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Bilateral trade and economic relations
03 August 2022 09:00

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of Ukraine's most important trading partners in the Middle East.

According to Ukrainian statistics, in 2021 trade turnover in goods between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia amounted to USD 957,1 million. Ukrainian exports totaled USD 768,60 million (+6,9% compared with the indicators of 2020), Saudi imports – USD 188,5 million (+85%), with the balance of USD 580,1 million in favour of Ukraine.

Ukrainian exports consisted mainly of cereals (34,7%), meat and edible offal (24,7%), fats and oils of animal or vegetable origin (15,1%), ferrous metals (7,66%), tobacco and industrial tobacco substitutes (5,89%) and others. 

The bulk of the Saudi imports to Ukraine was formed by plastics and polymeric materials (81,9%), fertilizers (7,3%), organic chemical compounds (5,6%), boilers, machines, equipment and mechanical devices (3,1%), tanning or dye extracts (0,7%) and others.

Trade in services in 2021: Ukrainian exports - USD 10,9 million dollars, imports - USD 1,25 million , positive balance - USD 9,7 million .

It is expected that such a structure of trade will be maintained in the near future, primarily due to the continued interest of the Saudi side in the import of agricultural products from Ukraine (including barley and wheat), as well as ferrous metal products.

Promising for Ukrainian-Saudi cooperation are the areas of energy (oil and gas, renewable energy sources and their development), construction (infrastructure projects), transport (air, sea, city), water management (housing), engineering. At the same time, the involvement of Ukrainian technologies in the Kingdom is also considered an important issue, as well as the combination of capabilities of Ukraine and KSA in order to implement joint projects in the two countries and third countries.

Saudi entrepreneurs and companies continue to be quite active in entering the Ukrainian agricultural market. In September 2018, the leading Saudi company "Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co." (SALIC), founded by the sovereign Public Investment Fund KSA, through a British subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire the domestic agricultural holding Mriya, which became the largest contract in the agricultural sector in Ukraine's independence, and demonstrated Ukraine's importance for food security. .

At the same time, SALIC (in the consortium "United Farmers Holdings", jointly created with other companies "Almarai daily company" and "Saudi Grains and Fodder Holding") began in our country in 2013 by acquiring the British company "Continental Farmers Group" . The consortium leased up to 45,000 lands in Lviv and Ternopil regions, growing wheat, barley, potatoes, oilseeds, and sugar beets. In 2018, after the purchase of shares of its partners in the consortium "United Farmers Holdings" and the acquisition of the agricultural holding "Dream", the total land bank of SALIC in Ukraine has grown to about 200 thousand hectares of land.

In 2020 and 2021 Saudi Arabia purchased 60,000 and 121,000 tons of wheat in Ukraine through SALIC, respectively, which won a tender announced by the Saudi Grain Organization, indicating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's serious investment intentions by the KSA particularly in the agricultural sector. 

Systemic coordination and regular contacts through the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection and the Saudi Food and Drug Administration have become important in terms of establishing and maintaining supplies of agro-industrial products to our Kingdom.

During 2018-2019 Kyiv hosted the First and Second Ukrainian-Saudi Investment Forums in the agricultural sector, as well as an extended meeting of the Ukrainian-Saudi Business Council with the participation of a wide range of representatives of the business environment of the two countries.

In the context of promoting the products of domestic food producers on the Saudi market in November 2019, the first Export Mission of Ukrainian producers in Jeddah took place.

The 1st and 2nd meetings of the Ukrainian-Saudi Working Group on the development of trade and investment relations in the agricultural sector took place in January 2021 and February 2021, respectively.

Discussions on the further development of trade and investment were one of the main topics during a telephone conversations between Ukrainian Foreign Minister D. Kuleba and his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan with another round of political consultations held online at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

In the context of further attracting Saudi investment in the domestic economy, the Embassy cooperates with the Public Investment Fund through presentations of the most promising projects for foreign investment in IT, infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture. Saudi investors are urged to expand their investment presence in Ukraine, taking into account the existing experience of raising funds for joint projects in agriculture and aircraft, as well as in light of the growing attention of leading Arab funds and companies to Ukraine.

According to data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, in January 2022 trade turnover in goods between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia amounted to USD 98,59 million. Ukrainian exports totaled USD 84,45 million, Saudi imports – USD 14,14 million.

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