the Kingdom’s financial stability and high credit quality. Ranking Saudi Arabia 7th within the G20.

“Reflecting on this, it is apparent that over the course of the last eight decades, the Kingdom has modernised at a rapid pace and has succeeded in becoming one of the top-ranking economies in the world within a very short period.”

The Ambassador also discussed with attendees the booming investment opportunities emerging in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“We have been blessed by natural resources with proven

¼ of the world’s oil reserve and a current output of just over 10 million barrels per day.

“We have the 4th largest gas reserve in the world. As well as a richness in a wide array of minerals.

“Furthermore, we are committed to increasing our production capacity of Petrochemicals to reach 100 million metric tons per annum by 2015.

“This, in turn, would make the Kingdom the third largest global exporter of petrochemicals.

The Ambassador closed his speech by inviting investors to establish business projects in Saudi Arabia and enlightened them as to the mutual benefits such projects would achieve.

“For a very young country, its transformation has been astonishing. But all of you in this room are an important part of this. You create jobs. You take the risks to create the opportunities and better the future of yourselves and both of our countries.

“With this in mind, and the economic progress achieved in the Kingdom thus far.

“It is worth noting that the Kingdom continues to foster a progressive investment environment.

“Some worth noting elements of our laws include: That Foreign investors can have 100 % ownership of their projects

“We have a robust investment legal system; We have a low cost financing system;

“Foreign investors are eligible to apply for loans from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund. These are interest- free loans up to 50% of project capital or up to $160 million USD.”

Share