Saudi-Japanese Forum symbolizes growing bilateral ties
The Saudi-Japanese Business Forum will be hosted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority in Riyadh Sunday, in the presence of Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hirocheiji Seko, and SAGIA Governor Ibrahim Al-Omar, along with leaders of the government and economical sectors in both countries.
The Forum underscores the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan that was initiated more than 60 years ago. These relations have witnessed a quantum leap in recent times, resulting in many bilateral agreements and several two-way visits between leaders and officials of both countries. These relations have grown in the era of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Salman bin Abdulaziz, leading to launch of the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.
The Forum will discuss ways to initiate effective partnerships for boosting qualitative investments between the Kingdom and Japan and developing the sectors that hold the most promise.
Japan is considered among the leading industrial countries in the world. Japan’s decision-makers have never overlooked the role and position of the Kingdom as an important and strong country capable of making a difference in the global economy. This has led to an increase in the number of Japanese companies investing in Saudi Arabia, reaching 96 by October 2017, with a total capital exceeding SR 53 billion. To further enhance this relationship, the Kingdom granted six investment licenses to a number of a number of Japanese companies and Saudi-Japan joint ventures in 2017 in the service sector.
The rapid growth in the relations between the two countries has been attributed to the historic visit paid by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Japan in March 2017. The visit has been considered a strong support for the development of economic cooperation between the two countries. The visit has also resulted in signing many agreements and partnerships between the two sides.
The agreement between the Saudi and Japanese governments on Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 was the most significant one signed during the visit of King Salman to Japan. The agreement will push the Saudi-Japanese relations to a new phase of a comprehensive strategic partnership, going beyond the ties confined to oil exports and car imports.
During the visit, both sides had stressed the need for activating the previous bilateral agreements signed, along with getting leaders of the Japanese side acquainted with opportunities within Saudi Vision 2030. How the Kingdom can participate in implementing its ambitious vision goals that will benefit both countries was also discussed. In addition, both sides agreed to establish a special economic zone in the Kingdom to implement a number of joint projects between Saudi Arabia and Japan.
The partnership between the two countries was first renewed when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid an official visit to Japan in September 2016. He met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to and laid the grounds for a developed partnership between the two countries. This official visit had resulted in establishing a joint group to work on the areas of cooperation under the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030. The first meeting of the group was held in Riyadh on October 9, 2016. Both sides decided to work towards achieving the social and economic vision though maximizing bilateral cooperation. .
More than 60 Japanese companies will participate in the Business Forum. They represent key sectors, such as energy, electricity, infrastructure, logistics, health, entertainment, agriculture and food, information technology, banking and financial services. An exhibition will also be held, under the title, “Invest in KSA,” featuring investment opportunities in all sectors in the Kingdom.
Under Saudi Vision 2030 and its strategy to grow relations with Japan, the Kingdom spares no efforts to diversify and enhance its economy by taking advantage of the technological and industrial revolution in Japan. The Kingdom is seeking to fulfill the Vision by utilizing Japanese knowhow and technological advances.
Saudi Arabia is Japan’s main provider of oil, securing its basic needs for energy. Saudi Arabia is also helping Japan develop its high value investments in the Kingdom.
The two sides are currently working to create a more conducive environment for implementing the Saudi-Japan Vision through four main dimensions: regulations, incentives, regulatory support, and human capital.
According to official statistics, about 96 percent of the Japanese investments are heavily concentrated in the industrial sector, particularly in petrochemical industries. The number of Saudis working in Japanese companies operating in Saudi Arabia has reached 48 percent. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is ranked among the top ten trading partners of Japan, which in turn, is the third largest trading partner of the Kingdom. There are also a number of joint projects between the two countries. The Kingdom is the top among countries supplying Japan with crude oil and its derivatives. This represents one-third of Japan’s crude oil imports.