Saudi Arabia seeks marketplace reform

June 20, 2003 at 1:18 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, June 20 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia's Consultative Council has approved a legal and regulatory framework for the Saudi stock exchange, the largest stock exchange in the Arab world.

Officials said Thursday's approval of the Capital Market Law is designed to accelerate a number of economic reforms, such as the promotion of foreign and private sector investment and the creation of an environment of total accountability and transparency for capital-related activities.

Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan said, "We are making a concerted effort to liberalize, expand and diversify our economy. Our goal is to promote private sector investment, especially in certain key areas of our economy," including transportation, natural gas and electricity.

He noted the council has also approved opening Saudi Arabia's domestic aviation sector to competition, ending the longstanding position held by Saudi Arabian Airlines as the sole carrier for domestic flights between Saudi Arabia's 26 airports.

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