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By Steven Arnett

Consultant and Member of the Board of Directors of ECCMA


On May 23, Steven Arnett and Marek Dalkowski from ECCMA met with Tom Harley, the Joint Managing Director of Dragoman, at the office of the Australia Saudi Arabia Business Council in Melbourne, to discuss a new requirement for companies that export into the Kingdom.

As part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has developed a National Industrial Strategy (NIS).  One element of this strategy is to create a National Industrial Information Center (NIIC).  In June 2017, exporters of industrial items will start to receive notifications requesting that they register standardized part numbers (ISO 8000-115) and computer processable technical specifications, formatted in XML according to ISO 22745-40, for the associated products in an open global registry of technical specifications. The open registry of technical specifications is managed by a non-profit association, the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA), and is known as the ECCMA Technical Specification Registry (eTSR).  The registry is free for manufacturers to upload specifications, and free to download specifications using a standard part number.  

The New Requirement

The specifications in standard format will be used to improve the efficiency of several government departments, including import duty exemption and localization compliance. The key points to note from this project are:

  • The records in the registry shall conform to ISO 8000 Parts 115 (part number) and 120 (specifications)
  • All common military and industrial items imported into KSA will be required to be registered in the eTSR, regardless of whether a supplier is applying for exemption from duty or not
  • All government controlled corporations in KSA (Aramco, SABIC, SEC, SWCC, Ma’aden, and so forth) will use the eTSR to improve the quality of their master data and to identify local manufacturers as part of KSA government localization requirements

This project is being managed by the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources (MEIM), through the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) office, and is being sponsored by Saudi Aramco and SABIC. ECCMA, which is based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, has been chosen to lead this element of the project using their experience as project leaders of the international data standards ISO 8000 and ISO 22745. To meet these new requirements, suppliers can go to to learn how to obtain a Quality Identification Prefix (QUIP) that is compliant with ISO 8000-115 and add Electronic Standardized Technical Specifications (eSTSs) for their items to the eTSR that are compliant with ISO 8000-120.  At that Web site, suppliers will be able to easily obtain a QUIP and prepare eSTSs for submittal to the eTSR online following an easy, step-by-step process without having to know the details of ISO standards 22745 and 8000. Suppliers can add eSTSs to the eTSR any time—they do not have to wait until they receive notification to do so.

As part of this effort, ECCMA and NIIC teams are meeting with business councils and trade offices in the nations that have significant trade with the Kingdom.  

Benefits for Australian Companies

This project has the potential to bring great benefits to the Saudi Arabian economy and can help Australian companies that import into the Kingdom 1) Give greater visibility of their products to Saudi Arabian buyers 2) Help Australian companies qualify for a 10% import duty exemption if they supply products that are not made in the Saudi Arabia 3) Facilitate quicker and smoother import of Australian into Saudi Arabia. The NIIC and ECCMA teams look forward to cooperating with Australia companies that import into Saudi Arabia. For a good overview of eSTSs and how they can benefit companies and promote efficiency in logistics and procurement, check out this video at

For more information, if you have questions, or if you company is interested in joining ECCMA, contact Steven Arnett at To learn more about ECCMA and the benefits of membership, check out our Web site at

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Conference agenda set to feature a Saudi project pipeline worth US$1.02 trillion


Over 400 public and private sector executives and 60 expert speakers expected to attend the fourth iteration of the conference



24 November 2015, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Industry leaders and experts will converge under the rich banner of Saudi Arabia’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects when the Saudi Mega Projects Conference and Exhibition commences at the Al Faisaliah Exhibition & Convention Centre in Riyadh from 8th-10th December, 2015.


Organised by regionally-renowned business information and news source MEED, the Saudi Mega Projects Conference and Exhibition expects to attract over 400 vital public and private sector executives, host over 60 expert speakers, and involve participants in over 50 interactive and informative sessions across three days for an invaluable opportunity to network, discuss industry best practices, and share exclusive insight into current and future trends surrounding Saudi Arabia’s biggest projects, which total US$1.02 trillion.


“For the fourth successive year, Saudi Mega Projects brings together vital cogs in the megaprojects industry across both the private and public sectors to discuss critical information and share best practices,” said Edmund O’Sullivan, Chairman of Events for MEED.


“MEED is proud to facilitate a forum in which industry leaders are empowered to define the boundless banner of opportunities present in the Kingdom’s US$1.02 trillion project pipeline through the lens of sustainability and energy efficiency.”


Headlining the event’s rich and diverse portfolio of speakers is Dr. Mohammed Atif, Area Manager, Energy, Middle East for DNV GL Energy who will focus on the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency for 2020 and beyond. Executive Director of Sustainability Programmes for the International Code Council David Walls will provide the leading address, highlighting the latest developments and initiatives for the Saudi Green Building Forum.


Dr. Sultan Sanat Alotaibi, Assistant Professor at the College of Architectural Engineering and Digital Design, Dar Al Uloom University will delve into international case studies of energy efficient buildings, while Director of Engineering for Royal Commission Ahmad Hassan will outline the latest initiatives centred on sustainable projects. Saudi Mega Conference Chairman and Saudi Green Building Forum Secretary-General Faisal Al Fadl will make both the opening and closing remarks for the three-day event.


Also delivering the keynote address on the first day of the conference is Dr. Mohammed Alalshikh, Director of the Planning and Studies Department, Supervising Medical Cities Programme in the Agency for Security Planning and Development, Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia, who will share best practices in project management, note recommendations for managing megaprojects, and highlight the government’s PMO initiative.


Organizers expect over a third of conference attendees to be managing or regional directors, 21% to be general managers, and another 12% to be C-level executives or board members. Over half of attendees are expected to be professionals or experts in the Saudi construction, banking/finance, and government client sectors.


Supporting the Saudi Mega Projects Conference and Exhibition are gold sponsors CONRAC Public Information Systems and Professional Signage Solutions, silver sponsor Autodesk, networking sponsor Viewpoint, and conference sponsors Hill International and Aconex.


Media partners include exclusive international media partner Sky News and sponsors Eye of Riyadh, UKTI, the German Emirati Council (AHK), the Bilateral U.S.-Arab Chamber, The Business Year, Markets & Markets, the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Business Council, Oil & Gas year, and Arab News.


Press Office – Saudi Mega Project & Infrastructure


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Monash University News

11 November 2015


After several successful rounds in the UK, the Saudi Student Conference was recently held for the first time in Australia. It attracted more than 50 Saudi postgraduate students who introduced their research projects across the areas of medicine, medical science, engineering, science, education, linguistics, economics and business.

Supported by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) and hosted by Monash Global Engagement, the upcoming researchers showcased an outstanding range of scientific papers and posters. The full-day conference, ‘Scientific Research Future in Saudi Arabia’, highlighted the great potential of the next generation scientists and scholars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The top three research papers have been awarded with a prize.

“This was the first Saudi Student Conference in Australia and we are happy that it was such a great success.  We would like to thank everyone for their support and Monash University for their generous hosting,” said Abdulrahman Almosa, President of the Saudi Students Association in Melbourne.

The conference was attended by Dr Abbas Brashi, Deputy Attaché for Cultural and Social Affairs, who reiterated the importance of organising such conferences, as a good opportunity to promote the achievements of Saudi researchers.

The main session hosted three speakers addressing the important topic of the region’s future in research and scientific development across the fields of education, health, engineering, and oil.

Dr Antonio Curulli from Aramco Overseas provided insights into the Saudi Arabian oil and engineering industry and the requirements for applied research. Dr. Mohammed Madadin, Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine at Dammam University in Saudi Arabia, talked about research opportunities in the higher education sector. Finally, Saudi student Betoul Baz of King Faisal Specialist Hospital, presented a paper on scientific research opportunities in the health sector.

Dr Nizar Farjou, Associate President-Middle East, North Africa & Central Asia (MENACA) and Director of MENACA Engagement – Global Engagement at Monash University pointed out the high quality of Australian education. He commended the quality research done by Saudi students at Monash University.

“At Monash, we acknowledge the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build a knowledge based economy and to become a beacon for innovation, science and technology in the region. We are proud to contribute to this vision through partnership and collaboration in higher education and research,” Dr Farjou said.

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Ai Group Blog 


Author:  11 November, 2015 0 Comments

If you follow the financial press, you may have noticed a raft of articles announcing that, at the current oil prices, Saudi Arabia will have run out of money by 2020. This was a reaction to a release of an IMF Economic Outlook report on the Middle East and Central Asia. You can view a short video summary here.

As often happens with these sorts of attention grabbing headlines, the fine detail has been lost. The IMF identifies the ongoing development of the private sector as key in reducing Saudi’s reliance on oil.

While all countries struggle with the transition from relying on mineral resources income to a more sophisticated economy, the Saudi Government has been consciously working towards this transformation for some time. They have been funding education programmes in both Vocational and Higher Education to diversify the skill base.

The Saudi Government is also attempting to attract a range of industries to establish in Saudi, and has established a number of agencies to attract investment into the Kingdom. A very successful agency has been the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. Established in 1975, the agency has assisted in the creation of over 233 industries that have invested over 244 billion Riyal, providing employment for over 107.000 workers.

Ai Group and the Australian Saudi Business Council visited the Commission on our Trade Mission to the Kingdom in April this year (see photo).

The Ai Group/ASBC Delegation meeting with the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu; the gentleman in the gold robe is His Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thunyan AL Saud, the Chairman of the Royal Commission

The Ai Group/ASBC Delegation meeting with the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu in April 2015; the gentleman in the gold robe is His Highness Prince Saud Bin Abdullah Bin Thunyan AL Saud, the Chairman of the Royal Commission

Saudi Arabia has a fast-growing and young population, a well-managed banking system, good infrastructure, and generally low import duties and barriers. Its business community is sophisticated and is very familiar with Western practices. Saudi Arabia’s needs are well suited to Australian capabilities. Australians enjoy a good reputation in the Kingdom for competence and tolerance.

While some Government projects may slow down as decisions are being made on spending, we still see the fundamentals as making sense for companies with the right product at the right price.

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Saudi Arabia National Day 2015 marks another year of encouraging partnerships between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Australia.


In October 2014 members of the Saudi Australia Business Council visited Australia. In 2015 the Australian side of the Business Council visited Riyadh, with Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment Hon Andrew Robb AO, MP. The Minister attended and spoke at a meeting of the Joint Business Council.


The Australian side of the Council is giving emphasis to the Australian Government’s initiative to achieve a Free Trade Agreement between Saudi Arabia and Australia.


I would like to thank Abdullatif Al Zahrani and Dr Eng Abdelaziz Yousef Al-Bubtain on their continuing efforts as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Saudi-Australia Business Council. I look forward to a successful working relationship in 2015 and beyond.


The Joint-Business Council looks forward to a productive relationship, with the next meeting of the Council scheduled to be held in Australia in November of this year.


We continue to see the relationship between our two countries developing in many areas – not just trade and commerce. The Saudi students in Australia – that being over 10,000 students and approximately 6,000 family members – are welcome and an important part of the Australian student body.


On the occasion of the Saudi National Day the Australia Saudi Business Council offers its respects, felicitations and best wishes to The Custodian of the Holy Mosques – His Majesty the King Salman, the Government and people of Saudi Arabia every success and happiness for the year ahead.