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The Asia House

Middle East Trade Dialogue


SAGIA, Imam Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Road, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
25 February 2020 | 08:00 - 14:00

Asia House is bringing its Middle East Trade Dialogue to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in February 2020, with a major conference exploring the future of trade in the region.

The Asia House Middle East Trade Dialogue: Saudi Arabia 2020 will be held in Riyadh on 25 February. The dialogue takes place at a pivotal time for the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia in particular, as the Kingdom prepares to host the G20 at the end of the year.

The conference - held as part of the Asia House Middle East Programme - will convene leading decision makers from business and government to explore the shifts taking place in world trade – from the disruption of the US-China trade war to the rise of clean energies. 

With sustainability, renewable energies and the role of women in the economy likely to be among Saudi Arabia’s G20 priorities, the conference will take a particular focus on these issues, as well as the broader forces reshaping global trade, through a range of speeches, panel discussions and Q&As.


Lubna Olayan

Chair, Saudi British Bank 

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The Conference


08:00 Registration


09:00 Welcome Remarks

  • Michael Lawrence, Chief Executive, Asia House, and conference chair 

  • Eng Ibrahim bin Abdul Rahman Al Omar, His Excellency, Governor Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority


09:05 Keynote Address

  • Lubna Olayan, Chair, Saudi British Bank


09:30 One-on-One Interview: The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus

  • Victor Gao, Vice President, Center for China and Globalization

09:45 Panel Discussion: Outlook for Global Trade


Saudi Arabia’s chairing of the G20 comes amid increasing uncertainty in world trade. Tensions between the US and China continue to disrupt global commerce and investment against a backdrop of slowing economic growth. In the Middle East, diversification away from energy exports continue to drive the agenda, while geopolitical developments risk heralding instability that could negatively affect investment. Meanwhile, the Middle East’s growing relationship with Asian markets is offering major opportunities, with the Belt and Road Initiative key among them. 

  • David Dew, Managing Director, Saudi British Bank

  • Simon Penney, HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, UK Government

  • Jean-François Seznec, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies

10:30 Coffee Break


11:00 Panel Discussion on Women Leading Change

Global research shows that increased gender diversity in management creates a stronger base for innovation, creative thinking and increased productivity within a work environment. Covering both global trends and Saudi Arabia’s recent policy changes, the forum will look at how organisations and society more widely are benefiting and developing from the increased inclusion of women in the economy.

  • Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, CEO Novo Cinemas

  • Ghada Al Jarbou, General Manager of Global Liquidity & Cash Management, Saudi British Bank

  • Khaled Al-Dhaher, Country Managing Director at Accenture, Saudi Arabia


11:30 Panel Discussion on Sustainability and the Rise of Clean Energy


In a bid to combat climate change, the world is increasingly focusing on reducing carbon emissions and developing more sustainable ways of dealing with an ever- increasing need for energy. The conference will look at changing global energy demands and the rise of renewables, focusing closely on the recent billion-dollar investments into Saudi renewable projects.

  • Jose Maria-Ortiz, Managing Partner for EMEA, Palladium

  • Gregory Fayet, General Manager, EDF Energies Saudi Arabia

  • Frank Kane, Senior Business Columnist, Arab News

  • Sylvain Cote, Senior Economist, Saudi Aramco


12:15 Closing Remarks

  • Lord Stephen Green, Chairman, Asia House


12:45 Lunch


One-to-one meetings with SAGIA sector heads are available for conference delegates in the afternoon. For more information please contact Cordelia Begbie, Middle East Programme Manager, at



SAGIA is the Saudi Government Authority responsible for the attraction, development and enhancement of investment in the Kingdom. SAGIA’s role is to work with all companies – current and future – and align all the relevant Saudi stakeholders to ensure companies can successfully set up and flourish in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


SAGIA provides many services for companies, ranging from providing market data, assisting in the development of the business case, customising significant incentives, ensuring a smooth and seamless experience for a company in setting up, and settling and expanding their operations.



Asia House will be leading a bespoke business mission to Riyadh for interested companies on 25-27 February. To join the delegation, please email

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Join policymakers and business leaders to explore trade and investment in the Middle East and beyond


The Asia House Middle East Trade Dialogue 2020 follows previous international conferences, which brought thought leaders together to discuss trade, investment, policy and technology.

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Keynote speaker:

  • Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations, Singapore Government

On-stage Q&As:

  • Stuart Gulliver, Non-Executive Director of Jardines and former Group Chief Executive of HSBC (Asia House Advisory Board)

  • Arancha González, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre

Panel sessions featuring thought leaders from Google, Cisco, Revolut, Alibaba, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ripple and more.

Sponsored by Pfizer and Arup.



Keynote speaker:

  • Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR

  • Lord Green, Chairman, Asia House

Panel sessions featuring thought leaders from: KPMG, Arup, Moody's, Natixis, ING Bank, ING Bank, HKEX, Financial Times, ConsenSys, McLarty Associates, WeLab and more. 

Sponsored by HKEX Connect Hall and Invest HK.

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DUBAI 2019

Keynote speeches from:

  • His Excellency Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, UAE Ministry of Economy

  • His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World

Panel sessions featuring thought leaders from HSBC, Dentons, Innoway and IBM

Official endorsement from UAE Ministry of Economy, and held in association with the Government of Dubai.

Past Events
Get Involved


The Asia House Middle East Trade Dialogue offers a major opportunity for organisations to position themselves at the heart of the global trade debate at an event attracting high-profile media coverage. There are a range of sponsorship options for organisations that want to take advantage of these opportunities and work with us on the conference programme.

Benefits include:

  • Prominent speaking role for senior representatives to help position brands on the issues that matter to them

  • Support in organising bilateral meetings during the conference

  • Branding across conference and promotion materials

  • Major profile raising opportunities through media coverage and conference publications

To enquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email Cordelia Begbie, Middle East Programme Manager, at

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