Saudi King Fahd on Tuesday received French Secretary for Foreign Trade Francois Huwart, who is on a three-day trip to the kingdom to boost trade between the countries.
The meeting focused on "perspectives on cooperation between Paris and Riyadh in all areas," Saudi officials said.
Huwart also met with Crown Prince Abdullah, whom he delivered a message from French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, the official Saudi Press Agency, SPA, said without giving details.
The French secretary arrived on Monday, when he met with the chairman of Saudi Arabia's General Commission on Investments, Prince Abdullah bin Ibrahim bin Turki, who said: "We think French businesses do not come here enough, while all others come."
On his trip Huwart is also due to meet the Saudi ministers of trade, transport and telecommunications.
According to SPA's figures, trade between the two countries reached $3.1 billion in 1999.
Saudi Arabia and France also launched 59 joint ventures, which attracted $2.8 billion.
In late January, Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF) secured a €140 million ($125 million) contract in Saudi Arabia for the renovation of the army's defense systems.
Also, in December, the French engineering group Technip secured two big contracts with the Saudi Aramco oil company. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )