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Saudi Arabia targets foreign investment with launch of four special economic zones

The new zones will be situated in Riyadh, Jazan, Ras Al-Khair, and King Abdullah Economic City.

Saudi Arabia targets foreign investment with launch of four special economic zones
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced the establishment of four special economic zones in the kingdom to expand investment options and create a unique business environment.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the new economic zones in Riyadh, Jazan, Ras Al-Khair, and King Abdullah Economic City will offer fresh opportunities for foreign investors.

“Saudi Arabia is open for business and welcomes investors from all around the world to see first-hand the historic opportunities we have to offer,” the crown prince said.

“The new special economic zones launched today will significantly impact how business is done in the country, create tens of thousands of jobs, and contribute billions of riyals to our gross domestic product,” he added.

By leveraging the unique strengths of each region in the country, the new economic zones will bolster crucial industries such as logistics, advanced manufacturing, technology, and other priority sectors in the kingdom. Additionally, they will align with existing national strategies and establish fresh linkages with international frameworks.

Officials have cited several advantages that businesses operating within the economic zones will benefit from, including competitive corporate tax rates, exemption from customs charges on imports of manufacturing inputs, machinery, and raw materials, 100% foreign ownership of enterprises, and the flexibility to attract and hire top talent from around the globe.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the economic zones are expected to offer significant opportunities for expanding the local economy, generating employment, and localizing supply chains. These zones are viewed as a continuation of long-term initiatives aimed at positioning the kingdom as a key international investment destination and a center for global supply chains by capitalizing on its strategic location at the heart of major trade routes.

The newly established economic zones build upon previous free-zone initiatives in the kingdom, such as the integrated special logistics zone at King Salman International Airport in Riyadh. These initiatives, including the economic zones, represent the initial phase of a comprehensive, sustained program designed to encourage foreign direct investment, attract top talent worldwide, and promote business development and economic expansion in the kingdom.

While talking about the same, the Secretary-General of the authority Nabil Khoja said, “With hugely attractive financial incentives, world-class infrastructure, business-friendly regulations and streamlined procedures for investors, there has never been a better time to be part of Saudi Arabia’s economic success story. The zones will become engines of growth, increasing the kingdom’s export competitiveness, attracting talent, boosting technology, and improving our global links.”

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