Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia
Protection of Foreign Investment
- Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Bilateral Investment Agreements
- International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
- Visit UNCTAD website mentioning the dispute between Saudi Arabia and the investor country.
- Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International Chamber of Commerce
ICSID , International Center for settlement of Investment Disputes
- Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors
|Saudi Arabia||Middle East & North Africa||United States||Germany|
|Index of Transaction Transparency*||9.0||6.3||7.0||5.0|
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||8.0||4.6||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||4.0||3.4||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Investor Protection****||7.0||4.8||8.3||5.0|
Source: Doing Business
Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.
Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment
- Freedom of Establishment
- Not guaranteed
- Acquisition of Holdings
- Competent Organization For the Declaration
Ministry of Finance, Saudi Arabia
- Requests For Specific Authorizations
- Saudi Arabia maintains a Negative List that tabulates sectors not open to foreign investment (visit SAGIA site). The sectors currently closed to foreign investment include three manufacturing categories and 13 service industries. The list includes real estate investment in Mecca and Medina, some sub-sectors in printing and publishing, audiovisual and media services, land transportation services excluding the inter-city transport by trains, and upstream petroleum. SAGIA periodically reviews the list.
Office Real Estate and Land Ownership
- Possible Temporary Solutions
There are ready-to-move-in offices available on rent in various business parks across Kingdom's main cities.
However in case the foreign company is of national interest, the Saudi government may provide temporary space for a limited period till the company establishes itself in the country.
- The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
- Risk of Expropriation
- Negligible. No such case has been reported so far.
- Forms of Aid
The government has created industrial sites attracting foreign investors in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Qaseem, Al-Ahsa and Makkah. The setting up of a subsidiary allows tax exemptions for 5 years. The State provides with electricity, water, fuel...at low prices when industrial plans are involved. The government encourages partnership with local companies, granting more aids and advantages to companies whose capital is shared with Saudis. The Department of Industry and Electricity, the Department of Finance should be contacted in order to know the various helps granted to foreign investors.
Foreign investment that fulfills the requirements of the Foreign Capital Investment Code enjoys all privileges of national capital and is entitled to the same treatment, protection, and incentives accorded to national capital which includes exemption from customs duties on machinery, equipment. The SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) may be contacted for further information about investment laws and opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
- Privileged Domains
The government encourages investment in transportation, education, health, information and communications technology, life sciences and energy. However foreign investment in petroleum and mineral projects is not encouraged.
- Privileged Geographical Zones
The government has set up six “Economic Cities” located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Qaseem, Al-Ahsa and Makkah in order to attract foreign investment. These cities will focus on focusing on different industries.
- Free Zones
Saudi Arabia does not have duty-free zones or free ports.
However Saudi Arabia is a member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab League. Saudi Arabia grants special trade and investment privileges to members of (GCC) allowing free movement of local goods. Arab League has also agreed to negotiate an Arab free trade zone.
- Organizations Which Finance
Saudi Industrial Development Fund
- The Key Sectors of the National Economy
- Oil sector
- High Potential Sectors
- Franchising, Tourism, Banking
- Privatization Programs
- The Supreme Economic Council announced a privatization program in 2002, which would allow privatization of 20 state-owned companies in a phased manner. These companies belong to sectors like: telecommunication, water and drainage; saline water desalination; mining; power; air transportation and related services; railways; some sectors of roadways; post services; flour mills and silos; seaport services; some municipality services; some educational and social services; some agricultural services; some health services, etc.
- Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info, Tenders in Saudi Arabia
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer
- Monopolistic Sectors
- Telecommunications, Electricity
- Sectors in Decline
Finding Assistance For Further Information
- Investment Aid Agency
Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA)
- Other Useful Resources
Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Doing Business Guides
Deloitte International Tax and Business Guide about Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia Commercial Guide 2010 - Buy USA
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