CANADIAN ENVOY, SAUDIS DISCUSS JOINT VENTURES

CANADIAN ENVOY, SAUDIS DISCUSS JOINT VENTURES

Michael Wilson, special representative of the Canadian government, held talks this week with Saudi businessmen and bankers in is effort to promote joint ventures in the kingdom.

Mr. Wilson is on a four-day visit to explore lucrative contracts in the fields of telecommunications, mineral exploration and production, mapping and remote sensing, agriculture and aircraft, according to officials accompanying him.Canadians are in the race for a portion of the multibillion-dollar pie that the national airline, Saudia, will be apportioning to modernize its fleet.

Canada Air is bidding along with British Air, Saab-Scania and Fokker to supply short-haul aircraft for Saudia, which reportedly is looking for eight to 10 small, 50-seat planes.

In the telecommunications field, Bell Canada handled the operation and maintenance of the Saudi telephone system from 1977 to 1988. But the contract has since passed to Australian Telecom International.

According to Canadian officials, private Saudi companies have expressed interest in Canadian technology, sending a large national delegation to the Intercom trade fair in Vancouver this year.

Canada had been a major supplier of barley to Saudi Arabia. But over the past year, local production has risen and imports dropped.