FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 28, 2009
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Discusses Opportunities for Commercial Engagement at Inaugural U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum
Locke announces two Commerce-led trade missions to Saudi Arabia this year
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered keynote remarks today at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum focusing on economic collaboration between the two countries, mutually beneficial business opportunities, and the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative.
“Saudi Arabia is now taking unprecedented steps to expand and diversify its economy into new, knowledge-based industries,” Locke said. “A cornerstone of this effort is a pledge to invest $400 billion over the next decade in infrastructure projects, and American companies have the expertise and the resources to help Saudi Arabia reach these ambitious development goals.”
The forum linked U.S. companies with enormous opportunities in Saudi Arabia, which is already a $10.8 billion market for U.S. products. Much of the technology and products for the planned infrastructure projects are expected to come from the United States.
Locke noted that the opportunities for commercial engagement between the United States and Saudi Arabia are “simply immense.” These export prospects can help achieve the goal of President Obama’s National Export Initiative—to double U.S. exports during the next five years and support two million jobs.
“What we have here is a crystal clear example of a win-win situation,” Locke said. “Saudi Arabia is embarking on a historic development project, and U.S. companies can help it succeed. As U.S. companies invest more in and export more to Saudi Arabia, it’s going to create more jobs in Illinois and across America.”
During his remarks, Locke announced plans for the Commerce Department to lead two trade missions to Saudi Arabia this year. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez will lead a public health trade mission to Saudi Arabia in June, and a senior-level Commerce official will lead an energy infrastructure trade mission to Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dhahran in December.
Locke also met with his counterpart Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Alireza to discuss bilateral trade issues and areas for enhanced collaboration between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, including continued progress on intellectual property protections for U.S. companies and additional cooperation on standards.
The U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum is a two-day conference that seeks to highlight Saudi Arabia’s growing role in global financial and economic issues and the opportunities for greater economic collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton William M. Daley is chairman of the Chicago Steering Committee for the Forum and delivered opening remarks. A delegation of approximately 200 Saudi government and business leaders traveled to Chicago for the event.