A senior Saudi official has emphasized the importance of trade freedom, saying it is the basic requirement for global economic progress. “A multilateral trade system is also vital for facilitating international trade,” said Muhammad Al-Kuthairy, deputy minister of commerce and industry for technical affairs.
Addressing a conference of the World Trade Organization in Geneva on Friday, he said: “Saudi Arabia has been enforcing trade freedom and combating protectionism. It avoided imposing any restrictions during global financial crises, following WTO rules.”
Saudi Arabia, which coordinates among Arab countries of WTO, also urged the conference to make Arabic one of the organization’s official languages in addition to English, French and Spanish. “This will enable Arab countries to interact quickly and efficiently with WTO and enhance Arabs’ awareness of WTO regulations.”
“The Kingdom has fulfilled its commitment to the WTO with the conviction that the next round of Doha talks would bring about a balance between commitments of countries that have recently joined the organization and those who are already its members,” the Saudi Press Agency quoting Al-Kuthairy as saying.
Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO was instrumental in increasing its industrial exports. "We hope to achieve a number of economic benefits from this accession, most importantly the facilitation of Saudi exports to world markets and the increase of foreign investment in the Kingdom," a senior official said earlier this month.
Saudi exports rose by 31 percent in 2010 to SR941.79 billion compared to SR721.11 billion in 2009, a statistical report said. The volume of exports rose by 7 percent to reach 391,806 tons.
Foreign investment in the Kingdom has reached more than SR639 billion as a result of economic reforms introduced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-12, released by the World Economic Forum in September, put Saudi Arabia at No. 17 from No. 21 in 2010-11.