The General Authority for Foreign Trade is holding a series of workshops for the private sector to discuss the objectives and opportunities of the agreement of liberalization of trade in services among Arab countries, which came into force on 14 October 2019, where the first workshop to be held today at the headquarters of the Council of Saudi Chambers in Riyadh. Notably, similar workshops to be held this week in the Eastern Region, Dammam, on Tuesday 26/11/2019 and in the Western Region, Jeddah, on Thursday 28/11/2019. These workshops would provide a chance to communicate with representatives of the private sector in the Kingdom, and to present the opportunities offered by the said convention and how to avail of such agreement.
The first workshop started this morning with the participation of experts from the Arab League, UNDP and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) .The workshop witnessed the participation of representatives from most of the service sectors in the Kingdom, including telecommunications, transport, logistics, contracting and construction.
H.E. Mr. Mesh'al Al-Muqbel, Undersecretary of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Bilateral Relations and Commercial Attache, stressed the importance of private sector participation in the series of workshops organized by the General Authority for Foreign Trade, noting that increasing the participation of the services sector in the GDP of the Kingdom is one of the most important goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030. This factor affects the efficiency of most economic activities and supports increasing exports and attracting foreign direct investment.
This workshop coincides with the entry into force of the Agreement on Liberalization of Trade in Services among Arab States; on October 14, 2019, with the membership of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, in addition to eight Arab countries that are in the process of signing and ratifying the agreement, and then to join it, including: United Arab Emirates, Oman, Republic of Lebanon, Morocco, Republic of Sudan, Qatar, Kuwait and Yemen.
The above mentioned agreement is expected to establish a new era of economic cooperation and a higher level of economic integration among Arab countries, especially in light of the Arab region's proximity, relevant to geographical, linguistic, cultural and other factors that help achieve this goal and benefit from the competitive advantages, enjoyed by many service sectors in the Arab region. This would help transferring the expertise and other factors necessary to support the service sectors and to increase the trade volume in services among Arab countries.
It is expected that this agreement will open new markets for service providers from Saudi Arabia, especially in service sectors that were not previously liberalized in the markets of the member states of this agreement. The service providers from the Kingdom will have highly competitive capacity, especially as these sectors are liberalized only for the member states of the Convention.