The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, flew to Riyadh on Air Force One and was greeted by an elaborate welcoming ceremony at Riyadh’s airport on Friday, punctuated by a military flyover and a handshake from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Saudi-US deals worth at least $380 billion were struck on May 20 during the historic visit, according to Saudi officials.
The US president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner and chief strategist Steve Bannon were on the trip with the President, and they were present at a ceremony to present Trump ‘The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal’ at the Royal Court Palace on Saturday (May 20, 2017).
President Trump’s first remarks following the day’s ceremonies, according to the White House pool report, were: “That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Joint Strategic Vision Declaration
King Salman and President Trump held high-level talks in the Saudi capital, where they co-signed the Saudi-US ‘Joint Strategic Vision Declaration’, as a series of defense, business and technology deals were agreed in the Saudi capital.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that President Trump’s visit marks “the beginning of a turning point” in relations with the Arab world.
Speaking at a press conference held with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Riyadh on Saturday, Al-Jubeir said that the strategic partnership agreement by King Salman and President Trump would develop into a strong strategic partnership.
“The two countries have signed a series of agreements, both by private, commercial entities and inter-governmental, including on investment and infrastructure,” said Al-Jubeir.
“The value of the deals exceeds $380bn; they will be executed over the next 10 years and will provide many opportunities both for the Kingdom and for the United States.”
Tillerson said that more than 20 licenses were issued to large US companies helping direct investment between the two countries, which will result in the creation of thousands of jobs for Americans, an increase the purchase of US goods, equipment and technologies, and also benefit Saudi Arabia.
Defense deals take the spotlight
Defense played a key element in the myriad deals announced in Riyadh on May 20.
Saudi Arabia and the US signed arms deals worth approximately $110bn, the White House announced on Saturday.
Several other multi-billion-dollar deals were sealed at the inaugural Saudi-US CEO Forum, also held on Saturday.
They included a landmark $6bn defense and armament agreement under a “letter of intent” to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Black Hawk helicopters.
The agreement, which was revealed during the forum, is expected to support around 450 jobs in the Kingdom.
“At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” said Marillyn A Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
“We are especially proud of how our broad portfolio of advanced global security products and technologies will enhance national security in Saudi Arabia, strengthen the cause of peace in the region, and provide the foundation for job creation and economic prosperity in the US and in the Kingdom. The agreements will directly contribute to His Majesty’s Vision 2030 by opening the door for thousands of highly skilled jobs in new economic sectors.”
In a ceremony witnessed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and President Donald Trump, Raytheon Company and the Saudi Arabia Military Industries Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on defense-related projects and technology development.
The agreement will enable continued global growth for Raytheon in key market areas such as Air Defense Systems, Smart Munitions, C4I Systems and Cyber Security of Defense Systems and Platforms.
This partnership will also contribute directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s localised defense ecosystem with regional expert capabilities, and will provide a long-term foundation for Saudi Arabia’s economic development.
Thomas A Kennedy, Raytheon Chairman and CEO, said: “This strategic partnership is the next step in our over 50-year relationship in Saudi Arabia and a strong indicator of our continued global growth. By working together, we can help build world-class defense and cyber capabilities in the Saudi Arabia.”
As part of this new agreement, Raytheon announced plans to establish Raytheon Arabia, a Saudi legal entity wholly-owned by Raytheon that will focus on implementing programs to create indigenous defense, aerospace and security capabilities in the Kingdom. These programs will positively impact Saudi and US economies including job creation.
Multi-billion dollar energy announcements
Energy – one of Saudi Arabia’s strongest sectors – witnessed a number of announcements with a combined $22bn worth of new deals signed during the forum by Saudi and American executives in the oil and gas industry.
A major funding boost for the largest oil refinery in the US was among refining and petrochemicals deals signed on Saturday at the forum.
Saudi Aramco-owned Motiva Enterprises announced a landmark investment in the US totalling $12bn with a likely additional investment of $18bn by 2023.
It is estimated the deal will create approximately 2,500 additional jobs in the short term and a further 12,000 by 2023.
Announcing the deal at the Saudi-US CEO Forum, Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said: “Today we are investing in long-term job creation and the future of the refining industry in the United States, and we are delivering on Vision 2030 to expand the US-Saudi partnership.
“The message is clear: the longstanding bonds between our two countries are reinforced by both the value and scale of today’s agreement,” he added.
Following his participation in the forum, Nasser also announced several agreements with suppliers including Jacobs, Honeywell and McDermott.