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NEW DELHI : India and Saudi Arabia plan to strengthen their long-held ties through sustainable initiatives that will expand the opportunities for both nations, Union minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal said.

Goyal visited Saudi Arabia from September 18-19 to attend the Ministerial meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council. Along with Goyal, Saudi Minister for Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud co-chaired the Ministerial meeting of the Committee on Economy and Investments of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council.

The minister met his counterpart Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Alkassabi to discuss economic ties between the Kingdom and India.

The Strategic Partnership Council was instituted in October, 2019 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has two main pillars i.e. Political, Security, Social and Cultural Committee and the Committee on Economy and Investments.

The notable outcomes of the Ministerial Meeting are:

1. Streamlining efforts to realize the announcement made by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, during his visit to India in February 2019, of investments worth USD 100 Billion in India.

2. Endorsement of the 41 areas of cooperation identified by the technical teams under the 4 broad domains of Agriculture & Food Security; Energy; Technology & IT; and Industry & Infrastructure.

3. Agreement to undertake implementation of the priority projects in a time bound manner. Priority areas of cooperation include: 

4. Collaboration in digital fintech sector through operationalization of UPI and Rupay Card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

5. Re-affirmation of continued cooperation in joint projects including the West coast refinery, LNG infrastructure investment and development of strategic petroleum storage facilities in India

During the visit, Minister met Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, Minister of Commerce of Saudi Arabia, and held wide ranging discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral trade, commerce and investments linkages.

Diversification and expansion of trade and commerce, removal of trade barriers, including the outstanding issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade remedies, automatic registration and marketing authorization of Indian pharma products in Saudi Arabia, feasibility of institutionalizing Rupee-Riyal trade, introduction of UPI and Rupay cards in Saudi Arabia; were amongst the key points of discussion.

“Had a fruitful meeting with Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, Minister of Commerce, KSA. Discussed ways to attract greater investment & further diversify bilateral trade to boost economic ties between India & Saudi Arabia", the Minister tweeted after the meeting.

Piyush Goyal also met Khalid Al-Salem, President of Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu, Eng. Saad Al-Khalb, CEO of Saudi EXIM Bank, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Industry, Saudi Arabia.

According to the ministry, discussions were held on a wide range of topics such as institutional tie-up of the EXIM banks of the two countries, joint projects in third countries, mutual recognition of standards, establishment of startup and innovation bridge, strengthening collaboration in infrastructure development, particularly in the domains of construction, railways, industrial and manufacturing collaboration in Pharmaceuticals, Automobiles, Petrochemicals, Specialty chemicals, Technical textiles, mining and increasing project exports from India.

“Had a productive meeting with Khalid Al-Salem, Chairman of the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. Identified a range of mutually beneficial opportunities to further strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries", Goyal tweeted on his meeting.

During the visit, Goyal also participated in a CEO Roundtable with prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia. Discussions focused on encouraging increasing exports from India, facilitating inward investments into India, innovative ways and means of deepening and broad basing bilateral economic linkages.

“Had an enriching interaction with CEOs of companies from different sectors in Saudi Arabia. Delighted to see their enthusiasm towards further strengthening trade & investment linkages between the two countries", he tweeted about the interaction.

Goyal also interacted with Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud.

“Discussed how energy security with climate change sensitivity can deliver economic growth & prosperity. Deliberated on stronger partnership in renewable energy between our two countries", he tweeted about the meeting.

Goyal also inaugurated “The India Week" in Riyadh as part of the ongoing efforts of Embassy of India in Riyadh to celebrate Indian products especially Food products like Millets, Textiles etc.

“Brand India shining bright in Saudi Arabia!" the Minister tweeted.

On his visit, the minister was accompanied by a delegation comprising officials of the ranks of Additional Secretaries and Joint Secretaries from the Ministries of Agriculture, Commerce, Electronics and IT and from NITI Aayog.

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