Regional unrest prompts Saudi exporters to study new options

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Saudi exporters say they are seeking new alternative markets to those witnessing unrest and political upheavals that have affected the outflow of their exports.
They stated that the African markets are their best choice for the time being and in the future. The African markets, they pointed out, are still under matured, and anyone having access and the capabilities to establish a marketing base there will be a winner in the next few years.
Saudi nonoil exports took a rising trend last June (6.4 percent) with the announcement of the authorities in the country of a historical industrial project worth more than SR327 billion.
The industrial committee at Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) called on all local banks and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) who signed earlier an agreement to extend support to Saudi exports. The committee urged that the policies and procedures should be in favor of Saudi exports, and awareness campaigns and training programs be intensified in this regard.
Abdul Aziz Al-Sareei, head of the industrial committee at JCCI, said: “No doubt that Saudi exports were affected with the events sweeping Arab markets. Markets in Syria, Libya and Iraq, for instance, are either completely or partially lost. This is normal in such crises. We must have in place a backup plan to find alternative outlets for Saudi products.The African markets represent a good alternative. These markets are promising and attractive to many Saudi products.”
Al-Sareei said the industrial committee at the JCCI is always ready to support Saudi exports and facilitate procedures. “We will even try to visit some African countries to encourage channeling of Saudi exports toward them,” he said and noted that exporters of the Kingdom are very much willing to follow this path.
Commenting on the agreement endorsed by his committee and signed by some local banks and the IDB to support Saudi exports, he stressed that the agreement is in urgent need for further activation. “It did not yet amount to aspirations. We hope that support mechanisms of exports be more easy and resilience,” he added.
The main obstacles in this regard, he explained, is clarifying mechanisms of extending support.
Wasif Kabli, deputy chairman of the commerce committee at JCCI, said the effects of the Syrian crisis on Saudi exports were very clear lately. “But the effects of the Egyptian crisis did not unfold yet. There are some fears of its implications if it is to prolong in the future,” said Kabli.
In regard to the alternative African markets, Kabli said: “It needs an organized foray from the Saudi exporters side, based on accurate plans and studies, with the use of all available tools. We have to employ our political relations with the Africans so that we have access to these vivid markets, and make the best use of it in the future”.

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