Some 300 Lebanese and Saudi businessmen opened a two-day conference here Tuesday, October 30 aimed at boosting trade and investment between the two countries.
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri told the opening session of the First Conference of Lebanese and Saudi Businessmen that Beirut and Riyadh were working toward the establishment of a free trade zone between the two countries."
Hariri, seated by visiting Saudi Trade Minister Osama Faqih, also addressed Saudi businessmen, noting the "benefits of investments in Lebanon despite the economic problems in the country."
Abdel Rahman Al-Jreissi, deputy chairman of the Saudi Chambers of Trade and Industry, said the conference was an "important framework for increasing trade and economic bilateral ties as well as investments."
Jreissi said Saudi Arabia's exports to Lebanon only amounted to 0.23 percent of its total exports in 1999 and its imports from Lebanon did not exceed 0.23 percent of its total imports in the same year.
Adnan Kassar, president of the federation of trade, industry and agriculture chambers, called for a greater Arab private sector cooperation to counter the negative effects of the September 11 devastating attacks in the United States. Kassar also noted the low volume of trade exchanges among Arab countries, which currently stands at seven percent of the Arab world's international trade ties. — (AFP, Beirut)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )