The authorities in Riyadh have announced a 70% increase in the number of trading licences issued to foreign companies compared to 1Q2018.
The Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA) said that main increase was in applications from British firms (up 86%) and Chinese (up 71% on 2018).
Ibrahim al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, said, "We are reviewing all licencing requirements, and you will see a 50 per cent drop overall from government departments in terms of the time, cost and number of requirements to invest in Saudi Arabia."
Saudi Arabia has worked to lessen restrictions on foreign investors, yet overall FDI into the kingdom remains lower than forecast. According to Reuters, foreign investment into the country in 2018 was $3.5bn, a 110% increase on 2017 but still far below its peak of $85bn in 2008.
According to Bloomberg, SAGIA is working closely with the World Bank to improve the country's overall rank in the Doing Business index. Saudi Arabia is currently listed at 92 out of 190 countries.
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