Saudi Shura Council Roundtable

The ABCC was privileged to host a business roundtable with a high-level visiting delegation from the Shura Council of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The delegation was headed by His Excellency Ghazi Faisal bin Zagr, Chairman of the Saudi-British Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shura Council. The distinguished guests were warmly welcomed to the Chamber by Mr Bandar Reda, ABCC Secretary General & CEO, Mr Abdeslam El Idrissi, Deputy CEO & Secretary General and the Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, ABCC Chairman.

Mr Reda stressed the importance of strengthening strategic UK-Saudi relations this year when progress was moving towards the completion of a new UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement, which would bring benefits for businesses on both sides.

Rt Hon Baroness Symons reflected on her long involvement in working to build closer UK-Saudi relations from her period in government including when she was a minister and a special envoy of the British Prime Minister to the Kingdom.

The roundtable enabled UK executives and investors to hear from some prominent members of the Shura Council about the latest business and investment plans that the Kingdom is implementing within the framework of the transformation of the commercial environment under its ambitious and ongoing Vision 2030 programme.

Members of the visiting delegation explained their role as serving their country by offering expertise and advice to the Saudi Cabinet on various policy matters. Members of the council are drawn from different economic sectors, industries and professions. The Council comprises various specialised committees dealing with different issues such as commerce and investment, healthcare, education and scientific research. Senior representatives of these committees were taking part in the delegation which had visited the British Parliament in Westminster and other key institutions.

In a presentation, Ms Hanan Al-Samari, a member of the Economy & Energy committee of the Shura Council, briefed the audience on the “Invest Saudi” Initiative launched by the Ministry of Investment, which consists of key investment opportunities in the Kingdom that are open to British participation.

The meeting heard that there were some 500 different business and investment opportunities available in the Kingdom currently awaiting investors and partners.

The Kingdom’s updated investment laws were opening up the market to more investors with growing opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

H E Ghazi Faisal bin Zagr explained how bilateral trade was shifting under the impact of the transformation that Saudi Arabia had embarked on under Vision 2030. There was a much stronger emphasis on interdependency and joint investments.

During the discussion, the speakers from the Shura Council indicated that Saudi Arabia wanted to be seen as a major hub for SMEs in the MENA region.

The roundtable held at the ABCC in the evening of 16 May 2022 was chaired by Baroness Symons and was followed by a reception and networking event.