RIYADH • Saudi Arabia yesterday said it signed US$56 billion (S$77.2 billion) of deals at an investment conference this week and expected the US to remain a key business partner despite a partial boycott of the event over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
More than two dozen top officials and executives from the United States and Europe, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and chief executives of big banks, boycotted the investment conference over the killing of Mr Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.
There was concern that commercial ties with the West could be hit as the blow to Riyadh's reputation and risk of sanctions over the case made it harder to enter new deals. Still, the Future Investment Initiative conference, which aimed to attract foreign capital to support Saudi economic reforms, drew hundreds of businessmen and government officials from around the world to Riyadh.
"There were more than 25 deals signed worth US$56 billion," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told state television, adding that US companies accounted for most of those contracts. He said: "The US will remain a key part of the Saudi economy because the interests that tie us are bigger than what is being weakened by the failed boycotting campaign of the conference."