Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, 3rd left, US-Saudi Arabian Business Council President Edward Burton, 2nd right, US Consul
A 26-member American trade delegation from Ohio is currently visiting the Kingdom in order to explore business opportunities in the Eastern Province and Riyadh.The delegates, headed by Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, met
a number of Saudi businessmen during their visit to the Asharqia Chamber and
the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
US Consul General Timothy J. Pounds, Consul for Commercial Affairs Nasir Abbasi and the American Business Association gave them a warm reception at the US Consulate General in Dhahran on Sunday. A number of prominent Saudi businessmen and upper-level local business management such as Hamad Al-Zamil, Khalid A. Al-Abdulkarim, Mohammed S.B. Al-Farraj, Hussain Al-Mansour, Mohammad Haadi, Pervaiz I. Kashmiri and Shahid A. Khan, were present.
The Ohio Business Development Mission is organized by the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, and it includes American executives representing a number of firms in health care, agriculture, aviation and allied industries.
The visiting delegates had a good opportunity to meet influential members of the Saudi business community, both in the Eastern Province and Riyadh.
\"There is a new sense of urgency on the part of both nations to accelerate the process of collaboration and cooperation between the peoples of our two countries,\" said Pounds. \"This is the reason why we are seeing an increased two-way traffic between American and Saudi businesspersons.\"
Referring to the presence of veteran Saudi businessmen at the reception, the consul general said: \"These people represent six decades of US-Saudi partnership. Generations of Saudi business families have worked closely with us over the years through good times and sometimes bad times. Now is the time to lay the foundation for the next six decades and more of fruitful cooperation and collaboration.\"
Mallory, the Cincinnati mayor, was delighted by the response his delegation received. \"As a mayor, my job is to provide opportunities to as many people as I can. The main purpose of this visit is to connect American businesses with Saudi Arabia. All the delegates were very excited and enthusiastic about the opportunities and consultations that they have had here,\" he said. \"Great things will come out of these interactions.\"
Hamad Al-Zamil welcomed Mallory\'s delegation. \"It is good to see our American business friends here,\" he told Arab News. \"They have the technology and we have the market. The two of us have, and can create, a good team, and we will do so.
The main force behind such delegations is Edward Burton, president and managing director of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council. Having served as the commercial attache at the American Embassy in Riyadh gave Burton a special insight into the workings of Saudi businesses, and he is ideally placed to bring the two business communities together.
\"The US-Saudi Arabian Business Council\'s mission is to educate Americans about trade and business opportunities available for US companies here in Saudi Arabia,\" he said. \"We do this in a variety of ways, such as trade missions and conferences.\"
Among the council\'s major achievements is the holding of the successful US-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum in Chicago in 2010 and, more recently, in Atlanta.
\"We have had tremendous response to those two events and we are planning many others,\" he said. \"This is the best place on earth to do business, and no wonder the United States is the largest national investor in Saudi Arabia,\" he added.
According to Burton, the visa situation on both sides has improved dramatically. \"When I was here between 2003 and 2006 it was a fairly difficult task to get American companies focused on the opportunities in Saudi Arabia,\" he said. \"Now it is much less difficult task to bring them in.\"
Among the companies taking part in the delegation are Advanced Biological Marketing, Allied Moulded Products, Aviation Systems Management, Ranger Saudia, Cincinnati Children\'s Hospital Medical Center, Jedson Engineering, River Consulting and Sterling Medical.
\"The Saudi-US business relationship is on the right track,\" said Saud M. Al-Suwaileh, the Riyadh office manager of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council. \"There is no looking back now.\"
Consul for Commercial Affairs Nasir Abbasi agreed. \"We will have many such events and see many such delegations in order to increase business ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia.\"