(MENAFN - Arab News) The netherlands is keen to further enhance cooperation with the kingdom even as the bilateral trade relationship between the two countries has flourished with holland being one of the ten most important trading partners and investors in saudi arabia.
as the european union is celebrating the 'europe month in ksa" featuring european gatherings exhibitions concerts information sessions and culinary delights the netherlands embassy has similarly opened the 'holland food festival" in riyadh to give a taste of what their country has to offer to the people here.
the food festival which kicked off on may 2 will continue until may 12 at the marriott hotel offering white veal seafood vegetables coffee and of course cheese.
netherlands ambassador laurens westhoff said that the relations between saudi arabia and the netherlands go back as far as the 17th century in 1614 when the dutch got permission to settle in the arabian peninsula.
'the trade relationship has flourished to this date making the netherlands one of the ten most important trading partners and investors in the kingdom of saudi arabia" westhoff said.
commenting on bilateral trade he said that the netherlands exports a wide range of products and technology in various sectors including agriculture machinery chemicals and petrochemicals. citing statistics he said that the exports to the kingdom had increased by 25.2 percent since 2006.
'food products and machinery figure as the highest export product owing to the diversification of the saudi economy" westhoff said adding that agricultural and dairy products are also an important part of the bilateral trade.
'dairy companies are currently expanding their activities in the kingdom" he underlined.
he added 'when you think of dutch cuisine you probably think of cheese. and yes there are dozens kinds of dutch cheeses. gouda cheese edam cheese young cheese ripe cheese we have it all."
however the dutch cuisine comprises more than just cheese he pointed out.
'the netherlands is the number one white-veal producer in the world and there is fantastic caviar hailing from our country" he pointed out.
he further observed that saudi arabia is investing more in upstream activities in order to limit its dependence on oil revenues. he maintained that the saudi market is stable and attractive for investment and that the netherlands looks forward to bolster bilateral ties with the kingdom.
he further informed that last month the king faisal university and the university of groningen signed a service agreement which is a new chapter in their successful cooperation.
the two universities presented a joint workshop on adopting the 'problem solving" medical curriculum.
historically the cooperation between the two countries is very close. the netherlands is one of the largest investors in the kingdom with foreign direct investment (fdi) from the netherlands to saudi arabia at nearly 4 percent of the total fdi.
in addition there is an increase in the number of saudi-dutch joint ventures in the kingdom.
the ambassador noted that the strong commercial interest has led to an equally strong interest in the arabic language and civilization where the people of the netherlands are very keen on learning more about the arab culture.