RIYADH — The Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Saudi-Belgian-Luxembourg Business Council to promote intra-regional trade and expand trade and investment cooperation between the Kingdom and Belgium and Luxembourg.

The Council will carry out a number of commercial and promotional activities in the fields of trade, investment, and technology transfer in a systematic manner, with a focus on the targeted sectors.

It will also serve as a platform for Saudi, Belgian, and Luxembourgian businesspeople to present themselves, promote their businesses, and build commercial relationships.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by the Secretary-General of the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce Hussein Bin Abdul-Qader and the Secretary-General of the Belgian Arab Chamber of Commerce Caesar Hijazin during the activities of the Saudi-Belgian-Luxembourgian Business Forum.

During his speech at the forum, Eng. Tariq bin Muhammad Al-Haidari, first vice president of the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, emphasized the importance of the meeting because it provides a great opportunity to increase economic growth in the two countries.

Especially after recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a significant impact on intra-regional trade volume, the effect was estimated to be at SR17 billion in 2020, down from SR27 billion in 2019.

He pointed out that, compared to the same quarter the previous year, the volume of trade exchange increased by 54% to SR6.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, noting that the total volume of trade between the two countries is not comparable with their respective economic capabilities and opportunities.

"The Saudi economy's strength and its strength in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, as it accomplished remarkable results with the assistance of rational leadership and the cooperation of all relevant parties, supported by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and its objectives," he said.

As a result, real GDP increased by 3.3 percent in 2021, compared to a decrease of 4.1 percent in 2020.

This increase in GDP resulted in the economy recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, with non-oil activities increasing by 6.6 percent, government services activities increasing by 1.5 percent, and oil activities increasing by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the Arab-Belgian Chamber of Commerce Secretary-General Hijazin said that the Belgian-Luxembourg trade mission is the largest and first after the pandemic, as it includes a large number of companies, citing the distinguished relations between the Kingdom and Belgium, which date to more than 100 years.

The Advisor on International Affairs at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce Edith Stein highlighted the positive changes that the Kingdom is witnessing on all levels, especially the economy, expressing the interest of Luxembourg companies to enter the Saudi market, explore investment opportunities and share their experiences in various sectors, calling on Saudi investors to visit Luxembourg and to be acquainted on the available investment opportunities.

Moreover, Deputy Ambassador of Belgium to the Kingdom Elisa De Raes said the visit of the Belgian trade delegation aims to discuss investment opportunities and commercial partnerships, praising the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in light of Vision 2030 and the huge investment opportunities it provides.

This has made it a preferred destination for international investments, adding that Belgian companies have the experience, knowledge, and technology necessary to engage in the Kingdom's projects.

The Saudi-Belgian-Luxembourg Business Council, as per the MOU, will be mandated with opening new qualitative areas for economic cooperation, facilitating continuous interaction between business sectors.

It also works to remove challenges and obstacles, as well as exchanging information on available markets and investment opportunities, enabling commercial and investment partnerships, and providing recommendations to the competent authorities in the two countries to improve economic relations, encourage participation in exhibitions and forums, exchange visits and trade delegations.

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