The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Great Britain has been a long one that’s been intertwined through both business and politics for the past century. In early April, British Prime Minister Theresa May began a tour of Middle Eastern countries, with one of her first stops in the Kingdom.
The basis of that specific visit was to enhance the business relationship between the two countries. That’s something that becomes more vital as the clock continues ticking toward Britain’s exit from the European Union, a byproduct of the last year’s controversial Brexit vote.
The economics involved are especially important because the Saudis are the most prominent business partner of the Brits in the Middle East. Oil is obviously one of the commodities involved, with approximately five percent of the imported petroleum and its assorted products sent to Great Britain every year.
That amount may seem inconsequential, but the oil shipped brought in approximately $115 million per month in revenue to the Saudi treasury in 2015. The year before, the total amount of oil sent to Great Britain amounted to 2,911 tons.
Saudi Arabia is currently crafting its Vision 2030 plan, which is attempting to broaden the base of the Kingdom’s overall economy. Over the past few years, the country’s still-heavy reliance on oil has caused some heavy cutbacks in all sectors.
During May’s visit, she and King Salman agreed to work together on reducing that reliance on oil, with both trade and foreign ministers from each country set to meet on a monthly basis through October.
May also agreed to have privatization and tax experts from Great Britain available for advice as the Saudi Plan proceeds. The hope is that the revenue from non-oil interests will multiply by six by that 2030 target date.