Saudi Arabia Adds Pressure on Global Firms to Move to Riyadh

Date: 2021-02-16 18:04:15

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Saudi Arabia is increasing pressure on international firms to shift their Middle East hubs to the kingdom, posing a direct challenge to neighboring Dubai as a regional rivalry heats up.

From the start of 2024, the Saudi government and state-backed institutions will stop signing contracts with foreign companies that base their Middle East headquarters in any other country in the region, according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency, attributed to an official source. The move is intended to limit “economic leakage” and boost job creation, the unidentified official said.

It signals “competition on steroids” within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, said Ziad Daoud, chief emerging markets economist at Bloomberg Economics. Still, it’s “hard to see the decision being fully implemented. Expect a lot of slippage and exemptions.”

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