Foreign trade

Saudi Arabia's foreign trade totals the US $ 78 billion. It is the world's 25th exporter/importer. Export markets have expanded tremendously following bilateral trade agreements with numerous countries in the region. Saudi Arabia benefits from international and regional trade financing and export guarantee programs offered by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Arab Monetary Fund's Trade Financing Program for financing trade and the Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation's program for ensuring exports and investments. USA, Japan, China, South Korea, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Singapore, India, Holland, UAE and Switzerland are amongst Saudi Arabia's leading foreign trade partners.

Saudi Arabia's non-oil exports increased by 4.3 percent to reach 7 billion in 2001 from $ 6.6 billion in 2000. The Kingdom's total imports were $ 30.3 billion in 2000, an increase of 8 percent from $ 28 billion in the previous year. The government has reduced tariffs from 12% to 5%, and efforts are on to accelerate GCC tariff harmonisation, which will be effective in 2003. The new Foreign Investment Law allows foreigners to invest in most sectors of the economy. However, there are some business activities that are not allowed by foreigners for a variety of reasons, and they specify in a banned list. The law has abolished the sponsor system and enabled foreign investors to own real estate for company activities and sponsor their foreign employees.

The new Real Estate Law allows foreigners to own real estate except in the two Holy cities of Makkah and Medinah. The Kingdom is drastically revising its business-related laws to increase transparency and strengthen the country’s global competitiveness. The laws currently under revision include the Capital Markets Law, the Companies Law, the Agency Law, the Insurance Law, the Mining Law and the Labour Law. Several laws are currently under revision with the aim of pushing forward the process of economic liberalisation. In May 2001 the government also issued guidelines for transparency of economic and fiscal data.

Last Modified Date: 13/01/2019 - 8:59 AM Saudi Arabia Time
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