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Sunday, Mar 26, 2023

US business delegation to visit Kingdom to explore opportunities in different sectors

US business delegation to visit Kingdom to explore opportunities in different sectors

Representatives from the US Chamber of Commerce are in Saudi Arabia to lay down the groundwork for the arrival of a large business delegation later this year to explore mutual investment opportunities.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Steve Lutes, vice president for Middle East affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the delegation will focus on innovation and knowledge-based economic growth.

“It very much fits into what we think is our strength, which is exactly that: It’s to, on the American side, expose more companies to what are (the) vast opportunities here (in Saudi Arabia) across the whole economy, and fit into the goal of Vision 2030, which is to diversify the (Saudi) economy,” the top official said.

The delegation will target several sectors including healthcare, life sciences, genomics, sustainable living, green energy and tech, climate solutions, and the digital space.

During his previous visit to the Kingdom, Lutes lauded the fast-growing infrastructure in the Kingdom and the positive approach toward emerging economic sectors.

“Be it food security, or energy transition, harnessing the future of the digital space, whether it be AI or fintech, there is just so much to do in that space. Bringing US companies, which in our mind are first in class, to come and partner with Saudi companies or to pursue relationships with the Saudi government, and some of those bigger tender opportunities — there’s just a lot to do here,” he told Arab News.

During his current visit, the US Chamber official will hold meetings with the officials of the economy, commerce, investment, and communications and IT ministries and other entities to discuss the fundamental framework of the delegation’s agenda.

The two countries collaborate through several platforms, one of which is the US-Saudi Business Leaders Forum. It is held on rotation and this year’s forum, according to Lutes, will be held in Riyadh. He hopes to integrate the business delegation into the forum.

The US Chamber is also looking to launch a US-Saudi Sustainability Working Group and meet Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir to publish a report profiling what US companies are doing to advance partnerships within the Kingdom’s circular economy and Saudi Green Initiative goals.

“We want to highlight what the US companies are doing because too often, people don’t understand how advanced Saudi Arabia is on that, but they don’t understand that often that US companies are aggressively involved in supporting that,” Lutes said.

The official commended the open-door policy of Saudi ministries, as they always welcome the feedback from their US counterparts on policy drafts. He said that their collaboration has been a very “fruitful process.”

“We’ve been very focused on the PDPL, the personal data protection law. To (MCIT’s) credit, there have been great advances from prior drafts,” he said.

The US Chamber of Commerce’s visit will also be an inquiry into the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be held in the UAE this year, and how they can support and be involved in the conference while also bolstering Saudi Arabia’s role in it.

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