The Strategic Partnership Agreement Paved the Way for a New Era of Relations between the two Countries
In general, the trade relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America constitute a major pillar in the relations between the two countries. The volume of trade exchange between the two countries, over the past 10 years, exceeded 2 trillion riyals. This gives a clear image of the solid trade relations between the two countries.
These relations are rooted since the discovery of oil by Standard Oil Company of California in 1933.
The founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, established the foundations of the Saudi-American relations through his historic meeting with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945. Since then, these relations had been developing, and played a key role in providing a suitable environment, conducive to trade prosperity and joint ventures between the two countries, as well as the on-going visits of the two countries leaders have a great impact in boosting the relations to greater horizons between both countries.
Then came the recent visit by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, to the United States of America on 20/11/1436 H, corresponding to September 4, 2015, where the two countries announced the Strategic Partnership Agreement for the 21st Century, and the establishment of a Permanent Strategic Cooperation Office to enhance the relations between the two countries.
After that came the visit of His Royal Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense to the United States of America on 8 Ramadan, 1437H (13 June 2016 AD), to assure the depth of the strategic relations between the two countries, especially with regard to trade relations enhancement, and for promoting and introducing the available investment opportunities in K.S.A., in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which aims to increase the proportion of foreign direct investment in the GDP from 3.8% to the global average of 5.7%.
Saudi-American Trade & Investment Council
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have endeavored to develop trade and investment to serve the interests of the two countries. In 2003, an agreement was signed to establish the Saudi-American Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), consisting of representatives of both sides, the Saudi side is headed by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, while the American side is headed by the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), with the participation of officials from other government departments. TIFA is considered a platform to serve businessmen and investors, and works to remove all obstacles facing the flow of trade and investment between the two countries. Since its inception, TIFA had held five sessions, the most recent was in January 2017 in Riyadh. Several recommendations were given by TIFA on Trade, Standards, Metrology and Quality, Customs, General Authority for Investment, Food and Drug, Consumer Protection, Intellectual Property Issues and the Saudi Fund for Development.
The most important outcome of the Saudi-American TIFA meetings was to remove the name of the Kingdom from the Watch List 301, relevant to Intellectual Property in 2012 AD.
Saudi-American Business Opportunities Forum
The Saudi-US Business Opportunities Forum, chaired by the Trade Ministers in both countries, constitutes a great importance in advancing and boosting the strategic partnership between the two countries to meet the requirements of the 21st century in various fields. This forum is attended by a number of decision makers, senior officials, and a number of businessmen and businesswomen from both friendly countries. The first Forum Sessions were held in Chicago and other American cities, four sessions had been held so far, the most recent one was held in Riyadh in March 2016 AD.
The Saudi-American Business Council
The Saudi-American Business Council was established in 1993, as a legal institution in the United States. Engr. Abdullah Juma’h, former president of Aramco, was chosen as a Chairman of the Saudi side. The said council aims at activating bilateral economic, trade and investment relations among the private sector companies in both countries, in addition to its contribution to organize Business Opportunities Forums between the two countries.
Development of Saudi-American Relations
A number of Supreme Royal Orders have been issued regarding the exchange of Ministerial visits between the Kingdom and the United States of America on an annual basis, in order to exchange ideas and visions for the development of economic and political issues that serve the interests of the two friendly countries, as well as coordination was being made for a number of US trade delegations to visit the Kingdom, in coordination with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the Saudi-American Business Council, besides having coordination as well for a number of Saudi delegations to visit the United States of America.