G20 Saudi Group of Nations Global Briefing Report

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G L O B A L B R I E F I N G R E P O RT U.S.-SAUDI G 2 0 _ F E AT U R E

75 Years of U.S. and Saudi Partnership By H. Delano Roosevelt

2020 has been an eventful year in many respects, but our team at the U.S.-Saudi Business Council (USSBC) has remained steadfast in our mission to continue working with U.S. and Saudi companies to increase cross-border trade and investment. This year marks two important milestones in the U.S.-Saudi relationship: the 75th anniversary of the start of relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the G20, notably with participation of the USSBC in the B20 Saudi Arabia’s Trade and Investment Taskforce. 75 Years of Trade and Trust It was near the end of World War II when my grandfather, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, sat down with Saudi Arabia’s first leader, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, to lay the foundation of an enduring economic, strategic, and cultural alliance between our two nations. This meeting, which took place on Feb. 14, 1945 in the Suez Canal, was instrumental in creating the bonds between the United States and Saudi Arabia that have persisted through the end of the 20th century to today. Fate has given me the opportunity to continue the legacy of “Peace through Commerce,” set by my grandfather, of strengthening trade ties and creating personal bridges of friendship between our business communities. Saudi Arabia is in the midst of an expansive cultural and business

transformation and is actively looking for products and services to feed the growth of these new industries as well as partners for research and development and joint ventures. The opportunities for U.S. companies in the Saudi economy are diverse and plenty, thanks to the ongoing Saudi effort to digitalize, modernize, and diversify their economy under their ambitious Vision 2030 national development plan. Under the umbrella of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is diversifying its industrial base away from its traditional dependence on oil and gas and is opening sectors like entertainment, sports, tourism, and culture. These many substantial changes create opportunities for U.S. companies to provide products and services to respond to increased demand across a broad range of sectors. The Kingdom is the largest economy in the MENA region and the 19th largest economy in the world. The U.S. is Saudi Arabia’s secondlargest trade partner, with U.S. exports of goods and services to Saudi Arabia supporting thousands of American jobs. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia was ranked last year as the U.S.’s 23rd largest export market, its 26th largest supplier of imported goods, and one of its leading trade partners in the Middle East. Both countries have signed a Trade Investment Framework Agreement to continuously work towards expanding this trade relationship across a range of

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of an expansive cultural and business transformation and is actively looking for products and services to feed the growth of these new industries as well as partners for research and development and joint ventures. GROUPOFNATIONS.COM


economic sectors. In addition to these robust economic links, our two countries are also connected through interpersonal ties. Sixty percent of the Saudi population is under 40 years of age and many are well-traveled internationally and relish international experiences. The United States is a popular destination for Saudi exchange students: the Kingdom ranks fourth among foreign countries that send students to the United States for undergraduate and advanced degrees. Over the last decade, more than 250,000 Saudi citizens and their families have received visas to study in the United States and experience life in small American towns and cities, bringing home memories of their personal experiences with U.S. culture and its people. The interpersonal relationships that are a byproduct of the educational experience of Saudi students in the United States and the many U.S.-Saudi business partnerships that have flourished over the years are a natural extension of the trust-built relationship started by our two countries’ leaders 75 years ago. It is these bridges of friendship that have helped our mutual alliance to continue through both easy and challenging times. I am confident these relationships, led by improved commercial ties, will continue to grow even stronger through the 21st century. The simple concept of Peace through Commerce envisioned by my grandfather is as relevant today as it was in 1945. The G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia The transformation of the Saudi economy and society was highlighted on the international stage this year with Saudi Arabia, the only Arab country in the G20, serving as the host of the 2020 G20 summit. The USSBC is honored to have earned a spot as a member of the B20, the official G20 engagement group with the global business community.

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