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Trade Mission Highlights Close U.S. Ties With Saudi Arabia

Published on 12 March 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

On the second leg of a Middle East trade mission March 11, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker underscored the close commercial and economic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia before an audience in Riyadh.

Pritzker spoke at a luncheon hosted by the U.S.–Saudi Arabian Business Council, where the guests included His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmed, the U.S. business delegation and more than 300 business people from the United States and the Gulf region, according to a Commerce Department news release the same day.

“Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the U.S.-Saudi relationship is the vibrancy of our commerce,” Pritzker said, noting that Saudi Arabia is America’s 10th-largest trading partner. In 2013, she said, bilateral trade reached $71 billion dollars, and in December, monthly exports from the United States to the kingdom topped $2 billion for the first time.

President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia later in March to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss Gulf security and peace in the Middle East, and the visit of Pritzker’s delegation spotlights the U.S.-Saudi trade relationship, the Commerce Department said.

Pritzker stressed that the 21 export-ready companies joining her on the trade mission are eager to do business in Saudi Arabia and serve as partners on a number of the transportation and other infrastructure projects the country has undertaken. In fact, she said, the U.S. Commercial Service, part of the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, has already helped nearly 500 U.S. firms build their businesses and sell goods and services in Saudi Arabia.

While the U.S.-Saudi economic relationship remains strong, Pritzker said, there is a desire to see more Saudi investment into the United States and more entrepreneurial opportunities for the next generation of Americans and Saudis. She noted that the King Abdullah Scholarship Program has already supported tens of thousands of students from Saudi Arabia to study in America and around the world.

Pritzker also offered suggestions on how to further spur government-to-government collaboration and said the United States must continue working together with the Gulf region to build a regulatory environment that will help the bilateral economic relationship reach its full potential.

Pritzker’s delegation visited the United Arab Emirates before stopping in Saudi Arabia and will next visit Qatar.



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Posted 2014-03-12 10:58:00