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United States and Saudi Arabia Work to Strengthen Ties, Expand Trade and Investment Relationship

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Assistant United States Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East L. Daniel Mullaney and Saudi Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry for Foreign Trade Abdullah A. Al-Hamoudi this week co-chaired the second meeting of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Trade and Investment Council.

“The United States greatly values its economic relationship with Saudi Arabia, which is a key strategic partner in the region,” said Mullaney. “As part of President Obama’s commitment to improve trade and investment integration with and within the Middle East and North Africa, this ongoing dialogue will help to increase trade and investment and improve economic integration in the region.”

Total two-way trade (exports plus imports) between the United States and Saudi Arabia totaled $43 billion in 2010, representing the U.S.’s 15th largest goods trading relationship. U.S. goods exports to Saudi Arabia in 2010 were $11.6 billion, up 7.1% from 2009. U.S. goods imports from Saudi Arabia totaled $31.4 billion in 2010, a 42.4% increase from 2009. Leading U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia include vehicles, machinery, aircraft, electrical machinery, and optic and medical instruments. Saudi Arabia predominantly exports oil, organic chemicals, fertilizers, and platinum scrap to the United States. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia was $8 billion in 2010, concentrated mostly in the nonbank holding companies sector.

During the Council meeting, held on January 15 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, officials from the United States and Saudi Arabia pursued various mechanisms for expanding their trade and investment relationship, such as actions to increase the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, open opportunities for government procurement, and improve stakeholder engagement in the development of standards and regulations. Mullaney was accompanied by other officials from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Departments of Commerce and State.