Canadian export agency lifts suspension on Saudi Arabia business

According to Export Development Canada business conditions in Saudi Arabia have improved to start considering support for Canadian companies exporting to the market


Canada’s export financing agency has lifted its suspension on Saudi Arabia-related activity, citing an improving environment for the nation’s businesses since a diplomatic row with the Kingdom last summer, reported Bloomberg.

Amy Minsky, EDC’s Spokeswoman, said, “EDC has now made the decision, based on our monitoring, that business conditions in Saudi Arabia have improved to a point where we can again start considering support for Canadian companies exporting to the market.”

“We believe there are opportunities for Canadian companies in the country and we do not want to preemptively close the door to them,” Minsky said.

The move highlights an easing of tensions between the two countries since a diplomatic feud erupted last summer after a tweet by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticised the arrest of a Saudi women’s rights activist.

In response, Saudi Arabia lambasted Canada for interfering in its domestic affairs, expelling the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh and ordered a freeze on new investment.

Before the incident, EDC had rated Saudi Arabia as open for business with a low risk of political interference.

“Saudi Arabia’s current restricted status means that we recognise there are risks but are open to assessing transactions on a case-by-case basis to verify whether each meets our requirements for sustainable and responsible business,” added Minsky.

At the time of Freeland’s tweet, EDC had exposure of about CAD 2 billion ($1.5 billion) to Saudi Arabia, and about 250 customers operating in the Kingdom.

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