SBJBC attends BCC International Trade Summit in Birmingham

UK Executive Director, Chris Innes-Hopkins, attended the British Chambers of Commerce International Trade Summit in Birmingham on 12 October on behalf of SBJBC UK.

Panel discussions highlighted the need for a business friendly approach to Brexit as well as opportunities for UK businesses further afield. The President of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce emphasised the importance of Birmingham and the Midlands region as a key manufacturing and services hub, particularly with the advent of the HS2 rail line.

SBJBC UK is one of 40 Chambers in BCC’s Global Business Network, and the event was a good opportunity to meet with a wide range of overseas and UK colleagues.

Paul Kehoe, President of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

Trade Secretary confirms importance of UK/Saudi Trade Relations

SBJBC member DLA Piper hosted Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox MP for a Spectator debate on “Trade and Business in a post-Brexit World” on 29 September, moderated by broadcaster and publisher Andrew Neil.

Discussion focused on the potential for negotiation of new trade agreements including with the EU, and the opportunities for UK exporters of goods and services.  In reply to questions Dr Fox confirmed that UK trade and investment development with the Gulf and Saudi Arabia remained a high priority, particularly in the context of Saudi Vision 2030 where UK expertise could assist with implementation.

Saudi Arabia launches largest debt sale by any emerging market this year

Saudi Arabia has raised $12.5bn from its second dollar bond sale of the year  in order to offset strains caused by the fall in oil prices. The sale is the largest debt sale so far this year by any emerging economy.

The sale on 27 September was divided into three tranches with the government selling  $3 billion of long five-year notes, $5 billion of the 10-year tranche and $4.5 billion of the 30-year offering.

The Kingdom raised $9 billion from the sale of Islamic bonds in April 2017 to help bridge a budget deficit, forecast at 198 billion riyals ($53 billion) this year, or 7.7 percent of economic output. It also raised 37 billion riyals in the past three months from domestic debt sales.  Proceeds from the bond sale will be used in helping to reduce the Kingdom’s budget shortfall and bolster foreign currency reserves.


Saudi National Day Celebration

The Saudi Arabian Embassy in London welcomed guests including SBJBC members to a lively and well-attended celebration of Saudi National Day on 21 September.

Saudi Ambassador HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud welcomed guests, and spoke of the positive Saudi/UK trade, security and cultural relationship in the context of Saudi Vision 2030 implementation and post-Brexit developments in the UK .  Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange replied on behalf of the City of London to express support for Vision 2030 cooperation.

Guests were treated to performances of the traditional Ardha sword dances and a display of Saudi craftsmanship.  We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our Saudi members and friends a Happy Saudi National Day!

Saudi Arabia to launch “semi-autonomous” tourism project on Red Sea coast

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has approved plans to develop an ambitious new tourism project between the cities of Umluf and Alwajh on Saudi’s Red Sea coast backed by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

The project is in line with Saudi Vision 2030 which seeks to diversify the economy and increase tourism industry employment. It is reported that the developed area will cover some 34,000 square kilometres, and be governed by laws in line with “international standards.”

Construction of the new resorts is due to start in late 2019. The first phase of the project including a new airport and luxury hotels and housing is due to be completed by the end of 2022.

SBJBC hosts successful Doing Business in Saudi Arabia Workshop

SBJBC UK was pleased to welcome some 50 UK companies to its Doing Business in Saudi Arabia Workshop on 18 July, kindly supported by British Offset and Strategy International.

The event opened with updates on Saudi Vision 2030 by William Scott Jackson, Chairman of Oxford Strategic Consulting (click here for presentation) and Hashim Alawadi, CEO of Tech Invest Com and SBJBC Deputy Co-Chair.  This was followed by two lively panel discussions on opportunity sectors for UK companies, and practicalities of doing business in the Kingdom.  Speakers included SBJBC members Roger Cruickshank (Atkins Acuity), Martyn Best (Cultural Innovations), Frank Edwards (Pearson), Ben Cunnington (TPP) and Glenn Lovell (Clyde & Co).

The workshop coincided with the visit of a number of Saudi SBJBC board members to London who also attended SBJBC’s summer networking reception on 19 July kindly hosted by SBJBC member Trowers & Hamlins.

DLA Piper hosts Future of the City debate

SBJBC member DLA Piper hosted a stimulating debate on the Future of the City at the Museum of London on 21 June. Amongst the panellists were Lord Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Tim Harford, economist and Financial Times columnist and Sophie Hackford, futurist and business innovator. Speakers expressed confidence in the future of London as an economic powerhouse and worldwide hub for innovation, notwithstanding some Brexit concerns. 


HRH Mohammed bin Salman appointed Crown Prince

HRH Mohammed bin Salman

By Royal Decree on 21 June King Salman appointed his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, replacing former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Prince Mohammed bin Salman retains his position as Minister of Defence and Head of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.




Amec Foster Wheeler awarded contract by Saudi Aramco


SBJBC member Amec Foster Wheeler announced on 1 June 2017 that it had beenawarded a five year contract for major oilfield development by Saudi Aramco. The contract covers facilities required as part of the integrated oil and gas expansion of the Marjan offshore and onshore oilfield in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia



SBJBC’s Doing Business in Saudi Arabia Workshop

The Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) is delighted to announce it will be hosting a workshop on Doing Business in Saudi Arabia which will take place at SBJBC’s Grafton Street offices on 18 July.

The workshop will focus on Saudi Vision 2030 opportunities for UK companies and offer sector specific information across a broad range of industries. The session will also offer more general, practical information on doing business in Saudi Arabia.

Places are strictly limited. Please see our programme for further details. Contact to reserve your space or for further information.

Oxford – GCC Business Conference addresses GCC private sector development and women’s employment

SBJBC UK Director Chris Innes Hopkins participated in an interesting panel discussion at St Anthony’s College in Oxford on 20 May which addressed barriers and opportunities facing SMEs and the role of family businesses in the GCC. Participants welcomed the increased employment of women in the GCC private sector, and the rapid development of creative industries.

The event was organised by the Oxford Gulf & Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum, and was opened by HE Yousef Ali Al-Khater, Ambassador of Qatar to the UK. A large number of Saudi and GCC post-graduate students and entrepreneurs attended.

Dr Khalid Alkhater, Qatar Central Bank; Oliver Cornock, Oxford Business Group; Chris Innes Hopkins, SBJBC UK; and Prof. William Scott Jackson, Oxford Strategic Consulting participate in Panel Session on Private Sector Development in GCC

Participants included local students, scholars and entrepreneurs.








Lively discussion at SBJBC Biannual Meeting in London on 11 May

Some 40 Saudi and British members attended SBJBC’s Biannual Meeting on 11 May at SBJBC UK member Clyde & Co’s offices in the City of London. There was a lively discussion of opportunity sectors under Saudi Vision 2030, including presentations by Pearson and Oxford Strategic Consulting.

Also discussed were progress updates on SBJBC’s PPP lessons learned paper, follow up to the SME partnership forum and post-Brexit trade development. The meeting was followed by an infrastructure focussed dinner hosted by the Institute of Civil Engineers in partnership with SBJBC member Pinsent Masons. A summary meeting record will be available to members shortly.

Baroness Symons making opening remarks at the beginning of the Biannual Meeting.

Sheikh Nasser and Baroness Symons engaging in discussion over dinner, at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

SBJBC Saudi Delegation visit to Sheffield on 10 May

A Saudi SBJBC Delegation led by Sheikh Nasser Al Mutawa, Co-Chair, visited Sheffield on 10 May. The Delegation had a tour of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield and a presentation on additive manufacturing. They also visited Cutlers Hall and attended a business lunch hosted by SBJBC member DLA Piper. The Delegation were impressed by the warm welcome they received, the city’s manufacturing strengths and opportunities for collaboration in a number of sectors.

SBJBC Saudi and UK Delegation at the Advanced Research Manufacturing Centre (AMRC), Sheffield

Petra Billing, Partner at DLA Piper; Richard Edwards, Master Cutler; Hashim Alawadi, SBJBC Deputy Co-Chair; Sheikh Nasser, SBJBC Co-Chair; and John Mothersole, Chief Executive, Sheffield City Council, at DLA Piper, Sheffield

SBJBC participates in UK-GCC PPP Conference in London

SBJBC members played a prominent role in the UK-GCC PPP conference which was opened by Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and Rashid Al Zayani, GCC Secretary General at Lancaster House on 19 April. Saudi and other GCC speakers then outlined their national transformation plans.

Baroness Symons, SBJBC UK Co-Chair, moderated a lively panel session on ‘PPP in the Gulf and the UK.’ John Davie, Chairman of Altra Capital, presented a summary of a PPP Lessons Learned Paper prepared by SBJBC’s PPP Working Group. Other speakers included Matthew Vickerstaff, Deputy CEO of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Shaun Carter, Carillion Group Head of Strategy.

Please see the PowerPoint slides of John’s presentation, and also a video containing highlights of the event.

John Davie and Baroness Symons engaging in a panel discussion

Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade, with HE Rashid Al Zayani, GCC Secretary General

New Saudi/British Joint Venture celebrated at SME Partnership Forum

At the SME Forum in Dammam on 4 April, the SBJBC Co-Chairs congratulated Mohamed Algaw, founder and CEO of RAQMYA company on the conclusion of a joint venture with Deep Identity, a UK IT company, as a result of their meeting at SBJBC’s first SME Forum in London in October 2015.

Hashim Alawdi with Baroness Symons and Sheikh Nasser, congratulating Mohamed Algaw


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Saudi British Joint Business Council
23 Grafton Street,
London W1S 4EY
Telephone: +44(0) 20 7824 1933
c/o Council of Saudi Chambers
King Fahad Branch Rd, Al Mutamarat, Riyadh 12711