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Kingdom’s Non-oil Exports to Cross SR76 Billion

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports will cross SR76 billion this year, according to Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil, chairman of the Saudi Export Development Center and a member of the Shoura Council.

“We expect tremendous growth in exports during 2007 as our products are being exported to new markets in larger quantities,” he said.

Saudi non-oil exports jumped from SR35.7 billion in 2003 to SR48 billion in 2004, and SR60.5 billion in 2005. The figure was expected to reach SR70 billion in 2006, he told Al-Riyadh Arabic daily.

Zamil called for the establishment of a special commission to promote export of Saudi products to world markets. According to a study conducted by the center, more than 120 countries have set up such commissions.

Speaking about Saudi exports to Iraq, he said the value of such exports increased from SR50 million in 2004 to SR186 million in 2005. “Most of our products are exported to Iraq through other countries such as Kuwait, Jordan and the UAE. In fact, Saudi products worth SR3 billion reach Iraq directly and indirectly,” he said.

Iraq is a big market for Saudi products but the Kingdom cannot export to the war-torn country directly as the border is closed for security reasons. “Iraqis give priority to Saudi products due to their good quality. Moreover, they can receive our products quickly within two days.”

He said more efforts were required to increase Saudi non-oil exports to Europe, Africa and the Americas and emphasized the need for concluding trade agreements, establishing free-trade zones, receiving tariff concessions, opening direct shipping lines and holding business exhibitions to boost exports.

Asked why his organization was not banning exports of some 65,000 kgs of Saudi vegetables to neighboring Gulf countries daily when prices of vegetables in the Kingdom were rising, he said Saudi Arabia would not stop such business activities as it is a free economy.

Zamil, who is chairman of Zamil Industrial Investment Group, said his company had made a profit of SR190 million last year when its sales crossed SR2.5 billion.

He said Zamil group was expanding its investment projects within and outside Saudi Arabia. “We have two factories in Vietnam and one each in India, China, Egypt and the UAE,” he said, adding that its factory in Ras Al-Khaimah was established with an investment of SR170 million. “Our steel products currently occupy 60 percent of UAE market,” he said.

Source: Arab Times


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