It is also a country with long and varied ties to Canada. Bell Canada built the Kingdom's telephone system 40 years ago in what was at the time the largest export contract Canada had ever won. Saudi medical doctors began coming to Canada 35 years ago for medical training and there are now more than 1,000 Saudi doctors being trained in Canada. Canadian architects, engineers, physicians and other professionals have been working successfully in and with Saudi Arabia for decades. Last year, General Dynamic Land Systems signed with Saudi Arabia Canada's largest ever export contract. But most importantly, there are now some 20,000 Saudi students in Canada and these students (who will be the decision-makers and consumers of tomorrow) return to the Kingdom with familiarity and fondness for Canada and Canadian goods and services.
The Government of Canada has identified the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a priority market. The following areas of key opportunities have been identified by the Canadian government: Agriculture and processed food; chemicals; education; forestry and wood products; information and communications technologies; infrastructure; life sciences; and oil and gas.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a large, growing G20 economy that is undergoing rapid development, and with a young demographic and a growing middle class, has large and growing needs for goods, services and infrastructure (it is the world's 21st largest importer), and the means to pay for it (reserves of over $700 billion).
The Kingdom is also Canada's largest trade partner among the seven countries of the Arabian Peninsula. The Kingdom ranks first in global oil reserves, production and export and 4th in terms of gas reserves. It is the largest petrochemical producer in the Arab world and is one of the top 20 economies in the world. Saudi Arabia ranks 15th among the largest exporters of goods in the world and 21st among the largest importers of goods in the world (excluding intra- trade of European Union countries).
The annual volume of trade between the Kingdom and Canada is about 14 billion Saudi Riyals ($5 Billion CAD) . Saudi Arabia exports petrochemical products, plastic, and other products to Canada. The value of current Canadian investments in the Kingdom is estimated to be more than $ 1.2 billion CAD.