Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah began detailed discussions on the Kingdom’s Trade Policy Review at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on Wednesday.
Al-Rabiah is heading the Saudi delegation participating in the policy review meetings.
In the first review meeting since the Kingdom's accession to the WTO in 2005, Al-Rabiah said the meeting provided an opportunity to review the accomplishments of the Kingdom in economic growth and diversification over the past years.
"We attach great significance to the review as the members constructive comments will be greatly useful to us," Al-Rabiah said in his speech at the opening session, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
All WTO members are subjected to the review. The frequency of each country’s review varies according to its share of world trade. The review of Saudi Arabia’s role shall be done every four years.
Al-Rabiah noted that the Kingdom's economic competitiveness has placed it at the top of the countries in the Middle East and 12th in the global rating of competitiveness of the WTO in 2011 and 17th in the rating of the World Economic Forum.
Under the guidance of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah the Kingdom has been pursuing a developmental strategy that has enabled the Kingdom to make remarkable economic achievements in terms of Gross Domestic Product, keeping inflation at a moderate level and achieve budget surplus.
"Furthermore, the Kingdom reacted to the global economic crisis with huge financial incentives which enabled the country to check the impact of the global crisis," the minister said, adding, the Kingdom did not resort to any commercial controls despite the economic slowdown in the world economy.
The development strategy of the Kingdom also improved its investment climate and opened its doors in mining, petrochemicals and telecommunications sectors for foreign investments. “The Kingdom is the ninth largest recipient of foreign direct investments in the world,” he said.
“The Kingdom has spared no efforts to protect patent rights including its Ministry of Culture and Information setting a committee to examine intellectual property rights, the minister said. The Kingdom has also been accorded observer status in the WTO’s international committee on government procurement.
The meeting was chaired by Chile’s Ambassador to WTO Mario Matus, who is the chairman of the review committee, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Al-Rabiah also met with WTO Director General Pascal Lamy.