Saudi-Italian talks focus on economic growth, jobs
In an effort to promote economic cooperation between the Kingdom and Italy, young Saudi entrepreneurs and students will pursue entrepreneurial and academic programs in Italy, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini told reporters in Riyadh on Saturday.
The minister was speaking to reporters at the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) after the conclusion of the Saudi–Italian Economic Forum.
Frattini said the discussions focused on creating job opportunities and promoting growth, which are the strategic goals of Saudi Arabia and Italy.
He also said that his country is rich with experience in small and medium enterprises and Saudi youths could get a practical experience on the ground.
"We also want to maintain the institutional framework between the two countries by strengthening business-to-business relations between the Kingdom and Italy," he said, adding that Italy is willing to cooperate with the Kingdom in high technology, innovation, health care and higher education.
During the meeting, the two parties also stressed their mutual desire in developing economic cooperation between the two countries and taking advantage of great opportunities in business sectors of both countries, especially within the framework of strong relations on the bases of mutual understanding, confidence and keenness of the leaderships of the two countries on their enhancement.
Addressing the forum, Alireza pointed out that the Kingdom’s imports from Italy amounted to more than SR17 billion in 2008. Italy was ranked the seventh among the 10 largest exporting countries of the Kingdom.
Saudi exports to Italy in the same year amounted to SR23 billion holding 12th place among the largest countries importing from the Kingdom.
He noted that there are 97 Saudi-Italian joint projects with a total capital of more than SR11 billion, with a tilt of 15 percent in favor of Italy.
Italian Minister of Economic Development Paolo Romani stressed his country’s desire to strengthen economic and trade relations with the Kingdom especially as the Kingdom enjoys advanced experience in energy industry.
He said the two bilateral trade could be further improved with more involvement in various investment projects both in Italy and in the Kingdom.
SCCI Vice President Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy, Deputy Finance Minister Hamad Al-Bazaie and Italian Confindustria President Emma Marcegaglia were among those who took part in the forum.