Paolo Rocca, Tenaris Chairman & CEO, participated in the first Saudi Iron & Steel Conference in Riyadh. Speaking on the panel ‘Saudi's Potentially Pivotal Role in Global Steel’, he focused on the investment in steelmaking and processing capacity in Saudi Arabia as the country focuses on becoming more self-sufficient.
The two-day conference, organized by Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Steel Industry, brought together a large group of global industry leaders attending exhibitions and workshops about the transformation of the Kingdom’s economy and opportunities for steel.
During his speech, Rocca tackled three major points required to develop the industrial sector in Saudi Arabia. First he addressed the willingness of the Saudi government to protect local content and take concrete actions to promote the growth of local manufacturing, in order to support the energy and construction sectors. Rocca cited the example of the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. Previously, the US proposed that only vehicles with 62.5% US content by value be allowed to enter the US duty-free. However, under current North American Free Trade Agreement rules, vehicles must have at least 75% regional value content to enter the US duty-free – with at least 70% of steel produced in the region- in order to have access to the intra-trade.
Second, Rocca made a point on the regional approach to grow manufacturing in GCC countries, building on the strong oil and gas value chain.
Lastly, Rocca highlighted the investments that the Saudi government has been promoting in education, as well as how it has been strengthening the human resource base within the Kingdom. “Youth accounts for approximately 70 percent of the country’s population. These are the people who are willing to learn and to drive the transformation and the growth of the local industry,” he said.
Commenting on Tenaris’s participation, Rocca stated: “We are honored to have been invited to take part in Saudi’s first ever Iron & Steel Conference as we continue to expand our footprint and lend our expertise to the Kingdom’s steel industry. There is a great deal of potential in Saudi Arabia for further investment into value-added steel production to support the Kingdom's drive for economic diversification and cement its place as the regional steelmaking hub.”