Welcoming comments were delivered by Mr. Lew Cramer, President, World Trade Center, Utah, followed by introductions by Mr. Gary Harter, Managing Director, Business Outreach and International Trade, and Mr. Franz Kolb, Regional Director, Middle East North Africa (MENA), both representing the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Mr. Kolb went on to present important factors on key issues for Utah companies involved in Saudi Arabia. “The Middle East has grown to be an extremely important market for Utah companies,” stated Kolb. “Exports to Saudi Arabia have grown 280 percent since 2006 and are expected to continue this trend.”
Mr. Edward Burton, President and Managing Director of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Business Council (USSABC), then led a discussion on strategies and business opportunities for Utah companies involved in aviation and aerospace, clean technology, architecture and construction, security, healthcare and life sciences, information and communication technologies, petrochemicals, power, water and wastewater treatment, traditional and alternative energy resources, and mining.
According to Mr. Burton, Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East and is also the largest market in the region for U.S. products and services. “The country has been designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of six important “Next Tier” markets that hold increasing opportunities for American companies over next the 10 years,” Mr. Burton stated.
When Mr. Burton asked how many attendees would be interested in participating in a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, over 75% of the attendees raised their hands. As a result of the positive response, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the World Trade Center Utah are now discussing possible dates for a future trade mission to the region.