Saudi crucial for geopolitical influence as well as trade, says Lord Mandelson

UK businesses should consider the geopolitical advantages of pursuing projects in Saudi Arabia, rather than just the immediate return on investment, Lord Mandelson has advised.
The geography of the state, which borders Egypt and has strong links to Asia via the Arabian Sea, made it a highly significant economic link to other regions, said the former secretary of state as he addressed senior business leaders at the Saudi-UK CEO forum in London today. 
The oil-rich nation was a vital ­“staging post between East and West” and a “jumping off point into Africa,” he said. Such points of strategic ­significance had been high on the agenda for EU economic policy during Lord Mandelson’s time working as an EU trade commissioner, and should also form an important part of ­developing the UK’s trade strategy, he added.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and trade minister Baroness Fairhead said it was a crucial time for the relationship between the two nations as the UK looked towards developing an independent trade policy, once it left the EU, and Saudi Arabia looked to reduce its economic dependence on oil.
The kingdom was already the UK’s third fastest-growing export market, Ms Fairhead noted.
Saudi crucial for geopolitical influence as well as trade, says Lord Mandelson

British Trade Minister Liam Fox 

Healthcare and education were ­sectors that offered particular opportunities for UK business expertise, ­according to Ken Costa, UK special representative to Saudi Arabia. The UK’s world-class higher education ­institutions were an obvious offering for building partnerships with Saudi Arabia, a bid to harness its ­“human capital” advantage compared to other nations.
The nation’s youthful make-up – those 25 years old and under make up more than 50pc of the Saudi population  had made education a particularly important area for Saudi economic planning. The UK already had an educational business foothold in the country and should look to expand it, officials noted.
Furthering ties with other countries and transforming its economy ­required the kingdom to make more areas of its economy open to businesses and privatisation in general, however, Lord Mandelson urged the need to ensure that the process of economic had business, and the private sector, “at its heart”.
Brexit Britain trade deals in GDP
“Prestige, projects and appearances … will not deliver the deep change that comes with enterprise and entrepreneurship,” he said. That will come with “careful alignment, openness and transparency on both sides” in any future deals, he added.
Other significant areas for economic development that were highlighted ­included desalination and agricultural technologies, and chemical engineering. Efforts to broaden the range and slow environmental impact of products derived from oil was a key focus, according to Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. There were 4,000 UK suppliers and manufactures qualified to work in Saudi Arabia, but only 200 actually took advantage of this status, he added.
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Декабрь 2018    »