The Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) hosted a business meeting, led by CSC Chairperson Eng. Ahmed Al Rajhi, with the Mayor of Kolding, Denmark, Jørn Pedersen, where the two sides discussed investment cooperation between the two countries.
Mr. Pedersen, who is currently on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, noted the robust economic relations between the two countries, stressing Denmark’s keenness on fostering these relations. He conveyed the interest of Kolding-based companies to enter into partnerships with their Saudi counterpart, explaining that Kolding is one of the main commercial hubs in Denmark and is currently undergoing a vast commercial and construction renaissance.
For his part, Eng. Al Rajhi stated that the continued growth in Saudi-Danish relations reflects mutual interest in cooperation, adding that bilateral relations grew significantly since 2010 to reach SAR 2.9 billion in 2016. However, he pointed out that Saudi exports to Denmark make only 1% of their trade, which indicates that the trade balance between the two countries is always leaning towards the Danish side, which requires investigating the modest numbers and developing common mechanisms that foster bilateral trade and investment relations to serve the interests of both countries.
Al Rajhi noted that the Kingdom seeks to implement ambitious plans whose goals transcend local change to reach a regional and international impact, via the Saudi Vision 2030, which entails significant reforms that seek to foster bilateral relations and attract more local and foreign direct investments to Saudi Arabia. In addition to expanding the scope of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and its international partners, including Denmark, in fields such as agriculture, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and logistics, besides other areas of comparative advantages in both countries
The CSC Chairperson added that the Saudi business community welcomes partnering with their Danish counterpart, and encourages Danish investors to take advantage of the investment climate in Saudi Arabia, which offers a stable and attractive environment for foreign direct investments, as indicated by relevant international statistics. He called for joint efforts in this regard, namely the support of the two countries’ governments, private sectors, and the Saudi-Danish Business Council. Al Rajhi also called for addressing challenges such as the high income tax in Denmark, the restrictions on Saudi exports to Denmark, especially foodstuffs and particularly Dates products, and the lack of a free trade area between Saudi Arabia and Denmark
The Danish delegation was given a number of presentations by SAGIA, the Saudi Exports Program, and the National Center for Privatization, which tackled investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia post Saudi Vision 2030. The presentations shed light on the goals of the Vision, which include diversifying national economy beyond oil, increasing the private sector’s contribution to GDP up to 65% by activating 10 vital sectors including healthcare, housing, and education.
The meeting additionally included a presentation by the Danish side on the investment and economic environment in Kolding.