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seminar on “business opportunities in Malaysia” 
Jeddah 23rd May 2001

 The Kingdom’s new foreign investment law and establishment of General Investment Authority, which offers many facilities for investors, were in focus at a seminar here yesterday.

Commerce Minister Osama Faqeeh gave the keynote address at the seminar on “business opportunities in Malaysia” hosted by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz spoke about the favorable economic situation in Malaysia for Saudi investors.

The ministers noted that although existing coordination between the two countries in regional and global forums was an example of constructive cooperation, only two joint ventures with a capital of SR3 million had been set up between the two sides in the Kingdom until last year.

Faqeeh noted that the current level of bilateral trade was still modest and in no way commensurate with abundant potentials and opportunities at the disposal of both sides. As such, the business community in the two countries should intensify efforts to promote and diversify mutual trade. “They must show greater interest in availing themselves of the various trade financing programs, export credit and investment guarantee facilities that are made available by the Islamic Development Bank,” he said.

Faqeeh noted that bilateral relations had been exemplified within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Conference and its specialized agencies. “Such close cooperation  gave a greater momentum to the adoption of recommendations and decisions reflecting the common concern of the Muslim nations and their determination to defend their interests,” he said.

“This level of cooperation has also been manifested in the World Trade Organization, where Malaysia was in the forefront of countries which concluded bilateral market access agreements with the Kingdom on goods and services, thus facilitating the progress of the Kingdom’s accession to the world body,” Faqeeh said.

“We earnestly hope that such consultation and coordination will be further strengthened in these forums with a view to ensuring real benefits to our countries from trade liberalization and opportunities for market access created by the multilateral trading system,” he added.

“Over the last few years, the Saudi economy has proved its solid foundation. It has demonstrated its resilience, buoyancy as well as its ability to adjust and expand. In the year 2000 our GDP was about SR522 billion, recording a real positive growth rate of 8.4 percent,” the minister said.

Aziz said her country had always been supportive of the Kingdom’s early accession to the WTO and hoped that the Kingdom’s membership would further provide a stable and predictable trading environment as well as potential to further increase bilateral trade.

“Bilateral trade could be further increased in terms of volume and range of products. Our products are competitively priced and meet the standards of world markets,” she said.

Aziz, who is leading a 43-member trade and investment mission, called for more Saudi investment in her country. Her address was followed by a video film on “Investment in Malaysia” and a question-answer session. Mission members had one-to-one meetings with local businessmen.

Source: Arab News©
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23 May 2001 12:35:09 PM

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