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Saudi Arabia: Market Profile

Picture: Saudi Arabia factsheet
Picture: Saudi Arabia factsheet

1. Overview

Saudi Arabia is an oil-reliant economy, boasting the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world. Ongoing structural reform efforts and improving outlook for oil exports signal that Saudi Arabia's economic growth will continue to strengthen in the short- to medium term. In order to shore up economic growth, on December 18, 2018, the government announced an expansionary budget for 2019, which focuses on boosting capital expenditure.

Source: Fitch Solutions

2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections

January 2015
King Salman ascended to the throne after King Abdullah died.

April 2016
Vision 2030 economic diversification plan launched.

June 2017
King Salman named his son Mohammed bin Salman first in line to the throne.

September 2017
Ban on women driving formally lifted, it allowed women to drive in 2018.

January 2019
The Saudi Arabian government signed three contracts worth around USD14 billion for implementing major railway projects. The first deal, signed with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, was for the USD10.6 billion Land Bridge project, which was aimed at linking the Red Sea and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ports via the railways between Dammam and Riyadh. The USD3.6 billion second deal has been signed with a Saudi-Spanish consortium to build Phase Two of the Haramain high-speed train project. The USD267 million third deal has been signed by Saudi Railway Company and United States firm Green Bakery Corporation for the manufacturing of train wagons in the country.

2019-2020
Saudi Arabia is set to start construction on NEOM Bay in the first half of 2019. The NEOM Bay, which is the first urban area of the USD500 billion NEOM project, includes construction of homes, lifestyle and tourist facilities, innovation centres as well as hotels. The master plan concept for NEOM Bay has been approved by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is also the chairman of the NEOM board. Contractors for the NEOM Bay will be appointed before April 2019 and the phase is expected to be completed in 2020.

Sources: BBC Country Profile - Timeline, Fitch Solutions Political Risk Analysis, Saudi Press Agency

3. Major Economic Indicators

Graph: Saudi Arabia real GDP and inflation
Graph: Saudi Arabia real GDP and inflation
Graph: Saudi Arabia GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia GDP by sector (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia unemployment rate
Graph: Saudi Arabia unemployment rate
Graph: Saudi Arabia current account balance
Graph: Saudi Arabia current account balance

e = estimate, f = forecast
Sources: IMF, World Bank
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

4. External Trade

4.1 Merchandise Trade

Graph: Saudi Arabia merchandise trade
Graph: Saudi Arabia merchandise trade

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

Graph: Saudi Arabia major export commodities (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major export commodities (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major export markets (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major export markets (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major import commodities (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major import commodities (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major import markets (2017)
Graph: Saudi Arabia major import markets (2017)

Sources: Trade Map, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

4.2 Trade in Services

Graph: Saudi Arabia trade in services
Graph: Saudi Arabia trade in services

Source: WTO
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

5. Trade Policies

  • Saudi Arabia has been a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) since December 11, 2005.

  • The country's GCC membership means that it is part of a single market and customs union with a common external tariff. A tariff of only 5% is imposed on the majority of items imported to Saudi Arabia from non-GCC countries, and there is a single point of entry where tariffs are collected once imports enter the GCC.

  • Overall, the average applied import tariff for goods entering Saudi Arabia is 3.4%. This is the second highest out of all six GCC states – tied with Qatar and just behind the United Arab Emirates, which has an average applied tariff rate of 3.2%. While on average Saudi Arabia has some of the lowest import tariffs in the MENA region, there are significant non-tariff barriers to trade in the country.

  • For cultural and religious reasons, an import tariff of 200% is levied on cigarettes and tobacco products (GCC tariff).

  • Value of 5% was introduced in January 2018.

  • Saudi Arabia has a domestic metal manufacturing industry which is protected by tariff measures.

  • For cultural and religious reasons, all imports of alcoholic beverages are banned.

  • Various import bans exist on sensitive goods such as high energy air-conditioners, cars older than five years, and equipment used in water desalination processes.

  • In order to import a wide variety of consumer goods (such as basic foodstuffs and packaged pharmaceutical products) to Saudi Arabia, special approval is required from the relevant government authority.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, National sources, Fitch Solutions

6. Trade Agreement

6.1 Trade Updates

In March 2017, the Saudi King commenced a month-long visit to the Asian region in order to strengthen trade, security and cultural ties.

6.2 Multinational Trade Agreements

Active

  1. The GCC: Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the GCC, a political and economic organisation established May 25, 1981. In January 2015, the GCC implemented a customs union and free trade agreement (FTA) that allows free movement of local goods among member states. Saudi Arabia's trade with these countries is tariff-free. Other members of the GCC are Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This agreement helps member states to leverage one another's industrial capacity and logistics networks. The geographic proximity of these countries and their general adoption of free trade economic policies are factors that foster a competitive business environment. Only imports on certain sensitive goods from GCC countries face tariffs, and there is freedom of movement between GCC countries without customs or non-customs restrictions. In 2017, the GCC was the source market for 9% of Saudi Arabia's imports (with 6.5% of total imports coming from the UAE) and the destination for 5.8% of Saudi Arabia's exports (the UAE again being Saudi Arabia's largest trade partner in the GCC, receiving 3.5% of exports). Saudi Arabia negotiates FTAs through its GCC membership.

  2. Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA): GAFTA came into force on January 1, 1998. In March 2001, it was decided to speed up the liberalisation process, and on January 1, 2005 the elimination of most tariffs among the GAFTA members was enforced. GAFTA activates the Trade Facilitation and Development Agreement and eliminates most tariffs among the GAFTA members. The 17 members of GAFTA are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen. GAFTA was declared within the Social and Economic Council of the Arab League as an executive programme to activate the Trade Facilitation and Development Agreement and the elimination of most tariffs among the GAFTA members. The GAFTA saw tariffs between 17 Arab states rapidly decline from an average 15% in 2002 to 6% in 2009.

  3. GCC-European Free Trade Association (EFTA)(Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland): The GCC and the EFTA signed an FTA on June 22, 2009 which entered into force on July 1, 2014. The Agreement covers the progressive elimination of tariffs in trade in services and manufactured goods as well as investment, and other trade-related issues, such as protection of intellectual property, and is fully consistent with provisions of the WTO. In addition, bilateral arrangements on agricultural products between individual EFTA States and the GCC form part of the instruments establishing the free trade area between both sides. As a single entity, the EFTA is one of Saudi Arabia's largest import partners. Between 2014 and 2017, total trade between the GCC and EFTA grew by 22%.

  4. GCC-Singapore: The GCC-Singapore FTA (GSFTA) became effective on September 1, 2013. GSFTA eliminates most tariffs (99%) of Singapore's exports to the GCC. This is a comprehensive agreement covering trade in goods, rules of origin, customs procedures, trade in services and government procurement among others. Key sectors benefitting include telecommunication, electrical and electronic equipment, petrochemicals, jewellery, machinery and iron and steel-related industry. The recognition of the halal certification of Singapore's Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) will also pave the way for trade in halal-certified products to gain faster access to the GCC countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

Signed But Not Yet In Effect

  1. The Trade Preferential System of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (TPS-OIC): The agreement would see to the promotion of trade between member states by including most-favoured nation principles, harmonising policy on rules of origin, exchanging trade preferences among member states, promoting equal treatment of member states and special treatment for least developed member states and providing for regional economic bodies made up of OIC nations to participate as a block. The agreement will cover all commodity groups. The OIC comprises 57 members, making a full realisation of such an agreement highly impactful, encompassing approximately 1.8 billion people. Although the Framework Agreement, the Protocol on Preferential Tariff Scheme and the Rules of Origin have all been agreed on, a minimum of 10 members are required to update and submit their concessions list for the agreements to come into effect. As of January 2019, only seven nations have done so.

Under Negotiation

  1. GCC-Australia: Australia and the GCC commenced FTA negotiations in July 2007.  Australia and the GCC share a significant economic relationship, encompassing trade and investment across a broad range of goods and services. Total trade between Australia and the GCC reached USD8.4 billion in 2017. The GCC is a key market for agricultural exports, such as livestock, meat, dairy products, vegetables, sugar, wheat and other grains. The agreement provides an opportunity to address a range of tariff and non-tariff barriers related to food exports that will benefit the food and drink sectors in Saudi Arabia. With a large proportion of world petroleum resources and a rapidly growing population, the GCC's prospects for continued trade growth are strong. The agreement will also help maintain a level playing field for automotive imports to the GCC market. These factors, along with a plurilateral FTA, will help sustain growth in Saudi Arabia's trade and investment relations with the country.

  2. GCC-mainland China: The first-round negotiations of the GCC-mainland China FTA commenced on April 27, 2005. Greater trade liberalisation will help develop the industrial and service sectors. Saudi Arabia mainly exports commodities, such as oil, to mainland China, and imports electrical goods and machinery from mainland China. Trade liberalisation with the GCC will help the group integrate and grow with mutual cooperation and comprehensive tariff reduction. In 2017, mainland China accounted for 12% of the GCC's total global trade.

  3. United States-Middle East: In May 2003, the United States-Middle East Free Trade Area (US-MEFTA) initiative was proposed, with the eventual goal of establishing an FTA between the United States and a range of countries in the Middle East. The countries targeted to join MEFTA are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Israel (and through Israel, the Palestinian Authority), Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. US-MEFTA includes a wide range of trade and investment issues, such as market access, intellectual property rights, and labour and environmental issues. US-MEFTA will help in growing commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and working to remove impediments to trade and investment flows between member states. This expands the scope of markets for businesses in Saudi Arabia to export products to and will significantly reduce trade costs. In July 2003, the US and Saudi Arabia signed into force the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), with the aim of regulating all commercial matters between member states.

  4. India-GCC: The GCC and India are negotiating an FTA. The agreement is expected to remove restrictive duties, push down tariffs on goods and pave the way for more intensive economic engagement between the nations. More than 50% of India's oil and gas comes from the GCC countries.

  5. Japan-GCC: Japan and the GCC are negotiating an FTA. This agreement will seek to reduce tariffs and liberalise services trade and investment. Japan mainly imports aluminium, natural gas, liquid natural gas and petroleum products from the GCC, while Japan mainly exports electronics, vehicles, machinery and other industrial products to the GCC.

  6. Other: A number of other GCC FTAs are currently under negotiation. The countries engaged in negotiations include Pakistan, New Zealand, South Korea, the Mercosur bloc and Turkey.

Sources: WTO Regional Trade Agreements Database, Fitch Solutions

7. Investment Policy

7.1 Foreign Direct Investment

Graph: Saudi Arabia FDI stock
Graph: Saudi Arabia FDI stock
Graph: Saudi Arabia FDI flow
Graph: Saudi Arabia FDI flow

Source: UNCTAD
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy

  1. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), established in April 2000, is responsible for foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion, licensing and regulation, as well as offering support services to foreign investors. SAGIA's primary goal is to facilitate and encourage investment wherever possible.

  2. Related law and regulations on foreign investment are well established, however, some restrictions still remain for FDI, such as limits on foreign ownership and business activity in core sectors of the Saudi Arabian economy, including upstream oil and gas production.

  3. Non-residents are permitted to own property without a Saudi partner or sponsor. Saudi investment law allows 100% ownership of projects by foreigners (except for activities ruled out by the negative list) and relaxes rules for sponsoring foreign employees.

  4. Industries barred from foreign involvement are published in the country's negative investment list. This includes upstream oil production, manufacturing of military hardware, real estate in Mecca and Medina, recruitment and employment services, some printing and publishing activities, media services and land transportation. In addition, special licensing requirements are in place for a wider range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, air and maritime transport, hydrocarbon exploration, ports, livestock farming, and advertising and media.

  5. Local worker hiring requirements are in place. Government efforts to encourage the employment of Saudi nationals over expatriates have been enshrined in a clear plan known as Nitaqat, by which every company is divided into a sector with a different quota for the employment of Saudi workers, depending on the size of the firm. Those businesses meeting the criteria are classed as platinum or green, those failing are classed as yellow or red. Expatriate employees may move freely from the latter categories to the former (employers' permission is usually required), while companies under the former categories gain advantages in terms of employing expatriate workers

  6. Though the law no longer requires that non-resident companies must find local partners, this method remains the most effective way of doing business in Saudi Arabia, as domestic entities will have a greater knowledge and experience of dealing with licensing, procurement and other bureaucratic procedures.

  7. Saudi Arabia has no form of leisure tourism visa in place and all non-GCC foreigners wanting to enter the country therefore need to have a local sponsor. Visas are currently only issued for business travel, for foreigners with Saudi Arabian relatives, for transit purposes and for religious pilgrimage purposes.

  8. Privatisation schemes and the public listing of state-owned entities are aims outlined in Saudi Arabia's 'Vision 2030' document.

Sources: WTO - Trade Policy Review, ITA, US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions

7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives

Free Trade Zone/Incentive ProgrammeMain Incentives Available
Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mousaed Economic City (PABMEC) in Hail, Knowledge Economic City (KEC) in Madinah, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh, and the Jazan Economic City (JEC)- 100% foreign ownership of projects, including property required to support the business activities, in addition to owning private residences and employee accommodation

- No restrictions on sponsoring foreign employees

- Ability to carry forward losses indefinitely

- Indefinite exemption from all income taxes

- Minimum capital requirement and no restrictions on repatriation of capital

- Accelerated investment application, business registration and setup process, with a guaranteed decision for foreign investment applications within 30 days of submission to SAIGA

- No personal income tax and a minimal 20% corporate tax for foreign companies

- Moderate utilities rates

- No export duties within the 17 countries of GAFTA

- Few restrictions on currency conversion, exchanges and transfers

- Duty drawback, a customs refund for raw material imports that are processed and exported as finished goods

- Preferential treatment for national products in Saudi Government procurement

- Export credit, financing, guarantees and insurance through the Saudi Export Programme

- Financial support for the training and employment of Saudis from the Human Resources Development Fund

- Low-cost loans from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund and Public Investment Fund

- Customs duties exemption on imported machinery, equipment, raw materials and spare parts, if they are for industrial use. Low land rental and utilities rates – net leasing rate/annum: SAR700/sq m; service charge: SAR120/sq m (total service charge: SAR820/sq m, to be paid annually in advance on a quarterly basis)

- Exemption from import fees for selected raw materials imported for manufacturing products

- Contract term – minimum two years; no escalation during the first two years; year three onward: 5% per annum

- Modern infrastructure and education facilities

Sources: US Department of Commerce, Fitch Solutions

8. Taxation – 2019

  • Value Added Tax: 5%
  • Corporate Income Tax: 20%

Sources: National Sources, The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Zakat And Tax

8.1 Important Updates to Taxation Information

  • Saudi Arabia has double taxation agreements (DTA) and Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (IPPA) with mainland China and concluded the DTA with Hong Kong in August 2017.
  • VAT is expected to  become one of the major sources of non-oil revenue in Saudi Arabia, according to the 2019 budget statement. Enterprises with taxable or expected sales of SAR1 million or more were required to register before December 20, 2017 and transfer VAT collected to the General Authority for Zakat and Income. Enterprises with annual sales of SAR375,000 or more, were required to register before December 20, 2018.

8.2 Business Taxes

Type of TaxTax Rate and Base
Corporate Income Tax
The corporate income tax rate is 20% on a non-Saudi’s share in a resident corporation; zakat is levied on a Saudi's share. Citizens of GCC countries are treated as Saudis
Corporate Income Tax in the natural gas sector30%
Corporate Income Tax in the oil sector50%-85%
Dividends5% on net earnings (except for firms in the oil and gas sector)
Capital Gains Tax0.6% on any payment debited or credited to bank accounts
Value Added Tax30% on export earnings
Zakat (Religious levy, imposed on the shareholders in Saudi Arabian companies that are Saudi or GCC nationals)2.5% on Zakat base
Social security contributions – payable by employer12% of employee's salary for Saudi employees and an accident insurance of 2% of employee's salary for non-Saudi employees

Sources: Saudi Arabia Ministry of Finance, The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Zakat And Tax,  Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

9. Foreign Worker Requirements

9.1 Localisation Requirements

The Saudi Arabian government has launched a local workforce hiring localisation policy called 'Saudisation', which is intended to boost the employment of Saudi nationals and reduce reliance on foreign labour. Foreign firms are, therefore, required to employ and train Saudi nationals. In line with Saudi Arabia's economic diversification strategy 'Vision 2030', the Saudi Arabian government has ramped up the enforcement of its 'Saudisation' policies in order to try and achieve its aim of 50% of all employment in the country's private sector to be occupied by Saudi Nationals. Employers must consider Saudi nationals for any positions before they hire a foreign worker. Before a company can apply for a work permit for a foreign national they want to employ, they must advertise the job opening for two weeks on a government jobs portal.

Certain positions are reserved strictly for Saudi nationals and businesses must pay certain charges for every foreign national they hire. There are also specific 'Saudisation' targets set for specific firms or sectors, and if these are not complied with there is strong potential for businesses not to get the work permits of their foreign workers renewed or to be denied work permits for new foreign employees.

9.2 Obtaining Foreign Worker Permits for Skilled Workers

Applicants must have an offer of employment by an employer willing to sponsor their application and from there the applicant must provide proof of education qualifications and various medical records.

9.3 Visa/Travel Restrictions

All citizens of non-GCC states must apply for a visa before entering the country. To be granted a visa to enter Saudi Arabia (only for business, medical or religious purposes) the applicant must be sponsored by a Saudi national. Saudi Arabia still has no form of leisure tourism visa in place.

Sources: Government websites, Fitch Solutions

10. Risks

10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings


Rating (Outlook)Rating Date
Moody's
A1 (Stable)
13/04/2018
Standard & Poor'sA- (Stable)
17/02/2016
Fitch Ratings
A+ (Stable)
22/11/2018

Sources: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings

10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators


World Ranking
2016201720182019
Ease of Doing Business Index
94/189
92/190
92/190
92/190
Ease of Paying Taxes Index
3/189
69/19076/19078/190
Logistics Performance Index
52/160
N/A55/160N/A
Corruption Perception Index
62/176
57/180N/AN/A
IMD World Competitiveness36/6336/6339/63N/A

Sources: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International

10.3 Fitch Solutions Risk Indices


World Ranking
2016201720182019
Economic Risk Index
N/AN/A40/20250/202
Short-Term Economic Risk Score51.558.867.5
65.6
Long-Term Economic Risk Score66.365.767.166.0
Political Risk Index
N/AN/A72.5126/202
Short-Term Political Risk Score70.872.572.571.7
Long-Term Political Risk Score58.156.758.756.7
 Operational Risk IndexN/AN/A52/20152/201
Operational Risk Score6161.761.561.6

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

10.4 Fitch Solutions Risk Summary

ECONOMIC RISK
Saudi Arabia's economic fortunes are heavily tied to global hydrocarbon prices. The economy benefited from increased crude oil production and higher prices for the commodity in the second half of 2018, prompting GDP to expand at the fastest pace in two-and-a-half years. Although growth in non-oil private activity accelerated slightly, it remained low compared to historical figures. In order to shore up economic growth, the government announced an expansionary budget for 2019, which focuses on boosting capital expenditure. The Saudi Vision 2030 plan is expected to provide long-term benefits for the private sector growth and FDI levels in the decade ahead.

OPERATIONAL RISK
Saudi Arabia remains one of the top regional performers in terms of its operating environment. This competitiveness is largely associated with the Kingdom's larger trade volumes and inward FDI flows compared to its peers, its well-developed taxation and financial systems and its superior logistics network to those of many other MENA states. Furthermore, government efforts are being increasingly directed towards addressing its pre-existing key areas of weakness that are largely related to its complex security and labour environments.

Source: Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

10.5 Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices

Graph: Saudi Arabia short term political risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia short term political risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia long term political risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia long term political risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia short term economic risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia short term economic risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia long term economic risk index
Graph: Saudi Arabia long term economic risk index

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Political and Economic Risk Indices
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

10.6 Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index


Operational RiskLabour Market RiskTrade and Investment RiskLogistics RiskCrime and Security Risk
Saudi Arabia Score61.963.0
62.162.7
58.6
MENA Average47.549.348.048.744.1
MENA Position (out of 18)534
57
Global Average49.649.7
49.9
49.0
49.8
Global Position (out of 201)522454
51
73

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Note: MENA= Middle East and North Africa
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index

Graph: Saudi Arabia vs global and regional averages
Graph: Saudi Arabia vs global and regional averages
Country
Operational Risk Index
Labour Market Risk Index
Trade and Investment Risk IndexLogistics Risk IndexCrime and Security Risk Index
UAE
72.7
67.879.068.775.3
Qatar
66.063.961.971.666.5
Bahrain
64.958.469.5
71.560.1
Oman
63.351.061.664.576.0
Saudi Arabia
61.663.062.162.758.6
Jordan
58.654.960.659.060.0
Kuwait
55.152.351.552.564.1
Morocco
53.239.863.554.854.6
Egypt48.446.046.156.445.3
Tunisia
47.342.356.947.342.8
Lebanon43.447.951.8
41.432.4
Iran42.848.736.6
50.835.1
Algeria
41.544.031.242.947.9
West Bank and Gaza
34.246.437.232.021.2
Libya
27.244.421.729.313.4
Iraq
27.043.724.428.611.3
Syria26.642.923.827.012.7
Yemen
21.930.625.015.816.1
Regional Averages47.549.348.048.744.1
Emerging Markets Averages46.748.145.547.446.0
Global Markets Averages49.649.7
49.949.049.8

100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: Fitch Solutions Operational Risk Index
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

11. Hong Kong Connection

11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Saudi Arabia

Graph: Major export commodities to Saudi Arabia (2018)
Graph: Major export commodities to Saudi Arabia (2018)
Graph: Major import commodities from Saudi Arabia (2018)
Graph: Major import commodities from Saudi Arabia (2018)

Note: Graph shows the main Hong Kong exports to/imports from Saudi Arabia (by consignment)

Graph: Merchandise exports to Saudi Arabia
Graph: Merchandise exports to Saudi Arabia
Graph: Merchandise imports from Saudi Arabia
Graph: Merchandise imports from Saudi Arabia

Note: Graph shows Hong Kong exports to/imports from Saudi Arabia (by consignment)
Exchange Rate HK$/US$, average
7.76 (2013)
7.75 (2014)
7.75 (2015)
7.76 (2016)
7.79 (2017)
7.83 (2018)
Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, Fitch Solutions
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

Graph: Merchandise imports, Poland
 

2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of Saudi residents visiting Hong Kong13,179
-28.7

Sources: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solution


2017
Growth rate (%)
Number of Middle Eastern residents visiting Hong Kong129,816-0.2

Sources: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Fitch Solution
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong


2016
Growth rate (%)
Number of Saudi Arabian companies in Hong Kong N/A
N/A
- Regional headquarters
- Regional offices
- Local offices


11.3 Treaties and agreements between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and mainland China entered into a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in May 1997. Saudi Arabia has DTA and IPPA with mainland China and concluded the DTA with Hong Kong in August 2017.

Source: Hong Kong Department of Justice, UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub

11.4 Chamber of Commerce (or Related Organisations) in Hong Kong

The Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ARABCCI) was established in Hong Kong in 2006 as a leading organisation at promoting commercial ties between Hong Kong/mainland China and the Arab World.

Address: 20/F, Central Tower, 28 Queens Road, Central, Hong Kong
Email: info@arabcci.org, secretariat@arabcci.org
Tel: (852) 2159 9170

Source: The Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hong Kong

Consulate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong
Address: Suite 6401-3, Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Email: info@saudiconsulate.org.hk
Tel: (852) 2520 3200
Fax: (852) 2520 3266

Source: Hong Kong Protcol Division Government Secretariat

11.5 Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents

Visa Application must be completed prior to travel.  It is important to note that the passport must not contain any evidence of prior or intended travel to Israel. Visas are currently only issued for business travel, for foreigners with Saudi Arabian relatives, for transit purposes and for religious pilgrimage purposes. Therefore a Saudi Arabia commercial visit invitation letter is required for Hong Kong residents.

Source: Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Date last reviewed: February 11, 2019

Content provided by Picture: Fitch Solutions – BMI Research