The United States of America has developed extensive economic relations with all Balkan countries through investments by American and American owned companies. Economic cooperation is based on American companies investing in industries which are aimed at local markets and/or exports to EU markets. US companies employ hundreds of thousands of employees throughout the Balkans through manufacturing plants, regional headquarters, development centers, service providers etc. Nonetheless, trade between the US and Balkan countries is not that extensive.
Turkey’s economic strategy in the Middle East has mainly been export-oriented, coupled with its ambitious diplomatic regional agenda. SMEs known as ‘’Anatolian Tigers’’ have been instrumental for this strategy. Nevertheless, the EU remains its primary trade partner.
Saudi Arabia’s economy system is heavily focused on the state ownership of the main oil, gas, telecommunication and electricity companies in the country. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is the ultimate ruler, who has launched a bold project called Vision 2030 to drive the country out of the oil dependence by creating a new future based on economy diversification and services. Crucial companies which get the largest amount of Saudi Arabia’s revenues are Saudi Aramco, SABIC, Saudi Electricity Company, Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority
Iran’s economic strategy in the Middle East has mainly been directed by oil and gas industry. In this sense, the most influential actors are the NIOC and IRGC-controlled businesses within Iran and various foreign gas and oil companies abroad. The main competitor has been Saudi Arabia, supported by other Sunni monarchies except Qatar as well as the US. On the other hand, relatively good and business-oriented ties exist with China, Qatar, and Russia. Furthermore, Iran’s economic strategy has largely been determined by Western-imposed sanctions, thus giving a significant power to non-petroleum businesses with domestic charitable trusts (bonyads), bazaaris, and black market being of high importance for the country’s general economic strategy. Being isolated by many Western actors, Iran’s main economic partners have become Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea – all being important mostly because of gas and oil exports.
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