Saudi Arabia to be focus of export event later this year

A key event to help boost Yorkshire’s exports to Saudi Arabia – the largest economy in the Arab world -  is being held in Leeds this autumn.

The half-day event, being arranged by overseas trade specialist Chamber International, will promote the Overseas Business Network Initiative launched by prime minister, David Cameron, with an £8m investment last year (2013)  with the aim of doubling the UK’s annual exports to £1tr by 2020 and increasing the number of UK exporters by 100,000.

Up to 80 exporting businesses are expected to attend the event at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, Sovereign Street, on November 4 which will include a presentation by the Saudi-British Joint Business Council on ways to access business in Saudi Arabia.

The economy in Saudi Arabia, where 50 per cent of the population is under 25, is forecast to expand at a three per cent annually for the next few years. The government has allocated 46 per cent of its total spending this year to education and training, health and social development and infrastructure.

The Saudi government is following a strategy of economic diversification and reform to grow its private sector and reduce reliance on oil and gas, open up previously restricted industries to foreign investment and increase employment opportunities for Saudis. As part of this it aims to attract private and foreign investment into petrochemicals, automobile assembly, biotechnology, research and development and information technology.

The event will also feature talks by Yorkshire businesses, including minimum invasive surgery equipment designer and manufacturer, Surgical Innovations, Leeds and London-based global testing organisation Intertek which helps exporters with product conformity through its bases in 1,000 locations in 100 countries.

The event will be attended by many of the region’s top exporters from the We Are International campaign to give advice to delegate businesses.

Under the Overseas Business Network Initiative, business centres at the British chambers overseas are working closely with their UK counterparts and helping by identifying opportunities for UK businesses, providing practical support when British companies visit their country and providing discounted advice across 41 high-growth and hard-to-enter markets including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia and India.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “Our second Overseas Business Network event will showcase the UK's largest trading partner in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is actively encouraging foreign investment and diversification of its economy away from dependence on oil and gas and is a massively important market for this region."

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