US, Saudi companies sign business deals worth tens of billions of dollars

US, Saudi companies sign business deals worth tens of billions of dollars

RIYADH: United States and Saudi Arabian companies signed business deals worth tens of billions of dollars on Saturday during a visit by President Donald Trump, as Riyadh seeks help to develop its economy beyond oil.

National oil firm Saudi Aramco said it signed $50 billion of agreements with US firms.

Energy minister Khalid al-Falih said deals involving all companies totalled over $200 billion, many of them designed to produce things in Saudi Arabia that had previously been imported.

Business leaders on both sides were keen to demonstrate their talks had been a success, so there was an element of showmanship in the huge numbers.

Some deals had been announced previously; others were memorandums of understanding that would require further negotiations to materialise.

Nevertheless, the deals illustrated Saudi Arabia´s hunger for foreign capital and technology as it tries to reduce its dependence on oil exports.

Low oil prices in the past couple of years have slowed the economy to a crawl and saddled the government with a huge budget deficit.

In March, Saudi Arabia´s King Salman toured Asia and his delegation signed similar agreements worth tens of billions of dollars there, including deals worth as much as $65 billion in China.

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