S. Arabia won’t work with firms without regional HQ

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    CAIRO- Saudi Arabia will no longer sign contracts with foreign companies which do not have a regional headquarters in the kingdom after 2023, state news agency SPA reported, citing an official source.

    The policy, which comes into effect on Jan 1. 2024, is designed to encourage foreign firms to open a permanent, in-country regional presence that would help create local jobs, SPA reported.

    “The decision … will reflect positively in the form of creating thousands of jobs for citizens, transferring expertise, and localizing knowledge, as it will contribute to developing local content and attracting more investments to the kingdom,” Minister of Investment Khalid al-Falih later wrote on Twitter.

    Foreign firms have for years used neighboring United Arab Emirates as a springboard for their regional operations, including for Saudi Arabia.

    The Saudi policy will apply to government agencies, institutions and funds, the source was quoted as saying, with new regulations to be issued this year.

    Once it comes into effect, it would increase efficiency of state spending, help keep capital within the country and guarantee the main goods and services purchased by the government were of local origin, SPA said.