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News & Activities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East Region
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SABIC

  • SABIC agreed to conduct joint research with China through the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and China National Petroleum Corporation to create innovative material solutions for the Chinese market. Xinhua. 23-3-16
  • SABIC started trial operations at the carbon black and utilities unit of the Al-Jubail Petrochemical Company rubber plant, which it built as a joint venture with Exxon Chemical Arabia. Reuters. 3-4-16

  ENERGY

  • Government representatives from KSA and South Africa held talks in Riyadh on bilateral cooperation in the atomic and renewable energy sectors, including strategic plans to use alternative energy. Arab News. 29-3-16
  • Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume oil production at the jointly operated Khafji field, which had been closed since October 2014 for environmental reasons. Gulf News. 29-3-16
  • Saudi Butanol Company, a joint venture of local petrochemicals firms and Saudi Acrylic Acid Company, began commercial operations at its n-butanol and iso-butanol plant in Jubail. Saudi Daily Report. 27-3-16
  • Saudi Aramco is finding large volumes of shale gas in the unconventional Jafurah basin. Shale Gas International. 31-3-16
  • Saudi Arabia plans to publicly sell shares of Saudi Aramco and create a $2 trillion Public Investment Fund to help wean KSA from its dependence on oil. Bloomberg. 1-4-16

  CONSTRUCTION

  • A local consortium has won a $20bn project to build 100,000 homes in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Daily Record. 27-3-16
  • The Saudi government plans to spend $29.9bn on construction projects in 2016 and the same in 2017. The National. 29-3-16
  • The First Saudi Urban Forum launched a campaign to create a sustainable environment for urban residents. Arab News. 31-3-16
  • The KSA Housing Ministry plans to create a development company and start a mortgage-guarantee fund to encourage banks to increase lending opportunities. Bloomberg. 4-4-16

  AUTOMOTIVE

  • SII Semiconductor Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Instruments, released a series of high side switches that allow for simplified connection diagnosis of GPS antennas and other automotive applications. Saudi Daily Record. 29-3-16

  CONSUMER

  • Several new hospitals and 27 primary health care clinics opened in Jeddah. Arab News. 31-3-16
  • The Ministry of Labor is insisting on 100% feminization of all positions, including managers, in retail stores selling women’s accessories in major KSA cities. Saudi Gazette. 28-3-16
  • U.S.-based Camille’s Hand-Dipped Ice Cream Bars signed an agreement with the Saudi group Radium Holdings to initially develop 15 locations in 5 years. The Daily Meal. 30-3-16
  • In the midst of other food price increases, banana prices have risen more than 100% for some varieties in the Kingdom in the absence of supplies from the Philippines and central America. Arab News. 30-3-16

TRADE & FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

  • Australian hotel management company StayWell signed an agreement to open and operate two Park Regis properties in Mecca and is interested in future expansion in KSA. Gulf Business. 28-3-16
  • A new rule from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority requires foreign companies active in KSA to have 75% of their workforces made up of local nationals. Gulf Business. 29-3-16
  • Samsung Engineering Co. is suing Alcoa Inc. for more than $200 million, alleging “egregious corporate misconduct” related to the Ma’aden bauxite mine, refinery, smelter, and rolling mill in KSA. Bloomberg. 30-3-16
  • Middle East Food Solution Company is planning to produce fructose, glucose, and starch products in Saudi Arabia. Gulf Digital News. 4-4-16

FOREIGN POLICY

  • Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the chiefs of staff of participant countries of the first Military Islamic Alliance meeting. Arab News. 28-3-16
  • The Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen agreed to a ceasefire starting on April 10, 2016. BBC News. 28-3-16
  • British Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif in Riyadh to discuss ways in which the two countries could enhance their ties, including in the fight against terrorism. Arab News. 31-3-16
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed cooperation accords to enhance bilateral relations between the KSA and India. Al Arabiya. 4-4-16
  • Saudi Arabia and South Africa have agreed to share intelligence related to security, particularly in combating terrorism. Arab News. 3-4-16

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