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    The special partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America has always been strong and dynamic, ever since King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud opened the valve that let the first barrel of oil flow into the first tanker (the D. G. Scofield) at Ras Tanura on May 1, 1939. This unique relationship has provided the right atmosphere for a long term healthy business partnership to develop. Actually, the development of this partnership can be traced back to the Kingdom’s first exploration contract with the Standard Oil Company of California in 1933. The number of the Saudi- U.S. joint projects, operating in the Kingdom, was 233 at the end of August 1995, with a total capital of SR44,947.22 million (U.S. $11,985.93 million). Furthermore, there are approximately 40,000 Americans living and working in the Kingdom.

Saudi-U.S. trade volume reached a peak value of U.S. $21.7 billion in 1981, and then declined to a trough of $6.5 billion in 1985. It increased from U.S. $7,503.1 million in 1986 to U.S. $14,009.1 million in 1990. Due to the Gulf Crisis, the volume of U.S.-Saudi trade climbed to U.S. $18,905.6 million in 1991, about the same level it reached in 1980, and then slightly declined to SR18,449.0 million in 1992 (see table 19, graph No. 2 and graph No. 3). Since 1993 the Saudi-U.S. trade volume was stable around the value of its normal average of fifteen billion U.S. dollars annually.

TABLE 19 *
SAUDI - U.S. MERCHANDISE TRADE (Millions of Dollars)
to U.S. from U.S.

1986 4054.3 3448.8 + 605.5
1987 4886.5 3373.4 +1,513.1
1988 6236.9 3799.2 +2,437.7
1989 7,181.3 3,576.0 +3,605.3
1990 9,974.3 4,034.8 +5,939.5
1991 12,153.6 6,572.0 +5,581.6
1992 11,285.7 7,163.3 +4,122.8
1993 8,431.5 6,665.6 +1,765.9
1994 8,307.0 6,010.5 +2,296.0
1995 8,898.0 6,085.0 +2.813.0


leading saudi imports from the u.s.
(f.a.s. - value in millions of dollars)







Food and Live Animals 225.9 240.4 223.6 210.7 312.6 313.5
Beverages and Tobacco 186.7 213.9 175.1 212.5 212.6 196.7
Crude Materials (except fuel) 0.0 30.8 42.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mineral Fuels, Lubricants, etc. 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 16.1
Oils & Fats (animal & vegetable) 38.5 30.4 25.2 0.0 0.0 97.4
Chemicals & Related Products 36.2 93.4 24.5 0.0 51.9 93.8
Manufactured Goods 210.8 508.7 1,517.5 2,548.9 1,145.9 1,006.6
Machinery & Transport Equip. 1,255.21 1,656.7 2,552.4 2,530.4 1,274.3 1,729.7
Miscellaneous Manufactured 41.7 47.4 273.0 152.9 356.3 375.6
Other Articles 0.0 1,725.8 2,770.7 2,32.9 1,657.6 1,059.3
Special Category 0.0 115.5 414.1 0.0 0.0 1,345.8

* - Compiled by the Commercial Office, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.

Graph No. 2


Graph No. 3

Graph No. 4

Saudi Major Trade Partners


Graph No. 5

Saudi Imports from The U.S.

Saudi Arabian preference for American manufactured goods remains strong. The U.S. is one of the Kingdom's top three suppliers in major import categories. U.S. trade prospects could be greatly enhanced with careful targeting of potential growth sectors. The sectors with the strongest growth potential are discussed in Chapter 4 bellow.

The Ministry of Industry and Electricity and the Ministry of Finance and National Economy are both committed to the promotion of import-substitution and export-oriented joint ventures that serve to diversify the Kingdom's industrial base and enhance its technological capabilities. Joint venture incentives are universally available to all projects that fulfill the requirements of the Foreign Capital Investment Code. A modern and advanced physical infrastructure, communications and transportation systems in Saudi Arabia are some of the best in the world. American entrepreneurs are invited to make use of this infrastructure and the host of other business incentives through establishing a long-term presence in the Saudi Arabian market. American small firms that now export their products to the Kingdom will be able to establish local manufacturing bases for export to other markets in the region. Reaching the Saudi Arabian market is the topic of the following section.



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 Sources: The Commercial office, Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, D.C. and The Foreign Trade Statistics, Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Central Department of Statistics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Updated on:08 Apr 2000

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