Saudi Gazette | 28 June 2009
By Querubin J. Minas Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH - In another boost to Saudi-Canadian trade relations, three multimillion-dollar trade agreements between three Canadian and Saudi companies were signed here on Saturday in the presence of the visiting Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Stockwell Day and Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Ahmed Zainal Alireza.
The three contracts signed include an agreement between Teknion and Al Jedaie Office Furniture for the opening of a store in Riyadh in October 2009; a sales & distribution agreement between Global Thermoelectric and Inma Trading (the oil and gas trading arm of the Alturki Group); and a voice services contract between Nortel and King Faisal Specialist Hospital worth $1.8 million, and “extendable to $20 million.”
The Canadian minister said “Canada is building on these successes and creating more opportunities for Canadians and Saudis alike to prosper and thrive during this global economic downturn.”
He underscored that his visit serves to strengthen “our relationship with Saudi Arabia and to promote Canadian companies as world-class suppliers of quality goods and services. Canadian companies can benefit from a stronger commercial relationship between our countries. This is particularly true in sectors such as aerospace and defense, infrastructure projects, oil production, mining, health, education and agriculture.”
Business opportunities exist across a wide range of sectors that match Canadian capabilities, most particularly in oil and gas (both upstream and downstream), oil and gas equipment and services, mining equipment and services, transportation, infrastructure and environment, as well as in information and communication technologies.
Saudi Arabia is Canada’s largest trading partner in the Arabian Peninsula and the second-largest export market (after the United Arab Emirates) in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
Canada’s two-way trade with Saudi Arabia was close to $3.4 billion in 2008.Canadian exports totaled more than $1 billion in the same year. Canada’s imports, mainly oil, were worth over $2.3 billion. In 2008, cereals (mainly barley) represented 22.4 percent of all Canadian merchandise exports to Saudi Arabia at $225.7 million, a 41.3 percent increase from 2007. Machinery at $160.9 million is the second largest Canadian export category and paper and paperboard products at $107.1 million are number three.
Mineral (iron) ores, electrical machinery, wood pulp and vehicles are among the top Canadian exports to the Kingdom.
At a press conference held at the Conferences Palace, the Canadian trade minister further said that Canada will stand to benefit on the Kingdom’s plan to invest in agricultural sector abroad.
He was referring to the King Abdullah initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad aimed enhancing the national and international food security.
The initiative calls for building integrative partnerships with countries all over the world that have high agricultural potential to develop and manage agricultural investments in several strategic crops at sufficient quantities and stable prices in addition to ensuring their sustainability.
Minister Day added that the Canadian Parliament is studying the Kingdom’s overseas agricultural investment initiative.During his visit, the Canadian minister and his delegation also met with Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, Governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Prince Meshaal Bin Majed, Governor of Jeddah; and Dr. Bandar Bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission.