MISA licenses foreign investment by sector each with its own rules and requirements: (i) services covering a wide range of activities, including information technology, health care and tourism; (ii) industry, iii) real estate, iv) public transport, v) contractors, vi) contracting, (vii) audiovisual, (viii) scientific and technical office, (ix) education (universities) and (x) job recruitment for national services. MISA also offers several special licenses for tendering and executing government contracts. Foreign companies must describe in detail their planned business activities and obtain, at MISA`s discretion, a licence in one of these sectors. Depending on the type of licence granted, foreign companies may also seek the approval of the relevant authorities, such as the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Tourism. Professionals, including architects, consultants and consulting engineers, must register and be certified by the Department of Commerce. In theory, these rules allow the registration of Saudi and foreign joint venture consulting firms. As part of its WTO commitments, Saudi Arabia generally allows consulting firms to set up a local office without a Saudi partner. However, foreign engineering consulting firms must have been established for at least 10 years and be active in at least four different countries to qualify. Foreign organizations that practice accounting and auditing, architecture or civil planning, or provide health, dental or veterinary services must continue to have a Saudi partner. U.S. software firms report that the Saudi government continues to use unlicensed and “under-licensed” (in which an insufficient number of licenses is befored for the total number of users) software on government computer systems in violation of their copyrights. Other concerns raise the absence of seizure and destruction of counterfeit goods as part of enforcement actions by the MOC and restrictions on the MOC`s ability to enter facilities suspected of being involved in the sale or manufacture of counterfeit goods, including facilities located in residential areas.
Saudi Arabia does not have a bilateral tax treaty with the United States, although it has maintained double taxation agreements with more than 51 countries since May 2020 (gazt.gov.sa/en/RulesRegulations/Agreements/Pages/default.aspx). The Ministry of Labour and Social Development defines labour policy and, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, regulates the hiring and employment of foreign labour, which represents the majority of the private sector workforce. About 75% of the jobs in the country are held by expatriates, who account for about 12.6 million jobs out of a total population of about 33.4 million. The main groups of foreign workers come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines and Yemen. Saudis hold about 96 percent of government jobs, but only 25 percent of total jobs in the kingdom. More than a third of Saudi nationals work in the public sector. In March 2019, Saudi Aramco signed a share purchase agreement to acquire 70% of SABIC, Saudi Arabia`s largest petrochemical company and the fourth largest company in the world, from PIF in a $69.1 billion transaction. Five of the nine representatives on SABIC`s Board of Directors arrive at SAG, including the President and Vice-President.
The SAG is equally well represented in the management of other SOEs. Sag owns or holds the majority in many other large Saudi companies, such as the Saudi Electricity Company, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), saline Water Conversion Company, Ma`aden (Mines), National Commercial Bank and other leading financial institutions.