Today we started with a short coach ride to the legal company Hundt which is a firm founded by a German and local Saudi Arabian partner. We were invited to a breakfast meeting in a beautiful restaurant. The breakfast included desserts, fruits, and some burrata cheese. Later, we received a deeper insight into the law of Saudi Arabia and how the law of Saudi Arabia is being adapted to international law to facilitate the opening of the country. This will enable future opportunities for the country to be able to cater to unicorns, start-ups, delivery and transport companies, and the scaling up of the private sector. Also, we gained further knowledge on the VAT procedures which were only implemented in 2018 as well as the free trade agreement with Switzerland. It was interesting to hear that KSA does not operate a free trade agreement with the EU. Additionally, a deeper insight was given in the education sector focused on enhancing vocational education similar to the Swiss approach.
Secondly, we visited SAPIC a large international Saudi company responsible to produce plastic components. After an insightful presentation, we were able to see hands-on experience in the application centers and laboratories. The company is 70% owned by Armenco and is the second-largest in the industry. We were also able to see what products were produced in the 3D printer including the plastic used for a truck and car. After the tour, we went for a quick lunch at a local Saudi fast food place.
In the afternoon we visited the Saudi Centre for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) responsible for handling disputes and mediating cases between international companies. The non-profit company is operating in more than 20 fields the largest being the construction industry. SCCA is used by many Saudi Companies such as SABIC, Armenco, and international firms including Mitsubishi and Siemens. One of their major partners is ICDR-AAA headquartered in New York City. Also, the company is recognized worldwide and is represented in the United Nations and the Singapore Convention.
After the visit, we went back to the hotel to have a quick break and get ready for the evening. We had the great honor to be invited by the ambassador Mr. Schaller to the Swiss embassy in the diplomatic quarter in Riyadh. The reception was accompanied by four speakers giving a short introduction to their businesses. Firstly, the hotelier of the Hilton hotel gave a few insights into the challenges he was facing such as retention and supply chain issues. Secondly, the CEO of CGS gave a quick talk about how to do business in Saudi Arabia. Thirdly, an EHL alumni working at a local tourism training center explained their approach to teaching Saudis the aspects of hospitality. It was interesting to hear that the training was adapted to local needs by shortening the training time. Lastly, the Swiss business network was presented and the companies operating in the kingdom were introduced. All in all, it was an interesting presentation allowing us to gain a deeper experience of the Swiss businesses in the kingdom. Later on, we enjoyed a lovely dinner with nice and insightful discussions with people from different industries in the garden of the embassy.