JEDDAH: A high-level Saudi delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah to leave for India on Tuesday to explore prospects of expanding business and investment cooperation between the two Asian economic giants.
Abdul Rahman Al-Rabiah, president of the Saudi-Indian Business Council, said the 50-member delegation would take part in the Saudi-Indian Joint Business Council meeting, which begins in New Delhi on Tuesday.”It’s an important delegation as decision makers of 35 Saudi companies will be in the team,” Abdul Rahman Al-Rabiah said. The delegates are renowned businessmen in the fields of economy, trade, industry and engineering, he added.
The Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the umbrella organization for Saudi businessmen and women from all parts of the Kingdom, is sponsoring the visit.Abdul Rahman Al-Rabiah said the team, while exploring new investment opportunities in India, would also try to identify new areas of cooperation between the two countries. India is Saudi Arabia’s fifth largest trading partner and its trade investment in the Kingdom is estimated at $2 billion.
The bilateral trade volume, which is in favor of the Kingdom, reached $21 billion in 2010. India has been consuming 20 percent of its oil requirements from the Kingdom for the past 15 years. The value of Indian exports to Saudi Arabia has reached $4 billion.Abdul Aziz Alsorayai, chairman of Alsorayai Group and the Industrial Committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has highlighted the significance of the Saudi delegation’s visit to India being a leading economic power in the region.
“There are so many big Indian companies and industries who are interested to invest in Saudi Arabia. We’ll provide them with all facilities,” Alsorayai said describing Saudi Arabia as the most suitable place for investment in the region.Already ranked the easiest place to do business in the MENA region, Saudi Arabia is undertaking aggressive reforms and investments to become one of the world’s Top 10 most competitive economies. It has risen from 67th to 13th position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index and is currently No. 1 in the Middle East. The Kingdom ranks 3rd and 7th in the world, respectively, for ease of registering property and paying taxes.
Alsorayai said the Saudi delegates would meet Indian decision-makers and business leaders to explore prospects of expanding cooperation and implementing new investment projects. “We want to make our cooperation with India deeper than before,” he said, adding that the delegation would visit New Delhi and Mumbai.He said the Saudi side is also interested in promoting cooperation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). About 80 percent of businesses in the Kingdom are SMEs and the Labor Ministry hopes they would play a significant role in fighting unemployment.
The tour of the Saudi team comes following the recent visit of a 13-member business delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry. K.K.M. Kutty, managing director of South West Group, said the delegation came to foster investments, exchanges and partnerships in fields related to manufactured goods, mining, infrastructure, machinery, IT, consulting, business, travel, tourism, transport, education, pharmaceutical, biotechnologies and healthcare sectors that are rapidly growing in both countries.