North East Businesses launch new Saudi-North East England Trade and Investment Dialogue

May 3, 2023 admin

The North East Economic Forum (NEEF) has launched the Saudi – North East England Trade and Investment Dialogue, building upon significant Saudi investment in the North East and Tees Valley.

Alan Donnelly, the Executive Chairman of Sovereign Strategy and Chair of NEEF, who hosted His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Bandar al Saud, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a business leaders’ dinner in Durham,  announced the new bilateral relationship.

Alan Donnelly said, “Saudi Arabia is building a significant relationship with the North East of England through its investment in Newcastle United, the new direct flights from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Newcastle Airport and Alfanar and SABIC’s investments in Teesside. The North East of England has always had a global footprint through international partnerships in business, education and culture – this deepening relationship with Saudi Arabia is an incredible opportunity for our small and medium business community, our universities and colleges and for our tourism industry.”

His Royal Highness the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia said, “I am honoured to inaugurate the launch of the Saudi – North East England Trade and Investment Dialogue. This dialogue will hopefully create a consistent linkage and facilitate meaningful partnerships between companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and this vital region of the UK.”

Chris Innes-Hopkins, the UK Executive Director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council said, “The Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) is looking forward to partnering with this new initiative to create a structured dialogue on how to deepen trade, investment and cultural links between North East England and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It complements and supports the work of the Joint Council and builds on a number of existing links. I believe it will lead to a lot of new opportunities both for the North East of England and Saudi Arabia”.

In a recorded message to the event in Durham, the Berwick MP and Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said, “I welcome the creation of the Saudi – North East of England Trade and Investment Dialogue, as a way of rapidly deepening the partnership and building closer ties between the NE and Saudi Arabia in key sectors of the economy.”

The Dialogue will bring together the devolved mayoral combined authorities, local government, academia and the business community to build new partnerships with Saudi Arabia around renewable energy, life sciences, tourism, health, education and skills.

Chris McHugh, Director of the North East Economic forum and Head of Public Affairs at Stephenson- Mohl Group said, “The North East business community welcomes this new era of inward investment in our region. The successful takeover of Newcastle United, alongside the announcement of a new North East devolution deal, has given a much-needed confidence boost and renewed interest in investment in the North East. This new Saudi–North East dialogue, facilitated by the North East Economic Forum, offers an opportunity to showcase our world-leading industries in sectors such as health & life sciences, research & development and renewable energy. We’re delighted that NEEF has been asked to provide new opportunities for dialogue and we will be setting out our programme shortly.”

The North East Economic Forum was launched in 2005 in partnership with Northumbria University, to provide meaningful opportunities for regional stakeholders to discuss the region’s economy with national and international leaders. Past speakers include Prime Ministers, international trade envoys and industry leaders.