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Overseas Trade

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 7 July 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage trade between the UK and Saudi Arabia. (283317)

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) supports business with Saudi Arabia through trade and investment teams based in Saudi Arabia and the UK. In addition to a 20-strong team in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, UKTI also employs a business specialist focused specifically on identifying supply chain opportunities in Saudi Arabia arising from the Saudi Government’s Fiscal Stimulus packages.

UKTI funds and provides secretariat support for the Saudi-British Joint Business Council. The Council identifies new business opportunities and also focuses on ways to tackle barriers to trade and improve the environment for business.

UKTI provides a broad range of support for British companies wishing to do business in Saudi Arabia—from conferences and trade missions to support for trade fairs and exhibitions. Over recent months, events aimed at promoting business with Saudi Arabia (and the wider Gulf region) have been held in Bristol, the north east, Yorkshire, London and Northern Ireland.

UKTI organised a visit to the UK by the Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), HE Amr al Dabbagh, in June 2009. In addition to a business showcase in Buckingham Palace on 17 June, hosted by HRH the Duke of York, UKTI also staged a Two Kingdoms Trade and Investment Conference on 18 June, which focused on opportunities in health care, education, transport, energy and financial services, and in which 150 British companies participated.

A Double Taxation Agreement with Saudi Arabia came into force in December 2008 and a bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (IPPA) is currently under negotiation and likely to be signed later this year.