Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar

Bern, 02.02.2024 - Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin is to travel to Saudi Arabia from 4-6 February and Qatar from 7-9 February with a large delegation of economic experts. Official talks will take place with various ministers in both countries. In Saudi Arabia, Federal Councillor Parmelin will open a Swiss-Saudi economic forum and in Qatar he will visit the Swiss pavilion at the 2023 International Horticultural Exposition (EXPO 2023 Doha).

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), will be accompanied by around thirty representatives from various economic sectors. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are undergoing significant economic and social reforms (Vision 2030) which offer interesting opportunities for Swiss businesses. Both countries want to diversify their economies and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Major infrastructure investment projects are currently being planned or implemented, and Swiss technology and expertise are in demand.

Economic forum and major infrastructure projects in Riad

In the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, the Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, and the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, will take part in an economic forum with Swiss and Saudi companies. This will give the delegation the opportunity to learn first-hand about the forthcoming reforms, express their interests and meet with local business and government representatives. In a bilateral meeting with Minister of Commerce Majid Alkassabi, Federal Councillor Parmelin will discuss current international trade policy, including the implementation of the free trade agreement between EFTA and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. He will also meet with the Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal Alibrahim. Federal Councillor Parmelin will discuss the advantages of Swiss companies and their services with the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, the authority responsible for the city's infrastructure projects.

Financial and economic dialogue and Swiss pavilion in Doha

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin will begin his visit to Qatar by meeting the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mohammed Al-Abdullah Al-Thani, in the country's capital, Doha. They will discuss how Swiss companies can potentially contribute to the implementation of Vision 2030. A courtesy visit to Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is also on the agenda. Together with Qatari Finance Minister Ali Al Kuwari, Federal Councillor Parmelin will open the financial and economic dialogue between the State Secretariat for International Finance, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Qatari Ministry of Finance. Finally, at the invitation of the Qatari Minister of Agriculture, Federal Councillor Parmelin and his delegation will attend EXPO 2023 Doha, an agricultural and horticultural exhibition. He will visit the Swiss pavilion and take part in an event on innovation in the agri-food sector with Qatar's Minister of Agriculture, Abdullah Al-Attiyah.

Good bilateral relations

Switzerland maintains strong bilateral economic relations with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, based on a solid foundation of bilateral agreements, in particular on free trade, investment protection and double taxation. Trade between Switzerland and Saudi Arabia doubled in three years to CHF 5.6 billion in 2022; trade with Qatar was worth CHF 2.3 billion in 2022. Switzerland's main exports to Saudi Arabia and Qatar are pharmaceuticals, gold and precision instruments. There are more than 100 Swiss companies in Saudi Arabia and more than 30 in Qatar. They create a significant number of local jobs.

Address for enquiries

EAER Communications, info@gs-wbf.admin.ch, +41 58 462 20 07


Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs