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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Welcome foreign investors, Saudi minister tells Japan


Staff writer

NAGAKUTE, Aichi Pref. -- The Saudi minister for commerce and industry said Friday he hopes Japan will take advantage of a new investment climate that is promoting infrastructure projects.

Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has changed its laws to make it easier for foreign investors. "We have diversified and made it much easier for foreign investment," Hashim Yamani said in an interview on the sidelines of the Aichi Expo.

Yamani expressed hope that Japan, which lost the rights to a Saudi oil field a couple of years ago, would continue to invest in both oil and natural gas.

"Countries like China are investing in natural gas in Saudi Arabia, so we hope Japan will as well," he said.

Yamani and other Saudi officials met with Japanese politicians, including former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, at the Aichi Expo on Wednesday and Thursday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Japan-Saudi relations.

They also discussed a range of ways in which Japan could invest in Saudi Arabia.

"There are investment opportunities in desalination technology," Yamani said.

Asked if the price of oil was too high and what Saudi Arabia might do to reduce it, Yamani said it had always been Saudi policy to ensure both a stable supply and a reasonable price.



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