A senior American diplomat has called for a deepening of ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States to counter the continuing volatility in the Middle East, and for further mutual economic benefit from the two nations’ longstanding trade relations.
Joseph W. Westphal, US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said there was need to “shape the future of the Saudi-US relationship to further foster mutual understanding and trust.”
Westphal was speaking at a high-profile reception hosted by the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) in his honor here on Wednesday. About 100 guests including top Saudi and American businessmen attended the event.
Tawfik Al-Rabiah, minister of commerce and industry, and Mohamed Al-Mady, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, who is also USSABC’s co-chairman, were present. Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, editor in chief of Arab News, and Basheer Al-Ghuraydh, USSABC secretary-general, also attended the reception.
In his address to the business community, Westphal said that the big issues — Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria’s civil war and active terror networks of extremist organizations — pose a threat to the region as a whole. “These issues are not yet resolved,” said the envoy, while reiterating his desire to boost US ties with the Kingdom and the Middle East.
The ambassador, who started his speech by expressing happiness over the growing Saudi-American relations, said the Kingdom is the largest commercial partner of the US in the Middle East-North Africa region. He said Saudi Arabia ranks as the ninth-largest trading partner of the US in the world. He also shared his views on US cooperation with the Riyadh-based King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.
In his speech, Al-Mady said the lunch was especially significant because it was taking place during the 20th year of the USSABC’s operations. “We are profoundly grateful for the support of our business council members and supporters over the years who have contributed greatly to the successes we have experienced in facilitating the hundreds of millions of dollars in cross-border trade and investment,” he said.
The USSABC has been the premier organization assisting American companies in identifying business partners in Saudi Arabia. It is also in constant dialogue with Saudi companies to help them identify trade and investment opportunities in the US. The USSABC has a membership base of approximately 400 leading companies in the US and Saudi Arabia.

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