Doing Business in Saudi Arabia

ABCC holds Opportunities in Saudi Arabia event for UK firms to meet SAGIA experts

On the afternoon of 3rd April, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce was delighted to host a business seminar on Doing Business in Saudi Arabia with officials from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) as the principal speakers. More than 60 delegates, drawn from ABCC members and non-member companies, attended the event.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, Deputy CEO and Secretary General, ABCC, elucidated the key functions of the Chamber and the numerous services that it provides to help its members export and trade and its historic role in strengthening UK-Arab relations.   Mr El-Idrissi briefly mentioned some of the remarkable achievements that make the Saudi market a place that investors could not afford to ignore. Selecting just from recent news, he highlighted the following:

  • Third of the Gulf’s best 100 firms were listed in Saudi Arabia, says Top CEO ranking.
  • Saudi Aramco had just been named the ‘world’s most profitable business’ by Moody’s.
  • Growth in the final quarter of 2018 rose to 3.59%.
  • Construction projects worth $1.1tn (SAR4.2tn) were at various stages of development in Saudi Arabia.

Mr El-Idrissi concluded by inviting delegates to become members of the ABCC and to sign up for the Arab British Economic Summit that will be held on 3rd July.

The seminar offered many valuable insights into the Saudi Arabian market and the huge number of opportunities arising as the Kingdom takes steps to implement its Vision 2030 programme and diversify its economy.

Mr Yaarub F AlDaghither, International Office Director, SAGIA, began by stressing the major transformation that the Kingdom was currently undergoing. The country’s transformation was evident across many areas, in particular in its tourism sector which was opening up for investors, he said.

The SAGIA official described the rich and varied natural geography of the Kingdom whose land size was nine times that of the UK, highlighting some of the ancient sites, unspoilt coastlines, mountain ranges and oases which were increasingly attracting developers.

Mr AlDaghither stressed that the KSA was a large market within the region with its population of 34 million, workforce of 6 million and ranking as the 19th largest economy in the world.

Ms Reem S AlSharekh, Advisory Account Manager, SAGIA, concentrated on the licensing options available for companies seeking to operate in the KSA and how SAGIA could help. The options varied from a limited liability company (LLC), a one-person company, opening a branch of a foreign company and shareholding company.

She stressed that regulations had been streamlined and SAGIA was keen to hear from new investors seeking to enter the market. The agency would normally reply within two days to any request made through its website and was able to respond to requests in seven languages apart from Arabic.

The SAGIA officials were joined by Marc Saroufim of law firm BSA and Mohammad Taiyyab Sajid of VATGLOBAL for a panel discussion.

Questions about setting up procedures, overcoming the obstacles to getting paid, the advantages of opting to work with a local partner and visas to the Kingdom were among the topics raised in discussion.

The event concluded with a networking reception where delegates could interact and share ideas with their peers.

The Chamber hosted this exclusive seminar in association with SAGIA and the international law firm, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP. The event was sponsored by VATGLOBAL, tax compliance specialist, which is a member of the ABCC.