Popular boycott curtails US exports to Saudi Arabia
A popular Saudi campaign to boycott American products has taken a significant toll on trade between the two allies, bringing the value of US exports to Saudi Arabia in year-end 2002 down to their lowest ebb since 1990.
Between January and November 2002, US exports to the Saudi Arabia totaled $4.353 billion. This figure represents a 21.2 percent plunge as compared with the $5.527-billion products sold in the Saudi kingdom during the corresponding 11-month period in 2001.
Revealing the depth of anti-US sentiment in the conservative Muslim kingdom, the 2002 figure is 54.6 percent lower than the 1998 November-end figure $9.6 billion, according to US Census Bureau figures.
Local retailers selling American brands, products and services throughout Middle Eastern markets are now anxious that a US-led war against Iraq could prompt an ever-stronger
Arab boycott against them.
Despite the fact that US imports are cheaper than European products, because of exchange rates, Saudi customers seem more and more disposed to purchasing either European, Japanese or Arab-produced goods. The oil-rich kingdom is the United Stats’ largest energy supplier and main trading partner in the Middle East.
The grassroots campaign, conducted from mosques, schools and universities, was launched in late 2000, following the start of the Palestinian intifada. The movement gathered momentum in April 2002, in protest against Washington's support for Israel’s military incursions into the Palestinian occupied territories. Word spread through leaflets, the Internet, newspapers and mobile phone text messages, urging Saudi consumers to avoid US goods. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)