Schmidt off to see Saudis to improve economic ties

Chancellor Helmut Schmidt begins a visit to Saudi Arabia today (April 27) to explore ways of expanding economic cooperation with West Germany's largest foreign creditor. The Middle East kingdom supplies almost 30 percent of West Germany's crude oil and has become Bonn's largest foreign creditor by helping finance its balance-of-payments deficit through huge loans.

With German exports to Saudi Arabia stagnating while oil bills are rocketing, German industry is concerned that business with Riyadh might suffer severely if Mr. Schmidt's government did not allow controversial sales of weapons to the kingdom.

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