BNP Paribas Fortis in the Middle East some historical background

Société Générale de Banque and Belgian exports to the Gulf States

In the 1960s and 1970s, Société Générale de Banque s direct relations with the Gulf States were primarily in the trade financing field.

The Bank used to produce brochures to give out to clients when they went on trade missions to the Gulf arranged by the Belgian government. The basic aim was to provide companies with information on the business potential of the Gulf States, recommendations on forging contacts there, and advice on appropriate payment methods and setting up financing arrangements. These trade missions to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 1967, and to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar in 1977 were led by Prince Albert, now King Albert II of Belgium. There was always a senior manager from the foreign department of the Bank alongside the Belgian exporters.

Trade relations of selected countries with the KSA in 1965 (in millions of Belgian francs) 49

Imports Exports (of which around 85 percent were oil)

USA 6,426 5,290

Japan 2,424 11,558

France 535 2,469

Belgium + Luxembourg 634 708

49. Figures taken from the brochure published by the Bank: Arabie Saoudite et Koweït. Situation et perspectives économiques , ( Saudi Arabia and Kuwait: Current Situation and Economic Prospects ). The brochure also gives information on the trade flows between Belgium on the one hand and Kuwait and Qatar on the other. LEAFLET PUBLISHED BY THE GÉNÉRALE DE BANQUE IN 1977

215B N P PA R I B A S F O R T I S I N T H E M I D D L E E A S T S O M E H I S T O R I C A L B A C K G R O U N D