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Foreign firms race to open Saudi offices before deadline

Published : Monday, 20 November, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 101

RIYADH, Nov 19: A wave of ribbon-cutting ceremonies is sweeping the Saudi capital as multinationals face a January deadline to open regional headquarters in the Gulf kingdom or lose out on government contracts.

In what has become a common scene, executives in suits and Saudi officials in white robes gather to inaugurate the new offices, sipping Arabic coffee in a haze of incense smoke while singing the praises of last year's fastest-growing G20 economy.

Announced in February 2021, Saudi Arabia's regional headquarters (RHQ) programme is widely seen as a bid to compete with Dubai in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, a favourite base for global firms with business in the Middle East.

Despite complaints from some executives that there remains a lack of clarity on key details of the Saudi programme, the January 1 deadline is holding, the Saudi investment ministry told AFP in a written response to questions.     �AFP







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