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June 27, 2009 (11:00 a.m. EDT)
No. 181

Minister Day Highlights Canadian Successes in Saudi Arabia

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, witnessed contract signings between three Canadian and Saudi Arabian companies today in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“Canada is building on these successes and creating more opportunities for Canadians and Saudis alike to prosper and thrive during this global economic downturn,” said Minister Day. “I am here to witness this strengthening of our relationship with Saudi Arabia and to promote Canadian companies as world-class suppliers of quality goods and services. Canadian companies can benefit from a stronger commercial relationship between our countries. This is particularly true in sectors such as aerospace and defence, infrastructure projects, oil production, mining, health, education and agriculture.”

Contracts signed today include:

  • Teknion signed an agreement with Al Jedaie Office Furniture to open a store in Riyadh in October 2009.
  • Global Thermoelectric signed a sales and distribution agreement with Inma Trading (the oil and gas trading arm of the Alturki Group).
  • Nortel signed a contract to provide voice services to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, one of the leading health-care institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The contract is worth $1.8 million and is extendable to $20 million.

While in Saudi Arabia, the Minister met with Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, Governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Prince Meshaal bin Majed, Governor of Jeddah; Abdullah Zainal Alireza, Minister of Commerce and Industry; and Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission.

During his meetings, Minister Day promoted Canada’s many competitive advantages, including the country's sound banking system, stable business environment, competitive corporate taxes, talented, highly qualified workforce, and the fact that it is a modern, dynamic place to live and work.

Minister Day also met with the family of Mohamed Kohail, a Canadian citizen currently in a Saudi prison. He assured them that the Government of Canada is pursuing all avenues to assist him. The cases of Mohamed Kohail and his brother Sultan were also raised by the Minister during his bilateral meetings.

Minister Day is in Saudi Arabia as part of a two-day visit to the Middle East. Tomorrow, the Minister will travel to Amman, Jordan, where he will sign important agreements that will strengthen Canada's commercial activities in the region.

Saudi Arabia is Canada’s largest trading partner in the Arabian Peninsula and the second-largest export market (after the United Arab Emirates) in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Canada’s two-way trade with Saudi Arabia surpassed $3 billion in 2008. Canadian exports totalled more than $1 billion in 2008. Canada’s imports, mainly oil, were worth over $2.3 billion.

More details about Minister Day's visit can be found at Minister Day travels to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

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For further information, and high-resolution pictures of Minister Day’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Jordan, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada