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Saudi Arabia to allow full foreign ownership of retail businesses

Saudi Arabia plans to allow foreign investors to own 100% of retail and wholesale businesses in the country, according to press reports.15 Sep 2015

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announced the reforms during a visit to Washington DC by King Salman, Reuters reported.

The change will be subject to conditions that will be revealed later, SAGIA told Reuters.

SAGIA is keen to attract more investment to create white collar and technical jobs, and is making changes to investment and visa regulations, it told Reuters.

A Saudi official also told Reuters that state-owned oil company Aramco will open projects in refining, distribution and support services to foreign business, while banking sectors for individuals and small businesses may also be opened.

Saudi Arabia opened its $530 billion stock exchange to foreign investors in June.

Sources told Bloomberg last month that Saudi Arabia is seeking advice from advisers on making significant cuts to its capital spending plans for 2016. Delays to projects are likely as the low oil price forces budget cuts, the report said.

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