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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Trade between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain reached SR10.9 billion ($2.91 billion) in 2020, with steady growth over the last quarters as restrictions related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began to ease.
The fourth quarter of 2020 registered SR2.6 billion in trade between the two countries, up from SR2.55 billion in the third quarter and SR2.5 billion in the second.
Located 40 minutes away via the King Fahd Causeway, Saudi Arabia received $320 million worth of Bahraini exports during the last three months of 2020. The second biggest market for Bahraini exports was the US ($138 million), followed by the UAE ($135 million).
Ali Al-Mudaifa, executive director of manufacturing, transport and logistics at Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “Bahrain is the destination of choice for international companies seeking a regional base with access to Saudi Arabia, the largest GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) market, and the wider $1.5 trillion GCC market.
“Our steadily rising levels of trade with Saudi Arabia during 2020 show the benefit of this regional connectivity for manufacturers, and we look forward to further strengthening our trade partnerships during the year ahead.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that tourism and trade links between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia grew 43 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020, but the reopening of the King Fahd Causeway in March 2021 will help give the economies of the two countries a further boost after the impact of the pandemic.
“Prior to the pandemic, Bahrain welcomed around 11 million tourists with over 88 percent coming through the causeway…The number of visitors from Saudi Arabia is set to gradually go back to normal levels following this announcement and is expected to add around $2.9 billion to Bahrain’s economy this year based on average tourist spending in 2019,” Dr. Ali Al-Moulani, president of the Bahrain Economists Society, said in a press statement.
Saudi Arabia is reopening travel via air, land and sea from March 31, 2021, according to the country’s Ministry of the Interior.
The King Fahad Causeway is one of the largest construction achievements in the region. Since its opening in 1986, it has played a prominent role in the region and helped to strengthen relations between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Around 390 million users have traveled along the causeway since it opened.
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