North East businesses to attract Saudi inward investment with new business group

The North East Economic Forum (NEEF) launched the Saudi – North East England Trade and Investment Dialogue on April 30, building upon significant Saudi investment in the North East and Tees Valley.

Alan Donnelly, the executive chairman of sovereign strategy and chair of NEEF, who is hosting His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Bander al Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a business leaders’ dinner in Durham today, is set to announce the new bilateral relationship.

He commented: “Saudi Arabia is building a significant relationship with the North East of England through its investment in Newcastle United, the new direct flights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Newcastle Airport and Alfanar and SABIC’s investments in Teesside.

“The North East of England has always had a global footprint through international partnerships in business, education and culture - this deepening relationship with Saudi Arabia is an incredible opportunity for our small and medium business community, our universities and colleges and for our tourism industry.’

His Royal Highness the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia said: “I am honoured to inaugurate the launch of the Saudi – North East England Trade and Investment Dialogue. This dialogue will hopefully create a consistent linkage and facilitate meaningful partnerships between companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this vital region of the UK.”

Chris Innes-Hopkins, the UK executive director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council said: “The Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) is looking forward to partnering with this new initiative to create a structured dialogue on how to deepen trade, investment and cultural links between North East England and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“It complements and supports the work of the Joint Council and builds on a number of existing links. I believe it will lead to a lot of new opportunities both for the North East of England and Saudi Arabia”.

In a recorded message to the event in Durham, the Berwick MP and Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Anne-Marie Trevelyan proclaimed: “I welcome the creation of the Saudi - North East of England Trade and Investment Dialogue, as a way of rapidly deepening the partnership and building closer ties between the NE and Saudi Arabia in key sectors of the economy.”

“The Dialogue will bring together the devolved mayoral combined authorities, local government, academia and the business community to build new partnerships with Saudi Arabia around renewable energy, life sciences, tourism, health, education and skills.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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