RIYADH: King Salman received visiting Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, who is heading the Russian side to the Saudi-Russian Joint Business Committee meeting held here Thursday.
The two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and the joint committee’s important role in enhancing cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
The audience with the king at Al-Yamamah Palace was preceded by a historic Saudi-Russian business meeting at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), the first of its kind, which worked across a wide range of issues, starting off with joint commitments to grow and promote investment and trade relations.
The two sides discussed opportunities and areas of investment in both countries to build partnerships and to overcome challenges in enhancing the volume of trade and investment, especially in strategic sectors including energy, mining, transport, education, training, infrastructure, technology and health care.
The joint meetings come as part of the continued dialogue between the Kingdom and Russia that started in Moscow during the first Saudi-Russian Investment Forum, co-organized by the CSC, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Saudi-Russian Joint Council, after King Salman’s visit to Russia in October, which stressed supporting diplomatic and economic relations between the Kingdom and Russia.
Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi, Novak, and the governor of SAGIA, Ibrahim Al-Omar, attended the joint business meeting that saw the participation of many Saudi and Russian companies.
At the outset, Al-Qassabi recalled the king’s visit to Russia, calling for the momentum to continue the dialogue between Saudi and Russian businesses and investors to strengthen trade and investment between the two countries.
He also said that strong relations between the Kingdom and Russia necessitate the search for opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially in strategic sectors and non-oil products.
He pointed out that the Kingdom is witnessing unprecedented economic mobility and the steady development in the investment environment in line with Vision 2030, creating promising opportunities.
The recent trends of the Russian economy can pose great opportunities for growth projects between the two sides, he said calling for harnessing all possibilities to strengthen the Saudi-Russian trade partnership to achieve the aspirations of the leaders of the two countries and the interest of the two peoples.
Speaking at the meeting, the Russian minister pointed to the visit of King Salman and asserted that the visit brought a major shift in strengthening effective and constructive cooperation. He further exuded hope that the coming period will witness intensive meetings to transfer this cooperation to a greater level of partnership and investment projects, especially when there are good prospects and possibilities, which necessitates a doubling of efforts to increase the volume trade exchange on both sides.
Novak also pointed out the importance of focusing on investment in important sectors including energy, infrastructure, transport, education, agriculture, technology, training, solar energy and the development of ports and airports, pointing out that they are in the process of preparing programs for reciprocal visits by the concerned parties, as well as a road map to take advantage of capabilities and potentials in the light of the confidence and climate conducive to moving these relations forward.
The Russian minister also noted the cooperation and coordination between the two countries in the field of stability of the oil market, which led to a balance and significant improvement in oil prices that will revive the economy of the two countries.
The minister praised the newly launched investment project “Neom” by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, expressing the willingness and interest of Russian companies to invest in this project.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the CSC chairman, Ahmed S. Al-Rajhi, said the meeting reflects the desire of the two sides to strengthen economic relations, and he expressed hope that it contribute positively for the bilateral trade and investment.
He pointed to the opportunities available to Russian companies to benefit from the current investment opportunities in line with Vision 2030.
Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vasily Osmakov said that this forum is important in developing cooperation between the two countries, especially on the industrial side, pointing out that there are a lot of ideas that can be turned into projects in the fields of railways, air transport, engineering and renewable energy.
Hammad K. Al-Balawi, a specialist in investment attraction, made SAGIA’s presentation on the investment environment in Saudi Arabia. The presentation highlighted Vision 2030 based on three pillars of making Saudi Arabia, the heart of the Arab and Muslim world, an investment powerhouse, and a hub connecting three continents.
He pointed that Vision 2030 covers three major themes: A vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.

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