International
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Mike CAMUS
Head of International Desk Middle East, Turkey

Support by the
Crédit Agricole group

Last updated: August 2021

The International Desk in the Middle East provides support to Crédit Agricole Group's corporate clients in Saudi Arabia for their local operations, including banking advice, assistance in opening accounts, financing and setting up local branches.

For non-bank financial services, the International Desk helps its leading partners to internationalise.

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Means of payment

With Saudi Arabia

Company cheque

Bank cheque

SWIFT transfer

Bill of exchange

Promissory note

Documentary remittance

Documentary credit

Usage

Weak / None

Weak / None

Weak / None

Common

Common

None

Common

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Advice from the
international desk

General Information

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a hydrocarbon-rich country and a prominent member of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). There are no exchange controls or currency regulations that interfere with doing business in Saudi Arabia. In addition, SAGIA has recently relaxed the rules for obtaining a foreign investor's licence.

It is important to note that there is a gap with western countries regarding the weekend: Friday and Saturday.

In 2016, the Kingdom launched the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan with the ambitious goal of reforming the Saudi economy and society. Among other things, the Kingdom encourages projects that aim to diversify the economy and local investment projects that create jobs.

All foreign investors must be licensed under Saudi Arabian Foreign Investment Law regulations. Before starting to do business in Saudi Arabia, a foreign investor must obtain a foreign investment licence from the Saudi Arabian General Authority for Investment (SAGIA). Different types of licences are issued to foreign investors, depending on the activity they intend to carry out in Saudi Arabia (industrial licence, service licence, commercial licence, construction licence, etc.).

SAGIA verifies, among other things, whether the project “contributes to the development of the national economy and sustainable development”. While in some sectors the foreign investor may hold up to 100% of the capital of a Saudi company, some industrial and service activities remain closed to foreign investment.

Note : the best progression in the Doing Business ranking with various reforms in progress.

Means of Payment & Banking Specificities

For transactions with the private sector, the US dollar is most frequently used because of its fixed parity with the Saudi riyal, but the euro is increasingly accepted. In contracts with public companies, the Saudi riyal (SAR) is often required; it is therefore essential to include an indexation clause, preferably on the US dollar or the euro, but with an exchange guarantee.

We recommend confirmed documentary credits. 
Payment terms are mostly 30 days.

The risk of late payment can cause problems with some public Saudi administrations, including the agents who supply public administrations. Late payment occurs less frequently in the private sector and is often due to administrative problems.

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