Letter from the President and CEO

We have completed the second year of our Five Year Strategic Plan and have made major progress toward achieving the goals we set out for ourselves.  We are in the midst of transformative changes from being an information provider to a strategic advisory and consulting organization.   2014 also marked the 20th Anniversary of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, a milestone of which we are very proud.  While we took the time to celebrate our accomplishments since inception, we worked hard on refocusing our core activities to more effectively meet the needs of our member companies, and the development goals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

The Five Year Strategic Plan directs us to focus on five key areas of importance to the Saudi economy:  downstream plastics and petrochemicals, healthcare, power generation, training and education, and construction.  In our efforts to attract investment in Saudi downstream petrochemicals and plastics, we organized a number of activities, including a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, a networking reception with SABIC executives in Houston in June, and an investment seminar with the Royal Commission for Yanbu in Houston in November.  We recruited U.S. companies to attend the Saudi Health trade show in Riyadh in May, and also organized a seminar on opportunities in the Saudi power sector at the POWER-GEN International trade show in the U.S. in December. 

Our premier event this year was hosting U.S. Secretary of Commerce on her visit to Saudi Arabia in March, the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of Commerce to Saudi Arabia since 2006.  We were very pleased to have a large turnout of over 350 senior government officials and leading businesspeople.  The USSABC signed the second Strategic partnership agreement with the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and undertook a number of collaborative programs in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia with the U.S. Commercial Service Riyadh.  We also worked with the USTR and the National Foreign Trade Council to organize a roundtable meeting for the Saudi delegation to the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement negotiations, giving member companies to address issues in the bilateral commercial relationship.  

Our primary goal is to deliver exceptional value to members.  Most people do not know that we are a small group of less than 25 people.  We do not outsource to vendors for any activities, missions, seminars, or conferences as many other organizations do.  Our small dedicated staff does it all.  We have a skilled team with years of expertise in helping companies enter and expand into the market.  We are pleased to have new leadership in the Riyadh office.  Secretary-General and Executive Director Dr. Basheer Al-Ghuraydh is a former Member of the Majlis Al-Shura and comes to us with many innovative ideas to benefit our Saudi members more effectively. 

We hope to bring members an even greater value proposition in 2015 by expanding our level of activities and programs both in the U.S. and in Saudi Arabia.

Edward Burton
President and CEO
U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council
 

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