Japan and Saudi Arabia ready to accelerate joint projects and set up special economic zones

Japan sees resource-rich Saudi Arabia as an attractive market for its infrastructure exports

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 9:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 9:07pm

Economy ministers of Japan and Saudi Arabia agreed on Tuesday to accelerate efforts to implement joint economic projects in the Middle Eastern country, including ones intended to improve business and investment environments.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko and Adel Fakeih, Saudi Arabia’s minister of economy and planning, confirmed the efforts at their meeting in Tokyo one day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting King Salman bin Abdulaziz agreed to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation in announcing what was billed the “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030”.

“Many Japanese take Saudi Arabia’s commitment to its reforms seriously. The relationship of the two countries has now progressed to a strategic partner,” Seko said at his meeting with Fakeih, which involved around 70 officials from both sides.

Many Japanese take Saudi Arabia’s commitment to its reforms seriously. The relationship of the two countries has now progressed to a strategic partner
Hiroshige Seko, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister

“From today, we will move from the stage of planning to the stage of implementation of the vision, whose contents are remarkable.”

In his opening remarks, Fakeih said Riyadh and Tokyo should “prepare as one team for the implementation of the vision”. The portion of the meeting was open to the media.

Under the 2030 vision, the two countries will explore setting up special economic zones to invite more investment by Japanese companies into the Mideast country, which is undergoing transformation from an oil-dependent economy amid falls in oil prices.

Japan, meanwhile, sees resource-rich Saudi Arabia as an attractive market for its infrastructure exports.

Also on Tuesday, around 20 Japanese companies, including Toyota, exchanged memoranda of understanding with Saudi Arabian companies and government to strengthen ties.

Among them, Japan Exchange Group and the Saudi Stock Exchange signed a pact for broad cooperation in areas such as cross-listing of shares and development of financial products.

The Saudi king has been visiting Japan since Sunday, marking the first trip to the country by a Saudi king in 46 years. The 81-year-old king was accompanied by a massive delegation including royal family members and ministers.

Approximately 10 aircraft were used to transport the huge delegation to Japan, a local government official said, while over 1,000 rooms at high-end hotels in Tokyo have been reserved and some 500 limousines mobilised for the delegation, a Saudi government source said.