Saudi Arabia, Germany will boost economic cooperation | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 06.06.2012
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Saudi Arabia, Germany will boost economic cooperation

Starting a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler has praised his hosts for their role in supporting the debt-stricken eurozone. Rösler is hoping for lucrative business contracts.

Visiting German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler met with Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister, Ibrahim al Assaf, on Wednesday for a round of discussions on the eurozone crisis and global growth perspectives.

Assaf confirmed his country had pledged $15 billion (10.01 billion euros) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help stabilize the global economy. The German guest praised his hosts for the measures taken and called Saudi Arabia a "strong and good partner" in attempts to get the eurozone back on track.

Rösler, who's being accompanied by a group of high-ranking German industry leaders, is hoping to prepare the ground for lucrative business contracts during his two-day visit.

Stumbling blocks

The minister said Germany was keen to play a pivotal role in modernizing Saudi Arabia. He particularly mentioned Riyadh's large-scale investment programs in housing, the health system, engineering and clean energy generation.

Saudi Arabiahas become Germany's most important trade partner in the Arab world. It expects to post 5.0-percent growth in 2012, followed by another 4.7 percent next year. In 2011 alone, German exports to Saudi Arabia soared by 18 percent to $9.5 billion.

Rösler said he'd address trade barriers and tight visa regulations that still stood in the way of brisker business between the two nations. But members of the German delegation said that the Saudi request for German Leopard-2 tanks will not be on the agenda.

hg/mll (dapd, dpa)