Today U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at the second annual U.S.-Saudi Arabia CEO Summit on how the United States and Saudi Arabia can deepen economic partnership in a way that strengthens ties and benefits both economies. The event, hosted at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, brought together government officials and business leaders from both countries to address opportunities to expand the U.S.-Saudi economic cooperation and create new jobs.
Secretary Tillerson used the gathering as an opportunity to reaffirm the strong partnership that exists between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Secretary Tillerson said, “We have a long relationship with Saudi Arabia that extends over 80 years, and our support for a strong and steady partner on economic cooperation remains as firm as ever.”
Applauding Saudi Arabia’s leadership in pursuing economic progress for its region, Secretary Tillerson stressed the United States’ support of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 plan that seeks to transform their economy and society. In particular, Secretary Tillerson commended the plans specific commitments to increase foreign ownership on listed companies, boost the women’s workforce participation rate, augment the private sector’s contribution to national GDP, and increase the quality of the health and education sectors through substantial capital investment.
Secretary Tillerson also reaffirmed the administration's commitment to help facilitate partnerships between American businesses and Saudi Arabia. Secretary Tillerson noted that officials and business leaders often talk about the commercial sales opportunities in Saudi Arabia, but raised the hope that Saudi Arabia will also partner and invest with companies in the United States. He acknowledged one of the objectives of regular commercial and economic dialogues in the region is to promote two-way foreign direct investment. Secretary Tillerson stated, “When U.S. companies invest in the Saudi economy, everyone wins. The U.S. creates jobs at home, and businesses in the Gulf region get the best business partners that the global marketplace has to offer.”
“The Department of State is ready to help in this process. First and foremost, our U.S. charge d’affaires, our deputy chief of mission, our consuls general, and commercial officers and economic officers in Saudi Arabia are at your disposal to engage with our government to facilitate trade and investment. This assistance includes all of the meetings, phone calls, and legwork of our Foreign Service officers to discover market conditions and support early-stage exploratory talks by you when you come to the kingdom,” Secretary TIllerson continued.
In closing, Secretary Tillerson thanked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Saudi Chambers for helping to initiate a successful new chapter in the two countries important and enduring relationship.
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