Pandemic Perspectives on Trade: “Business, Trade, and Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia: What You Need to Know”

On October 22, 2020, the World Trade Center, Washington, DC (WTCDC) hosted its newest installment of its online “Pandemic Perspectives” series in partnership with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) featuring a discussion on "Business, Trade, and Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia: What You Need to Know." Andrew Gelfuso, Director or the WTCDC opened the program along with Dr. John Duke Anthony, Founding President and CEO of the NCUSAR providing context for the session.

The program featured Mr. H. Delano Roosevelt, President and CEO of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, Mr. Ahmed Abuzinadah, Commercial Attaché for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC and Mr. Abdulrahman T. Bakir, Vice President of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Investment U.S. Office.

The online discussion explored commercial and trade relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. At the opening of his remarks, Mr. Roosevelt, who is the grandson of U.S. President Franklin Delano and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt as well as a direct descendant of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, observed that 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the historic meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and His Majesty King Abdul Aziz aboard the U.S.S. Quincy, and the subsequent formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Roosevelt presented information about the role and functions of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, which provides a variety of services for businesses of all sizes with a goal of increasing trade and investment between the United States and Saudi Arabia. He observed that Saudi Arabia held a plethora of market opportunities for American companies and could also be a launching pad for business looking into expanding into the wider Middle East region.

Mr. Abuzinadah and Mr. Bakir both spoke about their work facilitating trade and investment on the Saudi Arabian side of the bilateral relationship. They highlighted Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic development program, which aims to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil in their national economy through promoting the growth of diverse private enterprises. Through this initiative, Saudi Arabia has been seeking and encouraging economic and investment activities in sectors including healthcare, education, recreation, manufacturing, and tourism. Mr. Abuzinadah and Mr. Bakir detailed various programs and resources available to American businesses and investors who are seeking to enter or expand their presence in the Saudi Arabian market.

This virtual program was attended by representatives from a variety of business sectors in addition to other trade analysts and government officials. For a full viewing of the program,  click here.