Saudi Arabia has officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Italy to enhance
Saudi-Itali bilateral trade relations. The agreement was made between the Saudi Export-Import
Bank and the Italian Export Credit Agency (SACE). The deal aims to empower Saudi Arabian
exporters and international investors.
Key parties officially signed the agreement at the SACE’s headquarters in Rome. They are Saad
bin Abdul Aziz Alkhalb, the CEO of the EXIM bank, and Alessandra Ricci, the head of the
SACE. According to both parties, the agreement is expected to increase the presence of Saudi
Arabian exports in the Italian market and create a framework for mutual reinsurance.
According to Alkhalb, the agreement is an initiative directed at achieving Saudi Arabia’s
diversification goals. It should also boost Saudi Arabia’s competitiveness by providing adequate
funding for the Kingdom’s exports and promoting export credit insurance. Alkhalb further stated
that the agreement is a part of EXIM Bank’s extensive efforts to realize Saudi Arabia’s Vision
2030 by diversifying the country’s financial partners and benefiting from international relations to
enhance the presence of Saudi Arabian products across European markets.
This is largely unsurprising, as the EXIM Bank has always been at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s
expansion of non-oil exports and the Kingdom’s efforts to enhance the non-oil sector’s
contribution to its GDP.
The country sealed its latest agreement with Italy after both countries celebrated 90 years of
Saudi Arabia and Italy have maintained large bilateral trade volumes for many years. For instance,
the value of Saudi-Itali bilateral trade peaked at about $8.6 billion in 2021. This represented an
almost 33 percent increase from the trade value recorded in 2020. Some top exports from Saudi
Arabia to Italy are crude oil, refined petroleum, and ethylene polymers. On the other hand, Italymainly exports machinery, electronic equipment, furniture, aircraft, and dairy products to Saudi
Arabia. Currently, Saudi Arabia is Italy’s second biggest trading partner in the Arab world.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
Vision 2030 includes specific goals which Saudi Arabia aims to achieve by 2030. Diversification
of the Saudi Arabian economy features prominently in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. One of Saudi
Arabia’s goals under Vision 2030 is to increase the share of non-oil exports in its Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) from 16 percent to 50 percent by 2050.
The Kingdom seems to be on track to achieve this goal. In April 2022, Saudi
Arabia recorded non-oil exports worth $7.3 billion. This represented an increase of over $2 billion
from the Kingdom’s record of non-oil exports in April 2021.
Saudi Arabia’s export records in recent years have indicated significant progress with increasing
non-oil exports. The latest Saudi-Italy agreement will likely enhance the Kingdom’s ability to
diversify its economy effectively.