Washington – The US Chamber of Commerce in Washington hosted for two days the US-Saudi CEO Summit for government and private companies. This summit, the second of its kind since the one held in Riyadh in 2012, was significant in that it confirmed the new American administration’s approach in increasing close political and economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Senior Vice President for Middle East and Turkey Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Khush Choksy told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington reacted “positively” towards investing in the kingdom.
The meeting of CEOs was able to offer US officials a “better and deeper” understanding of the kingdom’s economic and reform plan aimed at transforming the Saudi economy from an oil dependent one into a diverse one.
President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce Thomas Donahue explained that partnership between American and Saudi companies will lead to the growth of the economies of both countries and improve their position in the global economy, said Choksy.
The Washington summit was aimed at expanding the means of bilateral trade and investment. Asked about the role the US Chamber of Commerce can play to that end, Choksy replied: “Our role is to work with our partners in Saudi Arabia and Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce … in order to ensure that American companies and their Saudi counterparts can enter partnerships that can help execute Vision 2030.”
This will help these partnerships and pave the way for Saudi investments in the United States, he went on to say, giving the examples of Saudi companies of Aramco and SABIC that are investing in the US and consequently creating job opportunities for Americans and Saudis alike.
He added that one of the main factors that attract American investors in Saudi Arabia is the kingdom’s large growing market, revealing that in the past, they were primarily drawn to the energy sector.
Since the kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy, investors are looking into the renewable energy sector as well as the defense, industry, health and agriculture fields among others, he stressed.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained during the summit that American companies bring quality, technology and professionalism to this market, remarked Choksy.
He highlighted the significance of Tillerson’s participation at the Washington summit, saying it was the first time that a US secretary of state takes part in such a non-governmental conference.