January 2018 Chairman’s Message

Dear Fellow ABGR Members,

For those returning to Riyadh from holidays back home, welcome back to what promises to be a season of rewarding business and social programs, not to mention regulatory and market changes and professional challenges!

Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) are now bearing tangible fruit, including public/private partnerships in power generation, transfer of management of airports to private operators, realignment of utility rates with market realities, and diversification of government revenue sources from oil revenues to value added and other taxes and user fees.

Our board held its first 2018 meeting Sunday January 14; recent additions to the team include Bill Foster of Booz Allen Hamilton, Ray Haddad of Boeing and John Rinard of Parsons.

In addition to a meeting held Monday January 15 with Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette regarding U.S./Saudi civil nuclear power cooperation, outbound Saudi energy investment in the U.S. and consummation of energy sector MOUs, please plan to attend the following upcoming events.

  • Saudi Economy. Our Issues Committee will host a roundtable discussion with economist John Sfakianakis on January 28.
  • Jadwa Investment. Chief Economist Fahad Al-Turki will address our general membership on February 14.
  • Neom. Our Finance Committee will host Neom President Klaus Kleinfeld for a general membership event, tentatively planned for February 28.
  • Office of Management and Budget. Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, will visit Dubai, Bahrain, Eastern Province and Riyadh February 19-23, to promote trade and investment benefits of the new U.S. tax bill.  While the bill did not extend territorial tax treatment to individuals, only corporations, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) survived a widespread purge of deductions, and we will continue to promote territorial treatment for individuals as promoting American business and jobs.
  • Riyadh Metro. As a follow-on to a very successful and heavily over-subscribed December 10 visit to two Olaya Line stations, Consultant RMTC/Parsons and Contractor BACS are preparing a repeat engagement.
  • Corporate Advisory Committee. We are organizing a corporate advisory committee among defense sector members to work with the General Authority for Military Industries, the Saudi Arabian Military Industries Corporation and the Economic Offset Committee regarding localization of defense production as contemplated by Vision 2030 and the NTP.
  • Social Program. We are organizing events at various compounds similar to those graciously hosted in the Fall by the California and Al-Nakhla Compounds.
  • Strategic Plan. We have held two board retreats on how best to serve our membership; the next phase will involve membership focus groups to improve our understanding of interests and needs.

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2018 represents our 40th year of service to the local American business community featuring our 25th Annual Golf Tournament, currently scheduled for May 3-4; with your participation and support, we look forward to our best year ever!

 

Sincerely,

Christopher H. Johnson

Chairman

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Chris Johnson

Active in the Kingdom since 1978, Chris Johnson is the founding partner of Johnson & Pump/Al-Sharif Law Office, based in Riyadh. chris@alshariflaw.com +966-11-462-5925